|Born in the Catskill region of New York, Thomas MacEntee currently lives in Chicago after spending close to 20 years in California. He attended The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. |
After graduation and while working for the USDA, Thomas was asked to learn all about a new-fangled machine called the IBM Personal Computer and then train others in his department. Thus began a fascination with technology and its adaptation within the legal services, family history and genealogy fields. Thomas has often described himself as "The Accidental Trainer."
Thomas has worked in the Information Technology field for many large global law firms, often called "BigLaw," including Skadden, Latham & Watkins, and most recently Heller Ehrman for the past 25 years. You name it Thomas has done it: document production, secretary (litigation), manager, trainer, and applications analyst. He has developed in-house applications, created end-user documentation, designed training programs, and analyzed/recommended application purchases as well as upgrades.
All these years of technology experience have not dulled Thomas' senses nor discouraged him from finding creative solutions to problems – it has just given him grayer hair and less of it. He continues to learn and adapt new technologies while the memories of white out, mag cards, 12" floppy disks, Lotus 123 and fax carbon rolls become distant and faded. Thomas does not hesitate to mention these memories when some young whippersnapper complains that some search or process took "too long." Thomas remembers the dark days before Al Gore invented "The Internets" and there was talk of gigabytes and servers and having to walk uphill five miles to work on cold winter days with a hot potato in his coat pocket.
BigLaw 2.0 - "Simpler technology, more virtualization, less real estate, happier workers = better law firms" A new startup which hopes to change the landscape of law firm technology over the next five years by increasing efficiencies through virtualization and leveraging emerging Web 2.0 technologies. Thomas' philosophy is that in order for large global law firms to survive, they will need to run "leaner and meaner" as well as "smarter." This means tapping into the same technologies used by start-up companies: virtualization, cloud computing, telecommuting, open source applications, Web 2.0 methodologies. With the technology available today, there is no reason why firms should have large expenses for real estate and overhead when they can reduce those expenses, more staff can work at home, partners can keep more of what they bill, and perhaps billing rates can be more competitive and attractive to new business.
Knowledge Management - Thomas is managing several projects that leverage the power of wikis, and specifically the Media-Wiki platform, as a means of managing a firm's knowledge. Utilizing the Wikipedia format familiar to most Internet users, he has managed to create tools allowing better means of search for and accessing this knowledge. These tools also take advantage of semantic annotation allowing better grouping of information and an easier collaborative environment.
Thomas 2.0 - The Blog - "A treasure trove of technical tips, tricks, tweaks and treats" When asked to answer basic computer and technology questions by family members, Facebook friends, genea-blogger colleagues and others, Thomas finds it easier to refer them to his new blog. Readers will find posts on new emerging technologies, freeware and open-source applications, and other tools that you can use to ramp up your desktop, your website or your work habits.
Destination: Austin Family – "A little blog about a big family" A blog containing posts about my Austin and MacEntee/McEntee ancestors. Readers will also find reviews of genealogy websites and applications, lots of "how to" information and updates on events and goings on in the genealogy world.
Unclaimed Persons - Through the Unclaimed Persons website and a popular Unclaimed Persons Facebook group, Thomas has been assisting coroners' offices in attempts to track down family for unclaimed bodies and crack cold cases. As a Case Admin, he coordinates cases and moderates activities of research volunteers. He also trains potential case administrators using web conferencing and presentation software.
Genea-Bloggers - Thomas created this Facebook group with over 200 members as a means of collaborating with other "genea-bloggers." Genea-bloggers are family historians and genealogists who not only document their own research triumphs and brick walls, but also offer advice, support and recommendations to a wide audience of readers. A sub-project of Genea-Bloggers includes the technical site Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers.
Lowville Long Ago - A wiki that uses semantic annotations to create a knowledge management tool Thomas is calling "genealogy resource management." Still in development, the application will allow researchers to quickly analyze data and connect the dots as to possible relationships between people, events and places. Genealogy resource management will be the next hot concept in genealogy.
You can reach Thomas at email@example.com.