The Characters

The mavericks and misfits who somehow get stuff done around here.

THE COYOTE

Fleetfooted. Lean. Beige. That's Paul Schneider. He built an IT career from scratch, using only his bare hands and a degree in English and Theater. In the nineties, he went to work for Cakewalk, thinking it was a bakery. Turned out to be a front for a music technology operation. He did it all—sales, product management, tech support, web design, killed a chicken or two (remember, he's a coyote). Got so hooked on the taste of web development he had to start his own company, Blue Sun Multimedia. Maybe you've heard of it? Didn't think so. Built it. Ran it into the ground. Started again.

This time he set up shop in an old brick building. Right on a river. Never could think of a name for the thing, but he knew what he wanted the business to do for clients. Which is, everything. Everything a nonprofit organization needs to operate, from contact management to email to event registration. He's been at it for over twenty years.

Of course, The Coyote can't sit still for long. On an extended Zoom call, he might have to switch off the video for a while and go practice the drums—which he plays like a feral animal that's had a lot of drum lessons. Cuz he's The Coyote. He's got one foot in the business world, one foot out in the wild somewhere, and two other feet that nobody talks about.

THE ROCKETMAN

That's what we call software developer Ben Abbett, because he runs like lightning—he was  on the  cross country team at Gordon College—and because he sometimes flies to work on a cool little jet pack. He's a fanatic about all things space, and has a degree in mathematics and computer science, which by our reckoning makes him a bona-fide rocket scientist.

The Rocketman runs up and down mountains barefoot, and builds Lego models of NASA spacecraft while waiting for the blisters to heal. He also directs Brick River's space program. "Job one is to send a lucky Brick River client on a suborbital flight, accompanied by suave English actor Sir Patrick Stewart." Way to go, Rocketman!

THE PAPER SHREDDER

Steve Brunton has never met a paper document he couldn't digitize. Before joining Brick River as a web developer in 2007, he set up digital workflows at Boston Children's Hospital, Inacom, and Disney, where he singlehandedly eliminated some 12 percent of the world's paper. You've never seen Mickey Mouse or Snow White drop a pay stub on the ground, right? That would be why.

A man of contradictions, The Paper Shredder contributes to the destruction of the planet through his lifelong, fanatical, and wholly irrational devotion to Formula One racing. But he makes up for it by driving a Tesla. Like his hero, Jackie Stewart, The Paper Shredder hails from Scotland.

THE COACH

They say Barbara Eastman could teach a duck to ride a bicycle, and they might be right. If there's anything that needs explaining or demonstrating around here, Barbara is the one we call. And that's on top of her many project management duties, which are all in a day's work for The Coach.

Want to know how to convert a website to the Brick River platform, or migrate a huge database? Ask The Coach. She's managed those kinds of operations for years. Want to learn how to use a particular module or tool on Brick River? Ask The Coach. She walks you through the steps on her amazingly patient training webinars. Want to learn how to adjust the camber of the tires on a race car? The Coach can help you with that, too. She used to work on a NASCAR Street Stock pit crew (little known fact).

Now you see why some people think Barbara Eastman can train anybody to do anything. Could she train a ten-year-old to run a business? Probably. She majored in accounting and marketing at Central Connecticut State University, and she loves kids. Could she train a coyote to run a business? Nope. Nobody can train a coyote.

JUST BARBARA

We can't think of a nickname for Barbara Gomes, because nothing about her really stands out. Sure, she'll design you a beautiful, intuitive website—just like she did for government agencies and newspapers back in Brazil. But do people really care that she's also a visual artist who creates stylish digital portraits of her favorite celebrities? Or that she's a singer, good enough to perform with a famous Brazilian chorus for ten years and sing at San Francisco open mic nights? Is there any point in mentioning her cooking skills, which inspired her and her spouse to open a Brazilian coffee shop and bakery? Or (yawn) her long history as a yoga practitioner?

You see the problem. With Barbara, all you get is your run-of-the-mill Brazilian artist-singer-baker-restaurateur-yogi web designer and developer. So to us, she's just Barbara.

THE PLAYER

Was it chance that brought Daren Sanborn to Brick River in 2005, or was it destiny? Either way, you'd be lucky to work on a project with The Player. He parlayed a business degree from the University of New Hampshire into a winning streak as a web and database developer. He's held high-stakes positions with Liberty Mutual Insurance, Fairmarket, and Silicon Valley software firms.

Today, when he's not spinning code into gold for Brick River clients, you might find him running a poker tournament (No Limit Hold 'Em) or coddling the three special ladies in his life: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana. Yes, The Player sees a bright future for cryptocurrencies. "Brighter than the sun!" he says. And The Player does know the sun—he and his family live outside of Phoenix.

THE POINT GUARD

As a former journalist and communications professor, Dan Tobin loves to facilitate conversations about the craft of writing. But most of the talk at Brick River focuses on coding and Dan felt he had little to contribute. So he launched the Brick Rivers Writer’s Workshop. The first session—entitled “The Hidden Powers of the Em Dash, the Hyphen, and the Serial Comma”—drew a small but enthusiastic crowd (see photo).

Dan spent more than a decade as the director of communications at Education Development Center, an international nonprofit research and development organization outside Boston. More recently, he was the president/publisher of Stenhouse Publishers (a subsidiary of Highlights for Children), which publishes books by teachers and for teachers—including many books about writing workshops.

The Brain Trust

A few business-savvy people we rely on to help us stay solvent and on track.

John Gilbert, Strategic Advisor

We trust John's brain to advise us on our most important decisions. A seasoned environmental engineer and business leader, he runs a strategic operations consulting firm and an electrical contracting company—which means we have to meet with him at 6:30 in the morning. But totally worth it. He has led numerous nonprofit boards and government bodies, and has special expertise in water (he chairs the New Hampshire Water Council)—which makes him a good fit for any company with "river" in its name.

Deb Park, Bookkeeper

We trust Deb Park's brain to keep our books in order, accounts settled, and taxes paid. She comes by her financial wizardry from years spent as an office manager and realtor, and from her degree in accounting. She blows most of her earnings on motorcycles, snowmobiles, and side-by-side vehicles.

Gene & Tim Schneider, Board Members

We trust these guys' brains because they know how to handle Paul "The Coyote" Schneider. They also know a thing or two about the tech business.

Gene Schneider

worked at IBM for 35 years, including 10 years as Director of Software Business Planning. Later, he served as Chief Information Officer of the State of New Hampshire.

Tim Schneider

Tim (brother) is CEO and founder of 660 Capital Group, a booming venture-capital concern, as well as cofounder of Uptime Esports, New England's premier esports tournament and training center.