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Meet the Team: Santiago Vázquez Enríquez, Senior DevOps Specialist

We’re back with a fan favorite: VIA’s Meet the Team blog series! Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from our very own VIAneers about everything from a typical day at VIA to their favorite books, emojis, and activities outside the office. Now, let’s meet ‘em!


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

It usually starts with coffee and reviewing pull requests. After that, we have the usual agile ceremonies with the team and from there it all depends on the project I’m working on during each sprint. It could be more coding or design sessions, debugging, troubleshooting, and/or taking care of our deployments. To sum up, I am problem solving all day!

How has VIA’s adoption of flexible work locations impacted your work-life harmony?

I love remote work!

I’m close to our Montreal office and sometimes I choose to work from there. Days start easier with that level of flexibility, less rushing after dropping my son at school and more homemade meals for lunch. Speaking of lunch, sometimes that time of day could include jogging for an hour or a workout session, if time permits.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

I’m proud to have been part of the team that achieved DoD’s Platform One accreditation. This was a big project that involved hardening our containerized application’s security, implementing DevSecOps pipelines, and configuring our Kubernetes clusters to run one of DoD’s hardened platforms on top of them. It was hard work, but felt good to be compliant with such a high level of cybersecurity!

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

When I joined VIA, remote work and lockdowns were already in place. Because of this, it was about a year before I met my teammates in person at the first Montreal office event. It was great to have offline chats and hang out! Since then, my favorite moments are from in-person events. A few weeks ago, we had an AWESOME in-person event, where we spent a couple of days learning and having fun together!

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

From day one, you get to work on cutting-edge technology. The software that we build is complex to the point that it might feel like rocket science. It would be intimidating if it wasn’t for being surrounded by awesome teammates. Every one of them will help you succeed and it feels great to know that the leadership team has our backs with consistent feedback and support.

How does VIA’s Tech Stack compare to past experiences?

We are serious about maintaining our Infrastructure as Code, and automation is at the heart of our operations. To achieve this, we rely on orchestration systems such as Kubernetes to deploy and manage our applications. We are constantly building on top of the Kubernetes ecosystem to implement vendor agnostic tools such as the Istio service mesh to enable encrypted communications. As the ecosystem evolves, we bring in more features and tools that translate into more automation and a better developer experience.

Why is our VIAneer Experience Program (VXP) important to you?

I see the VXP as my best ally to avoid burnout. It’s a system that focuses on wellness and growth. It is also an open line of communication to address our goals and needs and align them with those of VIA.

Just for fun this time, what are your top favorite podcasts / books?

I like reading biographies and I loved “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. When it comes to fiction, I prefer Spanish and one of the latest horror novels I’ve read is “Nuestra parte de noche” (Our share of night) by Mariana Enriquez. I’m subscribed to a lot of podcasts (I bite off more than I can chew…) but one of my favorites is “Philosophize This!” There’s a lot of work behind each episode and it demands full attention from the listener, but it’s worth the effort!

What are 1-3 of your favorite emojis?

☕️ – 🤣 – 🙌


Interested in joining a team like Santiago describes? Check out our Careers page or contact us to learn more! 

Meet the Team: Maria Cesarini, Data Specialist

We’re back with a fan favorite: VIA’s Meet the Team blog series! Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from our very own VIAneers about everything from a typical day at VIA to their favorite books, emojis, and activities outside the office. Now, let’s meet ‘em! 


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

Typically my day begins with coffee and the creation of my to-do list (which more often than not includes “make to-do list” as the top item), followed by a daily check-in with my team at 9:30 where we discuss what we hope to accomplish for the day and plan any potential pair programming sessions. 

I am on the JARVIS solution team, where I help ingest and visualize data pertaining to infrastructure. I usually spend my day either updating wrangling scripts, creating data visualizations in Tableau, or presenting our work to customers. Over the last few weeks, I have spent a lot of time designing a new database schema and mapping out wrangling scripts for one of our newest customers. It’s a lot of fun collaborating with my team to solve the wide variety of challenges that we encounter daily!

How has VIA’s adoption of flexible work locations impacted your work-life harmony?

