Behind the Screens: Inside the Coolest Projects These 5 Colorado Engineers are Tackling

by April Bohnert
August 8, 2019

Long hours, thousands of lines of code and tireless teamwork — that’s what it takes to build great tech. And for the engineers behind it, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching a project you’ve poured your heart and soul into go live and immediately start making an impact in the lives of your users.  

While an engineer’s career is often full of moments like this, some projects stand out more than others. We asked five local techies about the projects they’re proudest of and the ones they’re working on now that get them excited to come to work each day. 

 

BombBomb coolest engineering projects Colorado tech
Photo via BombBomb.

BombBomb helps businesses build trust and deepen relationships with customers by leveraging the power of video to send personalized messages. Lead Software Engineer Thomas Pendergrass explained how the company’s annual hack weeks have enabled him to collaborate cross-functionally and pick up some new skills while tackling fun tech projects with his team. 

 

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at your company that you’re really proud of. What role did you play in this project?

Every year, BombBomb hosts a hack week for developers where we get one full week of creative freedom to compete with each other as we develop our own ideas. This year, our designers joined in on the fun, aiding us in refining and presenting better projects. I was able to learn Typescript and browser extension development, absorbing the knowledge from my peers along the way as I built input detection and communication routes between the background app and active browser tabs. I'm proud to have discovered so much while assisting our team in winning the hack week trophy!

 

It's exciting to use my experience to plan out improvements that we can make to our own process.” 

What are you working on at the moment? What do you enjoy most about this project?

Our integrations team is working on smoothing out the process of integrating with BombBomb. I've been involved in integrating with many other companies, so it's exciting to use my experience to plan out improvements that we can make to our own process. Just like our hack week event this year, our design team is working closely with us to provide a new interface that simplifies the complex process of communicating with other systems.   

 

SALT coolest engineering projects Colorado tech
Photo via SALT.

 

SALT bridges the gap between cryptocurrency and traditional finance, enabling cryptocurrency holders to secure cash loans by leveraging their blockchain assets as collateral. Lead Back-end Developer Lucy Cifferello, who has been with the company since the early days, gave us a glimpse into the many roles she’s played in the development of SALT’s platform over the years.

 

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at your company that you’re really proud of. What role did you play in this project?

I'd say I'm most proud of being an original contributor to the architectural design and creation of our entire platform from scratch to where it is today. It's awesome knowing your code so intimately and how all of the pieces integrate. I've contributed in a wide variety of roles throughout the development by working across every microservice and even doing DevOps in the early days. Recently, I've been the lead in managing how we approach new digital asset integrations. 

 

I'm constantly exposed to new concepts that provide a different way of thinking about programming.”

What are you working on at the moment? What do you enjoy most about this project?

Off the keyboard, I manage a small team of back-end developers. On the keyboard, I'm working on our advanced Haskell infrastructure. Finding solutions in the blockchain space creates interesting challenges daily, and with a statically typed, purely functional programming language like Haskell, I'm constantly exposed to new concepts that provide a different way of thinking about programming. 

 

Mersive coolest engineering projects Colorado tech
Photo via Mersive.

Mersive’s visual computing software helps teams improve collaboration online, over video and in the meeting room by enabling seamless, inclusive and engaging content sharing. Chief Architect Joel Dice shared some of the new technology he’s working with and the impact that work will have on Mersive’s users. 

 

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at your company that you’re really proud of. What role did you play in this project?

I designed and helped to implement our first SaaS product: a real-time monitoring and analytics service called Kepler. It was exciting (and a little intimidating) to start a major new project from scratch, evaluating and learning new technologies along the way. Greenfield projects are always risky, but we did a good job of managing that risk with experiments, prototypes and tight customer feedback cycles. Best of all, I got to learn and grow with a team of really talented, fun people.

 

WebRTC is a really interesting technology to work with in terms of network performance and security, and making it play well with our existing software required some creative thinking.” 

What are you working on at the moment? What do you enjoy most about this project?

Lots of different things, but the one I'm most excited about is adding WebRTC support to our Solstice product, making it compatible with often-overlooked platforms like Chromebooks and Linux. Besides the benefits to users, WebRTC is a really interesting technology to work with in terms of network performance and security, and making it play well with our existing software required some creative thinking. We were able to open-source a small part of that work and present it at a local tech meetup, and now at least one other Denver company is planning to use it as well.

 

Athlinks coolest engineering projects Colorado tech
Photo via Athlinks.

As a leading race-day technology provider with one of the world’s largest results databases, Athlinks delivers both the hardware and software needed to time and run endurance races of all types. DevOps Manager Aaron Rorvig has been busy migrating the company’s entire system into the cloud, requiring him to think outside the box and expand his skills. 

 

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at your company that you’re really proud of. What role did you play in this project?

We recently ended our endeavor of mixing on-premise hardware with AWS and moved 100 percent back into the cloud, all while cutting our AWS bill by 44 percent per month. I and other members of the DevOps team redeployed and configured our developer environment in AWS, while providing minimal impact to developers using the environment. 

Reducing our AWS monthly spend was a painstaking task that started with retagging nearly all of our resources so that we could get a detailed picture of where exactly we were spending our money each month. This allowed us to make quick gains by removing old resources that were no longer used, scaling down clusters to more appropriate sizes and quickly identifying areas that change month-to-month.

 

This project has taken me into a new area of AWS that I had inherited, requiring me to expand my knowledge of AWS to help deliver a faster, more stable Athlinks experience.”

What are you working on at the moment? What do you enjoy most about this project?

The DevOps team is currently planning and implementing a separation and re-architecture of our AWS VPC. This allows us to remove tech debt and old cloud practices, giving us better security and logging. This project has taken me into a new area of AWS that I had inherited, requiring me to expand my knowledge of AWS to help deliver a faster, more stable Athlinks experience.

 

Trineo coolest engineering projects Colorado tech
Photo via Trineo.

As expert partners of Salesforce and Heroku, Trineo works closely with its enterprise customers to realize powerful and highly integrated digital transformations. Senior Software Engineer Michael Ovies said the best part of his job is the people he works with and the company’s culture of encouraging team members to support one another in growth. 

 

Tell us about a project you’ve worked on at your company that you’re really proud of. What role did you play in this project?

The project I’m most proud to be part of at Trineo is an ongoing engineering leads group. This group is mostly composed of engineers, along with some managers, and we all contribute in an effort to find ways to support and grow those around us. Investing in those around us is a big part of Trineo and being able to contribute to that is incredibly rewarding.

 

Nearly every week I find a way to push my own growth alongside my fellow engineers.” 

What are you working on at the moment? What do you enjoy most about this project?

My day-to-day is back-end development for a client in the advertising space. In the last year, I switched stacks to Ruby, and nearly every week I find a way to push my own growth alongside my fellow engineers. As much as I enjoy the code, I really enjoy the people I work with day in and day out; our client is a great group of people and our own team is incredibly supportive and always ready to help.

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