Our Software Craftsmen
We've built a team of individuals who excel in their craft and work with integrity.
Ken Auer - CTO, Master Craftsman
If you know anything about the current state of the software world, you'll know that object-oriented programming and thought has become the state of the art. Ken is one of the few people in the world that has been building systems with object-oriented tools since the mid 1980s. He has mentored hundreds of software developers in the use of object-oriented thought and practice and has been a pioneer in many of the movements that has advanced the craft. He spends a lot of his time as the interface to potential clients, helping clients figure out the best approach to their needs, putting together the teams to meet client needs, making sure projects are running smoothly, and overseeing the development of the members of the team. His hands have heavily been in dozens of projects, and he still gets his hands dirty on a semi-regular basis to stay in touch with the craft and the other craftsmen.
Though he spends most of his energy in the practice of the craft, he has been known to speak, write an occasional article or chapter contribution to leading edge books, and even author a couple of books. He was asked to give the opening keynote at the first Software Craftsmanship North America conference on August 26, 2009 in Chicago. They liked him so much he was invited to speak again at the 2nd annual SCNA conference in October, 2010, and sit on a panel of experts on apprenticeship in 2011, too.
Ken's first book (co-authored with colleague Roy Miller), "Extreme Programming Applied: Playing to Win!" received excellent reviews as he explained how to practically apply the principles of Extreme Programming in the real world by relating his own thoughts and experiences as well as contributions from other pioneers. After many years, he is exploring co-authoring a new book based on his experience mentoring developers who were taught some programming but never learned the craft of building object-oriented systems with the working title, "The Craft of Object-Oriented Software Development (Make it run! Make it right!)".
What domains has Ken worked in? Network management, graphical manipulation, education, report creation, software developer tools, manufacturing process consulting support, financial trading, object-relational database mapping, order management systems, semiconductor manufacturing control, statistical analysis, lab data management, process configuration, administrative tools, automotive diagnostic tools, electronic medical records, e-commerce, member management, agricultural, and more.
Outside of software and entrepreneurship, Ken has interest and experience in history, family and church reformation, musical theatre, audio/video production of live events, construction, education, coaching, and maybe a few other things that he's not thinking about right now. Since he also feels the need to sleep, he has learned to focus on each of these other interests a season at a time. This diversity of interests and experience has enhanced his ability to quickly grasp the needs of his clients' business and help coach them in cultivating their innovative concepts.
Ken's been married to his wonderful wife, Carol, since 1985, and has three children in very different stages of life. As a homeschooling family, they all help in various ways to enhance the business.
Walt Briley - President
As President of RoleModel Software, Walt leads and manages business development, internal operations, and customer relations. He plays an integral role on the Agile project management team by collaborating directly with the customer to assist in the concept and product development process. Walt interacts with the software development team throughout the project life-cycle helping to transform customer ideas into working software. Open communication, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction are of utmost importance to Walt.
Walt brings a wide-range of experience as a business leader, IT manager, and project manager in the public, private, and government sectors. For 25 years, he has mastered the art of team building, customer service, and operations management excellence, supporting both internal and external customers. Integrity, honesty, and building authentic relationships are true assets to his character that have allowed him to hold Top Security clearances with the FBI and to serve as lead pastor of operations at a local church.
Walt enjoys cycling, coaching football, family time, and serving his community as a disciple of Christ.
Caleb Woods - Software Craftsman
Caleb rapidly grew his skills as web developer and team lead at CollegePlus. His many responsibilities there involved leading the building of a development team, including an apprentice program, and architecting the move of the company's existing infrastructure to a Service Oriented Architecture using Ruby on Rails.
Caleb especially enjoys solving business problems with technology in a lean approach. His specialties include:
- Ruby on Rails
Caleb is married to his wife Kimberly. His personal hobbies and pursuits include disc golf, cycling, and enjoying Michigan State football and basketball.
Graham Langdon - UI Design
Graham is passionate about designing applications that people love to use, and he works closely with project owners, end users, and developers to ensure an excellent final product. He carefully leverages text, color, line, whitespace, and iconography to make applications easy to understand and navigate, and to empower users to confidently complete actions. Behind the scenes, he meticulously crafts and organizes design-related code to promote a high-degree of performance across all targeted devices and browsers, and to allow stylistic changes to be made without side-effects.
The design process
Rather than drawing something in photoshop and "throwing it over the fence," Graham embraces an agile design process that fits hand-in-glove with the development style at RoleModel. Graham's designs begin with research- thorough conversations with the client, interviews with users or potential users, and surveying the best practices and design patterns being used elsewhere to solve similar problems. The designs themselves start out as semi-functional wireframes usually in-browser and usually in grey scale. This focusses the attention on getting the user interface right rather than prematurely getting concerned with embellishments. As the project progresses and concepts are proven, the designs take on a higher and higher level of fidelity.
More and more, the world relies on mobile devices where it once relied on desktops. The mobile revolution has brought with it a lot of exciting innovations in interface design. Graham loves designing for mobile and stays on top of all the latest innovations often buying apps just to experience the interface. As with web application design, Graham holds to an agile process when designing mobile apps beginning with research and letting form follow function.
