“What sets Anvl apart is our approach to building solutions. While other tech startups start with a solution and then go in search for a problem, Anvl started by working directly with frontline workers and learning what problems were prevalent in their work environment. We found the simplest way to solve an existing problem.”
Tell me a little more about what you do in your role as the CTO of Anvl.
My role as the CTO primarily focuses on orchestrating the engineering and product teams as a whole, as well as collaborating with our customer success and sales teams. We work together to architect our solution while keeping Anvl’s vision in mind. I look at our product lines from a long-term standpoint and try to bring focus to our larger goals in order to enable our customers and sustain our vision.
What inspires you about your daily work?
What inspires me most is seeing the work we have done make a difference in the lives of frontline workers. Our solution has given these workers a voice in what they do – often frontline workers have the best ideas for a solution but are too often underserved and unheard. Anvl helps these workers be heard whether it is highlighting certain PPE a worker needs, or if they have a suggestion to make a process more efficient.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?
The most rewarding part is when you get to see all the pieces come together in a unified, simple solution for our customers. Especially for being a start-up tech company, It has been rewarding seeing all of the solutions and features we have constructed come together and get into peoples’ hands. It has been great to see something that we have all worked so hard on be so successful. Anvl’s new Leading Indicators Dashboard is a great example of this: it took time to develop and conceptualize while listening to the workforce and leadership, and after all of the time spent working on this feature, it was rewarding to see that come out to workers and impacting their lives for the better.
What do you think sets Anvl apart? What makes Anvl unique?
What sets Anvl apart is our approach to building solutions. While other tech startups start with a solution and then go in search for a problem, Anvl started by working directly with frontline workers and learning what problems were prevalent in their work environment. We found the simplest way to solve an existing problem.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I helped start a video game studio called Beach Dogs. The studio’s first title was essentially a competitive beach dog frisbee arcade game, but it never shipped. I still have all the fantastic pixel art though!
What accomplishment, personal and/or professional are you most proud of?
To help pay for college, I worked at the Indiana University Student Union in their new computer hardware and software store. While I was working there, I met a School of Library Information Sciences graduate student who was also a professional bodybuilder. The two of us teamed up to learn something that wasn’t being taught yet: a new language from Sun Microsystems named Java. We taught ourselves in our spare time, and that kicked off my professional career in software engineering.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
My kids and I (mostly me) love to tinker with hardware experiments and STEM toys. We build robots on top of vibrating toothbrush heads or construct alarm clocks that play annoying music – really anything that involves building and learning about electronics. I still am on the hunt for antique Pascalines – the first mechanical calculator designed and sold in quantity.
During your time at Anvl, what is the most important thing you have learned?
The most important thing I have learned is that everyone on a team can have a significant impact. The Anvl team works in collaboration with each other every day, contributing from their experience and background in new and unique ways. Our small team has the opportunity and the strategy to make our each of our products successful, and that hard work and vision makes all the difference.
What is one thing that has surprised you about working at Anvl?
I am surprised and excited about how small details can go a long way when it comes to making a difference to users. Subtle things, such as reducing the number of clicks on a screen or making a mobile app that is easy to use with work gloves, make a huge difference when you need to use an app ten hours a day, six days a week. It helps you realize how an attention to detail can make an enormous difference in design.
Who do you look to as a role model/mentor and why?
I don’t know if I have a mentor or role model, but since high school I’ve been inspired by programmers like John Carmack. John is the guy who wrote and developed Doom and could be considered the “father of modern video games.” He claims his secret to success is taking high school math concepts and simply applying them in new and novel ways. The way his mind works in order to discover patterns in complex problems was always impressive to me.
What John’s coworkers have to say about him:
“John is full of surprises and can always make everyone laugh – his unique sense of humor can always put a smile on the faces of everyone around him! His passion for strong culture and inclusivity is admirable and contagious. John is also a wonderful teammate and fantastic mentor. He is super intelligent and is often my go-to for so much more than just tech-related questions!”
“John is a jack of all trades and always there for whatever you need. For a code review, tech advice, comic relief, or even awkward silence, John is your guy. he tries to make everyday interesting. It has been an absolute pleasure working with him over the past two years.”
“John is an incredibly smart and experienced tech leader, integral to guiding the Anvl team. Beyond the wealth of tech and leadership experience John brings humor and energy into meetings, conversations, and chats. He’s a joy to work with.”
“It has been a pure joy working with John. He is one of the best leaders and co-workers that I have had during my career. He fosters teamwork very well and pushes each member just the right amount to get better continuously. His technical expertise has been instrumental in establishing the Anvl platform as one of its kind. One of the biggest perks of working with John is the levity that he brings to the room and makes the Anvl journey fun. I am happy to be working with him every day.”