Kirby Urner


3745 SE Harrison Street, Portland, Oregon 97214

(503) 320-8976


Applications engineer, technical trainer, curriculum author and/or teacher


Professional: applications development, needs assessment, software analysis, contract negotiation, workflow design, desktop publishing, web site design

Educational: curriculum author, workshop leader, computer skills trainer, classroom teacher, technical manual writer, technical reviewer, tutor, youth program developer

Industries: medical, non-profit, educational, information technology, sales and marketing, toy manufacturing

Technical: Python, xBase (dbase, Visual FoxPro), HTML/CSS, XML, SQL/RDBMS (MySQL, Postgres, Oracle, SQLlite), ODBC, POV-ray (ray tracer), Dreamweaver, Camtasia Studio (video editing), JSON, Google App Engine, Cardiff Teleform (scan forms), Zope, Plone, Django (web frameworks), Ubuntu (Linux), various POSIX tools, computer assembly and configuration

Work History

1990 to Present: Worked as 4D Solutions, an IT services and technical training provider, performing tasks for the following clients:

Providence Health & Services (November 1996 to October, 2008 ): Provided IT solutions for Providence’s Regional Heart Data Services (RHDS). Designed, documented and provided training for workflows for entering data into the Patient Analysis and Tracking System (PATS), a third-party commercial off-the-shelf package. Co-led a team that reconciled, converted and migrated data into the PATS database from FoxPro, Sybase and r:Base. Designed, coded and maintained the Quinton Prolog Parser (QUIPP), a data interface written in Visual FoxPro, to match admissions records with clinical data obtained via ODBC from Oracle-based catheterization lab workstations. Designed and maintained Cardiff Teleform optical scan forms, and Microsoft Access scripts for nurses to collect patient data for loading into PATS. Participated in business meetings with hospital executives and third-party sales representatives, to provide technical requirements for hospital research on behalf of RHDS.

Providence Health & Services (April 1994 to April, 1999): Provided IT services for Providence’s Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE). Collaborated with a heart surgeon on the design and implementation of a database application, written in FoxPro for Windows called Cardiac Outcomes Research Information System (CORIS), for operating room and research staff to enter records from cardiac surgical procedures and follow-up on long-term surgical outcomes. Worked with laboratory technicians to develop a similar application for catheterization labs called Cath Lab Angiograms & Interventions Registry (CLAIR), and developed a data interface to CLAIR from cath lab equipment workstations called Quintons. Developed utilities for ad-hoc reporting for corporate quality assurance, which were later converted to reports in CORIS and CLAIR. Developed on-line patient questionnaire for the Breast Specialty Center.

Associated Oregon Industries (February, 2000 to January, 2006): Provided IT services both on-site and remotely. Redesigned the pre-existing membership tracking system, a Visual FoxPro application. Integrated a multi-step process for assessing membership dues into the application.

Meyer Memorial Trust (2007): Worked as a consultant for a non-profit foundation, performed a needs assessment based on interviews with staff and their existing software. Provided options for upgrading the core operational on-line grants submission web framework.

Collaborative Technologies, Free Geek (January, 2004 to November, 2004): Participated in the startup of a foundation-supported consultancy within Free Geek, a computer recycling and skills training organization, for the purpose of making more effective use of free and open source software among nonprofit organizations. Helped design job descriptions, billing practices and outreach strategies. Participated in a project to move a Microsoft Access clinical records application to a custom version of SQL Clinic, a database/web application for psychiatric providers written in Perl, with a PostgreSQL back end. Designed a workflow that complied with patient confidentiality standards. Implemented the Windows-to-Linux data interface and test data generator in Python. Collaborated on PostgesSQL scripts to modify and populate SQL Clinic tables. Supervised live data conversion at the client-site.

Design Science Toys, Tivoli, New York (2005): Consulted on-site and remotely with the owner of an educational toy factory regarding the design and packaging of Strange Attractors, a geometric construction kit. Exchanged spreadsheets with the lead designer regarding the dimensions and color coding of the plastic rods with detachable magnetic cone inserts. Tested successive factory prototypes for quality and usability. Developed a custom Python library of spatial geometry programs for outputting Scene Description Language to POV-Ray, a free and open source ray tracer. Collaborated with the instruction booklet author and lead marketer to supply high definition color renderings of the product in various stages of assembly, for use in the instruction booklet and on the commercial packaging.

Flextegrity LLC (2006 to present): Consulted with the inventor of a patented modular building system regarding web framework options. Developed technical ray tracings of the product for the company web site using an in-house Python library and outputting Scene Description Language to POV-Ray, an open source commercial grade ray tracer. Researched technical literature and US patent office documents, wrote curriculum materials providing historical context for flextegrity against the backdrop of related patented inventions such as tensegrity and the octet-truss.

Foundation for Accountability (February, 1997 – May, 2000): Provided IT services for analysts studying the long term effectiveness of various health care treatments in relation to company health plan coverage options. Designed and coded a Visual FoxPro application for importing inpatient and outpatient case records and matching them to International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, a lookup table of diagnostic categories (ICD-9). Wrote a data interface to SPSS, a commercial off-the-shelf statistical analysis application. Installed, tested and trained personnel.

