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I have over 18 years of experience in IT training and certification. I began my professional career as a trainer at New Horizons in Cedar Rapids, Iowa after graduating from the University of Iowa. During this tenure I earned several certifications and quickly became a senior instructor and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). In my second year I set a New Horizons record by earning 21 perfect evaluations out of 21 students.  To obtain a perfect evaluation every student had to give me a 10 rating on a scale of 1 to 10 in seven different categories. This earned me a spot in the New Horizons Ten Club, and was the only instructor to earn the award in 2000 despite hundreds of classes being taught that year.

In 2001, I began working for IBM where I was a technical trainer for IBM’s help center.  This included teaching the Microsoft Official Curriculum to IBM’s help center employees to get them certified.  I achieved even more technical certifications, and created a program to assist employees in passing their exams.  Employees began passing their tests with a 90% success rate. I eventually moved to another training group within IBM, and began to deliver training around the world. 

When Lenovo bought the IBM PCD division in 2005 my entire department was transferred to the new company.  At this point I became a program manager for the technical training team, and began coordinating training locally, domestically, and internationally.


I moved to Global Knowledge in September of 2007.  I was a program manager during the entire tenure at the company.  While working at Global Knowledge I managed projects for Fortune 500 companies such as Cisco, NYSE, Ameriprise, Citi, and Microsoft.  The scopes of the projects have ranged from interviews, and assessments, which were completed in less than two months to courseware design projects that were delivered throughout the world.  In addition to being a program manager I also obtained a MBA degree from NC State University with a concentration on entrepreneurship as well as a PMP certification.


During my tenure at NC State we formed groups that were matched up with early stage technologies. My group was focused on a smart micro catheter device that would be used to target cancer cells. The goal of the program was to give the teams real world experience creating start-ups so that they move forward with a LLC once the course was completed.

I have always been highly motivated to work with startups who are trying to create the next great thing which will change the world. I am active in the local startup community in Eastern Iowa, and attended a startup weekend where our team finished in the top three. I have been through the educational practices of forming a startup through the MBA program as well as through Venture school which I am currently attending at the University of Iowa.


Think of me as Sandstorm’s resource to help your startup navigate through the myriad certifications that are required by large enterprises of their startup partners.

TJ McDonald
Technical Associate

Tech Training & Certification

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