Peter Tedder ’85

Peter Tedder

When picking up a carton of orange juice, people typically think of leafy citrus trees and sunshine—not computer programming. But for the last 30 years, Peter Tedder (’85) has been a key player in improving efficiency at PepsiCo’s Tropicana.

While progressing from an IT analyst to an IT operations senior analyst, Peter has used his time to provide necessary support, useful programs, and analytical skills. “I like helping users to resolve their issues and to come up with solutions for their request, which helps them do their job better and faster,” he said.

Peter first learned about PCC after seeing a catalog while at a friend’s house. He liked how the catalog presented the College, and, in 1981, he and his twin brother began their attendance. “For my first semester at PCC, I put down the classes I wanted to take,” he said. “My advisor looked over the classes that I selected and said that it looked like the computer science program. With his advice, I changed my major to computer science, for which I am greatly grateful.”

PeterTedder

In 1995, Peter began as an IT analyst at Tropicana in Bradenton, Florida, the company’s most productive orange juice plant in the U.S. Over his time there, he provided baseline support and development for several applications used for account purchasing and reports, electronic data purchasing and customer service applications, and broker applications. One of his programs supported an application that automated creating new barcodes for new parts—a process that was regularly lost between new users.

Peter’s program creates two files and transfers them to a file transfer protocol (FTP) server. Overnight, another one of his programs—a batch program—downloads these two files to a computer for use. “The user would run a MS Access program that would link to these two files on this PC, which would allow the user to print barcode labels for new parts that were created the day before,” Peter said.

Another program automated client ticket verification that eliminated the need to hire seasonal work to sort through several hundred tickets one-at-a-time. “I created a Java program that recorded each step (keystrokes) the user had to go through for each ticket, which may be ten screens,” he explained. “The user would click on the program to run from their PC, which would go through each outstanding ticket and verify that ticket. This process would only take a few seconds to minutes. After the user runs this program, there would only be a few tickets left with issues that the users would have to manually verify, which may be 0 to 10 tickets a day, instead of 200 to 500 tickets a day.”

PeterTedder

As a senior IT specialist with the company since 2002, Peter has done far more at Tropicana. Peter continued to provide baseline support for SAP plant maintenance, while also managing materials and IBM mainframe applications and overseeing a support team of employees and consultants. For the support team, he develops project plans and provides weekly status and metric updates to senior leadership. “God helped me to not give up and to find solutions for when I was faced with difficult challenges,” he said, citing Philippians 4:13 and 19.

Peter has been grateful for the skills he gained and the always-improving mindset he has retained since his time at PCC. “I took COBOL programming at PCC, which I use for one of the applications that I support at work,” he said. “PCC helped me get my foot in the door at Tropicana by taking a computer operations class working on the Burroughs system, which Tropicana was using also, even though I was hired in the computer operations and data center to support the IBM Mainframe. Tropicana had two operating systems which were Burroughs system and IBM Mainframe.”

Since first joining, Peter has been able to use his skills to better work and customer experiences at Tropicana. “There were many appreciation or ‘great job’ awards from the user group for reports, programs, and solutions that I came up with to help make their work life easier,” he said. “PCC helped me to get into the computer programming group from the operations group by having a B.S. degree in Computer Science.”

Scott Brady ’16

Scott Brady

Clicking away on his keyboard during his final year of high school, self-taught programmer Scott Brady (’16) wasn’t thinking about his senior class trip or what his major in college would be. He was focused on saving money—a lot of money—for craft superstore Jo-Ann Fabrics.

“When I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to do programming for a living when I made the program for the headquarters of Jo-Ann Fabrics that saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” said Scott.

Scott’s interest had been piqued a few years earlier when he picked up a book about making computer games. Over the course of the summer, he taught himself how to program. As a freelance programmer, he had many opportunities to hone his skills.

But he knew college would give him the background he would need to start his own business. As a Christian, Scott wanted to attend a solid Christian college that would help him further his software engineering knowledge. “PCC gave me a good foundation in programming, but more importantly, it taught me to learn on my own,” he said. “The assignments that were given at PCC required me to learn outside of the classroom. That is an incredibly important skill in this field. Programming changes daily, so I get to teach myself new things all the time.”

