In a radical departure from the dot-com life, I began a formal study of permaculture and integrated ecological design at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in the year 2001, and worked for a year at the Permaculture Institute of Northern California. There, I researched ecological practice, collaborated on large land-design projects, coordinated courses in ecological design and studied leadership. To apply this research, I converted my car to run on vegetable oil, and launched my own courses on alternative fuel technologies. Seeing a need for better conversion systems, I created workgroup with several other teachers and mechanics to develop technologies to convert freight trucks to run reliably on straight vegetable oil and explore other engine design innovations. As an early leader in the creation of infrastructure and education for alternative fuels and a recognized teacher of permaculture, I am frequently asked to lecture at universities. I help run a program in ecological design in Chapultapec, Tlaxcala, Mexico.
I see a need for humans to find ecologically harmonious solutions to meeting their needs, so I came to Stanford's product design program to learn how to create solutions so compelling they will transform how people live their lives.
In my early career, I combined the professional practice of design and applications programming with an extracurricular life rich in the arts. My visual artwork was represented by Augen Gallery and shown in many others, and I toured internationally with a performance art group, combining costuming, writing, acting, movement and musical skills.