Ruby, JavaScript, Sass, iOS. Stinky Cheese & Beer Advocate. Working at CustomInk and loving it!

Ken Collins' Resume

As an long time blogger and open source software advocate, I highly suggest learning about my skills from other related sources. The software I write, information I publish, and technology I advocate paint a better picture of what I do and love about my craft. Please checkout my github accounts (metaskills or rails-sqlserver) or a list of my gems on

Contact Information

Influences & Values


Software developer that loves problem solving using Ruby, JavaScript/CoffeeScript, or Objective-C. Previous careers in ops, marketing and design combine to add value at all levels. I take ownership of my tasks, have a strong work ethic, and require no hand holding. So whether it is a low level database stack or a high level user interface design, I am right at home.

Highlights of Qualifications

PROGRAMMING SKILLS: Authored and collaborated on numerous open source projects in all these languages. To date, I have been programming web applications using Ruby and JavaScript for 13 years. My HTML/CSS skills far exceed most programmers since I have been developing web sites for 22 years and have been doing semantic and unobtrusive presentation layer CSS for 14 years.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE: UNIX is my integrated development environment, specifically a Mac using ZSH shell with Sublime Text 3. I currently use rbenv and Pow for my local development stack with a back-end of MacPorts for anything else. Yes, MacPorts! I happen to like the /opt sandbox concept which keeps Apple's OS upgrades from hosing my dynamically linked dependencies. Git is the only SCM I like, but I have experience in many others.

PEOPLE SKILLS: I love to work with talented people! Even more so, I like to teach and help others learn about the things I myself love to do. I am currently the organizer for the Norfolk Ruby User's Group (757.rb) where we give talks each and every month. Teaching others and writing articles is not only enjoyable, but helps me stay current with my craft.

SKILL CLOUD: Ruby SQL Server JavaScript OOP Ruby on Rails CSS Web Development jQuery Web Services Software Development C Databases Elasticsearch Sass Style Guides Web Applications User Interface Design HTML5 Mac OS X Unix SEO Software Engineering Objective-C ImageMagick ActiveRecord Unobtrusive JavaScript ECMAScript Prototype Git Subversion Barcode eCommerce MiniTest Jasmine CoffeeScript Backend Tools HAML SASS Zsh TDD Redis S3 Memcached BDD TDS.

Professional Experience

CustomInk - Fairfax, VA
Software Architect
2012 to Present

Being excellent. More details later...

PharmMD - Brentwood, TN
Sr. Application Architect
2012 to 2012

Implemented some basic steps to moving the organization to a more service oriented design by defining API layers, single sign on solutions, and development setups. Built internal tools for their pharmacist call queue using Spine.JS that heavily leveraged WebSockets and Server Send Events to keep all clients synchronized. The JavaScript application was developed on top of a new Rails application back-end along with a Ruby client gem that opened up APIs for this new service to legacy RoR applications.

Decisiv, Inc. - Richmond, VA
Sr. Software Engineer
2006 to 2012

Senior developer on a very large multi-tenant Rails application for the heavy duty (class 7 and 8) truck industry. Experience maintaining and upgrading Rails from version 1.0 to current 3.2 version. Maintained the entire SQL Server stack for both Ruby and Rails. Sole author of the existing ActiveRecord adapter as well as the TDS protocol layer, a Ruby C extension which communicates to the database. This was done to ensure modern standards for web application encoding and platform longevity. More can be found on guest blog posts of mine titled Modern SQL Server & Rails and SQL Server 10x Faster with Rails 3.1 on the Engine Yard blog.

Created and maintain numerous gems that extend the Rails framework for the business model. These happen at almost every component to the framework but I do like to specialize in ActiveRecord extensions. The list below is just a small summary of the general accomplishments and work skills.

Action Moniker, LLC. - Portsmouth, VA
Entrepreneurial Hacker
2006 to Present

ActionMoniker is my personal entity for doing any type of software consulting or personal projects. Its name is an homage to 37signals' Nametron 3000™. A list of personal projects are included below.

HomeMarks is a AJAX start page geared towards todo or project-based bookmarking. The idea is a throwback to the HTML start pages we developers made for ourselves going back to 1996. I use HomeMarks as a way of staying on top of Rails best practices by rewriting much of it every few years. About 10 years ago I wrote v2.0 by building my own MVC JavaScript framework and moving the Rails application to follow a service oriented design. This put me years ahead of frameworks such as Backbone.js or SproutCore. Shortly afterward, I build my first iPhone application using HomeMarks new service layer and I have subsequently given talks to local and distant groups on how to integrate RESTful Rails applications with iOS' Core Data framework. I am currently writing v3.0 with an emphasis on Spine.JS and CoffeeScript on top of an HTML5/CSS3 web layer that utilizes Sass & Compass CSS framework and my own hand coded CSS animations and transitions. is my own blog hosted on GitHub and published via a static site generator written in Ruby called Jekyll. It is written in HTML5/CSS3 standards and leverages some snazzy mobile first styles along with some technical SVGs.

Decipher, Inc. - Norfolk, VA
Software & Network Engineer
2005 to 2006

As the sole developer created a multi-tenant Rails eCommerce application tailored for the coupon industry. Due to the unique nature of the digital goods, virtual inventorying and security, the entire application included strict business rules on the monthly inventory per retailer campaign that had timeout hooks in the front end shopping cart. Digital goods were compiled and delivered via a custom Java application per transaction that created serialized coupons with barcodes for that specific transaction by the central Rails application. Made extensive use of ImageMagick and the GNU Barcode Ruby wrappers. Developed payment processing utilizing both the direct and express checkout methods of PayPal's NVP API.