I absolutely love having the option to work remotely! My apartment is only a 15 minute walk from the office and it is such a treat to have the option to start the day from home and head in a little later after my morning meetings. I walk along this really pretty path that leads directly into Davis Square, so the commute itself is quite pleasant. I’m originally from the Seattle area, so having the option to work from my parents house and not have to take time off when I travel out there is something I really appreciate.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

I have been very proud to have ownership over the creation of various visualizations and data ingestion processes, especially this early on in my time at VIA! The responsibility can sometimes feel a little daunting, but I have an incredibly supportive team that I know I can turn to whenever I need help. I have also been proud to give several successful end-to-end demonstrations of our work to customers. As someone who never considered herself a strong public speaker, it is exciting and a little exhilarating to receive positive feedback on a skill I had always assumed I inherently lacked! 

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

I have two favorite VIA memories: the first is actually from my first day working here! I was going through a career change and was extremely nervous about making a good impression and living up to expectations. That day, a group of my coworkers took me out to lunch and made me feel so incredibly welcome that it put a lot of my anxieties to rest. My second favorite memory is from the company offsite – our first night there, the People and Operations and Marketing teams put together a game night at our office in Montreal! I’m not usually a big game person, but it was so much fun to see everyone let loose and have a good time!

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

All the talk about mission and values is not just lip service! The mission and values are embodied not only in the work that our company chooses to pursue, but in the very culture that has been cultivated here at VIA. Never have I experienced such an uplifting, supportive environment where I am consistently encouraged to learn and grow. It makes me want to do a good job not only for myself, but for the people around me who have so much faith in what I am capable of.

In your role, you work and collaborate closely with Colin (CEO), Kate (COO), and VIA product owners. What’s that like?

Colin and Kate are the heart and soul of VIA, and they are a huge part of what makes VIA so special! It is a privilege to be able to work and collaborate with them. Not only do they do a phenomenal job managing the company, but they always make sure to be uplifting with their employees by giving shout-outs and acknowledging a job well done. It is inspiring to be a part of their vision and creation, and I am excited to continue to learn from them.

What potential do you see in VIA’s Web3 projects?

Web3 is still very mysterious to me! Jesus (SVP, Product Architecture) gave a wonderful, informational talk about it during our company offsite and it sounds like an interesting new direction for the field. It is exciting that VIA is steering into this change and is an active participant in shaping what Web3 will look like in practice.

Just for fun this time, what are your top favorite podcasts / books?

I am obsessed with the podcast Binchtopia – I think it has shaped at least 20% of my personality at this point. If you are interested in witty and interesting sociological and psychological perspectives on pop culture, you should give it a try! I recommend the episodes “Ben Franklin off the Percs”, “In My Old Hag Era”, and “Honey, I Monetized the Kids”. My two favorite books of all time are Pride and Prejudice (which I read so much my copy fell apart) and For Whom The Bell Tolls.


Interested in joining a team like Maria describes? Check out our Careers page or contact us to learn more! 

Meet the Team: Angelica Novoa, People and Operations Partner

We’re back with a fan favorite: VIA’s Meet the Team blog series! Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from our very own VIAneers about everything from a typical day at VIA to their favorite books, emojis, and activities outside the office. Now, let’s meet ‘em!


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

At VIA, my typical day is my ideal work day! I get to work with the most talented, thoughtful, and competent teammates while contributing to the goal of making sure VIA continues to be the best place to work. My daily tasks range from leading components of our VXP program to spending some time researching best-in-class ways to keep our hard working team motivated and happy. There are always lots of one-on-one meetings with VIAneers in between!

How has VIA’s adoption of flexible work locations impacted your work-life harmony?

I have an elementary school-aged child and most of my family lives in South America, so work location flexibility has had a huge, positive impact on my life. I appreciate having the option of working from home or from our gorgeous office in downtown Montreal. In addition, I had the ability to work from my hometown during the summer this year. My friends could not believe my work not only allowed this, but encouraged it (I thought this practice was more widely spread). It made me even more proud to be working at VIA!

