Introducing the Visual Studio ALM Rangers – Brian Blackman

This post is part of an ongoing series of Rangers introductions. See An index to all Rangers covered on this blog for more details.

Who you are?
I am a blessed father of four, two girls and two boys, and a husband to an awesome wife, Lacey. I also happen to be a Principal Consultant in Microsoft Services on the Premier Partner ISV team were our focus is in the service of the Independent Software Vendor (ISV). In a former life, I was an ISV so I relate to the challenges of an ISV; if they do not differentiate, ship, or sell then they do not eat which is very different from the enterprise. I spend my days learning their businesses, contributing to their success and to our product direction. Interesting is that in another former life I was in the 75th Infantry, 1st Bat Rangers, C Co. which does have parallel to this Ranger program - first on the ground, looking for gaps and filling them, guiding and navigating others through the terrain ☺

What makes you “tick”?
The quest for knowledge drives me. My role allows for full-time fulfillment of what makes me tick. The only other job I can think of that would offer the same would be academia. The world of software is ever changing and you must continually learn to stay ahead and being a professor would probably be the only other job that would meet the quest for knowledge. I learned this about academia spending time in graduate school as a graduate research assistant where you worked as a professor (research and teaching) but you did not have the title or tenure and you were very cheap labor. However, in the last several years, I have come to realize that I could have considered mechanical engineering as a profession. I spend the little free time I have building a race car and motorcycles. These are very custom creations that deviate significantly from the original and from what they were intended by the OEM. Once I am done, there is usually only one part in the whole that was not chopped, cut, grinded, or welded. Through this, I am able to use my art, math, and science experience.

This is my children's favorite picture (right)  …. my favorite one is my caricature (below).

Where do you live?
Maryville, Tennessee, USA at the base of the Smoky mountains just outside of Knoxville. Some of the best motorcycle riding is less than 5 minutes away.

Where is the place you call home?
South Carolina, USA

Why are you active in the Rangers program?
I am devoted to the Visual Studio product line. We have the best product on the market: I want to drive its adoption, raise awareness of what Microsoft has to offer for development, test, and other ALM tools, make it easier to understand and use the products, help customers get the most out of their investment, and extend the tooling to fill any gaps.

What is the best Rangers project you worked in and why?
One of the first Ranger projects we did was for the Visual Studio Database 2005 Edition. I wrote the agent controller where the N number of agents were managed by the controller presenting agent status and options through a UI. The job of the agents were to act on the controller's directives in carrying out data generation operations. The goal of the solution was to make data generation in the Database Edition scalable. Writing code brings me pleasure, fulfils my quest for knowledge, and acts as therapy for me.

Brian’s blog:

Comments (1)

  1. John R. Jackson says:

    I would like to become a Ranger /  Currently I am supporting clients as they are migrating to TFS.  Three decades of Programming and various roles.  Started with first version of TFS and continuing on.

    Found no one I know, but listened to your presentation on RUCK.  Awesome Team!  Wish I could assist.  I know I could valuable to the team.

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