Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi everybody! I’m a software developer and have worked at Fuel for over six years. My lovely wife and I have been married for 12 years and have two young kids: a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son. I have lived almost my entire life on the West Coast. I spent my younger years growing up in sunny Southern California, where I enjoyed the beaches and was blessed with seasonal passes to Disneyland by my generous grandma. During my teen and adult years, I’ve lived almost exclusively in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The one exception is a year I spent living in Kansas City, Missouri, where my most memorable experiences would be the awesome lightning storms and fireflies!
What do you do at Fuel, and what is the most valuable resource you provide to our members?
I primarily develop internal software that helps Fuel operate more efficiently and strategically. One of our company’s biggest strengths has been our ability to adapt to changing conditions, including the astonishing growth on our road to being the industry leader we are today, a global pandemic and the introduction of remote work, or the various other challenges we regularly face. I build software that helps us document the important work we do on behalf of our members and allows the leadership teams here at Fuel to run reports on various metrics to help facilitate informed and strategic decisions. The most visible resource members would likely have seen that involves me would be our Member Portal. I’m part of the team that manages and develops the portal, specifically the sales reporting tool. It is an adaptation of the powerful internal systems I’ve built that is tailored to our members.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
A typical day for me starts with a cup of coffee—black, no sugar. Next, I deal with any new emails or software bug reports. The bulk of the day will be spent typing code at my computer, researching how to solve a specific problem or staring seemingly mindlessly into space as my brain tries to work out solutions. One of the things I love about software engineering and the innovative work I do at Fuel is getting to use creativity to think of the best ways to solve problems.
What is your professional background?
My journey as a developer started in 1997 when I created my first website at age 12 on a service called GeoCities. Website development stayed a hobby of mine from that point onward. Later in my teens, that interest branched into computer programming as I developed my first web app: an online sheet music database and the ability to transpose the music into different keys. At that time, circa 2004, there wasn’t any commercially available software to do that over the internet. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the software publicly available because sheet music is copyrighted. However, it still worked wonderfully for the musicians at my local church and alleviated a lot of the hassle they previously had to go through. Professionally, I actually was going in a completely different direction at the time. I attended the American College of Real Estate & Appraisal, did a three-year apprenticeship and earned my license as a certified real estate appraiser. Let’s just say the timing wasn’t great. I got my license in 2008, and later that same year, the well-known 2008-2009 market collapse started, and the available work dried up. Not knowing how long the recession would last, I made the difficult decision to go back to school and pursue a different career path. I ultimately got my bachelor’s in computer science and spent a few years working in the research and planning department at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), where I was hired on a professor’s recommendation while still attending school. At MHCC, I wrote customized software to help them capture and report on data important for accreditation and was part of the team responsible for implementing their data warehouse. When the vice-president I worked for left and my department merged with IT, I moved on and did freelance work for a year before hearing about Fuel from someone who said it was a great place to work—they didn’t lie!
What do you like to do in your free time?
Do you have a fun fact about yourself you’d like to share? As a parent of young kids, I’m not familiar with this thing you refer to as “free time.” All kidding aside, it really is hard to find free time in the personal sense at this stage in my life. Outside of work, raising our kids and helping them grow and have a happy, healthy childhood full of love and support is where the vast majority of my energy goes. I usually get a couple of hours of personal time after the kids go to bed and will spend it watching Netflix, playing online video games with my wife or other friends or reading on my Kindle. On occasions when my wife and I can get out on a date alone, hiking trips where we do photography would be my favorite. For a fun fact: Probably the best fish dinner I’ve ever had was one served to me in a poor part of Africa. A wonderful family invited us to their small home in the city with dirt floors, dirt walls and no electricity other than a single light bulb near the door. They cooked us an amazing and generous dinner with local fish. It was a great experience and a reminder of how blessed we are here in America. The photo below was taken by my wife; my knee is the one at the bottom of it.