Who is Joe Honton?
I AM A RENAISSANCE MAN: proficient in the arts and the sciences, acquainted with history, well traveled, a lifetime learner. Life has treated me well as I’ve learned, and given me the opportunity to wear many different hats, both professionally and personally. As a professional, I answer to the titles: conservationist, geographer, cartographer, planner, analyst, software developer, designer, author, editor, organizer and project manager. And as a person, I find satisfaction in the lighter side: photography, graphic arts, carpentry, gardening, world travel, and reading history.
SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, IS MY HOME. Here in one place is everything needed for a full life. It all starts with spectacular scenery: rugged Pacific Coast shoreline, San Francisco Bay tidelands, redwood forests, aged volcanic mountains, fertile Santa Rosa Plain, and the Russian River. Add to this scenic backdrop the rich human tapestry of orchards, vineyards and ranches; cities housing farm-workers, high-tech engineers, and artists; a mainstream populous of progressive thinkers squaring off with old- and new-guard conservatives; and a culture vibrant with food, languages, and music from around the world. I love this place.
I’VE BEEN BICYCLING FOR FORTY-FIVE YEARS. For fitness and health, for transportation, and for meditation, bicycling fills the need. My two claims to bicycling fame: riding TOSRV—105 miles from Columbus to Portsmouth—in 1975, in four hours and five minutes; and riding Bikecentennial ‘76 during the inaugural year—4250 miles from Virginia to Oregon—in 89 days. Lately, my bicycling style has leaned more to utility (running errands in town), but I still enjoy watching young people push themselves to the limits; the Amgen Tour of California has been staged through Sonoma County for three years: what a thrill to see world-class racers zipping past my home.
I’VE BEEN BITTEN BY THE TRAVEL BUG. Visiting the world’s natural wonders, seeing its great cities, discovering its hidden gems, and experiencing its great cultures: this is travel. Climate, landscapes, architecture, music, art, language, crafts, customs, life: these are the ingredients for great travelling.
I’ve forgotten much of what I’ve seen and done, and no longer recall where special experiences occurred. As an antidote to fading memories, I’ve committed to words my recent trip to Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama, and Hiroshima. Read it all here: Japan 2008.
ONE OF MY MOST DIVERSE JOBS—FROM 2005 TO 2008—was working for the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, a non-profit environmental organization. In four years I contributed substantially to the re-formation and growth of the organization. I am proud of my achievements across a variety of mission-critical tasks. Continued
MAPMAKING IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO: partially because I know that good maps can tell a story in a compact form, but partially because it allows me to see hidden patterns and unexpected oddities. Mapmaking also allows me to express myself artistically. Continued
GREAT COMMUNITIES ARE POSSIBLE WHEN PEOPLE COMMUNICATE. And great communication happens when people from diverse backgrounds, with varied experiences, join together to renew their commitment to the places where they live, work and play. Continued
THE ARC OF MY CAREER HAS BEEN DEFINED BY THE RISE OF THE COMPUTER AGE. From my earliest software jobs in 1976 until today, I’ve always kept abreast of the latest in software languages, development tools, computer science theories, and professional practices. Continued
I ENJOY READING HISTORY because the world as I know it today is so completely different than the world of a hundred years ago, that it’s almost like reading fiction. And yet the story of the human condition—our hopes, our struggles, and our inevitable death—is timeless. By reading the accounts of those who tread the Earth before me, I learn things about myself, our society and the natural environment. Continued
IT’S EASY TO CAPTURE THE PEOPLE, PLACES, AND EVENTS of our lives with today’s high-resolution digital cameras. But having your camera ready at the right moment, and taking the time to compose your shot, and following up with a good system of organization and publication, all take discipline. I’ve gone through a learning process with all of these, and have developed a few best practices to help keep photography a joy. Continued