an illustration of the author James S. Wheaton
Applying systems thinking to our complex, irrational world

Consulting Services

Strategic design tries to ally pragmatism with imagination, deliver research through prototyping, enable learning from execution, pursue communication through tangible projects, and balance strategic intent and political capital with iterative action, systems thinking and user-centredness. This is all underscored by an optimistic belief in progressive change, that the current conditions are changeable for the better, that the present can be transformed into multiple positive futures. — Dark Matter and Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary by Dan Hill

I am an expert generalist and computing systems engineer. You may hire me to untangle those large, complex socio-technical systems and systems-of-systems.

I work with compassion and care – yet I am strict and incisive to promote quality and safety.

My professional career spans over 15 years of self-determined, pro-bono, freelance, and corporate work in software engineering – web development; ecommerce search and big data systems; cryptocurrency, P2P and blockchain systems – and management consulting in information technology, organizational learning and innovation leadership.

I have a knack for penetrating messy, wicked problems; navigating the dark matter; and synthesizing radically-simplifying solutions.

Half of the solution is found in clearly defining the problem.

Let’s open a dialogue.

Serving Small & Medium-sized Businesses, Very Small Enterprises, nonprofits and worker-owned cooperatives


  • Systems Engineer
    • Model-based Architecture
    • Big Data and Cloud
    • Software-Intensive
    • Blockchain and P2P
  • Executive Advisor and Management Consultant
  • Chief Innovation Officer



  • Doctoral Student, Systems Engineering, Colorado State University
  • Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University


  • Big 4 Consulting Firm, Big Data and AI division
  • Ecommerce Search Appliance Startup
  • Veterans Mental Health Nonprofit (pro-bono)
  • Motorcycle Touring Ecommerce
  • Web Development Startup (Co-Founder)
  • Industrial Flow Control Equipment Distributor


Primary skillset

  • Engineering leadership and management consulting
  • Model-based systems engineering architecture
  • Polyglot software development and quality assurance

Secondary skillset

  • Big data and cloud application architecture
  • Engineering project management
  • Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchains, and smart contracts
  • Entrepreneurship and ecommerce business development
  • Website development and OpenBSD/Linux systems administration
  • Technical writing and creative design

Interests that inform my work

  • Systems theory, complexity science and distributed systems
  • Free and open source software (FOSS) – hacker ethos
  • Formal verification, dependently-typed functional programming
  • Information security (infosec) and applied cryptography
  • Human organizational dynamics and social movements
  • Knowledge management, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Human-machine (AI) and human ethics
  • Human factors engineering, user experience (UX), and human-computer interaction (HCI)
  • arts & crafts, music, poetry, philosophy, dance and movement


“James has never failed to impress me through his intelligence, diligence and professional curiosity; however, these traits are all tempered by a pragmatic and realistic understanding of people and projects. James has the intellectual ability, person affability and ambition to succeed. I would eagerly employ him and recommend him without hesitation.” — Isaac Vetter, Data Architect, Purdue University

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Disclaimer: I adhere to strict engineering and human ethics. I will not assist in the creation of weapons of any kind, including algorithmic/AI and other cyberweapons.