My bio – the official version (at least according to LinkedIn): LinkedIn Profile

My bio – the ultra-short version:

Consultant, Writer, Speaker, Teacher, Photographer, Engineer, Entrepreneur, etc.

My bio – the short version:

I am an odd mix who has gotten that way by flowing along on intuition and curiosity. The world draws me along as I seek knowledge and insight. My adult journey started as an engineer at Boeing (aerodynamics, rocket science, that sort of thing), I slid into an early retirement (frugality has its benefits) and now the journey has plopped me into the life of a writer (books of cultural and nature essays: Just Keep Pedaling, Twelve Months at Barclay Lake, Twelve Months at Lake Valhalla, Twelve Months at Merritt Lake). My frugality is described in my book on personal finance: Dream. Invest. Live. My most recent book is Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland, the internal and external journey as one man walked across a country. The books have led to selling photos. Self-publishing all of that has led to teaching classes. Developing technological, business, investing, writing, and artistic skills coupled with a lot of listening has led me to my consulting business. Who knows where it will flow next?

My bio – the long version:

I have many ways to introduce myself. Each is true and each has its own history. I am more than these bits, so if you want to hear more, send me a note.

I fell into writing by trying to lose weight. That’s not an obvious career path. I decided to lose weight by bicycling, and figured it would take so much bicycling that I’d be able to cross the continent. So I did. By the time I was done, I’d sent out 15,000 words of emails, which a friend pointed out was more notes than most writers have when they start a book. So I wrote Just Keep Pedaling. The emails tell one story. The rest of the book gets into what really happened each day.

After the first book I realized that I could do a better job and decided to chronicle the life of the natural world in Washington’s Cascade mountains. I’d hiked there for a couple of decades and was surprised to find that, despite the excellent writer and adventurers in the area, no one had taken on the simple task of describing a year’s worth of visits to the mountains. And so the Twelve Month series swept into my life.

But people asked where I found the time to delve into these adventures. When they find out that I retired at 38 they want to know about how I did that. So I wrote one book on personal finance (Dream. Invest. Live.) and helped on another (Your Money or Your Life – revised and updated edition).

After that much work I needed a break, so I took a vacation and commemorated the ten year anniversary of my writing career by walking across Scotland. A vacation turned into a life-changing event which was a reason to turn the entire experience into a book. Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland is the result.

That’s what happens when I relax and follow the path the universe lays out for me.

Like I say over on the speaking page, “One of the greatest fears in life is public speaking, but not for me. I get butterflies, but after teaching kids class in karate, no audience is intimidating.”

Book readings reinforced the joy that I get from connecting with a group of people. My talks are casual and entertaining enough that I’m usually asked to come back.

How did this happen? I don’t know, but it is a part of me. I am willing to do a talk at a moment’s notice. I’ve had to give a 45 minute presentation on five minutes warning. After that, anything is possible.

There’s a lot to pick from. I am asked to teach because of my style as much as because of my expertise. My style is casual and focused on what people want to learn, instead of some teachers who focus more on what they want to teach. The students’ needs come first.

Social Media is a frequent topic because many people are simultaneously intimidated and compelled to use it. I attempt to demystify it by emphasizing the social aspects. Humans are social, so that’s a more common set of skills to build upon. From my consulting, writing, and art endeavors, I’ve found myself utilizing social media to spread various messages, grow a variety of networks, and continually adapt as the technology changes.

Self-Publishing has radically transformed, first with print-on-demand books, and now with e-books. I’ve self-published eleven titles since 2002, and have watched the technology and industry progress. Writers can be much more empowered now, but benefit from understanding the basics of the changes. Digital technologies changed the movie and music industries. Now the publishing industry is undergoing a revolution.

My photos have been well received; consequently, I have been asked to teach several classes on photography, particularly nature photography. My approach is minimalist and emphasizes the photographer more than the camera, which means it is applicable to a wider audience and provides an approach frequently overlooked.

I’ve also taught karate, which has definitely influenced my comfort in front of people. I don’t have a storefront because I’m happier teaching people one-on-one as a personal trainer. I thank my sensei, Jerry Gould (Shobayashi Shorinryu Karatedo), for teaching me since 1984.

I enjoy watching information sink in. It is a wonderful sight.

I’ve been taking photos since the mid-seventies when I was mimicking my older brother. For a while I took photos for the school newspaper and for the prom, but for the most part I’ve taken photos for myself. I’ve always been encouraged to sell them, but I took the compliments for politeness rather than a critique. The response to the photos in the Twelve Month series of books finally convinced me to make the photos public and available for sale. In 2007/2008 I branched out and took photos in a more conscious way by chronicling the local bay where I live: Cultus Bay on the southern tip of Whidbey Island. In 2008/2009 I extended the series to the northern end of the island: Deception Pass. In 2009/2010 I finished Admiralty Head. In 2010/2011 I completed Twelve Months at Penn Cove. The finale of the five year project was the 2011/2012 production of Twelve Months at Double Bluff.

