Role: DevOps Engineer
Team: RAP (Reliability, Automation, Performance)
What do you do at Fast?
I’m on the RAP (Reliability, Automation, Performance) Team, and I focus on DevOps, which supports our other engineering teams. I joined in April of 2020.
Describe your typical day at Fast.
No two days are the same. Whether it’s adding to someone else’s work or untangling a blocker, I go where I’m needed.
Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a kid?
Nanaimo, in British Columbia, Canada. I was introverted and quiet, and into computers.
What was your first job?
I had a paper route back when newspapers were a thing. As a teenager, I was the fix-it person at a mom-and-pop computer store. The owner was good at selling computers, but not fixing them.
What led you to engineering?
My dad bought our first computer when I was seven. You hooked it up to the television and typed listings in to play this game or use that program. When it didn’t work, you had to troubleshoot, especially if there were typos in the magazine with the listings. And there were always typos, so if you didn’t want to wait a month for the next issue’s corrections, you figured it out.
I got my first PC in my teens and ran a bulletin board in high school. I then got a diploma in computer systems and built the tech side of an internet provider company, and it evolved from there.
What are Fast engineers doing that catches your eye?
We learned after launching that when our average consumer got confused, it was because they weren’t used to our checkout actually being so fast. We responded to that quickly, and improved the interface by leaps and bounds for user experience, and communicating how it works.
What does your desk setup look like?
My monitors have heat vents on the bottom, so I might have a cat (we have three) sleeping behind the monitor.
What food or drink is always at your desk?
Water. And those cats.
What’s your favorite thing about being an engineer?
Problem-solving. I’m the kind that likes to keep iterating and improving one thing incrementally each day. And I like helping others who are blocked.
Proudest moment as an engineer?
I was at PopSugar before I came to Fast. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, PopSugar had servers in a datacenter there. The flooding started in the basement and the fuel supply became contaminated with seawater, so there were just a few hours of backup power available. Normally it would be a six-month project, but six of us moved the datacenter into AWS Cloud (Amazon Web Services) in those few hours.
Also, in the ’90s, I ran a dialup provider that we built into the largest provider in the area.
Advice for engineers wondering what to do next?
Technology changes quickly, so deciding if you want to find a niche versus learning new technology can be difficult. When I got to Fast, I had a lot of learning to do. Not every company is willing to pivot to the new hotness in engineering. It’s okay to pivot yourself, and it’s a different decision for each.
One thing about you that is forever true?
I have a witty sense of humor. I always take my work seriously. And I’m an exceptional dad. That’s three.
What’s something you’ve found at Fast that doesn’t exist elsewhere?
Fast has been at the forefront with Fast Flex. And we have Fast engineers all over the world. Fast is focused on getting the best people for the positions since day one. So, wherever you are, we say welcome aboard, let’s get going.
What's something you regularly do, but you know you shouldn't?
Eating things that taste good, but that might not be great for me. I also stay up too late playing video games.
Morning person or night owl?
Your non-negotiables for life?
I’m a man of stability. Having a base to come back to is important to me. In terms of work, I want to feel appreciated and to know my contributions are recognized. And they are here.
Where can we follow you?