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

I got the privilege of working with Emma, our VP, People and Operations and Kate, our COO on improvements to the VXP during my first couple of months here. I was able to contribute in a visual way to connect VIA’s values and organizational principles to the robust processes and outcomes that are possible for any team member. More than pride, I feel honored and valued when I remember being given this opportunity to contribute to something that is so important to VIA’s leadership and so meaningful to the entire team.

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

There are SO many! No, really… It’s hard to pick one. I would have to say last week’s Power Up is a major highlight for me (pictures below!). The whole company got together in person for the first time in years. The energy was incredible! All of us at VIA are comfortable working virtually, but there is no doubt everyone enjoyed connecting with colleagues and having discussions about our vision and strategy in person. Because we have team members in locations around the world, many of us got to meet colleagues in person for the first time. It is great seeing the team energized as a result of this time together!

Using teamwork and collaboration to bring a stick down to the ground together without falling.
Being awarded “Most Likely to Help a Colleague” at the end of our Power Up.

Our CEO Colin kicking off Day 2!

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

VIA exemplifies how businesses can drive positive social and environmental change! 

In your role, you work and collaborate closely with Colin (CEO), Kate (COO), and VIA product owners. What’s that like?

It’s one of my favorite things about working at VIA. It’s an incredible opportunity to interact with not only founders, but key leadership on almost a daily basis. Working with such brilliant and kind individuals is the best professional challenge I’ve had in years. So much to learn from each and every one of them!

Why is our VXP program important to you?

VXP is important because it’s the foundation for how VIA ensures that every VIAneer is getting what they need in order to do their best work and feel good about it.

Just for fun this time, what are your top favorite podcasts / books?

My top two favorite podcasts have to be No Stupid Questions and Coaching for Leaders. When it comes to books, I have to recommend the book Grit by Angela Duckworth.

What are your favorite emojis?

🥳 – 👏🏼 – 🙌🏻


Curious about what the VIAneer’s Experience program includes? Apply here and find out more!

Meet the Team: Sam Cruickshank, Market Strategy Specialist

We’re back with a fan favorite: VIA’s Meet the Team blog series! Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from our very own VIAneers about everything from a typical day at VIA to their favorite books, emojis, and activities outside the office. Now, let’s meet ‘em! 


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

There is no typical day for me at VIA! My days are a mix of business development, go-to-market planning, and sales strategy related activities. These activities can range from partner management to constructing government proposals to figuring out how to optimize our sales tools in order to drive efficiency and organization across the commercial team. 

How has VIA’s adoption of flexible work locations impacted your work-life harmony?

I really enjoy VIA’s flexible work arrangement. I’m usually in the office a few days per week. I enjoy the collaborative nature of in-person meetings with my colleagues. My role is one that requires constant collaboration with my teammates, and although we function well working remotely, some things are just easier in-person!

Plus, I’m known for being a connoisseur of the office snack drawer…but don’t tell anyone! If anyone asks, it was Will Chapman 🙂

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

A lot of the work I do for VIA is covered under customer confidentiality. So, although I can’t comment on the specifics, I’m proud of the government proposals we have submitted as well as the partner management strategies that I have developed collaboratively with my colleagues. Additionally, I am proud of the workflow processes that our team has created through our tech stack to optimize the relationships with our partners. We consistently set a high bar for ourselves, and as many know, the first step in reaching such standards is having an organized process. Now, we’re on to the next steps!

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

This is a tough one – probably a mix of the late nights working on proposals, a prank that my teammates pulled on me, and company related trips!

What’s something everyone may not, but should, know about working at VIA?

The VXP and company values are real! It is very impactful to hear and watch leadership stick to these values on a daily basis.

What is your favorite customer success story at VIA?

Generally speaking, I find it very exciting to watch how VIA’s technology can be uniquely tailored to fit customer needs through a combination of the dynamism and flexibility of our technology and the agile software development approach. I have enjoyed watching the transition of the work that we compose in proposals to the technical implementation of that work by our fantastic and incredibly skilled technical team. One example that comes to mind is VIA’s current work with USAF’s AMC (Air Mobility Command).

What potential do you see in VIA’s Web3 projects?