Ecotrust (June 1993 – September, 1997): Designed and implemented a fundraising and member tracking application for a major environmental non-profit in dBase. Developed criteria-based filtering for targeted mailings using the mail merge features of WordPerfect. Upgraded the application from dBase to networked FoxPro on Windows and Mac, with added login security and contact management features, such as user tickler files and fields for note taking.

Multnomah County: Aging Services Division (May, 1995 to May, 1996): Provided on site consulting services and back office programming to a county agency tasked with matching senior citizens with assisted living facilities. Designed and implemented an electronic worksheet for calculating family payments based on pre-existing county forms, using dBase IV (compiled runtime). Implemented numerous filtered and sorted reports based on staff requirements.

Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy (September 1993 to April 2001): Provided IT services. Merged records from multiple electronic mail lists in a wide variety of formats into the ISEPP database (dBase). Performed data audits and cleanup.

Mondotronics (1995): Wrote educational materials explaining buckyball geometry to purchasers of a plastic assembly kit. This same booklet was later used by DaMert for its glow in the dark version (Space Ball).

Sisters of the Road (May, 1994): Diagnosed and upgraded a pre-existing point of sale application used in a nonprofit soup kitchen to tally client choices and anonymous demographic information of a statistical nature. Recovered corrupted data tables. Revised summary reports. Tested improvements on site.

Transportation Reaching People (May, 1993 – August, 1999): Designed and implemented a driver dispatching and trip tallying application for Clackamas County in dBase. Pioneered an algorithm for ranking candidate drivers by proximity to a rider based on respective zip code areas. Worked closely with County managers to satisfy Tri-Met reporting requirements regarding trip counts, late cancels, no shows, in order to recover costs from cigarette tax revenues and to compensate volunteer drivers for mileage on their personal vehicles. Trained dispatchers in program operation. Customized the Clackamas County program to serve Volunteer Transportation, a counterpart nonprofit agency within Multnomah County.

Northwest Regional China Council (March 1993 – May 1995): Designed and coded a membership tracking application written in FoxPro for a nonprofit agency fostering business relationships with the Peoples Republic of China. Developed targeted mailing and reporting capabilities based on member-selected discussion group interests, event guest book records, phoned information requests. Upgraded the back end mail merge solution from MultiMate to WordPerfect.

Urban League of Portland (December, 1993 - May, 1996): Designed and implemented a client tracking application used by counselors in employment and youth programs within a nonprofit direct service agency. Developed a time logging and reporting system for counselors to keep track of their activities using standardized codes. Developed administrative, billing, and mail label reports for a variety of printers.

Oregon Food Bank (April, 1993 – May 21, 1998): Provided consulting and programming services over the complete life cycle of an inventory management and resource allocation solution, written in dBase, a commercial off-the-shelf programming language and relational database product. Implemented the core distribution algorithm, based on demographic criteria, that generated pick lists for local food banks across the state, and communicated phoned-in selections to the central warehouse for delivery. Maintained comprehensive records of donated products, including pack size, refrigeration requirements, current quantities, along with detailed donor information (private companies, US Department of Agriculture, food drives etc.). Received reporting requirements from the finance department, and food allocation coordinators. Customized a separate version of the application for a branch food bank.

Vision Northwest (April, 1993 – April, 1998): Implemented and maintained a membership tracking application (in dBase) compatible with off-the-shelf screen magnification software (Zoom Text). Implemented a voice activated phone tree for vision impaired adults (Vision Voice, a commercial of-the-shelf product). Provided staff with a step-by-step manual and training for updating voice recordings. Designed a fundraising application in dBase for selling and tallying raffle tickets. Upgraded Vision Voice hardware and software.

United Methodists (1990 – 1993) Collaborated with a UMC benefactor on a state of the art summer camp registration program in dBase, a fully relational commercial data base language, which later evolved into Microsoft Visual FoxPro.

2006 to present: Saturday Academy (Portland, Oregon): Served as a classroom teacher, co-teacher and curriculum writer. Developed curriculum for Hillsboro Police Department in open source tools, culture and ethics, team taught at West Precinct. Designed and implemented several courses in Python, computer graphics and open source software for high school aged students, used computer labs at Oregon Graduate Institute and Portland State University. Provided detailed on-line write-ups of lesson plans and classroom activities as a contribution to other teachers exploring similar material. Attended police sponsored presentations on computer forensics and cyber-crime prevention.

1985 to 1990: Center for Urban Education (CUE): Provided custom programming, training, and ongoing technical assistance to a wide variety of social service organizations and government agencies. Developed and led multiple retraining classes for eligible older workers in Apple and PC office applications (word processing, spreadsheet, database and desktop publishing) under contract with the Portland Private Industry Council. Visited job candidates at worksites for follow-up tutoring in employer applications during a federally-subsidized six week probationary period. Automated bilingual government forms as macro-driven WordPerfect documents and trained office personnel in their use under contract with the State of Oregon. Presented informational seminars to executive directors, other staff, regarding the various categories of software most relevant to nonprofit agencies. Contracted with the Medical Data Research Corporation for clinical data reports written in FORTRAN.