Graham is passionate about learning and takes time most days to read the latest news in the tech world as well as books and articles on design. Graham believes cultivating a diversity of interests and experiences helps to provide valuable insights into one's own life and work. Graham's side activities include playing music, reading the classics, painting, woodworking, metalwork, and homesteading.
Graham received his bachelor's in IT Security with a minor in Graphic Design at Campbell University. He and his wife, Sarah, are stewards of the family farm in Four Oaks, NC.
Dave Bates - Project Manager
Dave has led teams and projects for the majority of his career. Over the course of more than 20 years, he has worked with a full range of companies from early stage startups to large and established enterprises. He brings experience across multiple disciplines and industries within technology development and consulting organizations delivering products and services to high-tech, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, and financial services markets. Dave blends experience as both a provider and a customer to bring the customer’s point of view to every engagement. He leads teams to meet project objectives by maintaining clear expectations within the entire team, excellent communication, collaborative prioritization, and personal integrity. Dave has a BA in Organizational Communications and Professional Writing from Cedarville University and is an Agile scrum certified project manager.
Ben Wyrosdick - Software Craftsman
Ben joined the RoleModel team in 2014. Before coming to RoleModel, Ben worked as founder of Compose (formerly MongoHQ), gaining experience in building a distributed platform backed by several web applications and services written in ruby, node, and go. Ben helped Compose take its original monolithic application and break it up into smaller apps and services that allowed it to scale.
Ben loves building things and solving technical problems. His focus has been on gaining mastery in ruby, mostly because it has proved to be both enjoyable to work with and easier to inherit existing projects from other developers. He enjoys finding the right tools to solve each problem whether that be language, framework, or database.
Ben is a husband of more than 10 years, and father of two. He is an entrepreneur and passionate software developer.
Rick Evans - Sr. UX Consultant
Rick has 30 years experience designing and building applications in a wide range of industries including financial, healthcare, agriculture, e-commerce, telecommunications, engineering optimization, and oil & gas. He specializes in contextual inquiry, usability testing and task analysis as a means to learn how customers do their jobs in order to design applications that meet their needs.
He has intimate knowledge of the financial and healthcare sectors. He has worked on several healthcare centric mobile and web applications while working with Thomson Reuters and McKesson. At American Funds, Rick was lead UX designer for all internal applications for their 5000 call center employees for two years. During that time he insured that all new features met the company wide strict SLA for interaction with its 30+ million customers. Rick has also worked with a wide range of companies in a variety of industries including Saudi Aramco, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Pratt Whitney, GE, Fujitsu, GSK, Lowe’s Home Improvement and SAS.
Rick is a graduate of Virginia Tech’s Geophysics program.
Rick is an avid reader, handyman and enjoys the great outdoors with his family.
Tim Irwin - Sr. Craftsman
Tim cut his teeth on medical software in the early-90s and had some great mentors. In addition to being a software developer, he served as a database administrator for several years, so he is the rare breed of person who knows just about anything you need to know about relational databases in theory and practice. He learned about object-oriented software early in his career and then plunged in deeply when he started working with RoleModel in 2004. You won't find a more dedicated individual than Tim, and you'll rarely find a software developer who is more well-rounded.
Tim has used databases of every scale:
- Access and FileMakerPro,
- MySql, SqlServer and Oracle,
- Teradata and Data Warehouses
Tim has used more languages than most on a professional level
- C, C++
- Visual Basic
- Java w/ Struts, Sails, Tapestry,
- Ruby w/ Rails
He has been involved in software related to group management, curriculum management, program scheduling, drug database management, clinical analysis, drug discovery research, cattle auctions, ...
Outside of software, Tim is an outdoorsman and has a small family farm, has served on the board of North Carolinians for Home Education, and as a deacon at Southwest Wake Christian Assembly. He has been married to his dear wife, Heather, since 1996 and has five active and growing children.
Tony Ingraldi - iOS Dev.
A skilled developer in many languages and frameworks, Tony specializes in iOS application development at RoleModel Software. Tony is passionate about delivering quality work and mentoring others who are interested in doing the same.
- iPhone Development
- Cocoa Desktop Development
- Shell Scripting/Automation
- Mac OS X
- Web Technologies (Apache Web Server, JBoss, Tomcat, ...)
Thomas Ingram - Web Developer
Thomas began his software development career as a self-taught web developer who started programming to create websites more efficiently. He is fanatic about following open web standards. Beginning programming professionally at a .NET shop, he quickly became disillusioned by anything Microsoft and started looking at Ruby. As a continuous learner, he came to RoleModel to take him to the next level and has grown immensely.
Thomas stays on top of leading edge web technologies such as Node.js and is constantly on the look out for the next great thing. He likes to experiment with promising new technologies in his spare time. He has released and contributed to several open source projects. Thomas is crafting a new programming language and finishing an awesome static site generator.
Thomas is married, owns two ferrets and has three nephews and one niece.
Ben Einwechter - Web Dev.