I think there is a lot of potential here – it is very exciting to be part of a software company that is at the cutting edge of web development, and doing so while holding true to our mission and values. My time at VIA has opened my eyes to the distributed data reality that many companies across industries face, and it is exciting to be part of a team that provides a unique solution to these challenges. 

Just for fun this time, what are your top three favorite podcasts / books?

I’m a big fan of historical fiction and non-fiction – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is one of my favorites. Currently, I’m reading a non-fiction book by Jimmy Soni titled “The Founders: Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and the Company that Made the Modern Internet “. Always looking for new suggestions though!

In terms of podcasts, I’ve started to listen to the WSJ What’s News podcast recently.

What are your favorite emojis?

😂 – 🐐 – 🐿


Are you interested in joining a team like Sam describes? Read more about our cutting-edge technology and values here.

Meet the Team: Becky McClements, Market Strategy Specialist

Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

Part of what I love about working at VIA is that there is no such thing as a “typical day”. I feel like that is incredibly cliche to say, but it is the truth! I get to touch so many different parts of our business and am constantly being exposed to new ideas and topics. Each day and each project is slightly different. 

Broadly, a typical day at VIA for me involves coordinating upcoming projects and proposals that need input for that day, and then executing that input, whether pulling together research or market sizing numbers, or writing sales and program proposal content. 


How has the transition back to the office been for you

I really thrive working in a group setting, so I am super excited to be working in person alongside teammates again. Each day I look forward to problem solving with VIA team members, who are just as engaged with and committed to VIA’s mission of making clean energy a “no trade-off” solution as I am.


What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

In my short time at VIA, I’ve had the opportunity to support several proposals, including some that were fairly involved. In my first few months, we applied for some funding in the EU. I was very proud of the work and learning I did on that project. It was a pretty steep learning curve, but I ultimately felt like I gained a much more developed understanding of VIA’s products and put together a compelling proposal.


What’s your favorite VIA memory?

My welcome lunch when I first joined! I didn’t expect to meet the majority of the company on the first day and was also very nervous about how onboarding remotely would feel. I was impressed that so many people took time out of their days to introduce themselves, especially over video chat. I quickly realized the friendly and warm atmosphere of that call is pretty standard at VIA.


If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

Sitting outside, reading a book, and drinking some coffee.


What is your go-to food?

I really love a well-made sandwich with really fresh ingredients.


What’s something everyone may not, but should, know about working at VIA?

The VIA team’s GIF game is so strong! It adds so much brevity and humor to our Slack channels. 


What’s one fun fact that you have learned about the clean energy industry that you didn’t know before joining VIA?

I recently learned that small scale, personal wind turbines designed to power individual homes are starting to gain traction in Denmark. 


If you could pick one word to describe the VIA team, what would it be?

Diligent

Meet the Team: Jonathan Chirwa, Software Developer

VIA’s Meet the Team blog series features Q&A-style interviews with our team members to learn what a typical work day looks like for each individual and some fun facts like their favorite foods.


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

My day always begins with a warm cup of coffee and sending a “good morning” message on Slack signaling my availability for the day. Then, I review yesterday’s work to help prioritize tasks for the day and I also attend two daily standup meetings with the team. After standup, I get to work! A typical day ranges in terms of tasks, from lone/pair programming, preparing a presentation/demo, or researching a technology to use in a feature, like OAuth2 framework to improve the security of our user management system in authorizing and authenticating users.

What project have you worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

The first project I worked on at VIA was a logging project that improves program observability and helps developers easily debug. I’m proud to say that after completion of the project, other teams at VIA have been using it as part of their daily routine. I love that I was able to contribute to the whole team’s productivity early on at VIA.

What’s something everyone may not (but should!) know about working at VIA?