1983 to 1984: McGraw-Hill, New York City: Evaluated computer literacy teaching materials geared for pre-college students, with emphasis on the BASIC and Logo programming languages. Assessed educational software submitted from around the country for possible republication under the McGraw-Hill name. Authored exercises and example programs for computer literacy textbooks. Researched and authored a multi-page time line, with pictures, on the history of computing. Worked with peers on literature surveys to come up with criteria for scoring educational software.

1983: Americans for Civic Participation, Washington DC: Assisted with a nation-wide voter registration campaign from a back office location, with a focus on low income and historically disenfranchised citizens. Contracted with data entry services to transcribe voter registration cards into a mainframe computer for sorting and printing mail labels. Helped organize multiple express mailings of Get Out the Vote literature to affiliated field offices in selected zip code areas in multiple states. Participated in a voter registration drive in Camden, New Jersey. Performed clerical tasks such as answering letters from voters using a portable Zorba computer running WordStar on CP/M.

1981 to 1983 St. Dominic Academy, Jersey City, NJ: Served as full time faculty member, teaching high school mathematics, geometry through calculus, in an ethnically diverse private Catholic academy for young women. Taught a freshman survey course in world history, and team-taught an honors elective for seniors entitled What Does It Mean to Be Human? based on original peer-authored lesson plans and selected readings. Developed and practiced effective classroom management techniques with expert coaching from Dominican nuns. Prepared lesson plans, tests and quizzes, graded assignments, attended faculty planning meetings and parent-teacher conferences. Helped place students in top colleges and universities.

1979 to 1980 Princeton Pub: serve behind bar, wine and beer, cleanup duties.


1981 St. Peter's College, Jersey City: graduate level courses in education

1976 to 1980 Princeton University, Class of 1980 (BA / Philosophy. Thesis: Some Thoughts on the Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard Rorty an advisor), APL in free time, other computer courses

1971 to 1976 International School, Manila, Philippines

Pre 1970 Southeast High, Bradenton, Florida; Overseas School of Rome, Italy; Junior English School, Rome, Italy; Markham Elementary, Portland, Oregon

Speaking Engagements

2008: Election night IEEE lecture on the mathematics of Buckminster Fuller, opening for The History and Mystery of the Universe, a play by D.W. Jacobs at Portland Center Stage

OSCON (O’Reilly Open Source Conference):
2005: Portland, Oregon: Ways Geeks are Making Waves
2007: Portland, Oregon: Programming for Everybody

OS Bridge:
2009: Portland, Oregon: Python for Teachers

Pycon USA:
2006: Washington DC: open space on hypertoons
2008: Chicago: Your Pythonic Math Class of the Future, a discussion of digital mathematics
2009: Chicago: Python for Teachers (and Teachers of Teachers), a three hour workshop on the digital mathematics curriculum, recorded for Blip TV

2005: Gothenberg, Sweden: Pythonic Mathematics
2007: Vilnius, Lithuania: Connecting the Dots, paper and presentation

GIS in Action:
2005 Portland, Oregon: Advanced Python workshops for Arc-GIS users (an commercial off-the-shelf geographical information system application by ESRI, a principal sponsor)
2009 Vancouver, Washington: The State of Python Nation

2004: LinuxFest, Bellingham, Washington: Python in the Classroom

Technical Reviews and Acknowledgments

J. Baldwin. Bucky Works: Buckminster Fuller's Ideas for Today (John Wiley and Sons, 1996)
Charles Severance. Using Google App Engine (O’Reilly, 2009)
Deitel, Liperi, Wierdermann, Python: How to Program (Prentice Hall, 2002)

Community Service

Python Software Foundation: Voting member since 2009. PSF organizes conferences, protects trademarks, provides infrastructure for the further development of the Python computer language.

Institute for Science Engineering and Public Policy: Board member since 2009. ISEPP organizes the prestigious Science and Technology lecture series.

American Friends Service Committee: Edited and wrote for Asia-Pacific Issues News. Clerked the Latin-America Asia-Pacific Program (LAAP). Participated in developing youth focused programs, including a community access TV show (Voz Juvenile) and a leadership training program (United Voices). Received two Certificates of Appreciation for outstanding volunteer services.

Buckminster Fuller Institute: Collaborated with Fuller associate Kiyoshi Kuromiya (Critical Path) on registering the domain and served as BFI’s first web master. Attended first International Conference on Buckminsterfullerene on behalf of BFI. Assisted in the founding of the Synergetics Collaborative (SNEC) in October, 2001 (Washington, DC).

Royal Kingdom of Bhutan: Provided training for government workers in the national computer center in Thimphu. Developed a nation-wide telex billing system in dBase for the Royal Insurance Company of Bhutan (RICB).


Student work-study opportunity cleaning metal-working machines around Tokamak fusion reactor prototype, Forrestal Campus, Princeton University

Professional Awards

Synergetics Explorer Award (cash and trophy), presented by Jamie Snyder, president of Buckminster Fuller Institute (cash prize)


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