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Todd Nessel

Todd Nessel

Second Creek brings native home

by Catherine Zacchi

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — As a teenager, Todd Nessel roamed through the woods or fished along the banks of the Guyandotte River near Barboursville with friends. His love of the outdoors inspired an avid interest in natural sciences.

Nessel graduated from Barboursville High School and enrolled at Marshall University. But soon he felt a restless itch to travel.

“Like a lot of 19 year olds, I wanted to leave home and see more of the world,” he said.

In 1982, he moved to California. Nessel joined an advertising company as a typesetter, eventually working his way up to art department supervisor. When the agency modernized its production technology from paste-up to digital, Nessel developed an interest in information technology.

Todd NesselIn 1994, he moved to Detroit where he worked for a publishing company and expanded his IT skills. He also returned to school, completing his bachelor’s degree.

“I had stayed in touch with family who remained in West Virginia,” Nessel said. “For years, a relative who works for Marshall University encouraged me to send my transcripts and enroll in the master’s program. After having lived in other places, I was ready to come back home to West Virginia.”

In 2007, he enrolled at Marshall to earn a master’s in environmental sciences. He also joined Second Creek Technologies in Barboursville as a technician. Second Creek Technologies specializes in Web and IT services, forensic accounting and the emerging fields of computer forensics and electronic discovery. Second Creek capabilities have been called on to resurrect data lost through mishaps, such as fire or deliberate deletion. The company also assists in locating, sifting through, preserving and aiding presentation of digital evidence in court.

Todd assists clients with disaster recovery planning and forensic data recovery. He also provides server support, maintains network connectivity and troubleshoots hardware and software problems for Second Creek clients.

“I enjoy the variety and the challenge in the work,” Todd said.

The company partners with Marshall University’s Computer Forensic Section of the Forensic Science Center. The university’s program is one of only three to be accredited by the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission. Some of Second Creek’s officers serve as adjunct faculty. The company and the university share staff and pool resources. This cooperative agreement allows both to stay on the cutting edge of computer forensic technology.

When not working or studying, Nessel still enjoys wandering the West Virginia hills.

“I like walking the trails at Kanawha State Forest,” he said. “Sometimes I take my antique camera and photograph plants, trees and landscapes. After years of living out West where the land is flatter and drier, I enjoy the chance to reconnect with the hills and forests.”

His affinity for nature was just one of the values Nessel absorbed during his childhood in West Virginia.

“Growing up here, we were instilled with a respect for hard work, honesty and a sense of community,” he said. “It was not something our families put into words. They taught by example.”

His son is now a 20-year-old college student in Michigan.

“Like me at his age, he’s restless and wants to see the world,” Todd said. “I hope that, like me, when he’s an adult and has been there and done that, he decides home isn’t such a bad place to be after all.”