Since our work life has been remote in the last year, companies have been finding ways to motivate teams and keep company culture at the same, if not higher, level. I think our team has come up with a creative idea: VIA awards teammates with VIA-bucks (points) when something happens that is unique to working remotely like forgetting to unmute yourself or having your pet interrupt a video call. This has really eased the transition to online meetings. Pretty cool right? 🙂

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

My favorite memories at VIA are almost always from our team events. For example, our team played a game called “ling your language” where we listened to short clips of people speaking in different languages across the world and had to identify the language from a given set of options. During the game, I left it to my fellow team members who are from or have lived in parts of the world like the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North or South America, to identify the language in the clip. Vice versa, I would help more in identifying African languages.

Apart from earning some VIA-bucks (which we will redeem for a group event once we are back in person together), it reminded me of how diverse the VIA team is and how we work best when we are collaborating.

What makes VIA’s technology unique compared to others?

The idea of sharing code instead of data to compute some analytics is something I have never heard of, until I learned of VIA. In this world where data is gold but there are a lot of valid privacy and security concerns, our TAC™ technology is a game changing solution.

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

Great question! If I were to live in a 25 hours/day Earth 2.0 world, I would spend that extra hour reading a good book. This may be spiritual, philosophical, historical or a how-to like Atomic Habits, which teaches useful techniques to develop new “good” habits and stop potentially “bad” habits.

What’s one fun fact that you have learned about clean energy that you didn’t know before joining VIA?

During my first week at VIA, I had several onboarding meetings with teammates ranging from discussions about social media to our tech stack. In one particular meeting, we covered the energy landscape. I was surprised and excited to learn that 2020 was the first year that clean energy was cheaper to produce than non-renewable/fossil energy.

We have to ask, what is your go-to food?

My go-to food is a beef burger. I haven’t mastered a homemade one yet, maybe because I tasted Montreal’s “Burger Royal” which set the bar too high.

Meet the Team: Natalie Winger, Data Specialist

Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.


You are one of the first team members to join entirely remote during COVID-19. Can you tell us what that process was like?

It was of course a bit nerve-wracking and different than any other onboarding I’ve done before, but VIA was very organized about the entire process. My first 1-2 weeks were completely planned out with “Get to Know VIA” sessions, technical onboarding, first day lunch, and other events. I was pleasantly surprised that I never felt lost or didn’t know what I was supposed to do next or who to turn to for help. It has also been really nice to have many video calls because it has made it so much easier to get to know everyone when you can see their faces!

Have there been any funny “remote team” moments that stand out to you since joining the team?

My favorite was on my first day when Colin’s cat was climbing up the blinds behind him and playing. Colin just paused and asked “can you see my cat right now…?” and then laughed a little while proceeding to peel the cat off the curtains. It was a good moment to break from the more formal presentation and remember that everyone exists beyond the screen – and a lot of us have pets or family members or outside noises that we can’t control but are still a fun part of our lives.

What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

So far I have had such a variety of days that it’s hard to answer this question! Before standup, I usually check my Slack and continue/follow up on any work from the previous day. Then, the rest of the day I could spend cleaning and wrangling new data, prioritizing the next steps for the future of GDAC™ data, or summarizing and verifying partner data. 

I look forward to Demo days most because we get to see in detail what everyone else has been working on and it’s always impressive to see how all the details I’ve heard about in the days and weeks before all come together. I also look forward to All Hands meetings because it’s a chance to learn more about the vision for VIA, any new initiatives, and even company-wide training. Finally, on Fridays I often attend (virtual) Pub Club which has been an especially useful resource for me. Since I did remote onboarding, it’s been nice to get to know other people who I haven’t had a chance to work with yet or learn more about the people I see every day, but don’t get a chance to chat with.

What motivates you to come to the office (or work remotely) each day?

I love seeing the rest of the GDAC™ team in stand-up every morning and starting out the day with a quick chat or some stories between us! Beyond seeing other friendly faces at VIA, just thinking about the amount of transformer data that is available to us and the possible insights we can get from it is very motivating – you never know what you’ll find! I especially like that even people who are on other epics or who have worked in the GDAC™ epic in the past are still so interested in what new updates we’re making and are very supportive and invested in helping to make our team a success.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of the first time I took the lead on bringing data from raw files to ready-to-use on the GDAC™ portal. Through many iterations of cleaning and wrangling, I gained an appreciation of all the steps that go into helping the partners gain value from their data. I also had many opportunities to discuss future ideas for wrangling, predictions, and process improvements, which was motivating to see the possibilities for the future of my work and of GDAC™.

