Like many engineers, my story starts with a computer. When I was 10, I started fiddling with desktop publishing on our family’s Macintosh — one of the earliest computers you could do this kind of work on at the time. As I grew older, my playful exploration became more of a valued skill. I started doing odd jobs for people after school, creating business card designs and small company logos.
I knew early on that this was the path for me — collaborating with people to create what they needed.
I stuck with this path out of high school, taking a job at a graphics company in Vancouver, B.C. My role was to help prepare the graphics for print, which required more technical focus. So, I started tapping into that side of my brain and learning about web development. This led me to build some in-house applications to move our more traditional processes onto the web.
When I was not working in the city, I spent all my free time an hour north in a town called Squamish — a mecca for rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking. My girlfriend and I would drive there every chance we could get, until we finally asked ourselves, “Why don’t we move here?” So we did, eventually getting married and starting a family.
I kept my job back in Vancouver for a while, but I grew tired of the commute and made the shift to working from home. I started by doing consulting work for clients, mostly print and digital design. I quickly saw that people needed more than good design — they needed web development too. So I began building websites and found a niche with real estate clients who wanted to show their listings online. This gave me the opportunity to build even more sophisticated projects. I enjoyed this work so much that I got into programming and web development full-time.
My new home and career path felt purposeful — I was excited to go all in with both.
Around this time, I was also discovering Ruby on Rails. This was in the early days when people still thought of the coding language as obscure and quirky. But I jumped in right away. I could see the vibrant community that was forming around it — people who were creating and sharing new ways of writing code.
I loved experimenting with Ruby and using it to help my clients. But working for myself, there was little opportunity to focus on one thing and grow it into a more substantial product. This is when I was approached by two former clients who were starting a SaaS company focused on the hospitality industry in nearby Whistler. I admired that they were bootstrapping the business and cared about company culture, so I joined them as the third employee.
I got to work on challenging problems, like how to integrate various sources of data into our application. I also played a large role in growing the engineering team — helping to foster a strong culture of collaboration. Over the next seven years, we grew the company to dozens of employees and many hotel clients worldwide.
Eventually the company was acquired and I started to think about something new. I knew I wanted to find a strong sense of culture and team spirit again. Aha! came to mind. I had used the application previously to help organize our product goals, and I decided to learn more about the company behind the software.
Once I did, I was certain this was the kind of culture that I was looking for. I saw an opening on the Aha! engineering team and applied right away. As I talked with the team throughout the interview process, I could tell that this was no ordinary company. Fully remote, self-funded, and profitable — not to mention “lovability” as a business metric. This was the place where I wanted to work.
Once I joined the Aha! team, I felt an instant sense of belonging — the work and the company just fit.
This started with the extensive onboarding process, where every new teammate — including engineers — gives a demo of the product to a potential customer. Although it made me a bit nervous, I was buoyed by the confidence the team had in me.
I have also been energized by the work. I get to take on challenging projects, be a part of a collaborative team, and ship meaningful features to customers. Recently, I helped improve our user permissions and records notifications.
The best part is that I get to do it all while working from the place I love — leaving me time to explore my passion for the outdoors and spend more time with my family. Once again, I know that I am on the right path for me.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.