What is your position at FlightStats?
Engineering Manager of Data Processing
What made you interested in what you do?
I started working in technology back in the late 1990s during the dot-com bubble when there was cash everywhere, and you could get a job doing anything. I was working for a Wall Street stock company, which was kind of soul-sucking, but I was on a team with brilliant people, and I liked the work. I enjoyed solving problems. When that job ended because the stock market crashed, I realized I could still get a job that required problem-solving. I like the challenge of coming up with novel and quick solutions to what seem like complex, unsolvable issues.
How long have you been working at FlightStats?
2 ½ years
How has FlightStats evolved since you started?
It feels like 2 ½ years ago was a very long time ago. I feel like I’ve taken on broader challenges. The shift has gone away, at least on my team, from dealing with technical debt to exploring better ways to improve the quality and consistency of our data. We’ve certainly grown as a company size wise. We have a stronger focus on moving forward and building better products and exploring new technologies.
What do you like about working at FlightStats?
The culture is great. I love surrounding myself with really nice and brilliant people. Also, the flexibility is a huge benefit, and I like how much I’m respected as an individual who contributes as opposed to being just another replaceable employee.
What’s the best part of working on Data Processing at FlightStats?
We have a lot of autonomy. There isn’t a lot of management breathing down our necks telling us what to do. Here, your team is presented with a problem, you work together to find a solution, and you fix it. That style of management helps us find novel or interesting ways to find a solution rather than getting stuck in the minutia of how we’ll solve something given too many restraints.
I also really like the way we have separated our organization into these cross-functional teams. It enables us to be an integrated unit that solves problems and also interacts with other teams to solve each other’s needs. We’re able to set our own pace and not get blocked, which also allows for great personal growth.
What are your hopes for our company?
I hope we’ll expand to use wider data sets. I hope we integrate more types of data into what we do and solve some interesting, new problems. I hope we increase our quality and the value that we provide.
What do you do in your free time?
I have a daughter coming on July 1st. She is my first child, so right now I am fixing up my house, which seems to be taking up too much time. I’m also going to baby classes. I go to a lot of shows around town. I like all the music that comes to Portland as well as theater. I like to go camping and hang out with my dog and two cats.
Any other fun facts you want to share?
My undergrad degree is in psychology, which is not useful for this career. My wife and I met when we were 20, and we decided to get married ten years later in Iceland.