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

Hopefully exercising – I like to bike or walk around new areas of Montreal, or swim in the outdoor pool in the summer – but I also might spend more time on making a nice dinner or reading my book.

What is your go-to food?

Cucumbers and hummus is my #1 default snack.

What’s something everyone may not, but should, know about working at VIA?

I am continuously impressed by the speed at which changes are made at VIA. Challenging and important questions (from process changes to technical issues) are constantly being asked, and I find that multiple people often immediately chip in to help solve them. VIA is definitely a place where questions are highly encouraged, and the whole company is willing to jump in to help give you the tools and support you need to put your ideas into action right away.

Meet the Team: Ashley DaSilva, Team Leader, Product Development

Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

Typically I start my morning with coffee and code review. At VIA, we have a strong culture of peer review to help us learn from each other and improve our work. Reviewing my colleagues’ code is a good way to see all the amazing work my colleagues are doing, and setting aside this time makes sure I provide them timely feedback.

Once I’ve finished my coffee, I like to take a morning walk (before we moved to remote work due to COVID-19, this was the time I spent commuting to the office.) The rest of the day varies depending on the project I’m working on: it could be writing a software design proposal for a new feature, wrangling data, or automating deployments.

I spend a lot of my day working with my colleagues to solve technical challenges. Often this is pair programming, but sometimes it’s designing the solution together on a (virtual) whiteboard. I really like having the opportunity to work on such a variety of tasks.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

I was the technical lead on VIA’s 30-Minute Pilot and am really proud of how much of a difference it has made for our partners. They were able to get valuable data analysis in less than 30 minutes, while learning about VIA’s privacy-protecting software.

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

At our last company-wide All Hands event, we did a scavenger hunt in the underground city of Montreal. It really fit VIA’s culture: we were split into teams, and each team had to collaborate to solve the puzzles and at the same time, we were competing to solve more puzzles than the other teams! I got to know a little more about Montreal, and got to collaborate with colleagues that I don’t work with day-to-day.

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

That’s a tough one. I would probably practice painting. I love creating things, and that passion is not limited to software. I love the bright colors and rich textures of oil paints, and the challenge of exercising my creativity in a totally different way than I do at work.

What’s your go-to food?

Tacos! Since moving to Montreal, I have learned how to make corn tortillas from scratch, which is actually much easier than I thought it would be.

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

VIA’s twice yearly All Hands events are held in an “unconference” style: all team members submit and vote on topics just a couple days ahead of time. Because everyone has input into the topics, and the fact that there’s not much time for session leaders to prepare a lot of talking points, the sessions focus on discussion, collaboration, and brainstorming.

Need a laugh?

We’re back at it – this time giving you some laughs from our remote team. See our video below for the funniest moments since working remotely.

 

 

Meet the Team: Annvie Nguyen, UX Designer

Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

The only typical part about my days at VIA is that it changes every day! As the go-to media person, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with different teams and work on a variety of projects. Some days, I’ll be working on filming and editing videos for VIA (check out the careers video produced by yours truly). Others, I’ll get to flex my design eye and work with our developers to create user interfaces for our products. Today, I’m updating our website and writing a fabulous blog.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

There are so many cool things I want to talk about, it’s difficult to choose!

For one, I really enjoyed working on the interface for the GDAC™ Transformers  30-Minute Pilot. In that project, I designed the user experience for a data analysis demo. It presented an interesting challenge: how can we make complex analysis simple for others to understand, operate by themselves, and see the value? I was able to participate from the conceptualization stage all the way to the user interface and experience. It was so rewarding to see the pilot go from its baby stages to a full-fledged site.

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

My favorite VIA memory might have to be this past holiday party. We made gingerbread houses, ate some delicious desserts (essential to the VIA brand), and played a ridiculous reindeer ring toss game that had us crying with laughter. Hats off to Jackie for being our star party planner!

via GIPHY

 

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

I can’t deny that I’d be playing Animal Crossing on Nintendo.