Being able to adapt to an ever-changing environment was not the only skill he learned at PCC. “The education I received at PCC was very well rounded,” said Scott. “It helped me with things I wouldn’t have anticipated. My speech and business classes have helped me when talking to potential customers or investors, and my Bible classes gave me a biblical grounding for my businesses.”

While still a junior in college, Scott created an app to speed read e-books and articles on smart phones and wearable devices. His app was featured on Huffington Post and was in the top 25 paid apps in the Android App Store.

After graduating from PCC, Scott and fellow computer science and software engineering grad Brandon Carroll (’15) founded their own startup, creating two impressive programs.

The first app is a platform that allows teachers to set and track goals for their students. As the students meet the goals, they earn rewards in the app. Before Scott and Brandon created the app, Brandon was working with charter schools and saw the need for students to invest in their own learning experience. “We created the app in order to help students get excited about learning again and to assist teachers in challenging their students to do their best,” said Scott.

The second app was created after Scott’s church asked him if there was a program that allowed people to give to their church online. He began to research what was already available and was quite surprised at what he found. “As I looked through the options available to churches for online giving, I saw a problem,” he said. “Whenever a card is charged, there is a processing fee that is added to the total. All of the other giving platforms deduct that processing fee from what the church receives. So whenever a person gives something like a tithe, not all of their money actually reaches the church.” Scott realized this problem could easily be resolved if an app were available that would let the giver pay the processing fee so that the church would receive all of the money.

“God has given me a desire to help kids and to help churches,” said Scott. “I believe that is why God led me to help create these apps.” Through these programs, Scott actively changes how people interact, influencing lives one app at a time.

John Lepone ’95

John Lepone

Before working with Verizon for 15 years, John Lepone ('95) took a significant step in the world of web programming. “In the late ’90s I created the world’s first business credit card application website for Advanta Business Cards, a division of Advanta National Bank,” said Lepone. “This is not a big deal today, but back then it was HUGE.”

After programming business websites for 8 years, Lepone began working for Verizon in 2003, a position that would last 15 years and lead to him becoming a senior member of technical staff. While there, he was involved with both business and programming sides of the company, managing projects, software development, and technical guidelines, as well as programming software for automated data entry and processing systems within the company to further company efficiency.

In 2013, Lepone assisted his wife Kimberly (’94) in starting Reflections Dramatic Productions, LLC. Each year, Kimberly directs Christian homeschool students for two separate plays that show either clear application of biblical principles or give a direct presentation of the gospel. After seeing her need on the technical side of the plays, Lepone stepped in to help. Lepone developed and programmed custom theater lights and sound production applications, and designed scene lighting to provide live lighting changes and sound cues for each of the performances. “With each performance, I get to work with my wife, my children, and other Christians to help further the gospel,” he said.

In 2018, Lepone launched LEP1 Customs, LLC, a small CNC design and production company that builds arcade video game cabinets and custom cabinet skins. The idea to start the business began in 2012 with his successful hobby of building and selling the cabinets from his garage after building a CNC machine, an automated machine that cuts material to match a preprogrammed blueprint. Soon after starting the company, it seemed to be in the Lord’s timing.

Although John thrived at Verizon, an organizational shift brought layoffs to the company but gave him an offer to transfer to an India-based consulting firm. “Not having peace with this situation, and praying over it with my wife Kim, I declined the offer, and made plans to operate LEP1 Customs full time.”

Since then, Lepone has partnered with Pete Wagg (’94), a graphic designer that he’s known since his time at PCC, to provide the artwork for the arcade cabinets. Before working on LEP1 Customs, Pete and his wife Cindy (’94) had been prayer warriors for the family due to health needs as well as good friends over the years. It only seemed natural for him to turn to Pete as a mutually beneficial business partner.

Much of the work John does for LEP1 Customs covers more than just programming skills. He’s done everything from creating the g-code blueprint of the cabinets to programming, editing, and running the company website.

“Having faculty members like Dr. Cummings [who has since retired] and Dr. Howell, who were previously in the corporate world before coming to PCC to pass their hard-earned knowledge to students, was invaluable,” he said. “Many people graduate from college with an extreme focus in an area and cannot operate outside of that narrow band. The education I received at PCC allowed me to grow into a well-rounded person that can succeed in areas where others without the broad technological understanding would fail. Let’s face it, no matter how good a school is, the technology changes so fast that what you learned a year ago is behind the times. What doesn’t change is theory, design principles, and such,” which he got plenty of, he said.

