Business website launched!

After getting this site ( up and running, and being very happy with the outcome and excited once again to have a place to post all of my personal writing, I took a couple of weeks to focus my time on a different web project: a business website for a data consulting company I’m launching. Check it out:

Northwest Data Consulting


I have twenty years of experience working with data, first as a web application and database developer, then as a data scientist, and most recently as a data engineer. After so many different types of experience working with data from all sides of the industry, I have decided that my best, most impactful role is not as en employee but as a consultant, someone who occupies the role of working closely with business owners, managers, and executives to optimize their organizations’ data operations and cultures. That role, I feel, will let me break out of the box and have more input on the strategic direction, in terms of data, of the companies that I’m working with. I’ve often been frustrated, as an employee, at being asked to work on data projects that are significantly behind the times and leave me feeling that my skills aren’t being put to best use. No more!

The launch of the company the new site are very exciting for me. I have had multiple business websites over the years, beginning when I was developer, and then more recently in graduate school and following (when I was doing systems and data science work). Most recently I was maintaining as a Joomla website, hosted first on Dreamhost and then on Google Cloud. It was a good site, but in the last couple of years I have pivoted to data engineering work, so it was increasingly off-topic from what I was working on. I needed a re-brand that focused on my most recent efforts and modernized the look and function of the site. And this new consulting focus also embraces my ability to work with data across multiple roles, from engineer to analyst to scientist, and not only to work with data but empower people and organizations to find the best in themselves and help them to build effective data operations.

Perhaps the biggest issue with the website (as explained at the Joomla To Hugo post at the new site) was that, after many years of developing and maintaining Joomla websites for personal and business purposes, I finally decided to sever the relationship with Joomla and move on. If it sounds like I’m discussing Joomla as though it were a (bad) romantic relationship, that’s not too far off. When I first started working with Joomla back in 2017 (because I wanted to try something different from WordPress and go the open source route), the experience was initially just what I was looking for. It felt newer (for me) and distinctive, and like I was escaping the confines of the mundane WordPress ecosystem. I felt as though I had more control over my websites, and I was able to get sites that looked just like what I wanted. And it felt like a more professional tool than WordPress.

But after spending some years with Joomla, I began to tire of it. I continued to run into the same issues over and over again. There was an abundance of themes but most of them looked the same (which was exactly why I switched away from WordPress). Then the themes I liked stopped working correctly and I couldn’t get back to the look I wanted. These and other issues made me finally decide to call Joomla a successful but finished experiment and switch back to WordPress for my personal site.

For my business site, though, I wanted something different from WordPress. I’d been interested in static site generators like Jekyll and Hugo for a while, because they produce websites that are fast and secure and easy to maintain, while avoiding a lot of the pitfalls of CMS-based websites and other web models. I had tried Hugo for a couple of other small sites in recent years and decided to use it to build Northwest Data Consulting. In short, Hugo has been an amazingly positive experience, and I couldn’t be happier with the choice.

I decided to have the web files live at GitHub, partly for easy backup and partly to support rapid deployment options. I’m not going to get too much into the technical details here, since the technical stuff isn’t the focus of this, my personal website, and since I wrote those details up at the new site. Here’s a list of posts that will fill you in on how I built and implemented the new site and its deployment:

Those pages will fill you in on the details of my experience in creating the site and how happy I am with the result. Hugo makes it super easy to create new content, and with the right choice of theme I have an ultra-clean and professional looking site that loads blazingly fast. The site is set up to deploy automatically when I push new changes to GitHub, so making content updates is even easier than when using a CMS like WordPress.

Please check the site out and feel free to offer suggestions there or at Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

That site took several weeks of work, on and off, and was certainly a labor of love. A couple of times (as happens with any worthwhile project) I got very close to feeling finished, then encountered some new and unexpected problem left me feeling discouraged. But I’m glad I persisted, because now I have a site that looks and functions great, and I can focus more on the phase of adding new website content (portfolio projects, sample code, posts and articles, etc.). Building sites is fun, but the goal isn’t for them to always be under development; it feels good to have successfully completed the development phase and be able to focus on generating content to display my skills and engage with potential clients.

Thanks for checking it out! I hope you’re well and safe – it’s a difficult world, here in Portland and beyond. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I’ll be posting more soon; now that I have both personal and business sites up and running well, look for regular posts in both places.

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