Cameron Cermak is happy to be at the airport with his dad, Mike.
Name: Mike Cermak Jr.
Where I live: Rural Pennsylvania, not far from Gettysburg.
Where and when I was born: Pittsburgh, March 30, 1981.
Family: Heather, my wonderful wife of eight years, and Cameron, our energetic 2-year-old son.
Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.S. in information sciences and technologies for system development; PSU associate’s in science in information sciences and technologies for computer networking. I also have various certifications from Microsoft and the IT trade association CompTIA.
Occupation: I’m a computer nerd and serial entrepreneur. I own a large tech website, a local computer consulting company, an office building and, most recently, a car wash!
How I got where I am today: I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious family but certainly in a religious geographic area. While attending high school, I decided that matters of god and religion were important enough to warrant a decision. Amazon.com was relatively new back then, and I purchased a dozen or so books that represented both sides of the argument.
My selection included several books on Christian apologetics as well as, I’m very lucky to say, Dan Barker’s Losing Faith in Faith. Dan’s book was exactly what I needed to confirm my preexisting suspicions and marks a clear turning point in my life.
Person in history I admire: I admire a lot of people, but one recent choice is Elon Musk, best known as the CEO of Tesla Motors, which builds some of the world’s best electric vehicles, and the founder of SpaceX, which builds some of the most advanced space launch vehicles. He was also a founder of PayPal and recently announced an idea for an alternative mode of transportation that he calls the Hyperloop.
While many may look at Elon and see a remarkably successful inventor and businessman, I think it’s more admirable that he’s done so while aiming to truly change the world. I think that he genuinely finds causes he believes strongly about, whether it’s decreasing our use of fossil fuels or helping humanity reach the stars. Most projects that he chooses to take on are considered to be impossible. He’s been incredibly effective at succeeding at the impossible.
A quotation I like: “You do something all day long, don’t you? Everyone does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most men, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application.” (Thomas Edison)
These are a few of my favorite things: Computers — actually, technology of any kind. (I’m known as “TechGuy.”) I also enjoy flying. I’m a private pilot and currently fly a Cessna 172. I think my wife may secretly say a prayer when she flies with me.
Ways I promote freethought: I feel honored to be a member of the FFRF Executive Board of Directors. I also participate in several local freethought groups. While I don’t consider myself an outspoken atheist, I hope to help make a difference in church/state separation.
Just as I don’t like to have others push their beliefs on me, I try not to push mine on others. But if the topic comes up, I’m very willing to discuss my personal feelings. I like to think of myself as your “friendly neighborhood atheist.”
Atheists have been so villainized that many people don’t realize that they already know one. I was once told, “but you’re too nice to be an atheist!”