Personal Details

Quick Facts

  • Name: Michael James
  • Current Location: Chicago, IL
  • Favorite Destination: Glacier N.P.

About Me

I am a creative problem solver with 10+ years of professional experience in web/software development. With my background in fine art I also dabble in design and branding occasionaly. I seek challenging projects and work environments that foster continual learning. I am Comfortable taking a leadership role and have experience managing a small team.

In May of 2016 my wife and I embarked on nomadic lifestyle. We sold our house and nearly all of our possessions to move into an RV and travel the U.S.

As of Jul7 2018, we have moved to the Chicago area, where I grew up. Even though we have slowed our travels down, we are already planning our next adventures.

Work Experience

2018 July - Present



U.S. Bank

Senior Application Developer
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2015 May - 2018July



Senior Web Developer (Contract / Freelance)

I have been primarily working as a PHP/Drupal developer on contract for various agencies and clients. The projects I have undertaken primarily include updates, maintenance, bug fixes, and new features on Drupal 6, 7 & 8 websites. Those tasks consist of back end development, front end development, and configuration management. Additionally I have contributed to projects built using both the Symfony and Laravel PHP MVC frameworks. When necesary I also have worked as a front end developer using the Bootstrap, Foundation, and Compass frameworks.

Techivant | OCT 2017 - Present
Configure and theme new sites on a very large Drupal 7 multisite for various government entities. The configuration relies heavily on the Panels Module while the theming uses the Compass css/sass authoring framework.

Melon / Avionos | MAR 2017 - OCT 2017
Worked on various client projects built on Drupal 7 & 8. Most noteably helped architect a new Drupal 8 Multisite for Mattel. I did back end development, front end development, and configuration management work for the new platform that Mattel would use to move many branded sites onto the Drupal CMS from various other sources. The front end work was done using the Bootstrap framework

Manifest | APR 2016 - MAR 2017
Mainly worked on bug fixes, new features, and version upgrades on various client websites built on Drupal 7. The largest project I worked on was for CDW. Manifest is the publisher for CDW's tech magazines and websites. The websites were built on a highly custom Drupal 7 multisite, which deviated from a standard implimentation. Tasks for the project included speed optimization, bug fixes, and adding a new site instance.

Spry Digital | MAY 2015 - Present
I was brought on as a contractor to suppliment Spry's in house development team on a handful projects. A couple of projects include work on the back end development and configuration for Suddenlink, as well as serving as the front end developer for the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis website. The latter was built using the Foundation framework.

501 Creative | Various Project Dates
As a contractor I was brought in to make updates, do bug fixes, and add new features on Drupal 6 and 7 websites.

Freelance | Various Project Dates
I designed and did all front-end and back end development on client websites built on both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8.

2014 April - 2015 May

St. Louis, MO


NuCloud Global

PHP Software Engineer
As part of the development team, worked on multiple Drupal 7 projects. Created new and updated existing custom Drupal modules. Worked on project to integrate an appointment app built using the Code Igniter PHP framework into one of our Drupal projects. Additionaly worked with the Laravel PHP framework to build the company website and another application to aggregate data from multiple sources into an API. Provided estimates and participated in planning upcoming work as part of the Agile team. Worked with GIT as our primary version control and SCM.

2012 November - 2014 April

St. Louis, MO


American Optometric Assocation

Web Developer
Served as the technical lead on web projects. Primary developer for the web content management system (Ingeniux) and responsible for building and maintaining the architecture for CMS-based sites, as well as maintaining the CMS application itself. Also served as the primary PHP, XSLT and Database/XML developer for web-based functionality. Acts ad the technical voice as web projects are planned, prioritized and executed. In addition to web development responsibilities, also provided technical support for CMS users.

2012 February - 2012 November

St. Louis, MO


Lawson Screen & Digial Products

Internet Marketing Manager
Managed Multiple Company Websites including e-commerce store and blog. Primary site used the Joomla CMS. Planned and execute search engine optimization strategy. Update and Contribute to Wordpress Blog, Social Media, and E-Blasts. Worked with team on overall Branding, Marketing and Graphic Design, including the new package design. Recorded and edited short videos for use on website and blog.

