howstuffworks-logoHowStuffWorks – Atlanta, Georgia
Senior PHP Developer
October 2006 – September 2007

In October 2006 I accepted contract employment at HowStuffWorks.com to work with another contractor and a handful of employees to update their website with a new user experience. Working with the other contractor we quickly separated the project into two distinct areas. My primary role was to handle the code for the front-end while the other contractor handled the back-end. By the end of the project the other contractor and I were hired as full time developers.

At that time, HowStuffWorks.com was a privately owned website that provided in-depth answers to questions about well… how stuff works. I worked closely with the entire tech team and learned from each member. As a developer I would variously work on Microsites for exclusive sponsorships or build new features into the internally developed CMS.

HowStuffWorks – Atlanta, Georgia
PHP Development Team Lead / Senior Software Engineer
September 2007 – November 2007

My ability to work closely with both technical and non-technical staff often created a bridge between the two and I was promoted to be a team lead for the core web development team. The core team focus was on the delivery engine and rendering portions of the HowStuffWorks.com website.

I worked with the product, project management and executive management teams while being groomed by the SVP of Technology for a management role.

HowStuffWorks – Atlanta, Georgia
Web Development Manager
November 2007 – January 2008

Around November of 2007, I was promoted to web development manager which had me supervising both my original core team as well as the CMS team. As the web development manager for the PHP developers at HowStuffWorks.com, I provided resource planning and leadership for the teams. As both a department manager and senior web application developer I provided unique insight into process, procedure and problems that arise and gave recommendations and feedback to senior management.

My teams continued to provide award winning user experiences and earn the company prestige in the industry. Enough so that Discovery Communications turned their eye toward the company.

discovery-logoDiscovery Communications – Atlanta, Georgia
Web Development Manager (HowStuffWorks)
January 2008 – August 2012

As part of the acquisition of HowStuffWorks.com my role changed as my larger team was integrated into the Discovery culture and environment. With the two development teams geographically separated I worked with my counter-part in Maryland to build two teams that could work well together. The team’s wikis were consolidated, bug tracking systems merged and processes were changed. Each developer was issued a headset and microphone – Skype and Google Hangouts became the new water cooler.

Later, I worked behind closed doors with the executive management team to assess skills, personality and geography to break two mixed-stack teams into separate back-end and front-end teams. As I worked with the executive team to shape the future organization I had no idea whether I would lead the back or front-end team. Full disclosure of the very large organization change revealed that my role would now be to lead the front-end team in an Agile approach to development. My team was further broken down into teams that would support the three major brands and a fourth team that supported the minor brands.

So while my title didn’t change, my team and role did. In my new role I supported my team by supporting each of the the larger Agile “brand teams” which included Design, Quality Assurance, Product and Project Management.

Discovery Communications – Atlanta, Georgia
Director of Front End Development
August 2012 – July 2013

Another re-organization consolidated my “brand team” developers into a single front-end development team that focused on the entire portfolio rather than single brands. This also included a long awaited promotion to Director of Front End Development for me.

As a director my role was to continue supporting the same teams, but I was also asked to delegate some of my workload to free up additional time for me to travel to NYC and meet with the digital executive team and work closer with my peers. In this role I also had direct influence on the upcoming projects in the pipeline and was able to better guide priority decision making.

Another re-organization that I was not aware of included a decision to decommission all remote teams and contingent workers. Given that I was the director of a team that was 7/10ths geographically dispersed I was also part of the reduction in force. While I was offered a position in Maryland, I preferred to be based out of Georgia.

Over the course of my career with HowStuffWorks/Discovery (2006-2013), I:

  • Led full-stack PHP development team and support team
    • Project team of 6 full stack developers
    • support/maintenance team of 1 manager and 4 full stack developers
  • Led a team of 6 full stack developers
  • Led a team of 9 front-end developers
  • Led a team of 10 front-end developers and automated testers
  • Led a team of 8 front-end developers

I also managed key code migration teams when moving entire websites to a new cloud-based platform. My teams created the platform, migrated the content and applied new chromes, then maintained and supported the following:

  • Animal Planet
  • Destination America
  • Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Fit & Health
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Military Channel
  • Science Channel
  • TLC
  • Velocity

In addition, as part of my role in the Digital Media division I:

  • Managed Confluence wiki space for the digital media division
  • Personally managed Jira instance to handle intake of bug reports, feature requests and new products
    • Responsible for the conceptualization, implementation and maintenance of complex SDLC workflows
    • 17 simultaneous project queues
    • Auto-creation of requests through email
    • 6 unique custom workflows that made logic choices based on project, user, issue type and status
  • Supported migrations from SVN to Git
  • Sourced, interviewed, hired and terminated employees
  • Recommended and implemented process changes to better manage the division

Skills used during this role:

  • Adobe GoLive
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Apache
  • Aptana Studio
  • Atlassian Confluence
  • Atlassian Jira
  • Career Management
  • Communications
  • CSS
  • CVS
  • Git
  • HTML
  • Javascript
  • Jquery
  • Linux
  • Mentorship
  • MS Excel
  • MS PowerPoint
  • MS Visio
  • MS Word
  • mySQL
  • Notepad++
  • OmniGraffle
  • PHP
  • phpMyAdmin
  • Project Management
  • Relationship Management
  • SVN
  • Team Leadership
  • Zend Framework
  • Zend Studio

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