Who I am

I also have a traditionally formatted resume.

TLDR

I am a self-taught and product-driven developer with over 10 years experience. My early background of Civil Engineering exposed me to problem-solving in the context of the project which I use as a Software Engineer to find product-focused solutions that take the entire business process into account. I am most effective when working with a team of engaged share-holders where I have a seat at the table. I enjoy taking technical leadership to set a productive direction for a team and mentoring junior members of the team to empower them to contribute more and do so confidently.

OK, the long version…

While I always had an interest in computers it took me a while to realize this is what I wanted to do. I went to college for Civil Engineering with an eye towards designing roller coasters but more realistically to work designing structures of some sort. After graduating, I worked in Chicago for a company where I helped design bridges, retaining walls, overhead sign structures. I also helped write a script that would generate roadway cross sections using survey data, satellite images, and various CAD designs.

Following a relocation back to Texas, I worked at a very small company designing highway retaining walls. It was a small company which had recently grown beyond the 2 founders but hadn’t grown their processes to keep pace and simply getting the status of the in-progress projects was a weekly 4-hour meeting huddled around an unshared spreadsheet. It was miserable and I knew there had to be a better option.

I had dabbled with PHP before so I started there and over the course of a few nights built an online version of the spreadsheet. Clicking on a cell replaced the contents with an edit form and it was all persisted in a SQLite database. It wasn’t much of an improvement but it did allow everyone to see and edit things throughout the week. About the same time I met a friend-of-a-friend who was a software developer and, after telling him the problem I was trying to solve and what I had built already, he pointed me to Agile Web Development on Rails.

I completed the tutorial in a few evenings and soon was working on Rails apps every evening and all weekend. I’d experiment, learn, start a new app to try something, and even went to went to Lone Star Ruby Conference… I was very excited. I quickly realized that when I woke up I didn’t want to design retaining walls… I wanted to write software. I began looking for the first job of my new career.

After going to Rails Conf in Austin I met someone from Mavenlink. After some online interviews and phone calls they decided to take a chance on me. I sold almost everything I owned and moved to San Francisco. I learned so much in the time I was at Mavenlink but maybe most importantly was how to be a professional developer and work with a team to solve problems. After 2 years the opportunity to work with my mentor and remotely came up and I moved back to Texas and started at Equifax. Another learning experience here but the main thing was a corporate environment was not where I could do my best work.

At Rubyconf in San Antonio I met Stitch Fix and joined the warehouse engineering team. Something clicked for me at Stitch Fix because I absolutely loved my time there. My background of Civil Engineering combined with my new software development skills in a way that helped me understand both the software running the warehouse but also the physical side. I began to thing about our software in terms of systems and with an understanding of how the synchronous physical processes interacted with the asynchronous software allowed us to find solutions that improved beyond the system we were directly changing but the entire warehouse as a whole. At Framebridge I used these same skills to add value on their factory team.

Suffering burnout, I took some time off to think about what would be next (and remodel a bathroom). I met with a career coach who helped me understand what my skills and strengths were, not in terms of software but in the context of a career. I learned that I built a tremendous sense of ownership in the products I worked on and my best work came when I had a seat at the table for solving problems within that space. I always valued the contributions of all the stakeholders and needed to be in a place that recognized me as a stakeholder as well.

Armed with this realization I felt the best way to realize this was finding a very early startup. I was fortunate enough to meet several exciting founders before finding a great match at Chatkick. I was the only engineer on the team working on an acquired Rails app. I was able to go in and stabilize and grow the app while making it easier to maintain and more enjoyable to work with. As I understood the application, I used that domain knowledge to help extract portions into shared services and migrate to those services without interruption to our users. I was another great time of growth where I learned a lot about software and about myself as a software engineer.