I started out with a normal career as an engineer at Boeing for 18 years. I’ll call myself a rocket scientist, or an aerodynamicist, but I was a generalist working in those disciplines for years, not the decades like those who’ve devoted their lives to those pursuits. Much of my time was spent working on problems that were new or unique. For those outside that world, I helped make sure airplanes, rockets and satellites could fly safely and well even when things broke. For those inside that world, I spanned the range from research through development and all the way to product support and accident investigation within the discipline of Stability & Control. You can probably tell that I was almost always moving. For the real story, see my resumes (skills resume & chronological resume ).

The work was fun and I miss it, but I was glad that I was able to retire at 38, though willing to join up again for the right job.

I am an investor and a champion of entrepreneurs, so I am inspired to come up with my own ideas and enjoy encouraging and helping others. Sometimes I do that by consulting.

While an engineer I developed a number of “invention disclosures”, which are really unfiled patents. One made it through though. If there isn’t a link for it here, do a search on the US Patent Office’s web site (patent 5564652 Body spoiler for yaw control of a supersonic airplane).

During a visit to Hollyhock, up on Cortes Island in Canada, I came up with an idea for a new type of social entrepreneurial business development venture. I’ve got to find a shorter name for it. In the meantime, I continue to work on it. The best place to describe it is over on its own web site. It is a fine example of how I like to express two of my main passions: people and ideas. A couple years later at Hollyhock I also sketched a ship that might help clean the plastics from the ocean gyres. (Sea Stack Plastic Harvestor)

In the meantime, I am inventing (but not patenting until I need to), investing in small companies (all public), and kicking around ideas with friends. Dreaming is a joy.

My experiences as “all of the above” have woven into broad support for people entering any of those fields, and especially for people crossing from one field into another. I’ve passed from engineer to investor to teacher to writer to speaker to photographer to , well, consultant and who knows what’s next? My consultation career has focused on the individual, the creative, the non-traditional, and the entrepreneurial because my passion is for people and ideas. I’ve used words and photos to connect people with new perspectives, and that has led to people wanting to sit down with me and have me help them find solutions from their perspectives. I’ve always been honored by the opportunity, and then I became aware that I should respect the value of what I provide by charging for it too. Interestingly, my clients agree and frequently tell me I should charge more. Hmm, maybe I should listen to their advice.

Now ex-Real Estate Broker

Instead of thinking about buying and selling I realized I could look at a broker’s job as helping. As I learned as a consultant, one of my life joys is helping people pursue their projects, helping them get things done. For me, buying or selling houses wasn’t about investing, it was about moving from one phase of life to another. Life changes, goals change, and a house that made sense ten years ago may not make as much sense after those changes. Jobs change. Families grow and shrink. Hobbies can shift from a basement workbench to the acreage required to hold a horse or three. Someone needs to find a quiet place to retire, recover, or play? Sure, I’m happy to help them meet that goal. Thinking about real estate that way is actually inspiring.

I am a dancer, a bit over six foot tall, a bit heavier than I want but know that it is an issue of vanity not health, have a beard, wear shorts as much as possible, love to cook, sit on the porch, and talk with my friends.

I am from Pittsburgh, over by Kennywood Park and worked in a steel mill to get through college. I went to Virginia Tech twice: once to get my bachelors in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, and again to get my Masters after I’d worked at Boeing for three years. Since 1980 I’ve lived in various places around Puget Sound and find it entertaining how they are similar yet how each thinks it is best. Go figure. It is all good. Of course, where I am now is the best, but hey that is island life for you.

My business :

Me: Tom Trimbath ( (aka @tetrimbath)

Tom Trimbath

6 Responses to Bio

  1. dvdw says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for this link that got me here from SI…your perspective is interesting, your style eclectic. lots of quantum potential in your thinking…your welcome to participate on my new SI thread about Quantum economics 2012 and beyond..the story you’ve depicted about MVIS is a good one, i have multiple versions of it in play at all times…

    good luck…

  2. Jerry Baillie says:

    Howdy Tom

    Long time! Good to see you’ve doing good.
    Greg Wyatt and I are the working in the same group in Everett (BCA product support aero). And Chet Nelson and Eric Adamson are STILL working on supersonic transports!
    Notmuch has changed. John Paulson’s son Eric also works in the building.

  3. John P. says:

    Thanks for helping out with or camera club project. Hoping to see you Tuesdays at 6:30, RM 306.

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