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Hernando neighbors | Michael Sexton, 61

Technology is Michael Sexton's passion, and he shares it

Michael Sexton, formerly of Massapequa Park, N.Y., is an instructor and vice president of the Hernando Computer Club.

RON THOMPSON | Times

Michael Sexton, formerly of Massapequa Park, N.Y., is an instructor and vice president of the Hernando Computer Club.

How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?

My wife, Nancy, and I moved to the Regency Oaks subdivision six years ago from Massapequa Park, N.Y., where I grew up.

Who are the members of your family?

Besides my lovely wife, I have three sons — Tim, Bill and Brendan, all living in New York — from a previous marriage. Their ages range from 29 to 34.

Tell us about your career.

After high school graduation, I enlisted in the Air Force and spent four years in service between Vietnam and other U.S. assignments, leaving at the rank of sergeant. After the Air Force, I worked for the New York Telephone Co. and became an installer/repair technician before advancing to field foreman. While working full time, I earned a bachelor's degree and later a master's degree.

After 11 years as a technician, I was promoted into management and then moved into the training organization, where I was a technical course developer and technical instructor. In 1984, the Bell System went through divestiture and I was assigned to AT&T. In 1998, I took an early retirement incentive package and immediately started working for integrator companies that represented AT&T in data sales. In 2000, AT&T formed a partnership with British Telecommunications, and I was hired as a team leader in data networking design based in New York. It lasted only two years before the partnership broke up.

I went back to AT&T as a data networking consultant and network designer. The new virtual workforce allowed me to work from any location, so I took the opportunity to relocate to Florida. I retired in 2007 for the second time.

What kinds of activities are you involved in now?

I'm involved with community activities such as the Community Emergency Response Team, Crime Watch and the Hernando Computer Club.

Tell me more about your work with the computer club.

The Hernando Computer Club is a nonprofit organization that provides hands-on and lecture classes to a membership of more than 400.

The club is active in the community, offering help to organizations like the Arc Nature Coast, the Boys and Girls Club, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hernando County. We offer free information on safety or security issues, such as putting your personal emergency information on a flash drive. Currently, I am the vice president of the club, as well as an instructor.

I use my background in programming and database management to track and manage membership information, build custom reports and train volunteers on the programs used to add and renew members.

As an instructor, my wife and I do a lot of teaching as a team. I also do presentations to the members on topics relative to data networking, Internet and computer security. My wife and I were presenters at this year's Florida Association of Computer Users Group conference in Zephyrhills.

Do you have any special hobbies?

As you might imagine, my hobby is playing with computers.

What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?

Besides taking drives and exploring the diversity of our county, I enjoy being of some service to our neighbors and friends with our activities in the computer club and CERT.

I also enjoy taking a canoe down the Weeki Wachee River, watching sunsets at Pine Island and Bayport Park and taking walks in the Weekiwachee Preserve area. There are many places to bike ride, too. I must say that we have discovered some great places to dine, and some seem to be the best-kept secrets in the county.

What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?

Hernando County is part of the Nature Coast and a great place to live. I believe we have to work hard to keep the word "nature" in all our planning so we don't overbuild and take away the very things that make Hernando County special.

We should leave the pastoral lands open and undeveloped, and the forests pristine so our children and their children can appreciate their beauty. Let's recycle, including glass, and live "green" so the air we breathe and the wonderful springs that provide precious water don't get contaminated.

The use of treated wastewater for irrigation would be a great step forward. The railroad is under-utilized in today's world and could be used for long haul of product instead of the diesel-eating trucks.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.

Really nothing. I try to live my life so that something good is left behind.

Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at jhayes@sptimes.com or 848-1438.

Technology is Michael Sexton's passion, and he shares it 06/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, June 15, 2008 7:31pm]
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