Even the best résumés leave a lot to be desired: they lack context and narrative. If you’d like a better idea of how I work, I think you’ll find the rest of this page a lot more helpful.
Interested in working with me? Feel free to say hello!
About Me — my philosophy of software development and my slightly unusual educational background, featuring a Master of Divinity and a Bachelor of Science in Physics
My Work — not just where I’ve worked and the tech I used, but what I brought to the table and the difference I made:
My Projects — including podcasts I produce, talks I’ve given, and open-source software I’ve developed or contributed to:
I am senior software engineering leader, lately focused on programming language adoption, web framework development, and developer productivity and experience. Other long-running professional interests include UI, typography, functional programming, and ethical software development.
Besides my developer experience engineering experience, I have a long history with full-stack web development as well as half a decade of systems-level programming (including avionics software and computational physics models), an undergraduate degree in physics, a master’s degree in theology, and a passion for building the right things in the right way.
Building the right things means I am not interested in startups whose vision consists of either “tear down an existing industry” or “applying software will solve all our problems.” I would much rather work for a company with both a vision for how its product improves human lives and a recognition of the limits of technology. Tech is not a panacea for human ills and too often simply reinforces the worst of our existing failings.
Building things the right way means I am not interested in slapdash product development and rushed delivery. Software development as a business field consistently underinvests in product quality and maintainability. It is the responsibility of engineers to raise that bar.
I earned a Master of Divinity with honors from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in May 2017, after 4½ years simultaneously pursuing the degree and working as a software developer. I am not a pastor by profession, but I care deeply about the ethical, social and, yes, spiritual implications of the software I build.
I graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from The University of Oklahoma in May 2009, having been a regular departmental award winner. My senior thesis, a project in computational neurophysics (in Fortran 90!), led me into programming — but/and I still miss doing physics and math on a regular basis.
An effective technical leader in a large and complex engineering organization.
Since January 2019, I have worked as an infrastructure engineer at LinkedIn, focused on developer productivity and application performance for LinkedIn’s flagship web app.
Since September 2021, as a Senior Staff Software Engineer:
- I lead all front-end web development efforts on the flagship web app, setting the strategy and architectural direction
- I am the primary subject matter expert for LinkedIn’s TypeScript adoption and migration strategies.
- I work closely with both product teams and other infrastructure teams, and in that role I am one of the primary drivers for web development across the LinkedIn ecosystem.
- I was the tech lead for the adoption of Ember Octane across the application. Additionally, as one of a handful of primary technical experts on Octane — at LinkedIn or anywhere else — I support many other teams rewriting existing code into Octane idioms and teams building brand new experiences Octane-first.
- I led efforts to update the app to the current versions of Ember.js, unblocking adoption of Octane.
- I helped build, and continue to support, Volta, an open-source, cross-platform tool (written in Rust!) for managing Node.js environments in a reproducible, reliable way.
I am the developer and leader I am today because of many experiences before today.
From individual contributor to a project lead with organization-wide influence.
From January 2016 — January 2019, I was a front-end-focused software engineer at Olo, a scale-up-phase startup which is the leading provider of online ordering for large restaurant brands.
As a Software Engineer (January
- I led the adoption of a test-driven development approach in a greenfield Ember.js rewrite of the mobile web UI.
- I helped the team achieve full AA WCAG accessibility.
As a Senior Software Engineer (May
I led a team effort to expand the mobile web UI into a responsive web UI to reduce our maintenance burden, improve overall UX, and decrease the cost of launching new features.
I designed a new technical strategy for white-labeling (including the adoption of CSS Modules), enabling the business to support more brands by way of better tooling.
I pioneered Olo’s use of Requests for Comments (RFCs), modeled on the RFC processes from the Rust and Ember communities, as a tool for architecture design and documentation. I began by using RFCs for several important initiatives in my own team. The success of those initiatives validated RFCs’ utility when I later introduced them to the broader engineering organization. They are now Olo’s standard tool for documenting architectural changes and a prerequisite for all new internal services.
I finished the app’s conversion to a fully strictly-type-checked TypeScript application.
Throughout my time at Olo, I:
- led the community effort to integrate TypeScript with Ember.js
- helped launch a shared component library for future rich client projects
- delivered over a dozen internal tech talks on subjects including managing technical costs, Ember.js basics, functional programming techniques, and introductions to Rust and Elm
- substantially reshaped front-end engineering practices and tooling choices as an informal leader among our front-end engineering group
I matured significantly as both an individual contributor and a leader in my time at Olo. For the first time, I was able to make a substantial difference at the team level, at the organizational level, and at the level of the broader technical community.
A formative experience: a technical success but a product design failure.
HolyBible.com is a beautiful interface for reading the King James Version of the Bible and the Reformation Heritage Study Bible materials online, built for Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. The MVP launched in December 2014, with approximately 30 months of small bug fixes and feature enhancements following.
I worked closely with a designer to create the visual language for the app before diving into the implementation. The app uses AngularJS, Express/Node.js, and PostgreSQL; I also did a great deal of XML-mashing in Python for the Bible source text and study Bible integration.
The project was a substantial technical success: it has rarely crashed and had no bugs reported since spring 2017. I’m doubly proud of the project because it was only the second time in my career I’d built an entire non-trivial web application from scratch, and the first time I did so solo.
On the other hand, the project was a product design failure. The site is beautiful and functional, but it failed to meet the seminary’s goals for driving more traffic to the seminary landing page. My failure to establish what “success” meant to the seminary led me to deliver a technically-solid piece of software… that solved the wrong problem.
Quest Consultants, Inc.
Collaborating across disciplines; transitioning to remote work.
