The People Behind Java University at Sun Tech Days Atlanta

Over breakfast yesterday morning, I met up with Stacy David Thurston, whom many called Stacy, and Joe Boulenouar, both long-time lecturers from Sun Learning Services here to teach classes at Sun Tech Days Atlanta. I’d worked with them on a couple of occasions before and much admire their breadth of knowledge, not only on Sun’s products and technologies, but also about the high-tech world at large.

Stacy Thurston, soft-spoken, charismatic, and unassuming, is multitalented. Besides excelling in software, he also specializes in localization and has published a poem about Canada, where he grew up. His blog details many unique projects he’s undertaken and his extensive travels. Thanks to his Chinese wife, he can enviably converse--to an extent--in Cantonese (without an accent!) and is familiar with several Asian languages, including Chinese, Thai, and Japanese. Stacy recently taught at Beijing University and wowed many a student there. Hectic schedule notwithstanding, he takes things easy: “Don’t get stressed out--it’s bad for you.” Sage advice.

The hot topic of Web 2.0 was the focus of the Java University class Stacy taught at Tech Days Atlanta. In the class, he demonstrated how to build interactive Web sites with Ajax, the Dojo Toolkit, and jMaki. Wonderful turnout!

Separately, I cornered Joe Boulenouar, ever cheery yet also serious and no-nonsense, and asked him what he liked about working at Sun. “I architect and design Java EE applications and hold classes for established, new, and potential customers,” he responded. “The opportunities to present the latest technologies--Java EE 5, EJB 3.0, Web 2.0, and Sun’s Java middleware, such as Java CAPS [Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite] and GlassFish--are invaluable to me. I feel that I make a difference.”

Joe’s class in Atlanta was on how to design robust enterprise applications through SOA on the Java EE platform. Almost 90 students showed up.

Stacy and Joe are respected trainers for good reason!

Marty Lovings, sales support specialist for Sun Learning Services, works in a marketing and delivery capability. He’s been with Sun for seven years: “Sun has been good to me and I love my job.” To Marty, training is critical. All too often, however, “you don’t realize you need it until you do need it.” Better not get yourself into that bind and grasp every opportunity to reinforce your skills and knowledge, such as through the many classes offered by Sun, either instructor-led or self-paced.

Chris McDonald, Americas business development manager for Sun Learning Services, is responsible for a territory that encompasses the United States, Canada, and Latin America. He manages the Java and Solaris curricula and will soon oversee the virtualization curriculum, that is, xVM Server and Ops Center. Chris’s job takes him to numerous customer and community events, such as Sun Tech Days, JavaOne, and Java University.

“I love my job,” Chris echoed Marty. “Sun is still an innovator. I enjoy working with the latest and greatest hardware and software and staying current with the new technologies. My job affords me that opportunity.”

A side note of gratitude to Chris: Thanks for grabbing me a lunch box as I caught Joe for a brief interview. Very thoughtful of him.


Do visit the Sun Tech Days site.

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[Trackback] On the morning of the first day of Sun Tech Days Atlanta (January 9), I hobnobbed with two lecturers, a sales support representative, and a business development manager, all from Sun Learning Services. They were on duty for Java University. Knowledgeab...

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