In middle school, David went to school in south Phoenix Arizona which was notorious for students fighting. He fought weekly and he ended up becoming one of the best fighters in school. These fights were like prize fights, motivated to win by recognition. No one was trying to hurt anyone but it was like any other sport like baseball or basketball, a contest to determine the best athletes and teams.
At the time, you could fight one day and the next day be best friends.
David’s first experience with a computer was when his mother, who worked as an electric assembler at Motorola, brought home a Commodore VIC 20. The VIC-20 computer came with datasette for external storage and owner's manual/technical book. At eight years, David learn how to program loops and conditional logic using BASIC. One of his programs involve several birds flying across the screen. This led to 5, 10, 20, and finally 100 birds flying across the screen, flapping their wings independently. His sister recalled this story later in life when David transferred from electric engineering to computer science in college.
I remember you programming birds flying across screen and now you’re doing the same thing you did when you were a kid.
He attended Carl Hayden, which was the school featured in the movie “Spare Parts” where high school students won first place against MIT students in 2004 MATE ROV competition. Carl Hayden’s engineering club originated from the MESA program - the first math and science club at Carl Hayden, where students worked to solve math and science problems. David was one of the first members to join the Mesa Club. He won a science award from the Navy and received AP college credit for physics and calculus while in high school. He was given an intelligence test by the military which involved listening to 8 hours of signals and people speaking different languages. David was aggressively pursued by military representatives but declined to go after high school.
When computers were still in their infancy, David was drawn towards physics and mathematics. David attended Arizona State University to study electrical engineering, but dropped out of college and joined the workforce, working in aerospace and avionics building circuit boards. A passionate self-learner, David studied network security for 7 days a week, 7am-7pm, for 7 months straight to achieve Network Certified status. Looking to add to his technical skills, he went back to school and got a Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems from DeVry.
He struggled at the university level as he was working full time while taking 18 credit hours per semester. Most of the college students came from money, didn’t work, and housing and food were covered. Working necessitated building circuits in less time than the average student. While most of the students spent 12-18 hours to complete specific labs, David hustled for 5 hours to complete the same lab and receive almost the same grade. He picked up COBOL programming quickly and after college, became a software developer. For a period of 5 years, he travelled 100% of the time. Working in Seattle, Denver, San Rafael, Emeryville, and Salt Lake City.
In technology, David has been an early adopter of NET framework, AngularJS, ServiceStack, GIT, Bluetooth Low Energy, and many other emerging technologies. His ability to foresee these successful technology is from his years of experience. He’s always been fascinated with technology and with the entrepreneurial spirit. David loves stories of guys working in their garage competing against large enterprises; people like Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and, Bill Gates. He admires Nicola Tesla for his pure, raw innovation and he admires people who push humanity forward.
As a child, Axton watched his dad build a custom cabinetry business from the ground up. He noticed his dad had an ability to capture a person’s imagination on paper and transform it into reality, and he worked alongside his dad on custom projects, learning how to identify and meet someone’s needs. The youngest of 3 brothers, Axton loved to try everything, playing every sport from BMX to baseball at least once (except wrestling, he didn't like the leotard). He made his parents squirm by listening to Metallica, Eminem and Limp Bizkit.
Axton’s dad brought home old reject computers and it was up to him to fix them, upgrade them, and network them together. He would make them as user-friendly as possible. Axton used computers at school, experiencing the changes from floppy drives to flash drives, from emailing documents to using the cloud. He built his own computer and used it for writing and journalism. As a teen, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and he feels that process helped him find the moral guidelines necessary to foster return business.
He graduated high school in 2007 where he played violin, piano, and loved to write. He feels lumped in with others from the weird group between generation X and millennials, but he learned the importance of hard work and found following his dreams a necessity. He went to a community college high school and graduated with his associates degree a few weeks before earning his high school diploma. He then went on a mission for 2 years to Thailand.
Axton has worked in sales since returning with outstanding companies like Solar City. Life after college has been much more of a journey than he had expected. He married the love of his life three years out of high school. She supported him to travel to Oregon to pursue his dream to be a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, but after a year of the rain, they retreated to the sunshine of the desert. It was in Oregon that Axton discovered that he loves sales. He loves interacting with other people, and he keeps that interaction genuine by being honest and trying to provide the best solution possible. He sees technology as a tool and a necessity to make the world a better place. Axton’s enthusiasm about sales carries over to his interaction with technology. He loves to come up with custom technology solutions for customers. Axton takes pride in his ability to match his client with a product or service perfect for them.
If the problem can be answered with existing technology then let’s refine it and make it perfect for you. If the technology doesn’t exist to meet your specific need, then the fun really begins.
