Welcome back to the Meet Our Team Q&A series. My name is Daniela Williams, Project Manager at ISE, and I’ll be asking ISE team members questions to help give insight into what makes us tick.
It's one of our favorite days of the year - Pi Day! Today I'm interviewing Curran Lipsett, Software Developer, Product Owner, and the lead of the Fun Committee - which organizes a delicious Pie Baking Contest to celebrate Pi(e) Day. In the past year Curran has also been heading up the transition of team members to the Vault in Cedar Rapids. Curran wears quite a few hats at ISE! .
Q. How long have you worked at ISE and what did you do prior?
Curran: The end of February marks the completion of my 3rd year at ISE. Prior to ISE, I worked at a company called Cerner, which was focused on proving healthcare IT solutions to hospitals and other healthcare oriented businesses. My title was Systems Engineer, which, at Cerner, meant I was a Linux administrator for multiple Red Hat Enterprise Linux nodes.
Q. This is your third year leading the Fun Committee. What has been your favorite event?
Curran: I think my favorite event each year is the Pizza and Bags event we have during the summer. It is a great event for everyone at ISE because we get to spend a few hours socializing, hanging out with our coworkers, eating delicious pizza, and of course, participating in the bags tournament. It’s also a great story, seeing as the owners of Maggie’s Pizza were also ISE’s first customer way back in the early days of ISE.
Q: Outside of the Fun Committee, your role at ISE has evolved from developer to Product Owner. How has ISE provided the support necessary to be successful as your role has changed?
Curran: ISE has done a great job supporting my development into the role of Product Owner. I was recently involved in some Leadership Development training with three other team members who’ve recently taken on or expanded their leadership roles. The training was focused on the Mastering Leadership book and philosophy which was developed by the Leadership Circle team. I enjoyed the training as it allowed the four of us to grow individually, but also to reflect on our accomplishments and struggles as we went through the course. It was great to get input from the other members to get different perspectives on how they would address a problem.
Along with the Leadership Development training, ISE also provides 40 hours of “Growth and Development” time for every employee each year, and I’m currently using my 40 hours to work towards the Professional Scrum Product Owner 1 Certification (PSPO 1). A few others at ISE already hold this certification, and have had positive things to say about the effort involved in obtaining the certification as well as the value it provides to their work and personal lives.
Q. You are currently working out of our newest location, the Vault, in Cedar Rapids. How has this changed the everyday work environment and interaction with your team?
Curran: I am very thankful that ISE was supportive of the team members who had interest in establishing a Cedar Rapids location for ISE. It has been a very positive and smooth transition for the now 10 team members who work out of the Vault full time. I think we have been successful because of ISE’s focus on keeping team members happy and ensuring teams are operating in an efficient manner.
Some of the changes I’ve noticed in regards to working out of the Vault include:
- Having most of our meetings in a “virtual” fashion, where a majority of the meeting attendees join the meeting remotely as opposed to joining the meeting from a meeting room. This has been a great change for everyone on the call. In the past, there were issues with hearing all the people in the meeting room due to the position of the microphone, background noise, or conversations between multiple people in the room.
- Ensuring we are constantly communicating and collaborating on our work in a more searchable and maintainable way. Since we aren’t physically next to each other, there is a barrier in how quickly we can ask questions and get answers from team members. To address this, our teams are using other forms of communication, such as Slack or video conferencing. This has been a good shift as it makes it easier to search back through previous conversations to get an answer to a question, and it also helps the remote team members feel like they are being included in important conversations that might be happening in the other offices.
- Meeting people from different teams. One nice thing about the Vault is that it’s not dedicated to one team at ISE. We have a few members from the Big Data team, a few members from the eFleetSuite teams, and a few other ISE team members. While it’s easy to know everyone’s name at ISE, it’s sometimes tougher to make deeper connections with team members who aren’t directly on your team.
- Upgrading some of ISE’s networking hardware. One of the challenges with working from the Vault is that we all need to be on the VPN in order to get access to resources inside the ISE network. It’s been great that our IT Manager, Nick, has been willing to work with us to understand and improve our experience while working on the VPN. I know the rest of the group at the Vault appreciates the effort as well!
Q: What do you do for fun?
Curran: I have a wonderful wife, Katie, and a 2.5 year old daughter, Hayden, who tend to keep me pretty busy. Hayden is involved in dance and gymnastics, and those activities are something I really look forward to watching and participating in. We are getting ready for spring so we can continue our raised bed garden. Last year, we had one 4x8 raised bed with tomatoes and bell peppers, but this year, we plan to add two more 4x8 beds. I’m working on getting those ready to go and looking into using an Arduino to create a watering system that I can set to a schedule. I also enjoy playing the guitar and reading all sorts of books when I have free time. My wife and I enjoy being outdoors and are looking into getting into biking during the upcoming spring and summer months.
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