For the month of June, we are pleased to feature Elena Poot, one of our most tenured employees and esteemed trivia champion, who works behind the scenes as a Senior Software Engineer at UNIFI. Elena is a Swiss army knife with development skills that blows her colleagues away and is to thank for many of the robust features UNIFI customers enjoy.
We recently sat down with Elena to learn more about her experience at UNIFI! Elena shared some of her experience in her own words that are captured below:
➊ What has your experience been with our company culture?
We have more cohesiveness as a team than anywhere else I have ever worked. I not only know people in unrelated departments, but I have some understanding of what they do, enough to understand that there isn’t really any such thing as an unrelated department. I understand how my work affects them, and vice versa. I’ve never worked for a company that strived for that, much less achieved it. I’ve also had casual (non-business) conversations with many of them and gotten to know them as people.
➋ What are some things you have noticed about our leadership team?
They work here just as I do. We have different jobs, but we’re all working towards the same goals. They request our input, and then they acknowledge and act on it. I’ve worked at companies where the bosses hold themselves apart from the workers. At UNIFI, I feel like we’re all working together, rather than leadership giving orders and the rest of us just doing what we’re told.
➌ What parts of our mission do you connect with?
I connect with enabling common data environments. Computers excel at managing data, but if each system keeps its data apart from others, its usefulness is limited. When you can connect systems by making their data meaningful to each other, each of those systems is more powerful, and the organization solves several inefficiencies and may find entirely new ways to make use of the data they already have.
➍ What has been your biggest accomplishment on the team?
Given what I do, this is the only sentence in this answer readable by non-geeks. 🙂 I built the current version of the system we call the Farm (but I didn’t name it), which is almost entirely serverless. It runs on a library that allows a program to run a bit at a time, e.g. in lambdas, saving its entire state once it’s out of time or things to do, until it’s woken by an external event (usually the completion of a task it initiated), and then it continues where it left off. It’s like working with promises, or async/await, but each response to an event is a separate run of the program and is likely on a different machine. It runs primarily on AWS Lambda and AWS SWF.
➎ What benefits are your favorite and why?
I would say unlimited PTO. I am one of those people that would hoard vacation time in case of need. Now that I know I can take time off if I need to, I don’t have to do that, so I can take vacation time because I want to, not just when I have to.
➏ Before working here, what was an exciting job you had?
Probably the most interesting job before UNIFI was done here shortly after the merger (see below) when we were transitioning away from doing consulting work. It was one of the last external projects I worked on before we were exclusively focused on UNIFI itself. It was a system for doing studio-quality audio collaboration over the internet called ConnectionOpen. I keep in touch with the customer, they’ve had several iterations since we worked on their system, but some of my logic is still at the core of it. It’s amazing to use, it truly sounds like you’re sitting in the same room.
➐ What drew you to UNIFI originally? And how has UNIFI changed since?
I started with Reliant Programming, one of the two companies that merged to create UNIFI. I originally started with Reliant because I had worked with some of the employees at other jobs. We were a consulting firm at that time, so there has been a complete change since then. As they’re completely different businesses. Consultants are brought in to solve a specific problem, and there is no continuity. Every project is different, for every customer with different needs and goals, and once you build a solution for that customer, you’re on to something completely different for someone else. Even though some of those projects are very interesting, it’s much more satisfying working for a company that develops our own products and services, as all the parts fit together and work and evolve towards a common set of goals. Even when we roll out new products, they’re in service to those same goals.
➑ List a couple fun facts about you?
I love music and listen to bands from all over the world. Every member of my family has a different first language (Dutch, French and English for Dad, Mom and me).
Dan Reid, UNIFI’s Chief Technology Officer said it best, “Elena’s role is foundational at UNIFI, and her day-to-day tasks are focused on the back-end development of our software. In particular, she builds, maintains, and further develops a subsystem we refer to as “the Farm”, which is a highly scalable, cloud compute processing and workflow system that takes advantage of the latest technology and lets UNIFI offer unique services such as Revit model migration, 3D preview images, and parameter mapping.”
Dan is not alone in his admiration for Elena. Her “let’s get it done” attitude and warm personality makes her beloved by all of her colleagues at UNIFI. She is an essential piece of the UNIFI puzzle and we are extremely grateful to have her on the team.
Are you interested in a career at UNIFI to work with great people like Elena? Follow the link to see all our open opportunities and benefits! Careers – UNIFI (unifilabs.com)
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