- I improved the performance of one existing computational hazard model by a factor of 7.
- I rewrote another computational model in C (from Fortran 77).
- I supported another rewrite effort (again from Fortran 77) to Python 3.
- I helped the team adopt Mercurial for version control and JIRA for bug tracking software.
Those efforts taught me a great deal about communicating effectively with domain experts, working remotely (as I did beginning in January 2013), testing effectively, refactoring legacy codebases safely, and wrangling large software development efforts over time.
Learning the basics of software engineering.
Over those three years I acquired a good dose of humility and basic knowledge of software engineering, including the use of bug trackers and source control, strategies for testing, and patterns for writing maintainable code.
Teaching myself web development.
Beginning in January 2010, I taught myself web programming, beginning with PHP and jQuery and the LAMP stack. Having a good working knowledge of HTML and CSS from designing my own blog in college, I decided to learn web development. I began by building church websites and blogs for friends in WordPress. Later, while working as a subcontracting consultant for Innova Computing, I developed a custom CMS for the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure.
My goal throughout was not merely to make some extra money, nice though that was. Rather, I aimed to transition from the world of C and Fortran where I began my career to working full time in UI-focused web development. (Mission accomplished.)
Besides my family life, church participation, and day-to-day work, I am also a prolific writer, podcaster, and open source software contributor. My writing you can find primarily on this website; I focus primarily on technology, ethics, and faith (though if you want to read my so-so poetry, that’s here too).
Winning Slowly (January
2014 – November2021): cohosted with Stephen Carradini, a show about taking the long view on technology, religion, ethics and art. Stephen described it (accurately) as a show focused on tech, but from the angles of religion, ethics, and art. I described it (also accurately) as our excuse to talk about whatever we want, since “technology, religion, ethics and art” pretty much touches on all of human existence. For a good sample of the way I approach software and ethics, check out 6.06: A Kind of Blindness, on smart cities, “big data”, and the meaninglessness of mere information.
New Rustacean (September
2015 – May2019): a show about the Rust programming language — dedicated primarily to teaching people Rust. Initially a way of helping myself stay motivated to keep up with learning the language, New Rustacean became one of the most popular resources for people learning Rust and inspired a few other teaching-programming-languages podcasts.
Open Source Software
TypeScript and Ember.js
I am presently a member of the Ember.js Framework and Typed Ember core teams, the latter of which I founded in 2017. The efforts of the Typed Ember Core team ultimately led to the adoption of TypeScript as an officially supported language for Ember, including the development of a Semantic Versioning for TypeScript Types spec, a best-in-class language server, and the only attempted gradual migration path from DefinitelyTyped to natively-published types.
As part of my work at LinkedIn, I helped develop and continue to maintain Volta, an open-source, cross-platform tool (written in Rust!) for managing Node.js environments in a reproducible, reliable way.
In the fall of 2017, a friend and I developed True Myth: a TypeScript-targeted library with
True Myth is largely complete, with a full set of features and extensive documentation, though we continue to maintain and expand the library with additional helpers and tooling as TypeScript has supported more capabilities.
- The Road to TypeScript
EmberConf, March 2022 — video
- Keep It Local: Or (part of) what “reasoning about your code” really means
- Don’t Go Bankrupt: Managing Technical Costs
All Things Open, October 2019
- Supercharging Ember Octane with TypeScript
EmberConf Workshop, March 2019
You’ve heard about the benefits of TypeScript. But what is it? How hard is it to get started? How can you use it with Ember? What does it have to do with Ember Octane? This training will give you the tools you need to start using TypeScript effectively in your Ember app or addon — and show you how it can supercharge your developer experience with Ember Octane.
Materials: although the workshop was not recorded, the teaching materials are all available online:
- slides for the introduction to TypeScript and overview of using it in Ember
- sample code repository, where each commit is a discrete step in the process of the conversion
- CSS Modules lightning talk
Denver Ember.js Meetup, December 2018
- Rust and WebAssembly
Denver/Boulder Rust Meetup, May 2018
- TypeScript and Ember.js: Why And How
Ember ATX Meetup, April 2018 — video
I also delivered a slightly shorter version of this same material at the Denver Ember.js Meetup in June 2018.)
A three-part look at Ember.js and TypeScript today: What are the benefits to me as an Ember developer for using TypeScript? What are the tradeoffs if I adopt TypeScript? Where are things going from here?
- TypeScript Up Your Ember.js App
EmberConf Workshop, March 2018
The workshop was not recorded, but the teaching materials are all available online:
- slides and script for the introduction to TypeScript and overview of using it in Ember
- sample code repository, where each commit is a discrete step in the process of the conversion
- Becoming a Contributor
Rust Belt Rust 2017, October 2017 – video
So, you’re new to the Rust community. (Or any community, really!) And you want to help, but, well, you’re new. So how exactly do you start contributing? What kinds of contributions are valuable? We’ll talk about everything from asking questions to writing documentation, from pitching in on forums and chat to writing blog posts, and from starting your own projects to contributing to other open-source projects.
- Tolle Lege! Designing Readable Bibles With Digital Typography
BibleTech 2015, May 2015 – video
The Bible has always been a challenging text to display, whether copied by hand or printed on a Gutenberg press, and the task has only grown more complicated in the era of digital text. The challenges are not insurmountable, though. We have the tools to solve them: the principles of good typography, especially careful page design and the deliberate choice and skillful use of appropriate typefaces (fonts). When we apply those principles to the Scriptures — whether in an app or on the web — we can provide people with digital Bibles that are both readable and beautiful.
IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems Vol. 36, No. 3 July 2000 ↩︎