Jeff joined us in October of 2020, first as a QA Analyst before moving into the DevOps role, where he helps maintain internal and external systems for both the Kanso team and our customers. We sat down to talk about his career – and his thoughts on where Kanso is headed.
Q: You’ve been with Kanso for a year now. What inspired you to join?
A: From the start, I was sold on this amazing culture at Kanso. If you want to LEARN, you can. No one’s going to stop you. If you want to DO, you can. No one’s going to stop you. If you want to TEACH, no one’s going to stop you. So there’s a culture built around everyone bringing a collective benefit to the organization – and it gets said a lot – but Doug (our fearless leader) preaches it every single day. So my friend Joe, who referred me to the role, was selling me on that same mantra from the very beginning. And it’s true.
Q: Tell us about your day-to-day.
A: This may sound a little cliché, but every day is a brand new learning experience here. And I mean that in the fullest sense, because we recently migrated into Amazon AWS, which was brand new to everyone in the organization, but an exciting challenge to be sure.
Side note: I originally started in the role of QA Analyst, where I found bugs submitted to the Devs. But in prior positions, I built other skillsets that eventually led me into the natural fit of this DevOps role, where I help build out the infrastructure in Amazon.
Q: Do you feel empowered here to try new things?
A: Definitely. I came from an enterprise culture – big business. And especially where I started my career on the IT side, our almost primary focus other than traditional support was to maintain and lock things down so that people couldn’t break anything. Because ultimately you had to fix it if they did.
But every day here, I’m learning something new. Beyond the migration to AWS, I now get to work with our support team on their data fixes in our internal projects. That was also totally foreign to me. But I had the freedom to go take a look at it, and help figure out what needed to be done. Every day, they give us the latitude: if you want to try something new, just try it. Don’t break anything. But throw your hand in the pot and see what happens.
Q: So you get to try a lot of things here that you might not at a different company?
A: I’d say it is a little more unique here. We do have kind of a startup mentality, with a little bit of corporate mentality sprinkled in just to keep things legitimate. And we don’t go too far and make crazy changes that are going to be a huge detriment. That said, this is a huge departure from what I was used to, in a positive way.
Q: How do you describe Kanso’s work to people you meet?
A: I explain it this way: if you’ve ever lived in a larger apartment complex, those communities tend to have a property management software. We’ve in turn taken that and put it in the cloud. But our specific client base right now is Indian Housing Authorities or the tribes themselves. They have a lot of funding that they get from the government, and they need a way to help manage the money side of things as well as the households that they build for their tribal members. So our offering has evolved over time from an old DOS-based system into a more modern way that we provide this service, to help them just make their jobs easier.
I’m constantly interacting with this data all the time, but when you really look at whom we’re serving, it’s more than just a number. I work remotely from Arizona, and when my wife and I travel to and from Denver, we usually drive through the Navajo Nation. And you get to see some of the parts of the country that most people don’t ever visit – areas of true need. And it does have an impact on you when you see it firsthand, and then realize that these are our customers. And on some small level, we’re helping to serve them.
Q: What’s your take on Kanso’s next move into serving the homeless population?
A: A lot of state agencies out there are using antiquated platforms and in some instances, a multitude of those old platforms cobbled together. In many cases, they need new systems to shore up deficiencies and deliver real results.
Add to that, these agencies often have vouchers for the homeless population, and these provide a monetary value to take somewhere that is providing low-income or voucher-based housing. We’re making it more approachable, and trying to provide a way to help people navigate these systems from the outside – from the personal side. A homeless individual might not know how to get to that program to get the help and access the voucher to get into the home. So we’re hoping that our platform will eventually be instrumental in removing the red tape – and bringing real change.
We’ve got a LOT of work before we get there, but it’s work that’s well worth it in the long run.
If you’re ready to explore the kind of work that brings change – and changes lives, we’d love to hear from you. You’re invited to reach out and start a conversation with us – about our work, and yours. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.