About Me

Sylvia Gonzales

February 2010

RATHER THAN A TWO-DIMENSIONAL overview of my abilities such as type and length of experience in one narrow field, I thought it would be much more interesting to provide a broader glimpse of who I am and what I can do. I came to the Central Coast when I transferred to Cal Poly to study Architecture in my early twenties, and I have not been able to stay away from the area for very long. I have a formal education in Architecture which I have seldom practiced over the years, but it led me to develop skills that allow me to see any project as system of tasks organized in layers that work together to deliver an intended final product.

Cal Poly – My Alma Mater
San Luis Obispo, California

A MORE SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION would be that Architecture helped further develop areas of the left and right side of the brain in a fine balancing act where the analytic works very well with the creative side so as to undertake a variety of projects and provide a wide range of consulting services that can appear to be in-congruent with one another, yet the only common thread is the ability to learn, adapt, master and change.

I HAVE A PASSION FOR DESIGN, Literature, Film and Technology with a capital T. I must say that whatever career path I have pursued in the past, project management in one form or another is my core strength and has always been part of the course.

WHETHER IT IS A BUILDING, an entire neighborhood, a master plan, a website and project sheets for a fellow architect, a website for a wedding minister, or a social media marketing initiative.

IT ALL HAS TO COME TOGETHER to deliver the final product. Parallel critical paths, simultaneous schedules, sequential reviews and approvals working in, both, synchronous and asynchronous mode to deliver the intended result. Yes, it sounds like project management, but I call it successful negotiation of organized chaos.

TheGrid was the third largest ISP in California after AOL and Earthlink in the late 90’s serving dozens of small communities with the guarantee of no-busy signal when dial-up service was king!

I HAVE DESIGNED a couple of house additions and remodels in the Central Coast. I have drawn a great deal of construction drawings when a finely sharpened pencil, a t-square and a horse hair brush where the tools of choice for my craft. I have taught Spanish, computers and algebra at the Junior High and High School levels. I also took a full-time journey into technology for about seven years starting as a part-time web designer at The Grid.net, a local ISP (Internet Service Provider) start-up, sales Operations Manager for a second start-up and worked my way to Director of Operations for a third local start-up. I am not afraid of facing challenges and change, on the contrary, I thrive on them. In the process, I mastered Photoshop, HTML and much of the technology brought about by the nascent world wide web. Soon enough, I have learned to make php and java work for me and fell in love with the paradoxical simplicity of cascading style sheets (CSS). And all of this wilthout an undergraduate degree.

The Rice Ranch Community in Orcutt, California is a the premier residential development in Northern Santa Barbara County.

AFTER MY SEVEN YEAR JOURNEY into Technology I returned to school to complete my degree in Architecture, and one class short of graduation, I foraged full time into the land of urban planning for almost four years. I managed to complete the class I needed for graduation and a few other upper division planning classes just for fun while working full time. One of the biggest lessons I learned is how much of a political process Planning can be. I was fortunate to be mentored by the best in the region, and I was able to navigate successfully large land development projects through the complex process of approvals and building permits in Santa Barbara County. The entitlement of the Rice Ranch development in Orcutt, CA is one of the biggest feathers on my cap and I relish that accomplishment greatly. Rice Ranch boasts 725 homes in five separate neighborhoods over 580 acres of oak woodlands and meadows which include a 24 acre community park with championship soccer and youth and adult baseball fields, a tot playground, vast picnic areas and two doggie parks. More than half of the entire project is open space – more than any other new home community in the region. Successful negotiation of deadlines through highly collaborative relationships with staff and consultants in order to deliver the intended services clearly was my core strength. Managing projects in the planning field led me to revise my definition of project management from “successful negotiation of organized chaos” to that of “successful herding of cats.”

THIS PARTICULAR PLANNING EXPERIENCE led me to master several pieces of software that were key to successful presentations at public hearings and communicating with consultants: Acrobat Pro for mark-up of exhibits and archiving digital files, Adobe Illustrator for creating and re-touching exhibits and PowerPoint for critical story boarding and spiffy slide shows. Microsoft Project was one of the tools I used extensively for one of my projects, but it has its limitations and lacks visual punch. We made it work for what we needed it to do, which was to communicate to the client progress on simultaneous development projects.

ComputerDoctora logo. 2003

BECAUSE I AM A GEEK AT HEART, most of my friends typically asked me to fix their computers, troubleshoot operating systems and home wireless networks when they had troubles, so right after I left the world of technology as I was about to resume my studies in Architecture, I started a small tech consultancy to finance my return to school and that is how ComputerDoctora.com came about. I was able to draw upon my tech contacts once again and develop a steady base of clients and projects. In the process I began to acquire a few more skills, but the most useful one still is being able to explain in simple terms how technology works to the average non tech oriented person. Rather than repeat myself every time someone asked me the same question, I decided to place some of the information online so that people could easily have access to the material.

My latest favorite pastime: snorkeling in Cozumel.

IF YOU HAVE READ MY TECH BLOG here at ComputerDoctora.com, you have probably noticed that I try to keep the geek speak to a minimum while providing advice and guidance on a variety of technology issues. It is also the place where I market my technology consulting services, show some of my completed web design projects and list some of the refurbished laptops I have for sale. My entire goal of refurbishing laptops is to make them affordable to groups that typically do not have access to technology such as seniors, low income households and students. I am very fortunate to have discovered in the Summer of 2011 how utterly beautiful and fascinating the underwater landscape and sea life in the Caribbean ocean is, so much so, that I went back in the Summer of 2012.

WHATEVER THE PROJECT MAY BE, I have a group of colleagues and collaborators I may bring into a project based on budget, project needs as the project itself or the client may require. If you still would like to see a formal resume and references, drop me a line and I will be more than happy to oblige.


Twitter: @sylviaemmag

June 2013


Sylvia started designing websites in 1996 when ICQ was all the rage. Architecture and Planning took center stage while she honed her project management skills on large urban development projects. She translated her project management skills to the entertainment industry for a season through Act One, Hollywood Above the Line. She is now focused on her consulting work as an Architect and an Urban Planner.

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1 Response to About Me

  1. Roxie says:

    Your website is so helpful. I am very-very glad I found it. Thanks.

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