2009 November - 2012 January

Kirkwood, MO

2011 - 2012 Lead Developer
2009 - 2011 Web Developer

Garrow Media

Lead Web Developer
Worked with owner to develop search engine optimization strategy. Managed team of 7 Developers, Designers and Copywritghers, as well as continuing to develop client websites primarily built on the Joomla PHP content management system. Developed custom extensions for Joomla to aid in the search engine optimization strategy. Was main point of contact on largest accounts to provide customer service. Traveled to represent company a client trade shows and events. Helped create new web and print identiy for Garrow Media.

Web Developer
Designed and Developed sites on proprietary PHP CMS & Joomla PHP content management system. Maintained hosting server, e-mail and DNS entries for 100+ clients. Implement SEO strategy for client base, and provide analysis. Provide customer support for all services and products. Helped build team, and train new employees on CMS and SEO.


2002 August - 2008 December

Macomb, IL

B.F.A. Studio Art
B.A. Graphic Communication
Minor: Computer Science

Western Illinois University

The first few years of my time at W.I.U. I was a Graphic Communications major with a minor in Computer Science. The Graphic Communication curriculum focusted primarily on Desktop Publishing, Web Design, and Graphic Design. The computer science minor primarilty focused on conputer applications such as spreadsheets and databas applications, but I also got started learning programming concepts, including classes in JAVA. After completeing an intership as a production artist for a large screen printing company I decided to continue my education and started a second degree program. The final years I spent at Western were as a Fine Arts Major concentrating in printmaking. I took studio classes that incuded drawing, painting, ceramics, screen printing, intaglio (etching and drypoint), and lithography. I additionally took a leadership role as President of the Student Art League and started the initative to bring a chapter of Kappa Pi International Honorary Art Fraternity to W.I.U.

1998 August - 2002 May

Niles, IL


Notre Dame High School for Boys

I attended an all boys Catholic high school, now known as Notre Dame College Prep. Coming from a small Catholic grade school it was a natural fit for me. The school's mission includes a commitment to faith, scholarship, and service. I did fairly well academically and was involved in sports and many clubs. I was a triatlete, participating in Track, Cross Country and Bowling. One of the biggest highlights of my time at Notre Dame was a trip with our Irish Club to Ireland.


Via LinkedIn


    "Mike is an extremely talented and effective developer. He's quick to learn new frameworks and complex business systems. His communication skills are top notch - he's able to analyse and discuss often convoluted functional requirements and turn them into consistent, top quality code. I believe he also has a background is design, and you can see that in action with regards to his attention to detail in all things. Mike's an overall great guy to work with!"

    Sam Tihen - Senior Software Engineer, Nucloud Global


    "Michael is a great person to work with. He designed and maintains my website, optimizing it for search engines. He is available 24/7 and is enthusiastic about his work."

    Marcin Pasternak - Freelance Client, Picture Perfect Productions


    "Mike's a great asset to any dev project. He's a principled developer with a well-rounded skill set who asks the right questions, thrives on learning and is a staunch defender of best practices. "

    Jon Schwab - Senior Manager, Web Development, American Optometric Association


    "Mike was a great asset while he worked for me at Mike's attention to detail, ability to focus, plan and implement web-based marketing, SEO, and web design is excellent."

    David Landesman - Co-President, Lawson Screen & Digial Products, Inc.


    "Michael is an exceptional web developer. He's very thorough with his work, paying attention to all of the details to make sure that the end product is exactly what the client wants."

    Dan Garrow - Owner, Garrow Media, LLC

Skills & Knowledge

  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Bootstrap
  • Less
  • Sass
  • XML
  • XSLT
  • Xpath
  • C#
  • Apache
  • WHM/cPanel
  • Git
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Visual Studio
  • Laravel
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Ingeniux
  • Wordpress
  • Web Development
  • Web Design
  • Logo Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Stripe API
  • Amazon AWS EC2
I am currently working on updating my portfolio. Please check back for updates.


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