Built a community marketing site for the company's upcoming trading card game (TCG) called FightKlub. The majority of my involvement for this application involved developing customizations to Mephisto/Beast and deploying them into production. These sites can be currently found at and include Prototype animations, custom liquid templates, and core extensions to Beast to register new founding mentors.

Moved entire company from Microsoft ActiveDirectory/Exchange services to Apple XServes using OpenDirectory/Postfix/Cyrus. Also moved all non legacy .Net applications and websites to those existing XServes. Troubleshooted critical routing errors by predecessors and firewall configurations which also involved setting up new gigabit Cisco equipment to maintain companies DMZ and existing VLANs to offsite warehouses. Learn how I even setup my own home network way back in the day using Mac Minis.

Arcamax, Inc. - Newport News, VA
Marketing Director
2004 to 2005

Joined the Executive Committee to help provide steerage for the company's new business unit that focused entirely on eCommerce sales of closeout CD-ROM Software and DVD Movie titles. It was my responsibility to maintain the profitability of the company, which relied heavily upon my previous Online Marketing experience and my technical prowess to leverage their existing IT infrastructure and Internet Publishing assets.

I successfully integrated all revenue and marketing channels into a trackable system that utilized a combination of their proprietary systems, 3rd party conversion tools, new custom code that captured and reported on aggregate data. A summary of these channels include:

Completely overhauled the entire pay-per-click search engine (PPCSE) and affiliate marketing systems into a successful prospecting engine within 8 weeks time. Built and integrated conversion tracking code that identified campaign success to the keyword level and post-conversion metrics into the retention marketing system for up to one year past the initial conversion. Benefits of the new systems also reported on:

Continually maximized PPCSE marketing from an average of 300 terms to over 30,000 terms and phrases with a 275% increase in buyers and overall campaign profitability. Added conceptually driven keyword campaigns and matching ad copy that captured nearly every tangible search a consumer would find offers and products. This was achieved using a combination of creative thinking at the consumer level and mining corporate date into datafeed campaigns that were dynamically driven by SKU metadata. Deployed keyword buys over the following 1st and 2nd tier PPCSEs, note that 3rd tier PPCSEs are rampant with click fraud and are not included Google, Overture (now YSMS!), MSN, Kanoodle, and the Kaboose Kids Search

Revamped the affiliate marketing program from a passive ad-hoc system that was frequently abused by self-referrals to a managed, proactive, lead generation engine for online partnerships. Established myself as a visible program manager that affiliates could interact with. Encouraged growth by usage of good communications and publishing writing bi-monthly newsletters that contained informative articles on how to maximize and use the more advanced technical aspects of the program. Acquired power affiliates and relevant online partnerships that increased the programs direct sales up 500% with value added buyers into the retention marketing system.

SwissDisk, Inc. - Los Angeles, CA
Vice President
2004 to 2010

In the later part of 2004, I partnered with my brother Ben Collins to start up a small company in the niche market of the online storage industry. Even though our company was bought out, I still contribute by maintaining a position on the Board of Directors and continue my prior creative work and online marketing efforts.

Stratum Marketing - Norfolk, VA
Technical Director
1999 to 2004

Responsibilities included identifying customer requirements, making build-versus-buy decisions, maximize technology partnerships, and developing products to capitalize on existing and emerging market opportunities. Defined and managed the company's collocation/hosting needs, hardware/software suppliers, online media placement channels, e-commerce strategies & content management systems. Provided documentation/training, and many other hands-on IT support services.

Developed and managed many solutions for large-scale projects throughout the company. Successes were attributed to a utilization of strong organizational skills, standard management processes, and a hands-on understanding of numerous UNIX, Windows and Internet development practices. Maintained the highest customer satisfaction rating and strict adherence to project and financial milestones.

InfiNet - Norfolk, VA
Product Development & Affiliate Support
1998 to 1999

Worked to obtain lead technician by providing strong affiliate support, documentation of skills, and the ability to train new/existing staff. Provided the department with new efficient processes and applications.

Working with the head of Product Development, I was awarded a contract with NetSurfer to provide consulting and development for its Macintosh software distribution method. While partially on-site in Atlanta, Georgia, the product was built, tested, and integrated into the CD Surfer Kit for distribution to InfiNet and all of their affiliate newspapers.

Provided design and print services for the Human Resources Department's latest campaign of collateral pieces for their employment workshops.

MacGRAPHICS - Virginia Beach, VA
Account Manager & Design
1994 to 1998

Honed previous design, typography & layout experience in a full-service boutique agency during the cusp of the digital media age. This allowed me to gain invaluable knowledge and skills in the mechanics of traditional design/layout while using the earliest computer applications.

Worked with exciting local industries and brands such as the logo/collateral design for ABNB Credit Union, package design for Kettler International, and Womble Realty. Streamlined operations and developed efficiencies in workflow for many of these clients including re-writing sales and development specs for Bell Atlantics Yellow Pages ad production.

Created a new line-of-business for Internet Marketing at the onset of the development of other new-media companies. This was done by strengthening an existing client relationship in the Travel-Tourism/Hospitality vertical of the business. I was responsible for hiring and training new staff for this market.