How long have you been working in technology for and what is your technical background?
Technology has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would spend most of my free time in front of a computer. My first exposure to programming was when I was young and I did simple BASIC commands. I received a degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota and I have worked in various tech roles utilizing several different technologies, languages, and applications.
What are you focused on right now?
We are heavily focused on growing our team and expanding our solution. We have a very innovative and aggressive roadmap for 2017. We take a lot of pride in being innovative and moving fast. Additionally, our customer growth is ensuring that we constantly focus on the scalability of our software and infrastructure.
What are the some of the technologies within your company and IT environment?
Our platform is built primarily on the LAMP stack. Our front end is currently being revamped to use Ember. Rackspace is our hosting provider. We utilize several supporting applications to help manage work and communication, such as Office 365, JIRA, Bitbucket, and Slack. Ensuring the security of our data is also a big part of our platform. We employ Trustwave to help assess the security of our platform and to perform external penetration testing.
How do you ensure that IT plans, projects and objectives are aligned with business outcomes?
We ensure alignment with continuous open communication across departments and with our customers. We focus on continually improving our customer’s experience and have found significant value in listening to what our customers want. Customers drive our business objectives and ultimately drive the direction of our platform and initiatives.
What is the size of your department and how is it organized/managed?
My department is in growth mode right now. We have almost 20 fulltime employees, and I am growing the department into five functional areas consisting of Software Engineering, Systems Engineering (who manage Security and DevOps), Product Management, Software Quality Assurance, and Solutions Engineering. The latter three teams are new this year. Previously, Customer Success, Sales, and I shared the responsibility of these roles.
How does your company approach recruiting and retention for technical positions in an increasingly competitive market?
Total Expert is an awesome place to work. We have a creative, fun and open environment that is attractive to potential hires. We have a full-time recruiter on staff and we have utilized Empulse to help us find the best talent. Additionally, we rely on referrals and networking to find the best talent in our tech community.
How do you personally keep up with the ever-changing technology landscape?
The best resources are the really smart and talented people I work with every day. They all have different areas of expertise and they all provide me with information that helps me increase my knowledge. Outside of Total Expert, I do my best to attend technology conferences and spend a fair amount of time researching what other successful companies are doing.
What excites you about where technology is heading?
We live in an exciting time filled with innovation and an expanding amount of data available at our fingertips. I believe there are limitless opportunities to build intelligent things, especially real- time analytics and predictive algorithms that can be utilized to detect and respond to data patterns. I am excited to be working in a platform that allows me to be a part of these exciting times. What concerns you about where technology is heading? Innovation is moving so fast and data collection is growing every day. We all need to ensure we are working to keep data secure.
What are you into outside of technology?
My wife and I have four dogs, so we enjoy anything that will allow us to bring them along. We especially enjoy spending our free time during the summer months boating with them.
What is your opinion of Minnesota’s tech industry?
I am proud of Minnesota’s tech industry. It is exciting to be part of one of the fastest growing tech communities in the US and to have all the resources and talent that help tech companies successfully grow. Anyone who has not watched the Story of TECH in Minnesota ‘Documntary’, I highly recommend it.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity.