Hey, who is this guy?

An brief introduction to SparkFun’s new Director of Software Development and IT (SWIT).

Hi, you recently read a blog post from me about the health and status of data.sparkfun.com. Some people were asking, “Hey, who is that guy?” I think that’s a fair question. I never really got a chance to introduce myself before I went and started talking about Data.

Back in January, Frencil, the long standing Director of IT here at SparkFun, decided to step down. Frencil was leaving under very good terms and decided that he would also help Nate find a new Director of IT for SparkFun. I applied for the position in February. As you can imagine, a position like this took a while to fill, but he was involved in almost every stage of the hiring process. I remember talking to him during the phone screen and then again during my in person interview. Since I’ve gotten to join the SparkFun team, he has been an excellent emissary of the brand, helping me feel very comfortable at SparkFun even when he is no longer an employee.

Frencil is a special guy, SparkFun was lucky to have someone like him when they did and I wish him all the best moving forward.

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Here I am.

As I have taken over I’ve made a few changes, most prominently the department name. In honor of all of the cool software work we do here at SparkFun, I asked that the department be renamed from IT to Software Development and IT, or SWIT. I have a great crew here helping me fly this ship and we are currently growing.

My technical background has mostly been leading development and DevOps teams, and I feel that the position here at SparkFun is fully situated to take advantage of these skills. My DevOps background specifically is what drove the post about Data. We had a problem, I wanted it fixed and then I wanted not only a chance to explain ourselves, but a chance to highlight how we were going to improve moving forward.

So, now that I’m here, I plan to be your conduit for many SparkFun-related information sharing activities. When we have something cool to show you, I’ll make sure you see it. If we mess up, I’ll be the one owning up to it. We believe in an open sharing of resources and ideas, and this transparency is our promise to you, our customers.

So, a little about me. I’m new to Colorado, having just moved here from Maryland (the DC Metro area to be more specific). I’ve never lived outside of the East Coast and I’m really enjoying both Colorado and SparkFun.

I’m a pretty big fan of science fiction and I’ll try and include as many references as feels right in most of my writing. This was an aspect of SparkFun culture that was not lost on me when I came for my first interview. All of the conference rooms are named after spaceships, the main conference room being the Millennium Falcon. Come on a tour and see how many spaceship rooms you can see!

On top of that, I’m a pretty big sports fan, having spent the last 11 years rooting for the Nationals. They came to town a little after I graduated college. Once I had a real job and was starting to really earn some money, I figured the best use of this was baseball season tickets. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Double M with a prized Nationals Give away

I have also found a very happy place with the intersection of Sports and science fiction/fantasy. It was at a baseball game that I first realized I was in costume at a major event, which helped ease my concerns about going to conventions as a cosplayer, an activity I have enjoyed for many years now.

I’ve also come up with interesting technology management theories that can be explained using the rosters of either the X-Men or basketball teams. When you consider any team, you have to look at your resource balance based on internal dynamics. The X-Men need a power balance, different mutants provide different and complementary skills. Yes, 10 Wolverines would be cool, but do you want to manage that? The same is true in basketball. Simply stacking the deck with the best players doesn’t provide long term success. Getting the best players doesn’t always get you everything you need. You also need role players that know how to complement each other and that can make everyone better. In both examples the goal is to build a team that is more than the sum of its parts. Interested in hearing more? I’m sure we can discuss that during a tour as well.

Technology management is a passion of mine. I’m glad that I was able to find a company that cares about its employees and the future. I’m excited to be here at SparkFun and I’m excited about our future together.

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