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On the Record with Rose: Rich Fredericks

image of Brightspot employee Rich Fredericks

Rich has been working at Brightspot since May 2010

Recently, Rose went on the record with Rich Fredericks, a Director of Engineering, who just celebrated his ten-year anniversary at Brightspot. During their conversation, Rose and Rich discuss how the company has changed over those 10 years, reflect back on one of his favorite projects, and dive into his passion for drums and the concert that inspired him.

You are one of the longest tenured employees at Brightspot having been here for 10 years! How was the company evolved over that time?
When I started at the company, it was way smaller. Everybody could fit in one conference room for all-hands meetings, there were fewer projects going on, and Brightspot was just being conceived. The company has matured in so many different ways in the time since then. Brightspot has grown into a full-fudged enterprise publishing system and the number of people at the company has more than tripled. The company also gotten much younger with a huge influx of new hires right out of college, which has breathed a young spirit into the company. We have clear processes on how we manage projects and Brightspot Express serves as the backbone of all of our work. In a nutshell, we have become a big-boy company!

Can you tell me more about your role at Brightspot working as a developer on the platform team?
I joined the platform team two or three years ago. Prior to that I worked on delivery projects for a handful of clients. On the platform team, I am the architect and manager of the Ready Made group. In my role, I guide the technical implementations of Ready Made features and lead a team of software engineers.

What inspired you to become a software engineer?
I just kind of fell into it. I initially went to college for music, but after one year switched my major to psychology. After graduation, I was in a band that fizzled out and the starving musician life wasn't working out too well, so I took a temp job at AOL in 1999. That role turned into an eleven-year career. I found myself getting more and more interested in technology and worked on teams that fostered my growth. I learned on the job and it got me where I am today.

How do you think Brightspot best benefits our clients?
Brightspot is infinitely flexible. There is almost nothing that it cannot do. If you can figure out how to do something technically, you can do it with Brightspot. As a content business platform, it has no limits, so it just comes down to how creative you can be.

During your 10 years at Brightspot you have worked on some really cool projects. Which stands out as the most memorable?
SnagFilms was my first really big and interesting project as a development lead. It was a video website that featured independent films. We built an in-house video player, came up with creative technical solutions to really challenging problems, and the subject matter was interesting.

What traits are most important to making you successful at your job?
I am a people person and genuinely like working with others. I am empathetic to people's needs, communicate well, understand their challenges, and work collaboratively to find solutions.

Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
The platform itself. I think it's very unique in the marketplace and I genuinely find it fun and inspiring to work on a technology that is that cool.

What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
Number one is music, particularly playing drums. I've been part of a cover band with the same people for over 20 years and we play a gig or two a year. Outside of music, I really enjoy bass fishing.

While we are trapped at home physically distancing, do you have any book, television, or movie recommendations to share?
I recently watched Inglorious Basterds, which isn't a new movie, but I thought it was great. The Witcher is a show on Netflix I recently binged. It's not a genre I typically find interesting, but I really enjoyed the show. I would also recommend the Kenzie & Gennaro Series by Dennis Lehane.

Where would you go in a time machine? Why?
Recently, the drummer from Rush, Neil Peart, died from brain cancer. For any drummers my age, he is extremely influential. Thinking about him, I would go back to 1992 when I saw Rush in concert. It was my last year in high school and it was an incredible experience. I would love to go back and relive that moment. Rush was playing at a huge arena in Hartford, Connecticut. Seeing Neil play drums again would be pretty cool!

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