What’s your go-to food?

Nothing can outrank my comfort food of choice: a nice, warm bowl of pho. It’s Vietnam’s most famous noodle soup, light but also flavorful. But to me, it’s like getting a hug from Grandma.

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

You should know that at VIA we’re always working on improving ourselves. With retrospectives at the end of each sprint, open ears during one-on-one’s, and offsites each year, being open to feedback is an essential part of VIA culture.

Working Remotely? Us too!

Along with people all over the world, the VIA team has adjusted to a new normal over these last few months. 

Given our distance apart, we asked some of our team members what they look forward to each day of working remotely.

Check out our video below to see what our team has to say (spoiler: this will give you all the feels!)

 

 

Meet the Team: Emma Fechney, Senior Lead, People and Operations

Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

One of the things that I love about my job is that for me, there is no such thing as a “typical day.” Because my role encompasses the entire candidate and employee experience, there are often lots of different projects going on at any moment. Examples include planning recruitment events, working with the team on our professional development program, or even ordering a whole lot of pizza for our regular lunch and learn sessions.

I always try to start my day by consulting my to do’s and then from there, it can be a mixture of meetings, catch-ups with team members, interviews, or planning the next team event.

What motivates you to come to the office each day?

People! I am motivated by the idea of enhancing people’s work experience, whether it’s exploring ways to support professional development or strengthening the connection between our team and our vision. Plus, finding ways to celebrate and have fun together never gets old!

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

Introducing Lattice, our performance management platform, was a big win for me. Lattice is a tool that helps us plan and track goals, organise 1:1’s, and is an excellent vehicle for supporting a feedback-rich culture. We love the integration with our #shoutouts channel on Slack for constant praise and appreciation! (Not a paid plug, I promise).

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

My first official day is something that sticks out. Not only were lots of pastries involved, but the whole office pushed pause in whatever they were doing to welcome me over breakfast and to get to know more about me and my background. This really set the tone of inclusivity and respect that has not faded since!

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

The angel on my shoulder says learning french, but the devil on the other says catching up on some z’s.

What’s your go-to food?

I can’t go past a really good Kiwi meat pie!

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

In addition to being a kick-ass energy tech company, our team could have a side career in the food industry. Everyone is either an excellent home cook and/or just genuinely enjoys the ritual of eating great food.

Meet the Team: John Muddle, Team Lead, Data Science

Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

My typical workday starts with a coffee, from either one of the local third-wave coffee shops or the machine at work. Once I’m settled, I look at my calendar and plan my day, this can be anything from looking at notes from a previous meeting to making sure I’ve booked a room. When that’s complete, I look for something I can quickly finish before Scrum of Scrums or continue with the task from the day before.

Each day at 10:30, I attend Scrum of Scrums. As a technical lead, I need to know how my epic is progressing, so typically, I will check in with my colleagues before the meeting for any updates and check that the JIRA board reflects our current progress. Typically, there are a few meetings to take a deeper dive on topics raised at Scrum of Scrums. These are a great way to make sure that we are aligned across our epics and to share knowledge. 

Having conditioned myself over many years that 12 o’clock means lunchtime, I take a break at 12 to either buy lunch or heat up some leftovers. Lunch is a great opportunity to socialize with my colleagues on different epics and to give my brain some time to process in the background. Conversations range from the latest computer game, movies, and hockey, but mostly food. 

After lunch, my afternoons consist of meetings, customer calls, and development time. My time tends to be split into hour-long chunks which I’ve planned out in the morning. A lot of my work revolves around supporting my colleagues by answering questions, problem-solving, and pair-programming. One of the favourite ways to tackle a problem is to jump into a spare room and rubber duck the problem. Basically, by describing a problem to a rubber duck, you verbalise the issues you are facing and through this process, you tend to have a better understanding of your problem. Luckily, VIA has hired people rather than rubber ducks, so in fact, you can also get feedback, questions, and suggestions from your colleagues. 