Over the years, John has seen his daughters attend and graduate from PCC and find comfort in their calling to study there just as he had. “After coming down for College Days, meeting with the computer science faculty, and seeing the campus with my own eyes, I was sure that PCC was the college for me,” Lepone said. “What greater joy can we realize in our children that after salvation they seek to do the Lord’s will in whatever God has for them to do? The fact that they believed that studying at PCC was part of God’s will is just icing on the cake.”

Lepone finds comfort in how his life has progressed, following the Lord wherever He seems to nudge him to next. “It seems His preferred way to teach me is to bring me to the brink of an impossible situation, let me see how hopelessly inadequate I am to resolve it, only to work out everything in a way that I could never imagine,” he said. “God has shown that He knows what we need and will never fail us.”

James Miyashita ’15

JamesMiyashita

As a new student in college, James Miyashita (’15) chose to study computer science in hopes of creating video games one day. Since January 2019, however, he has served as a missionary in Niigata, Japan, a coastal town on the north side of the island nation with a population of over 800,000 people. “I wanted to have a job in the U.S. and potentially be able to help out with youth at a church,” he said, describing his goals as a freshman. “[Honestly,] I wanted to make video games and was making excuses not to serve God.”

Over his time at PCC, James saw God continually change his course toward missions. During his freshman year, a chapel message from John Allen, a missionary to Papua New Guinea, particularly touched him. “What got to me was a phrase he quoted from a [village] that didn’t have any missionaries to preach the gospel. This man would come to get medical supplies, and each time before he would leave, he would say to John, ‘Remember my people.’ Those words broke me,” James said. “In Japan, we had just experienced a tremendous earthquake the spring before I came to PCC; over 15,000 people lost their lives in one day. When John Allen said the words, ‘Remember my people,’ I remembered my own people. After that chapel message, I realized that I needed to return to Japan.”

As his priorities began to change, James got involved where he could, from joining student-led Christian Service outreach to assisting in Mission Prayer Band, where he met Jeff Bush, director of Vision Baptist Missions (VBM). “I took a mission trip through VBM to North Africa after meeting their group,” James recalled. “The trip allowed me to get exposed to the work going on overseas and allowed me to see God provide. It also made me sincerely think about whether I was completely okay with letting God do whatever He wanted with my life.”

By the time James was most of the way through his college career, his plan to complete a double major and minor had shifted to wanting to finish college by his fourth year and get on the mission field. Initially, he accepted that this would mean leaving college without finishing a degree, despite the years of work he had put in. But a faculty member who learned of his situation looked over his records for a solution that would earn him a degree, knowing that having one could help him get on the field. “Mrs. Thompson helped me switch to an interdisciplinary studies degree. Because she helped me switch, I was able to [graduate]. This all went through two weeks before graduation,” he explained. “It was a huge answer to prayer.”

JamesMiyashita

After graduating in 2015, James attended Our Generation Training Center (OGTC) at Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, participating in a one-year program offered to those who had graduated from a Christian college. While there, he spent time with active and veteran missionaries, learning how to adapt to a culture, organize a church, and share simple Bible truths. “Going to college was a big (and needed) transition for me,” James said. “The lessons you learn and the people you get to meet are life-altering. It was through those connections that I’m now on the mission field. I wish I had proactively worked to ask questions of people already in ministry when I was a student. Back then, I tried to feel out what I was supposed to do by coming up with a plan, telling people about it, and seeing what kind of response I would get. I definitely don’t recommend that method now. People need mentors to guide them, and you get guidance by asking questions instead of announcing plans.”

In Niigata, James and his wife Rosie serve under Will and Rebelle Hill, church-planting missionaries who started Hope Baptist Church in 2018. “The church we are working under in Japan right now is still in its infancy. It would make the sophomore Sunday school class look like a megachurch. We’ve tried several different new things, but they haven’t taken off. That’s part of learning and ministry, too, though. Not everything works, but you have to keep learning and keep trying,” James explained. “While talking with someone, it’s thrilling to know that this is their first time to hear that Jesus died for their sins and rose again three days later. We’re talking 99 percent of people have no idea. It’s a lot to think about, but also exciting to be a part of.”

