IT Exec Battles Isolation with Shoes and Chickens
Working in the IT industry, Chris Coulthrust learned early on in his career that talking about what he did at work was not going to be very popular at social events and dinner parties.
So he took up a hobby he thought was a little flashier: shoes.
While most simply wear them, Coulthrust, the president of Applied Cognetics, decided to take a more unusual approach by putting his engineering background to manufacture his own footwear.
"It is a good conversation starter," Coulthrust told ITTechNewsDaily of his shoemaking hobby. "It is something people can connect with you on."
Coulthrust said he was turned onto the idea when he was introduced to a shoe designer at a gala.
"It sounded really interesting," Coulthrust said. "I felt really challenged by it."
Coulthrust uses special 3-D lasers to create and manufacture a wide variety of shoes for men and women, including sandals, pumps and platform heels.
Though it began as a hobby, shoemaking has become quite time-consuming for Coulthrust, who now works with a host of designers to manufacture footwear that's sold nationally.
"The shoe thing is getting really big," he said. "It might end up becoming another career."
Until that happens, Coulthrust's career is centered on Applied Cogentics, which provides technology solutions for online marketing firms. The company offers a range of services, including lead generation, data processing, tracking and reporting, and data trading, as well a number of professional services such as strategic planning and software development.
Coulthrust said there actually are plenty of crossover skills between his IT job and his shoe-creating project.
"There is a lot of technology used in (making) shoes," Coulthrust said. "I have been able to apply a lot of what I learned (in IT) towards it."
It's not just shoes that keep people chatting with Coulthrust. He recently built a chicken coop in the backyard of his Brooklyn, N.Y., home.
The 70-square-foot coop, complete with cedar shingles and windows, is home to 13 chickens.
He'd always wanted a pet, and Coulthrust said he opted for chickens when he realized they have more to offer than the more typical household cat or dog.
Specifically, he collects about a dozen eggs a day from the chickens that he's then able to share with those who live on his block."It helps me connect with my neighbors," he said. "I have made a lot of new friends."
As someone who runs his company from home, Coulthrust joked the chickens also give him someone to talk to during the day.
"It sets a pace for your life," Coulthrust said of raising the chickens. "It keeps you on a little schedule."
He recommends that others in the IT profession pick up a hobby as well – something that can help them connect with others.
"It is very isolating, so it is good to expand your social circle," he said. "It can do nothing but enrich your life."