Axton still loves to write, he calls it his “escape from the everyday”. It allows him to understand the world and answer questions he didn’t even know he had. He has written a novella, a book of poems, and is currently working on a graphic novel. He also loves to read, watch TV, and explore the great outdoors. Being outside in nature with his family, especially near water, is his perfect way to unwind. He loves taking his daughter and dog to the park or going out for sushi in Las Vegas with his wife.
Ashton’s father owned an antique computer when he was child and it had a tiny yellow and black monitor. He would eventually sit on his father’s lap and use the keyboard to learn the alphabet.
I distinctly remember a maze application where an algorithm would generate a random maze and then trace the path through, always taking the first left turn and backing out of any dead ends until it finished the maze. I remember the moment where I would be able to know where exactly the trace would go and race it with my eyes to find the solution before the computer algorithm would. I internalized algorithms and patterns this way at the young age of 2.
Ashton was very active in high school. He was playing soccer for the high school (junior varsity, 2 years) and other organizations (AYSO, 4 years, club teams). He played violin in multiple orchestras and in his senior year played in three orchestras playing the viola with one of them. He played viola at a summer camp by request of his conductor because the summer camp orchestra needed more viola musicians. There he learned music theory and performed with a quartet. He was also taking private violin lessons with an expert professional violinist. Along with these aspects of his life, Ashton excelled in academics, especially mathematics. He took trigonometry at 15 and calculus at 16. He took 4 semesters of C++ coding classes and built various applications. Choosing between life as a musician and life as a mathematician was one of the biggest choices in his life.
After being accepted into the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, Ashton immediately decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. He was accepted into the CSUMS research program and worked in MatLab on function reconstruction algorithms in the wave domain where the practical application was detecting brain tumor boundaries from MRI data. Ashton met his wife at ASU and his wife later graduated from ASU with a B.S. in psychology. Ashton graduated from ASU in 2012. To this day, ASU is a big part of his life (both brothers have undergraduate degrees and his father earned his Ph.D. from ASU) and he continues to meet with professors and contribute to the educational system with pro bono presentations. He is hopeful for future collaboration as well.
After graduation, Ashton found out he would be a father. He was immediately hired on to a six-person company as a Systems Analyst to support his new family. He used his java knowledge and jumped into .NET and Microsoft technologies right away. He stayed with this company for 2 years, learning about the latest Microsoft technologies, the latest software development methodologies (Scrum) and database and software design best practices. Afterwards, he jumped into a solution developer role at I-ology, a technology consulting position with Robert-Half, and a lead technical position at POSitive Technology redeveloping their flagship product. At the same time, Ashton landed multiple small projects building portals and selling technology source code licenses. These successes emboldened him and he started Where You At? LLC with David Valdez in 2015 shortly after leaving I-ology where they met. He was sparked to create his own business earlier during a visit to Hawaii. His older brother was attempting to get his wholesale organic mushroom company off the ground in Oahu. He said, "that’s when I knew I had to be an entrepreneur."
Technology has given him his career and mathematics has given him an extreme advantage in the workplace. On a day-to-day, he interacts with technology a lot. He works on it, with it, and beside it. When not working, he’s utilizing social media - Facebook, LinkedIn, and the Auximiti blog are where he creates most of his original content, and he uses Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, Pandora and Spotify to consume content. He holds BitCoin and Ethereum crypto currencies with an eye to their future use and potential. He has traded stock on Ameritrade and utilized online exchange markets for cryptocurrencies such as CoinBase. He’s constantly learning about the latest technologies and talking with colleagues about their implementation and usage in the coming years. He’s watched VR and AR closely (HoloLens, Vuzix, Oculus Rift) as well as advances in quantum computing.
Ashton’s breaks from work almost always involve his family. He’ll play video games, board games, card games, and all sorts of puzzle games with his son, but he really loves being outdoors with him. They’ll jump on the trampoline together, play tag, play fetch with their dogs, and work on their garden. Ashton also enjoys date nights with his wife going to concerts, a local bars or clubs, or out for dinner. They love to travel as a family and have visited Hawaii, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, and Utah.
Ashton enjoys TED Talks and reading on topics including strategic business information, life hacking, growth hacking, hacking in general, national security and cyber security, mathematics, Machine Learning, economic science, world events, and anything relevant to his family and personal health. He watches space exploration and the private space industry, robotics and AI developments, electric and automated car developments, and clean energy and financial developments closely. If something is interesting on a larger scale he will learn about it and try to internalize the knowledge to remember it. He’s a thinker, so to really unwind he meditates or exercises.