HASSP: Meet the Team

As we continue to work to our (revised) launch date, I wanted to take a moment to help recognize the people that helped make this project a reality. These are the people I work with every day; they are a large reason I love doing what I do. They are some of the smartest, hardworking people I know. There are also the people who didn’t laugh at me when I had the original idea and announced it to pretty much everyone in IT.

So, this post is about them. I could not (nor want to) do this on my own, and I couldn’t have asked for more enthusiastic, supportive, and generally awesome people to work with. They’ve sacrificed lunch hours, time after work, and even weekends to help make this a reality. So here they are in no particular order. I wanted to list what their roles are on this project, and what they do for a living.

Robert Schmidt

Role: Software Development
Real Job: Application Development Lead

If I could adopt a fully-grown adult, I’d adopt Robert. This incredibly tall, incredibly smart, and incredibly red-curly-haired person never has a bad day. He’s the man that’s given us #robertthoughts, is a Cane’s chicken enthusiast, and holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science.  Robert has been involved since the beginning by helping me test all the various hardware configurations for the project, and doesn’t give up easily. There’s a lot of smart people on this list, but I’m pretty sure Robert’s the smartest. I also think all the other smart people on this list would agree with me.

Jacob Sturm (@ajsturm)

Role: Software Development, Event Broadcasting
Real Job: Application Developer

Every Friday, Jacob serves up the department’s mix of music from a curated Spotify playlist. I’m sure we all know people who are passionate about music, but Jacob’s on a whole other level. He’s an avid soccer player, has killer hair, and is a guy who knows how to get things done. I’ve worked with Jacob a lot at IGS, and he’s taught me more than I’ve probably taught him. He works on Robert’s team, and his contributions to the project have been in line with Robert’s; he’s help test hardware, and has called out my shoddy soldering (and helped me get better). Jacob will also be helping coordinate our live-streaming efforts on launch day, too.

Paul Bahler (@paulbahler)

Role: Software Development
Real Job: Application Architect

Paul was one of the first people I met the day I walked in the door for my interview at IGS, and immediately, I knew I wanted to work with him. Paul is a lot of things: part metalhead, part devops wizard. He’s also Visual Studio whisperer, was into fidget spinners before they were cool, and loves PowerShell probably as much as I do. Paul has done a lot of things at IGS, but his most recent duties are in and around our code and release management, and continuing to help improve our developer operations processes. He sits right next to me every day, and I can tell you, our conversations are… lively. Paul is the guy responsible for taking my example code and making it… what’s the word I am looking for… oh yeah, good. It was his guidance and suggestions that help us land on our current coding platform for the project.

Julie Dorazio

Role: Data Architect and Database Administrator
Real Job: Manager, Business Intelligence

Julie is an amazingly bright person who’s a manager on our BI team. She’s been responsible for taking complex business reporting and data modeling problems and bringing them to completion. I’ve worked a lot of late releases with Julie, and it’s given me two things: a deeper understanding of what a challenge doing BI is, and how much we both dislike replication (that’s a lie; I like it a lot). For this project, I stepped out of my DBA role and let Julie pretty much handle all the database work. She came up with our ERD diagrams, created all the database objects, and worked with the developers on coming up with an efficient and usable data model for all our sensors.

Matt Keller

Role: Payload Construction and Testing
Real Job: Director, IT Infrastructure and Operations

Matt was one of the first people I’ve brought the idea of HASSP up to, and he’s been a huge advocate of the idea ever since. Matt has a long history working in IT, and his talents are on full display as he’s been taking all the various bits and pieces we’ve put together for this project and is putting them into a finished, flyable payload. A graduate of THE (caps his, or else he’ll fire me) Ohio State University, Matt lives and breathes OSU. When he’s not running our infrastructure and operations group, he’s a guy who will stomp you at any board game you want to play.

Gene Pavell

Role: Payload Construction and Testing
Real Job: Senior Manager, IT Operations

Gene’s my boss, and if you’ve ever seen me give a presentation, I like giving him a shout out at genesface.com. That site can give you a better idea of who Gene is than I can write. More seriously though, Gene is my boss and he’s also working with Matt on the final construction of the payload for the mission as well.  Gene loves to Golf (he’s pretty good at it too), is a supportive mentor, and help makes what I do worth doing.

Rick Kierner (@rkierner)

Role: Launch Site Planning and Coordination
Real Job: Manager, Application Development

Aside from being an avid board game player, Rick also is one of the most active people I know: he routinely trains for and competes in triathlon events. He’s also a pretty avid outdoorsman, and enjoys fiishing and camping. Basically, everything I don’t. Rick’s knowledge of local campgrounds and parks makes him responsible for finding and choosing our launch site. Rick has been taking all of our data so far on our balloon and payload, aggregating weather data, and is helping narrow down the best (and safest) place to conduct the launch. Also, he owns and can transport a kayak, in case the payload decides it wants to go for a swim. Rick manages our Solar team developers by day. Rick is also one of the people responsible for bringing StirTrek to life every year, and if you’ve never gone, you should put it on your radar.

Ryan Matthews

Role: Flight Planning and “Regulatory Affairs”
Real Job: QA Analyst

Ryan brings a lot of valuable roles to the HASSP team. First and foremost, he’s our only QA person. He brings a different view and set of insights into how we’re building and testing our project. Secondly, Ryan is also an active reserve member of the Army National Guard, and in his time in that role he’s had interfaces with various government agencies, like the FAA. He’s been my go-to guy for finding out who and where to call to make this project follow all proper procedures. Ryan is a QA analyst for our operations team.

Chris Klein

Role: Logistics, Development, and Gravity Defier
Real Job: Senior Application Developer

Chris has been working with me on finding and sourcing all of the parts, pieces, and even the helium used the project. Any time I had a question about what to use, or what other projects have done, Chris has done the homework to present myself and the team with all the options. He’s also been the guy helping to actually find and purchase the helium we’re going to be using (which is harder than you might think it is). By day, Chris works on the development team responsible for our home warranty and protection products.

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