Who Is This Guy?

(David Rodeback, that is)

The webmaster, editor-in-chief, principal blogger, and chief cook and bottle washer at LocalCommentary.com is David Rodeback. Here is more than you need to know about him:

  • A resident of American Fork, Utah, he works in Internet advertising, managing large Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter accounts. By trade, he's actually a computer programmer (he prefers C++ and C#) and database engineer. As if that weren't confusing enough, his undergraduate and graduate training are in Russian language and literature, political science, political philosophy, and history. He planned to become a university professor, but jobs there proved few and far between. He'd still almost rather teach than breathe, but has returned to his geek roots in order not to have to watch his family freeze and starve.
  • He has worked as a speech writer for internationally prominent figures, has edited and written a variety of publications, and was the token conservative on the op-ed page of the off-campus (unofficial) BYU newspaper, The Student Review, in its early years.
  • He is a veteran of several political campaigns, city committees, and nonprofit organizations, and currently sits on American Fork City's Neighborhood Preservation Committee (formerly Nuisance Abatement Committee).
  • His wife Heidi was elected to the American Fork City Council in 2005 and reelected in 2009, besides being a professional organist and pianist and an accomplished writer. He and she met in, and later conducted, the Brigham Young University Russian Choir.  
  • There are children, but this is the Internet, so you don't need to know their names, ages, or Social Security numbers.
  • He was born in Boulder, Colorado, and lived there for his first 10.4 years. At the time, Boulder was trying very hard to be Berkeley, California. Come to think of it, it's still trying.
  • Then his dad's job moved the family to southeast Idaho, to a tiny, little known village called Moreland, just outside Blackfoot. The culture shock was considerable and probably has never fully worn off. Boulder is a medium-sized city on the fringes of a metropolis (Denver), besides being a university town. Moreland is unincorporated, had (and still has) one post office, no stop lights (there are stop signs, but they seem to be optional), and three Mormon Churches, two of which he attended during his years there -- but serially, not in parallel.
  • The family wasn't particularly well off, but back then any youth with some ambition could make real money (very slowly, but real money) working on farms. So he has moved sprinkler pipe, milked cows, bucked hay bales, turned bull calves into steers, driven tractors, picked rocks out of potatoes rolling by on a conveyor, backed large trucks into potato cellars whose doors were scarcely wider than the truck, and intermittently enjoyed and been unnerved by the coyotes, snakes, and other fauna of the Idaho desert. Back then, a guy didn't have much to do in the summer except work, play church softball, become an Eagle Scout, and read lots and lots of books (not necessarily in that order).
  • He graduated from Snake River High School (then one of the best academic high schools in a sparsely populated state) with a perfect grade point average and won some very fun national academic awards -- after some busy and enjoyable years playing on the basketball team and in the bands, singing in the chamber choir, and being rather distracted by girls, that is.
  • He served an LDS mission in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and western New York. Someday he wants to serve another one in Russia.
  • His undergraduate work was at Brigham Young University (BA). His graduate work was at Cornell University (MA and, so to speak, ABD). He has also studied at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow, Russia, back in the early days of Gorbachev and the later years of the USSR. He even studied graduate-level math one summer at Utah State University. He interned at the US Senate just after the Oliver North episode and during the "borking" of Judge Robert Bork (not his idea). ("Interned" means made photocopies, fetched the Senator's lunch, cleaned the office refrigerator, and worked overtime so there would be some hours left for policy research and writing. And there was the one day when he served as the Senator's unofficial messenger to Taiwan's unofficial embassy, which, notably, did not create an international incident.)
  • He has taught Russian language at Brigham Young University and for the US Army Forces Command, Russian literature and (English) writing at Cornell University, and "Advanced Book of Mormon" at the Cornell University LDS Institute of Religion.
  • Having lived in Utah (13 years) and southeast Idaho (8 years, and very much like Utah), he still doesn't feel like a Utah Mormon. Perhaps he never will. Perhaps he doesn't want to.
  • He would rather read Tolstoy or Dostoevsky or Vasily Grossman (preferably in the original Russian), or Tom Clancy or Scott Turow or Orson Scott Card, than Gerald Lund or any of Deseret Book's lesser lights. He owns the complete works of Dostoevksy (32 volumes) in Russian, but also has a complete set of Tom Clancy novels (the real ones) in hardback. His favorite nearly unknown new author might be David Czuchlewski.

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