I am happiest outside. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, I loved spending time in nature. Some of my favorite childhood memories were hiking and backpacking in the woods. My dad was an educator and my mom was a research assistant at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, so summer camping trips were our family’s budget-friendly vacation of choice. I joined the Boy Scouts, where my mom was a troop leader, and eventually worked my way up to Eagle Scout.
These early experiences showed me the value of being a guide — how to master skills, learn the terrain, and then lead others.
By the time I got to high school, my interests really expanded and I got involved in everything from math and chess clubs to marching band. But it was programming that really fascinated me. As soon as my older sister showed me the QBasic language from her computer science class, I was enthralled. My parents gave me a used laptop, and I spent hours making line equations and drawing shapes on the screen. I even joined my school’s programming team to compete in timed coding challenges.
After graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in computer science, I began working as a software engineer at a proprietary trading firm. My job was to develop and support trading applications for various options and future markets. The technical work was interesting, but I did not feel a strong connection to the financial services industry.
So I followed my love of the outdoors to AllTrails, a startup in San Francisco that was developing an app for hiking enthusiasts. As the sixth employee, I watched the company grow exponentially over the next seven years. I worked on trail mapping and editing features, built tools to manage user input, and improved infrastructure to support our growing user base.
As the company expanded, so did my role — first to senior software engineer, then to head of engineering.
I relished the chance to guide a small team of web and mobile developers. Scaling a consumer product while simultaneously building it was a new challenge for me — I enjoyed constantly learning along the way. 2016 to 2017 was also a prime development period for cloud computing and front-end frameworks, so I gained valuable experience in all parts of the technology stack.
When the company completed an acquisition process, I decided that I was ready to find my next opportunity. I wanted to push myself to learn more and experience new things. After discovering Aha! on a remote job board, I was intrigued. I was looking for a remote-first position at a profitable company with experienced developers, and Aha! seemed like the perfect fit. The interview process was thoughtful and enjoyable — everyone was easy to talk to and cared to hear about my long-term goals.
Since joining, I have worked on everything from emoji reactions in Aha! to our new Gantt chart experience. My role has also grown from senior engineer to an engineering lead. As energizing as the technical work is, the best part about working at Aha! is the people. Everyone is so skilled at what they do and takes the time to share their knowledge. It is a joy to work with teammates who are as passionate about being engaged and helping others as I am. We all make each other better.
I am still a guide — helping our team create technology solutions that benefit our customers.
Nature continues to be an integral part of my life. Whether it’s a walk with Pancho (my black labrador retriever) during lunch or playing ultimate frisbee on a weekend, I make time for the outdoors. Twice a year, I get to share this love with my Aha! teammates at our onsites. So far, I have gone ATVing in Lake Tahoe, California, and snorkeling in Key Largo, Florida. I am excited for our team’s next great adventure.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.