Kolby KirkOn a typical hike, Kolby Kirk doesn’t differentiate based on scale.

Through thousands of professional-quality photos and tens of thousands of journaled words and sketches, our technical support specialist here at Vantage Clinical Solutions has meticulously recorded features both big and small from each of his journeys – elevated views of forested valleys, colorful fungus growing from the base of a fallen tree, even personal encounters deep within the wilderness.

“I’m always very detail oriented,” Kolby said during a recent discussion. “When it comes to hiking, I try to notice everything, regardless of size.”

This attraction to details is part of what has made Kolby an invaluable addition to the Vantage team. Besides being our go-to tech guru here in the office, Kolby works with clients every day to ensure the technological tools they use in support of their practices are set up, working, and being used properly.

iSALUS Healthcare is one such tool – a powerful, industry leading EMR (electronic medical records) and practice management system used by many of our clients here at Vantage. Kolby spends much of his time setting up and introducing clients to iSALUS, training them on its use, and creating client-specific reports utilizing the system.

“I love working with computers,” Kolby said. “It’s been natural for me throughout my life. I guess you could say I caught the wave early.”

Kolby’s dad was one of the first University of Oregon students ever to graduate with a degree in computer science, and the tech bug proved to run in the family. Kolby Kirk can recall sending his first email message in the pre-Information Age year of 1985 (OMG!), and in high school, he was part of a program within which he taught his own teachers how to use computers in the classroom.

These experiences proved to be a precursor to a successful career in computers and technology. In the late ’90s, Kolby worked for a time as “hostmaster” at a dot-com company in California before catching on as a technical supervisor of the now-familiar relationship website eHarmony.com. He worked at eHarmony for six years (2005-2011), helping to develop “the heart of eHarmony – the science behind it.”

It was during this time that Kolby’s other passion, exploring the outdoors, reached new heights, forming the basis of what he dubs his “100 Hikes Project.”

“It was 2009, and I wasn’t happy with where I was physically,” he said. “I didn’t like going to the gym, so I decided to do what I love – get outside and go hiking. That year in May, I started the 100 Hikes Project. I resolved to go on 100 hikes before the end of the year, a goal I accomplished that year on Dec. 30th.”

That year, his average hike was only four miles long. Going into 2013, Kolby challenged himself to complete another 100 hikes, this time totaling 700 trail miles, by the end of the year. As I write this, he’s quickly approaching his 90th hike of 2013 with a little less than two months remaining.

Since he started his first 100 Hikes Project, Kolby Kirk figures he’s hiked well over 3,000 trail miles. He documents each hike on his website and posts photos from each journey (he estimates he takes up to 16,000 photos per year) on his Flickr page. A meticulous recorder and skilled artist, he also records his adventures – such as his 1,700-mile Pacific Crest Trail Hike – in journals (a la Meriwether Lewis or John Muir), a practice he began on a backpacking trip through Europe in 2001.

“I’m passionate about nature and understanding what’s around me, and I enjoy recording my experiences either through writing, photography, or sketches – often a mix of the three,” he said.

We’re certainly proud to be part of Kolby’s professional journey here at Vantage, and we know he looks forward to making the entrepreneurial journey more seamless for our clients by putting his skills to work for them. If you haven’t already, join us in welcoming Kolby to our team!