Clay Auch, CCIE #24268
In a nutshell, I am an artist. I took a job with a design firm out of college working on illustration, page layout design, and logo design. I loved it. Back in 1992, the best Mac you could get was a Mac II FX. This is back when the Motorola chip was still running the show for the Apple boxes. Long story short, time went on and I found myself troubleshooting the computers for people around me more than doing actual art-related work ... so, I decided to begin understanding the details related to PCs and overall networking. Once I got my hands on a Cisco switch in 1993, it was all over. I began by looking into the CCNA. I studied hard and was given an opportunity to work at UUNET back in 1999. This is where my knowledge began to take off. First, I got the CCNP out of the way and by this time, my wife and I already had one child (in 2000). Then 911 happened and I was laid off from a contract with Qwest, after which I was able to get a clearance and begin working on government contracts. I gained a lot of experience working on various government backbone type networks and eventually decided to pursue the CCIE. The problem at this point was it was 2006 and we had four out of our five children and study time was hard to come by. My wife, being the trooper she is, told me to power forward and she would hold the fort down until I was able to finish. So, each night after the kids went to bed, I would stay up until 2 or 3am trying to knock this thing out. I got knocked down a couple of time, but turned the other cheek and went back to RTP for another go at it. As if my lack of sleep was not bad enough, my father had been fighting cancer for roughly 6 months and was at Mary Washington Hospital in Virginia. On my way down to take the lab for the last time, I was able to visit with him. He told me that he would probably not be alive when I would be driving back from RTP and said his goodbye. I had a hard time concentrating, but pulled through and passed as he passed.