About Kristen McKissick
I am a business owner, designer, programmer & marketing director.
youth Though I am born near Philadelphia, my earliest memories are of Albany, GA. When my parents are unaware, I play in the nearby swamp with neighborhood friends. I learn to speak with a southern accent which is removed by my northern educators when my parents relocate back to their home state of Pennsylvania 10 years later. My stubbornness, accident prone nature and peculiar sense of style baffles my family, but they encourage me nonetheless. Perhaps not by coincidence, I remain an only child.
adolescence Growing up in the 70s and 80s and faced with the question of "what to do when I grow up", I'm inspired by career role models among the toys, movies and media personalities of the era: Wolfman Jack, "G.I. Joe", "S.W.A.T.", "The Sting", James Bond, "The A-Team" and "The Pink Panther".
1985 My parents are relieved when I reject all previous career considerations in favor of architecture. They are also excited to revisit their own alma mater, Penn State when I leave for college. I take up opera singing.
college I major in architecture and discover that it is not at all what I thought it would be. During a one-year hiatus from the program, I study industrial design, computer programming, technical writing and business law. I eventually intern with an architectural firm and am greatly relieved to discover that the practice of architecture is completely unrelated to the study of architecture. I marry an architect.
early 90s My natural affinity and talent for computers lands me my first job with a large architectural firm as IT director. Basic networking capabilities of the time period require knowledge of DEC mainframes, Unix administration and obscure communications protocols. These skills allow me to qualify for an intensive computer animation program with the Vancouver Film School.
1993 My experience in computer animation leads to a job in a television studio producing graphics for in-house satellite broadcasts for a large corporation - a field of which I was previously completely unaware. I take up polo.
1995 As a graphic designer with unix system administrator & software development experience, I have the fortunate opportunity to be part of the development team as lead web interface designer for a cartographic company in central PA. I am offered stock options which at the time, seems ridiculously optimistic given that NetScape version 1.0 has only just been released. MapQuest.com later goes public and we are all amazed.
1999 The success of the dot com boom allows my husband and I to begin our own architecture firm in Harrisburg, PA with my husband as primary owner and architect. In addition to marketing for the firm, I complete a number of small web development and traditional publishing projects.
2002 I begin doing interior design for the firm which focuses on educational projects. I also continue to provide our company's IT planning & support as well as oversee direction of our marketing efforts. I take up spanish flamenco dancing.
2006 I direct the firm's expansion into Winston-Salem, NC to pursue work in this area with growing needs for educational design services. I lease office space, coordinate the move and set up the office.
may 2007 I turn 40 and briefly reconsider the earlier career interests of childhood. I also research new career alternatives including yak herding and ostrich farming. To everyone's relief, the urge passes. I begin a blog of creative writing and photography under the pseudonym of Anastasia Page.
2009 I continue to provide numerous services for the architecture firm from our branch office in North Carolina. The firm grows to a staff of more than 20 people. I begin to study chess.
december 2010 "McKissick Associates InSights" is launched as a woman-owned firm in North Carolina to do interior design, educational studies & project public relations. I continue to do roughly the same job I have done for years, although I no longer have time for vacations and I now pay an additional corporate tax.