Pete Nuwayser

  • @pnuw
  • Drummer posing as an IBMer
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@litanyofcomplaints drummer, singer & complainant @mtvernonfriends event leader & board member @fairf...  
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Sep 12, 2021
Sep 12, 2021
Volunteered with Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail
I'm excited to attend my first board meeting with Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail later this morning. My co-volunteer Sara and I will be planning out all the events for the rest of CY2021. We have a long list of trail issues to organize: on an 18-mile trail, there's always more work to do.

Yesterday, nine volunteers teamed with the National Park Service to power wash all the slippery grime from Bridge 15. It's on the southern part of the trail, located about 2-3 miles north of the MV Estate. It took about four hours, 150 feet of hose, and about 300 gallons of water. NPS provides the gas-powered compressor, water, and a staff member--thanks again, Mr. Greg--and we bring the deck cleaner, squeegees and muscle. The deck cleaner is immensely more effective than your standard attachment: it does a better job, covers a wider area and uses one-third the water. We also rescued a couple dozen trees from invasive ivy, including a hemlock tree that was completely overrun. I got to climb my first tree in decades, and it was a blast.

I'm also excited to see more first-time volunteers. We had two yesterday, including one brought by a recent joiner. As usual, we paused to chat with the trail users and satisfy their curiosity: who are you, what help do you need, can we volunteer, what's your web site, what kind of ivy is that, etc.

Next Saturday we have a trash walk planned, at Gravelly Point just north of DCA Runway 1/19. This is a very popular recreation site with locals and tourists, who come to watch the airlines take off and land, have a picnic, or set off on a walking or biking journey. We start at 9:00 AM. Come join us!
Aug 28, 2021
Aug 28, 2021
Volunteered with Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail
Another Saturday, another opportunity to make the Mount Vernon Trail safer. Today we worked on Bridge 28, just south of the Washington Marina in Alexandria. This is the same bridge that FoMVT holds their annual Fireflies, Bats & Beavers walk on, and yes, there is a family of beavers living there.

We had a great team of twelve volunteers who showed up bright and early at 0700. We power washed the slippery grime from the southernmost third of the bridge with the help of Mr. Greg from the National Park Service; and opened up sight lines, cleared overhanging branches, and removed overgrowth on the sides of the trail between the bridge and the marina. Judd, our president, showed up with a new battery-powered extension chainsaw that made easy work of the overhanging branches. All in all, a solid morning's work. Got lots of thank-yous from the trail users, and talked to a few folks who stopped by to ask about us. 

I love this group. Was saying to my wife this morning how much I appreciate working with a team that so naturally creates a sense of belonging and accomplishment. And nothing beats working on the Trail early in the morning. 

If you're reading this and live in Northern Virginia or DC, please consider joining us at a future event or making a donation, at

( edit 20210912 - badge updated )
Aug 21, 2021
Aug 21, 2021
Led a volunteer program
Volunteered with Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail
I ran my first Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail event today! You should be noticing better sight lines and fewer overhanging branches near the intersection of the MVT and Four Mile Run Trail. We had 15 awesome volunteers.


( edit 20210912 - badge update )
Aug 17, 2021
Aug 17, 2021
Celebrated a Work Anniversary
On my one-year anniversary with IBM, I'd like to share a few insights. I will add to this post as I think of things, but first and foremost:

It was strange changing jobs in the middle of a pandemic lockdown.

Leaving Deloitte after eleven years was simultaneously underwhelming, anticlimactic, awkward, and humbling. I was excited to start something new, but saying goodbye to my friends and "table pounders" via Zoom was both sad and unfulfilling. On my last day, I went into the office to grab my belongings, and the Digital studio was exactly as we'd left it, minus the people. The air was completely still. It felt like part museum, part abandoned bomb shelter, not the active, vibrant culture center I remembered it as. There by myself, packing up my books and office tchotchkes, I felt wistful. It was a super energetic place to work, and my colleagues kept me on my toes.  

Likewise, joining a new team at IBM via webcam was strange, but for different reasons. My manager lives in Seattle, and my other nine team members are spread all over the US and India. Ordinarily we would connect at client engagements and team events around the world, but that hasn't really happened except for one dinner here and another happy hour there, both in DC. Still, they've all been quite welcoming. 

And I definitely made the right choice.

Things I love about working at IBM:
  • The people, the projects, the clients. 
  • The bias for value, and the opportunities to make an impact.
  • The constant focus on justice, equity, diversity & inclusion, across multiple axes.
  • The incredible openness about neurodiversity.
  • Learning: the culture, the tools, the instrumentation. They have got this down to a science. It is so easy to take courses, earn badges and advance your skills. 
  • Arvind Krishna is the most grounded and nerdy CEO ever. 
  • Working in a different sector than US Federal: I'm currently covering Healthcare, Life Sciences, State & Local Gov't, and Higher Ed, which are all strangely lumped together into a single industry called Public Market.
  • Having "OpenShift" in my title... something I've wanted since Gunnar Hellekson first told me about it nine years ago.
  • Enterprise collaboration tools that people actually use, globally, and consistently! WOW! And no silos when it comes to the GEOs: I can interact with any IBMer in the world using these same tools, and form diverse teams for any project or need.
  • Having an army of IBMers and Red Hatters I can call upon for any  enterprise Open Source, app mod, security or container question is just beautiful. The two companies are quite independent of each other, and it's working well. 
  • My mentor, Lysa, is a gift. I consider myself very lucky. We take turns mentoring each other, and it's good to have them in my corner.
  • Working "down the hall" from IBM Research is another gift without measure. Their innovation is real. I'm working on a project with two top-flight Quantum specialists and it's been magical.
  • A corporate directory app where you can indicate your pronouns and preferred mode of communication. People actually look at this before they get in touch with you! This is not hard. 
  • The commitment to volunteerism. I track all those hours that I spend helping Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, and after every five, will make a financial donation to any charity I choose. Naturally, I chose Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail! They get my time and a financial donation, and I get a sense of accomplishment and community. Talk about a real win-win!
I will add to this post as I think of more things. For example, not everything is rosy, and there are different areas of improvement that I see. More to come.

Finally, are you a fellow IBMer or have questions about it? Hit me up if you'd like to connect!
Aug 08, 2021
Aug 08, 2021
Joined a board of directors
Officially joined the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail Board of Directors! 🚶🏻‍♂️🏃🏽‍♀️🚴🏿👨🏻‍🌾👷🏾‍♀️


Jul 31, 2021
Jul 31, 2021
Spoke on Clubhouse
Talked about leadership
Talked about volunteering
+ 1
Spoke on the Clubhouse channel Learning to Lead on the topic "How side passion projects make you a better leader."

Talking points:
  • The things that give us a sense of accomplishment don't always look, feel, or smell the same.
  • Further, perhaps "sense of accomplishment" should be plural: "senses of accomplishment" implies that different things give us different kinds of satisfaction.
  • A side passion project or hobby can turn a rotten day into a good one. It can be as simple as trying a new recipe for dinner, knowing that the audience will be different and perhaps more forgiving of mistakes. 
  • Different projects will employ different types of creativity and thinking. 
  • When you vary up your routine at the gym, you're working different parts of your body. When you create a diversified portfolio, you're mitigating financial risk. Your happiness and well-being can benefit from side passions, projects and hobbies, too.

(edit 20210810 added link and talking points)
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