When sharing the gospel in Japan, James has had to learn how to clearly define Who God is, what it means to have sinned, and how the Son of God provided a means for salvation from sin. “When sharing the gospel, we cannot start with ‘God loves you.’ We have to start with ‘This is Who God is,’” he said. “When we say ‘God,’ people hear something totally different. In fact, the idea of an all-powerful being is practically non-existent in Japan. [To them,] there are many gods (river, mountain, community, traffic safety, etc.), so you can’t just say the word ‘God’ and expect everyone to know what you are talking about.”

Since changing his course to God’s direction, James has savored sharing Christ with those in Japan, and he hopes to see others join him in the ministry. “You don’t have to be a church-planting missionary to be right with God, but there is nothing in the Bible that says you shouldn’t consider being involved in missions. But for people to have a chance to get saved, they have to hear the gospel,” he explained. “Instead of saying, ‘I want this and maybe God can use it,’ we must think, ‘God wants this, so I will do this.’ Even if pursuing a non-ministry degree, I think it is not only right but also biblical to first ask what God wants.”

Thomas Behman ’09

Thomas Behman

When Thomas Behman (’09) was looking at college degrees, the world of technology was on the edge of change. With smart phones on the rise, along with the growing number of devices connecting to the Internet, it wasn’t difficult to see a future career in computer science, an area that had already piqued his interest. “I recognized that the computer science/software engineering skill set would provide many career path options in the years to come. I was interested in the way that software was changing,” he said. “PCC’s program gave me a solid foundation in computer science. The program trained me to apply critical thinking in every IT discipline that I encounter.”

Thomas currently works as an IT infrastructure architect at Consumers Energy, a public utility in Michigan. He designs and implements server and storage infrastructure to support business-critical applications, delivers enterprise infrastructure that drives business value and reduces operational costs, and collaborates with IT vendors to explore new innovative solutions to solve business problems. “Currently, I’m working on a project to transform our backup and disaster recovery strategy to a next generation hybrid cloud solution,” he said. “Our goal is to enable our 6.7 million gas and electric customers to have access to the services they need during storm and power outages. Our healthcare customers depend on our services for health and life safety.”

As technology continues to change, Thomas recognizes the importance of staying ahead of the curve. He has worked hard to keep Consumers Energy at a sustainable level of resilience, retaining a reliable production environment. “Having a productive IT career is like riding a tidal wave,” he said. “I have to ride the wave of change by staying abreast of the latest technology, or I’m going to get left behind. Know what skills you don’t possess and have a plan to bridge that gap. Learn the technologies that could transform your industry so that you can stay relevant. Keep an open mind about changes coming in technology and don’t be resistant to it. Stay well-read and informed on what is on the technology horizon. Don’t let your career go to ‘the cloud.’”

Thomas’s experiences with computer science as a student have proven significant in his current career. “PCC’s software engineering project with Dr. Geary was a valuable part of my education at PCC,” he said. “As the project manager, I had the opportunity to develop my soft skills by working among the three software engineering teams. An effective leader will nurture the strengths of his team members to bring out the best in them. I wanted to encourage our teams to be committed to a common goal.”

While he was interested in studying in computer science, Thomas took note of PCC’s encouraging Christian environment. “I didn’t want to be influenced by the worldly philosophies that are so prevalent in secular universities,” he said. “The spiritual lessons I learned at PCC have had a lasting impact on me. By leaving my home for the first time, I had to decide that God was going to be my God.”

“Mr. Stemen showed me that I can be a full-time Christian in my IT career,” Thomas said. “He was excellent at giving deep technical explanations of the x86 CPU instruction set, but he also taught that we should demonstrate Christian ethics in the workplace. His love for Jesus was clearly seen in his teaching.”

Thomas learned quickly to keep open communication with his colleagues and an open mind to God’s direction in his life. “An important aspect of an IT career is to network with people. We often say that it’s a small world in IT. I have to be diligent about keeping a good testimony at work. You never know who may become your boss one day,” he said. “Ultimately, it was God that opened the door for me to work at Consumers Energy. My manager at Dell EMC moved on to a job at Consumers Energy and gave a recommendation that I would be a good fit for the company.”

