Brian H. Gill
About Me

Before 2006

I have been writing, for pay or for fun, most of my life.

In 1986, I became the advertising copywriter for a small publishing company in Sauk Centre: Vocational Biographies. This company produced an exciting career information resource, used by schools and counselors in all fifty states, and beyond.

My job history gave me an eclectic skill set. By the time Vocational Biographies hired me, I'd been an English teacher; staff writer for an historical society; radio disk jockey; and office worker/customer service contact for a commercial refrigeration company on the West Coast.

Besides on-the-job experience, I had studied Computer Science for two years at what is now the University of Minnesota, Moorhead. I had also studied art and design, although less systematically.

The publishing company discovered that I could handle graphic design, and got along with computers. I started designing their advertising pieces, as well as writing copy.

Years passed. My skills with software and data analysis were needed to maintain and study the company's mailing lists, so I started doing that instead of creative work. (They're still using some of my order form designs, after seven years.) Through all of this, my wife's advice served me well: "keep learning!"

In 1997, I realized that there were very few websites which discussed small towns: at least, not favorably. Since I like living here in the center of Minnesota, I created a small website called I Love It Here!

The website grew. Now it is called Brendan's Island, with over fifty pages and four major sections.


Early in 2003, the Marketing Manager of Vocational Biographies discovered Brendan's Island. She was impressed, and wanted to know who had designed it. That's when I started developing Vocational Biographies' online presence. In June of 2003, the company's website was up and running. I'd also been talking with the Palmer House Hotel's manager. Their website launched in July, 2003.

Project Special Education, a sister company of Vocational Biographies, wanted a web presence. I designed and launched their website in February of 2004.

Goodbye Paychecks, Hello Retirement

Vocational Biographies/Project Special Education went out of business in 2006. The last I checked, the products were still available through an educational resources distributor.

I don't recommend trying to restart a career when you're near retirement age. I'm not sure what my status is now. Official records say I'm retired.

I won't argue the point, although my 'retirement' feels more like working as a full-time writer. Having myself as a boss is nice, except when I feel like asking for a raise. Or regular pay, for that matter.

And that's another topic.


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