Ben is a deep and insightful thinker with a passion to continuously grow and serve. He started out serving in an IT position in a small business, and his desire for continuous improvement and problem solving led him down a path to become a Software Craftsman. After a variety of opportunities at PHP web development, he found himself seeking a better way to architect systems and a place to grow. That led him to Ruby/Rails and RoleModel Software where he has quickly become a solid developer and silent leader on RoleModel's Core Team.
Paul Nicholson - Development
Paul is a strange breed who has delved deeply into a lot of areas of computers. He is one of the first people we call when there is a server or system problem. He also is one of the first people we call when something doesn't look right in a particular web browser. Oh yeah, and he develops software that sits in between the two also. Paul has dabbled in just about everything, and does it well. He is basically our go to man for emerging technologies, and is all over the mobile space, having developed iOS, Android, and cross-platform mobile apps.
Paul started here as an apprentice in 2004 bringing a lot of self-learning with him and has gained a tremendous amount of skills. In addition to learning a lot about crafting software, he's been a utility player tackling all sorts of technology beyond programming (audio, video, network administration, software packaging, etc)
Paul has been involved in a variety of systems including conference management, automotive diagnostics, electronic medical records, preventative medical diagnostics, cattle auctions, online directory management, and more. Paul has used a lot of technologies to build web sites and has built a variety of tools for building and maintaining web sites. He has worked with Austin Taylor to create a true WYSIWYG editor and simple content management system to help greatly increase the flexibility and maintainability of web sites managed by a group of non-technical volunteers on a non-trivial web site. RoleModel has begun to leverage these open source tools in many of their web applications.
Paul is married to Sarah and has a beautiful child. He comes from a large, close-knit family whom he has helped with a variety of businesses including a small band.
John Young - Development
John is part of an entrepreneurial homeschool family who recently decided to pour his time into developing his experience in many freelance web development efforts to the next level. As participant in the first Software Craftsmanship Academy he quickly rose to the head of the class and has been drawn into the day to day life of RoleModel. You'll be hearing more from him.
Lui Bright - Administrative Assistant
Lui has the pleasure of supporting a wonderful team of leaders and talented software engineers as the office administrative assistance offering services such as:
- administering inbound phone calls
- receive and direct visitors and clients for meetings
- clerical duties; photocopying, fax and mailing
- maintain electronic and hard copy filing system
- prepare documents including correspondence, reports, drafts, memos and emails
- schedule and coordinate travel arrangements for team members and management
Lui also serves as the office accountant with duties ranging:
- check and verify source documents; invoices, receipts, computer printouts
- allocate and post financial transaction details to subsidiary books
- transfer data to general ledger
- reconcile and balance all accounts
- collate and analyze account data and generate financial reports
- prepare checks, payments and bank deposits
- prepare and process payroll
- maintain complete filing system to support financial records
Christian DiLorenzo - iOS Dev.
Christian is an up and coming iOS and web developer. Initially self-taught, Christian learned quickly and showed great promise. After participating in the first Software Craftsmanship Academy , Christian is now working with RoleModel as a Jr. Developer under the guidance of older Craftsmen.
In addition to his aptitude for writing code, Christian has strong visual design sensibilities.
Greg Tarsa - Developer
Greg began his career in the 1980’s working for Digital Equipment Corporation’s first commercial Unix offering. His professional background includes over a decade working as an independent consultant and nine years with NetApp, where he worked on their Unix-like OS to develop a new file system, SAN host connectivity, and a flash memory accelerator.
In 2013, Greg joined RoleModel as a developer, bringing skills in Ruby, Spinach, bash scripting, and C. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. He also pursues an unusual hobby: running a pirate singing group, the Motley Tones, on weekends during pirate season.
Aaron Gray - Web Dev.
Braxton Plaxo - Web Dev.
Braxton began pursuing a degree in computer science from Henderson State University, then transferred to CollegePlus where he is finishing out his degree. Most of his programming knowledge is self-taught.
Braxton’s greatest passions in life are loving people and walking out his faith day-by-day. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking, camping, and anything adventurous. But he also likes to code as a hobby and finds coding an outlet for creativity.
Jeremy Walton - Web Dev.
Jeremy initially explored programming in java through multiple robotics competitions. After desiring to broaden his knowledge, he participated in the Software Craftsmanship Academy. This has worked to expand his experience in both programming and working for a software company. Jeremy is now working with RoleModel as a Jr. Developer under the guidance of older Craftsmen.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Hear RoleModel craftsmen speak at these upcoming events:
Ken Auer at JS Remote Conf Feb 5
Tony Ingraldi at Cocoa Conf DC April 10th–11th
Topic: Automate with SwiftMore information
Rick Evans at Write Now! in Cary, May 2nd
#1 - Technical Communication Round Table: including local leaders from groups like TriUXPA, the Society for Technical Communication, and the American Medical Writers Association to talk about careers in those fields and also include instructors from local universities.
#2 - Web Design Session: Good web design isn't just about making the content look pretty. Cognitive factors affect how readers respond. This design-focused session will introduce you to the hallmarks of a good website, such as color usage, fonts, white space, web copy, and navigation.