At the end of the day, which is typically signaled by the sending of GIFs on Slack that it’s home time, I make sure to leave my work in a state that allows me to continue the next day.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

At VIA, I have had the opportunity to work on many different projects. I’m proud of every single one of them, but if I have to choose one, then I am most proud of the GDAC™ Transformers project. The reason I have chosen this project is because it is the first application built on top of TAC™. I’m proud to have helped develop TAC™, but it’s even better to use it for the benefit of our partners. The partnership aspect is another element that makes me proud to have worked on GDAC™ Transformers. I have worked closely with our partners for almost a year and to see how far we’ve come together is fantastic. Having had the opportunity to meet our partners in person, I was able to see how the work we have done together will benefit them going forward.

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

VIA is a great place to work, I have so many memories from my time here. One that stands out to me, in particular, was “Game Night”. Each offsite (a company-wide in-person event where we talk about wins, solve project challenges, and plan for the next big thing) typically has an activity where we have a chance to socialize such as bowling, mini-golf, and a scavenger hunt. But, nothing quite beats seeing your own office converted, in-secret, to the ultimate “Game Night” experience to the point where it is almost unrecognizable and something I will never forget.

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

One thing I say to myself quite often is “If only I had more time”, but what would I do with that extra time. If I had an extra hour in my day, I would like to improve my French. Montreal is a fantastic bilingual city and very little French is actually necessary, but to really appreciate its culture and to get the full Quebecois experience a good handle on French is essential.

What’s your go-to food?

My go-to food has to be a sandwich, you can’t beat the convenience, variety, and taste of a good sandwich. In particular, I’m a big fan of a bacon butty, which, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a very basic sandwich with bacon and butter filling. Bacon buttys tend to be eaten in the morning at home or out and about. They are an excellent way to start the day if camping, at a sports event, or just a day of gardening.

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

If you have the pleasure of working at VIA then you should know that using GIFs in presentations and on Slack is encouraged. Communicating context and meaning using just text can be difficult at times, but GIFs can add so much more. A strong GIF game is essential to signal it’s time to go home, go to the pub, play badminton, get bread, or celebrate the latest prize that VIA has won.

 

 

Meet the Team: Antoine Dozois, Software Developer

We’re thrilled to launch a new blog series at VIA called “Meet the Team.” Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.


What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

Like most startups, we are working on lots of exciting projects. Here are some of the challenges that I’m involved in on a daily basis.

  1. Infrastructure: This means having the right data storage and resources through AWS necessary for our workloads. This is in constant evolution because every new project or project phase has different needs. So, we always look for improvements ranging from storage capacity and ease of use to performance and access management.
  2. Data (management, cleaning, processing): To deliver the best AI solution, data needs to be widely available, in the proper format, with good workflow, and overall managed well. This part of the work is more around trying to structure the workflow and the processes involved in the team’s recurrent tasks. We also need to understand the data to manipulate it and find insights that are most relevant for our customers and internal teams.
  3. Building software to empower the team: Software can be built to access data, compute some metrics, build a machine learning model, or display some insight. We build libraries to help us automate and optimize our workflow. Overall, we are always trying to create efficiencies internally through streamlining and automating recurring tasks.
  4. Collaborating with the team: This relates to reviewing code, meeting to organize our work, and helping each other when needed.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

It is hard to pick just one piece of work that I am the most proud of since we are tackling lots of exciting new projects and challenges. But, in the first months of being at VIA, I wrote code to help us better ingest and manage data. It was the first time that I was put in charge of developing some code to solve a problem and make tasks more efficient for the team. We still use part of the code today and are continuously improving it. I think it was a real issue and being able to solve that problem was really rewarding.

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

My first offsite was really special for me, it was the first time I saw the whole team in-person and was able to learn more about every member of the team. It was also really nice to learn about the next challenges we were going to take on as a company.

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

I like to learn, so anything from reading, learning a new skill, watching a documentary, or building something new would be mostly what I would use that hour for.

What’s your go-to food?

As a proud Montrealer (born and raised) I must go with Poutine (from La Banquise for the best in Montreal). I wouldn’t eat it every day because it is not the healthiest food, but I never say no to Poutine when proposed to me.

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

The different backgrounds and diversity of every person in the company makes it a unique and fun workplace.