On the path forward, Thomas and his wife, Jensine (Nursing ’09), are working toward sharing the gospel in the Philippines, where they’ve traveled on missions trips over the past ten years. “We are fully persuaded that whatever God has for us is better than what we could do for ourselves,” Thomas said. “We are thankful for the careers that God gave us, but now we are answering the call to go serve the Lord full-time. We’ll be working to plant churches in the 21,000 unreached villages of the Philippines.”

Looking over his time since college, Thomas is comforted by the opportunities God has given him to serve and support ministries, regardless of his vocation. “We must remember that whatever occupation God calls us to, we need to be full-time Christians. God gives us our careers so that we can give and minister through our local church. Our end goal should be the same whether we are IT professionals or missionaries on a foreign field,” he said. “You will never regret a life lived for Jesus Christ. I think that missionary C.T. Studd said it well—‘Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.’”

Troy Arwine ’97

Brad Cansler

  • Security Consultant, Microsoft Consulting for IT Operations

Computer science grad Troy Arwine (’97) works as a security consultant in Microsoft Consulting for IT Operations.  There he secures the computers and information systems for some of the largest companies and agencies in the world against cyber threats and malicious users.

“My training at PCC paved the way for a world of opportunities over the last fifteen years for a technology career in government, education, and Fortune 500 companies,” Troy said.  “Before coming to Microsoft, I worked in many positions where the Lord prepared me for my current role.  I worked as a programmer for Abeka Book, then as a systems engineer for Dollar General Corporation in Tennessee.  I worked as the enterprise division manager for Metro Nashville Government until 2005 when I joined Microsoft.

“The instructors at PCC were crucial in helping me develop the skills I needed to be successful in a career in programming, systems engineering, IT management, support, and consulting.  It was not just their technical expertise and gifted teaching abilities, but by putting God first and foremost in every aspect of their teaching, they inspired a like passion in me for putting Christ first in my career.  The diversity of programming languages accompanied by the balanced background in network, operating systems, and computer mathematics helped me understand how to adapt to the rapidly changing cyber security world.”

With multiple security certifications, Troy regularly speaks at IT security conferences around the U.S. and serves in the FBI InfraGard.  In 2010 he earned a master’s degree in information assurance from the University of Dallas.

“Microsoft values integrity, honesty, and willingness to take on big challenges and see them through,” Troy said.  “These are values I developed first at PCC in the computer science program.”

View more information about Computer Science at PCC.

Leah Jennings ’15

Leah Jennings

  • Intern at the Department of Homeland Security, Corry Station in Pensacola

A senior double major in computer science and software engineering and computer information systems, Leah Jennings is proactive in her career as both a student and a professional. When her teachers mentioned a local internship opportunity with the Department of Homeland Security (located at Corry Station in Pensacola), Leah sent out her résumé and was accepted within a couple of weeks.

“Cyber security is one of the fields that I am interested in, so I was very intrigued by this internship,” said Leah, who, from the start, knew this experience would not only guide her career path, but also challenge her development in her field.

“The internship program with DHS at Corry Station has three different areas for the interns to rotate through, versus the traditional focus in one area or department,” Leah explained. “This gave me such a wide exposure to the various departments, teams, and work that each accomplishes.”

In her internship rotations, Leah researched and implemented new Linux software with the Linux system administration, served with the Security Operations Center (SOC) team, and worked alongside a senior developer, aiding in the overall mission of defending the federal network.

Though the internship began as a summer opportunity, DHS invited her to stay through the school year and work part-time. Now Leah wakes before most of her fellow college students to get to her early morning shift at Corry Station, in addition to working different afternoon hours.

“A challenging position and career is important to me,” she acknowledged. “Ultimately I hope to positively impact those I work with and those I serve. The world today needs more Christian leaders, and I hope to answer that call and be an example for others to follow.”

Leah attributes her current success to her education at PCC. “I’ve been challenged by my computer science teachers to never stop learning. Seeing their passion for computer science and their care for each of their students constantly makes me strive to do better than I did the day before.”

When asked if she has any advice for her peers, Leah answered resoundingly, “If you are in a major that typically offers internships, find them! You won’t realize until you’ve finished an internship how invaluable it is to your career.”

View more information about Computer Science and Information Technology at PCC.

Learn More

Check out PCC’s engineering department for majors in computer science and information technology.

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