John Burke

Technologist. Steward. Naturalist. Problem Solver.

Chief Technology Officer

Focus Areas: Leads research on cloud, networking, infrastructure, and automation. Specializes in SD-WAN, SASE, Zero Trust, and low-code/no-code


Starting in high school with BASIC on Apple DOS, I’ve programmed in a dozen languages, including FORTRAN, LISP, C, C++, Visual Basic, and Python, on as many operating systems. I have built systems-management tools, imaging and analytics applications, and interactive modeling systems in platforms ranging from C to VBA in Excel to low-code systems like Zoho Creator. At Nemertes, I have learned the guts of many key technologies in my role as an analyst, focused most recently on WAN optimization, SDN, SD-WAN, and software-defined perimeter (SDP).


Throughout my career I’ve helped manage, train, and support staff in every part of IT: help desk, programming, database design and management, systems and network administration, architecture, and data analysis. I have managed budgets, negotiated with vendors, learned to economize. I’ve learned to tell when investment is more important than savings. I always work to develop, preserve, and propagate institutional knowledge. I’ve also learned to build soil organically, support native perennials, nurture pollinators, grow tomatoes, potatoes, beans, eggplants, amaranth, herbs, cucumbers, tend an apple tree, or bake anything from a good bahn mi roll to a Buche de Noel to a lemon meringue pie to die for.


Since the time I chased the mating call of a chickadee through a park in Baltimore, I have learned how to identify scores of birds by sound and sight. Since finding my first sulphur shelf on a walk to work in Saint Paul, I’ve learned how to identify and harvest edible mushrooms, and avoid deadly ones. Likewise edible wild plants. I’ve also learned trees by bark, habit, flowers, and seed, nut, or fruit, and have planted a good many over the years.

Problem Solver.

My main interest has always been solving problems, or helping others solve theirs. Bringing fresh perspectives, research data, and an awareness of a wider set of possibilities, I regularly help people untangle the issues they face, the options they have, and their own preferences, needs, and priorities, so they can make the right choices. I can help find the right technology or the right products, or to revamp job descriptions, teams, skill sets, and processes, to meet new needs or solve long-standing problems. I have helped people across industries figure out how to tell leadership what they need to be told, and ask effectively for what IT needs, sometimes building data-driven modeling tools to help.


BS Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1986, The Johns Hopkins University; MA History of Science, 1988, The Johns Hopkins University; Programmer, Neuroanatomy lab, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1986 – 1987; Engineering Discipline Specialist, The Johns Hopkins University 1988 – 1992; Associate Director, Networking and Central Systems, College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) 1992 – 1997; Director, Enterprise Architecture, University of St. Thomas. 1997 – 2005. I have also: typeset a book; designed a font (using Knuth’s Metafont) and used it to typeset my wedding invitations; married the right woman and raised two wonderful kids with her; helped develop and test the recipes in Original Local (and washed all the dishes).