Currently alive, at 31 years of age.
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Michael was born in 1986 in Richmond, Virginia on a naval base where his father was stationed. Though both of his parents originally come from the Asheville area, and Michael has spent most of his life living there, he spent his early years living in Europe and Central America. His family moved from city to city and country to country as his father’s Navy assignments changed. His mother would pick up odd jobs teaching English to children wherever the family was living.
In the 1990s, Michael’s family decided to move back to the Asheville area permanently. His mother continued to work with children, becoming a school bus driver and cafeteria worker, while his father took a job in engineering, applying knowledge and skills he had developed in the military. Before graduating from C.D. Owen High School in Black Mountain, Michael played baseball and was active in the local music scene, playing punk rock inspired by bands like At the Drive-In, Fugazi, Cursive, and Archers of Loaf.
After high school, Michael’s passion for music grew, though his tastes evolved. He listened to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Woody Guthrie religiously, recording several albums of solo ‘folk-punk’ songs. These albums were released independently or with help from local indie labels. Michael toured the east coast and mid-western states both as a solo act and with his backing band, The Drinker’s Union.
While involved with the local music scene in Asheville, Michael began working with digital media and web development languages, building websites to promote his own music and other bands, helping to design fliers, music videos, and with other promotional projects and materials. During this time, he also cultivated a passion for reading, philosophy, and creative writing.
In 2006, Michael’s son, Tony Burgin, was born in Asheville. He has been a dedicated father ever since. Shortly after Tony was born, Michael’s combined interests in independent music and writing lead him to a job with a small music magazine in Raleigh, where he built and maintained his first robust PHP web application. While working for the magazine, it became obvious that Michael enjoyed building a complex web application more than he enjoyed writing about indie bands, so Michael decided to move back to Asheville and to enroll in the web technologies program at A-B Tech. Since then he’s learned a lot about application development, and has worked on various Asheville SEO projects.
Michael made the most of his time at A-B Tech, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and receiving several scholarships for his work with web programming and for creative writing. He was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and was placed on both the Dean’s List and the President’s list each semester.
In addition to the web curriculum, Michael took elective and certificate courses focusing on mobile development and database management. He also supplemented his studies with online and open source resources to take in as much about web and mobile development as possible. In early 2017, Michael graduated from A-B Tech with highest honors and with an ‘outstanding student’ recognition.
Michael’s passion for reading also continued. With several friends, he started a book club that focused on a curriculum of novels that David Foster Wallace taught at Harvard as a course on ‘Strange American Literature.’ Once the books on that list were completed, the book club continued, working through US and world literature titles in a similar spirit.
During his final semester, Michael started working with Greenstone Media, applying his programming skills. Starting as an intern, Michael quickly became a junior web developer before becoming a full-time employee.