Throughout the mid and late ‘90s, he taught at local and regional high schools working as the Program Manager for Henkel’s & McCoy Engineering & Training and then became the Bakersfield, and later Rosamond, Director of Retraining for New Horizons Computer Learning Service (a worldwide computer and IT training company).
Rivera was ready to start something of his own—he loved the industry he was in, but as so many who start their own business realize, it’s better to be running the show. So in 2000, he began organizing the company that would become Advanced Micro Resource.
The first area of focus was education, which has evolved quite a bit since he first founded the company. Today, because it has become such an important educational area, “we provide STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—programs for school districts and nonprofit agencies,” Rivera said. “Our solution is turn-key. We provide the teacher, curriculum, supplies, and equipment and offer a host of programs including Robotics Engineering, Computer Coding, IC3 Certification, Music Engineering, CSI Forensics [more on that later], and Animate to Educate. When a school district or private agency hires us, all they have to do is provide a classroom and the students, we take care of the rest.”
Currently Advanced Micro Resource has 26 after-school program sites. It’s all the more impressive when you know that today the company has only six employees to manage all these programs.
You’d think with the emphasis on technology in today’s world, it would be a cinch to be in this industry. Rivera said it’s not the case. Any time there are budget cuts for schools, it affects Advanced Micro Resource and the staff’s ability to help guide these kids in avenues that will help them succeed in the future. “In 2007, we were hit really hard with changes in Carl Perkins funding—when you hear funding is being cut from schools, that affects us. It’s what caused us to refocus from high school programs to kindergarten-eighth grade programs.” For Rivera, the risk involves funding these programs for the school districts without knowing what will come of them. There’s no guarantee that the school district will have any money or space in the curriculum. But Rivera still invests in the staff, research hours, program development, and more.
The fact that there’s not always funding through schools also caused Rivera to want to expand elsewhere in the community. For example, thanks to recent funding by Chevron, Advanced Micro Resource led classes on STEM programs at Community Action Partnership of Kern’s Friendship House in March and April of this year.
With a goal of growing youth and adult educational services, in the realm of technology that is, in Kern County, Rivera and his team have a lot on their plates.
But that didn’t stop Rivera from realizing there was another avenue for the company to travel down; one that would bring with it more challenges.
“I started getting requests from local attorneys to perform digital forensic work,” he explained. “This was around 2010. These attorneys knew I was heavily involved with computers and technology and had been for decades.”
Rivera was considered somewhat of a guru at the time because he was able to do something that very few even knew how to do. “I was able to scan and index large case files into a computer and search and locate testimony and words used in those reports. This saved attorneys hours of time when they were locating information.”
So began the Digital Forensics Division of Advanced Micro Resource.
Rivera and his team search through electronic devices to access information that can be used in court cases—even information that suspects believe they’ve deleted.