Where do I begin? I’ve been a fan of gaming since the age of four, when I first saw TRON. I knew I wanted to grow up to be like Flynn – an off-the-cuff, rebel game industry person. I started playing games on the Atari 2600, IntelliVision, and Apple IIe. As I got older, the Age of Gaming progressed and Nintendo was born. I mowed lawns for two summers to buy my own Nintendo Entertainment System (the Super Mario/Duck Hunt combo version). I knew right away I was hooked. As time passed, so did the various gaming systems – Neo Geo, Panasonic 3DO, Sega Master System and Sega Genesis, to name a few. My favorite publisher was Electronic Arts because their vision – “We see farther” – inspired me to look beyond the standard games that were available and to imagine something greater. (“Can a Computer Make You Cry?” is still one of my favorite articles ever written.) I built my first PC at age 12 (a beastly 286 with a whopping 512 MB of RAM). I saw interconnectivity grow from BBS services to the birth of the World Wide Web in 1991. The first time I saw a webpage which I created show up on the internet, I knew this is where I wanted to live – online.
I graduated high school in 1996 and started college, but the lure of late night internet sessions were prohibitive to good study habits. I worked in the service industry (bartending, serving, training, and then managing restaurants) for 13 years. During this time I started my own web design business and was a member of three musical groups (I play bass guitar and sing). While I excelled in customer interactions and interpersonal relationships, I felt a bit unfulfilled. There was something greater out there for me.
Getting Your Start with EA
I moved to Austin in 2005 and quickly fell back on my service industry skills. I worked in restaurants and/or hotels for five years, learning the city and meeting new people. Burnt out from the late nights, I applied at iEnergizer as a Tier 1 rep for EA games. My dream of working in the gaming industry and for the best publisher in the world was in my grasp.
Working at EA
I moved through the ranks at iEnergizer from Tier 1 phone rep to help pilot a Chat Escalation program. Three months later, I was invited to join the Community Team for EA. Rather than offer one-to-one support, I joined a team focused on ‘one-to-many’ interactionsa. My first forums were Battlefield, Skate, EA (then the Origin forums), and Need for Speed. As social media’s importance grew within EA’s vision, we started working on EA’s support channels on Facebook and Twitter. I managed various forums, including the newly launched Battlelog, as well as the social support channels of EA Customer Support Facebook and @AskEASupport. I helped socially support the launch of Mass Effect 3 (and worked with the content team to discover a possible critical issue with save importation), SimCity, Fuse, and the various sports titles. To date, I’ve been honored to have my name in the credits of some amazing EA titles, from Medal of Honor Warfighter, FUSE, SimCity, Madden 25 (a game I’ve been playing since its inception), FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, and the biggest Battlefield game ever – Battlefield 1.
In December 2013 we started Project ICE and I was privileged to be the first team lead for a hybrid initiative of marketing and support for the EA Corporate channels and Titanfall, the new game from Respawn. I was invited to the launch of Titanfall at SXSW in Austin, where I met Major Nelson from Xbox and the head of Respawn, Vince Zampella. Since then, we’ve worked to build our social presence, reinventing the way EA interacts with gamers on social media platforms, and enhance the value of our brands globally. As more leads and teams were created, we traded the EA Corp channels for the biggest, most dynamic first-person shooter franchise in history – Battlefield. A challenge for sure, as the community of Battlefield is extremely passionate. However, over the months, we helped reinforce the dedication EA/DICE has for the franchise and worked to build trust in that community.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to attend some of the biggest game conventions, such as E3, ComiCon, EA Play, Twitch Con, and RTX. Working with external partners like Respawn and internal partners like DICE under the mentorship of Dan Mitre and Mathew Everett helped me really define what I wanted to be within EA. On November 17, 2015, I became the North American Community Manager for Battlefield, and also assisted in the launch of Star Wars Battlefront. My role has evolved over the last year, and it’s been an amazing privilege to interact with some of the biggest names in gaming – from our dedicated and passionate devs to our creative and energized content creators within the Battlefield community. I’m truly “living the dream” and I can’t even believe it.
My past six years supporting the greatest games on the planet has impacted my life in more ways than I can recall. My drive and passion, once scattered and diffused, has become focused. I know who I am today and what I want to do. I’ve met gamers from around the world, both via social media and face-to-face, who share my passion for escaping into a world of digital dreams. I’ve traveled the world supporting EA’s amazing games and dynamic communities, and this is only the beginning. (I now have 4 game tattoos – an EA tattoo, the Battlefield logo, the Titanfall “A”, and Boba Fett from Star Wars Battlefront).
Any Thoughts to Those Seeking a Career at EA?
A dream is a dream until you start taking steps down the path to achieving it. Then a dream becomes a goal, a destination, and a tangible thing you can hold and own. Find something you’re passionate about – be it network engineering, game development, game QA, frontline support – and never let your passion waver. Be willing to lead and to follow. Learn from those around you and share what you know with everyone else. Accept no excuses from yourself but be willing to understand others’ circumstances. Above all, be willing to shift directions – instantly if required – and be excited about the next destination on your path. To work at EA means to work for one of the greatest companies in the world – full of passionate, dynamic, amazing people who care for the product they create/support but most importantly, thrive on the delight the product gives to our customers. Take a moment each day to really think about that. ‘I work for EA.’ Be willing to stand up for your beliefs in achieving greatness, not just for yourself or the company, but also for the millions of fans who eat, sleep, and breathe our games. Let this be your battle cry every morning: I FIGHT FOR THE USER!