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More About Dian...

  • Looking for a professional consultant to help you tackle workflow problems, technical writing, training solutions, VBA or web development? See Dian's Consulting page for details about the solutions to help your business run better.

  • Want to know more about Dian's specific experience and skills? View her resume.

  • Wish you could learn how to use Word's forms feature or VBA without reading a ton of books? Be sure to check out Dian's Tech Courses, which specialize in concise training in these areas.

  • Curious about Dian's other passions? See our Pet Lover's page and go on some virtual tours through our Flight Photos.

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  About MouseTrax  Dian Chapman  Greg Chapman   Flight Photos  Pet Lovers!  Smiley Burnette  

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Building a Computer

an MVP





About Dian Chapman

Building a Computer Geek

In February, 1988, I found myself working for a small financial firm, called Ibbotson Associates. There were only about 10 of us then.

I began as the office secretary. As desktop publishing came into view, I gobbled up my opportunities to learn it. I soon became Ibbotson's first in-house graphic designer. As more designers came on board—bringing with them those nasty, little Macintoshes<evil snicker>—I moved into my own niche in technical work; specializing in designing software manuals and financial publications such as Ibbotson's renowned Stocks, Bonds, Bills & Inflation Yearbook.

In early 1995, my boss at the time, Dave Montgomery, asked me to experiment with Microsoft's OLE (object linking and embedding) Technology. I started to learn WordBasic (Word's macro programming language) and VisualBasic (Microsoft's visual programming language for Windows). I soon moved into the Software Development Group as Designer/OLE Automation Specialist and began designing and programming custom reporting applications, such as their Investment Policy Statement Guidebook and Portfolio Strategist software reports, as well as learning to develop custom database front ends.

After several years as a developer, I realized I missed human contact.<grin> I've always enjoyed learning and teaching technology, so I became their Technical Support Supervisor, managing the support group and teaching our financial group about the technical support requirements of computer operating systems and applications.

Further growth and more platforms to support proved that Ibbotson needed an advanced support department. They slapped the title of Technical Consultant (Tier II Escalation Support) on me and the escalations division was started. Together, Greg Chapman (also working for Ibbotson at the time) and I wrestled with the toughest technical issues, as liaisons between support and programming.

Sadly, Ibbotson began to suffer from poor management. After 12 years, I left! I then enjoyed a short run as a freelance consultant, working for Computer Adaptive Technologies as a Technical Project Manager. Just as that job was finishing, my former boss, Dave Montgomery, asked me to join him at Morningstar, another financial firm, where I was Infrastructure Project Manager. It was great having an opportunity to dig deeper into web backoffice technology.

I enjoyed my time at Morningstar, but the events of September 11th hit the financial industry hard. Economic cutbacks forced Morningstar to take a harder look at their business scheme and my position was eventually dissolved. The job market, being what it was, it was time to kick up the consulting career.

Now I work as a technical consultant, helping wise business owners realize time and money saving solutions to help their companies run more efficiently. Whether it's creating automated workflow processes using Microsoft Office, developing automated VBA forms or templates, building database driven document solutions, technical writing or building dynamic, ASP/ADO web content solutions, I'm doing the work I enjoy most—showing people how cool technology can be and helping others look good!

If you'd like to discover solutions to make your business better, check out my Consulting page. I'd be happy to answer your questions and/or send you a quote.

Building an MVP

Back in 1995, when I was fighting to learn WordBasic and VisualBasic, I turned to the Microsoft forums on CompuServe for help. After my learning curve smoothed, I started helping others with answers to their Microsoft questions. My technical skills were soon recognized by Microsoft and I was recruited as a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). I've continued to receive the Microsoft MVP award each year. I'm honored to be a part of this elite group of worldwide professionals who assist Microsoft by providing support to Microsoft users via the Microsoft Newsgroups and various other support forums.

And in answer to a popular question—yes, I've had the pleasure of meeting Bill Gates. And yes, he's a cool, down to earth guy! (See MVP photo gallery.)

Dian riding 'Smiles' Keeping Busy

I'm not the type to sit idle, so I'm always into something.

And when I became primary caretaker for my elderly mother who had a stroke a couple years ago...leaving her with brain damage (Aphasia) got really interesting.

Greg and I are Patriot Guard Riders and I also joined Soldiers' Angels in early 2008...working on their sewing and crochet teams making blankets for deployed soldiers and wounded vets, as well as sending notes and goodies to my adopted, deployed soldiers. (See my work, here:

When I have time from those priorities, I'm usually at home...trying to keep our dogs from eating our cats, providing volunteer technical support to other computer users via the Internet, working on my popular Ezine, TechTrax, writing for various 3rd party tech newsletters, teaching Advanced Word courses online, or studying the latest geekware. (Sleep? What's that?<g>)

In summer, Greg and I try to grab a little quiet time by jump into his plane or onto our motorcycles and forget about the world for awhile.


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