Runamok? It runs smoothly from Gid Brown Hollow

The name for Dave Yowell’s Runamok Systems LLC came from a group of Yowell’s friends who camped together, after one of them called the outing “Camp Runamok.” Being a big bluegrass fan, Yowell knows that the hardest part of writing a song is coming up with the title; naming a business is the same.

Yowell, subject of our latest non-storefront business feature, has always loved tinkering and getting things to work. He worked in maintenance for Wakefield School (first in Huntly and after the move to The Plains) and got his first computer around the same time, when he began teaching himself how it worked. When Wakefield’s computer teacher quit mid-year, the school knew of Yowell’s computer expertise by then and promoted him to teacher.

For 10 years he was the school’s technical person; talk about on-the-job training! Yowell even built the school’s network. As he says, he went “from fixing buses to fixing computers.” He spent a year and seven exams to become a certified Microsoft systems engineer.

Born in Viewtown just over the Culpeper County line, Yowell has been in the county since 1983. His wife, Carolyn (Pullen), was born and raised in the county. They live in Gid Brown Hollow. His 15-year-old son is at RCHS, and an older son lives in Luray.

Little known fact: Yowell hosts, which is why shows Gid Brown Hollow when you enter your Sperryville or Washington zip code.

Yowell started his business part-time five years ago, going full time almost two years ago. His clients include businesses and individuals in Rappahannock, Warrenton, Culpeper and Faquier counties. He is able to monitor businesses remotely, which increases his speed to access and assistance. His longest tech support call so far has been from Japan where one of his local Rappahannock clients needed help.

Yowell wants you to know that there is in-county, reasonably priced technical support for everything from a short consulting appointment if you are about to buy a first or new computer to major Microsoft Systems work and network troubleshooting. He can be reached at 540-987-9155 or 540-522-8102 (cell), or by email at

Stop by Dexter Lake Club Antiques to see the shop’s huge collection of buttons ― and guess how many buttons are in the button jar while you’re there. The winner will have a donation made in his or her name to the Rappahannock non-profit of choice. The contest ends April 1, at which time the buttons will be counted and the winner announced. What a nice way to have some fun on a winter day, and have an opportunity to help do some good here in the county!

Some button history from The first buttons appeared more than 3,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age. While recognizably buttons, Bronze Age man didn’t fasten anything with them, but simply wore them for decoration. The Greeks thought the button might make a nifty fastener, and ran the button through a little loop of thread, thus giving it a practical use.

The French were quick to spot the potential of the button and by 1250 had established the Button Makers Guild. Button mania ran on unabated; in 1520 reports tell of a meeting where King Francis I of France, his clothing bedecked with some 13,600 buttons, met King Henry VIII of England, similarly weighed down with buttons.