Rose sits down for a chat with Chris Hutson, a Senior Product Manager with Brightspot. A man used to wearing many hats to get myriad customer implementations over the line, Chris has led the successful delivery of projects including for NBC Sports, the PGA Championship and Drive, Chip & Putt.
How long have you worked for Brightspot? What brought you here?
I started in January 2022 after Avery Darrah (Senior Manager, Recruiting) reached out to me on Linkedin, which is how I first learned about Brightspot. I researched more into the company, and seeing how it was voted one of the best places to work, I knew right away that it would be a good place to be. After discussions with Avery, I talked to a few other people within Brightspot who spoke very highly of the company and culture. I was really happy to be brought on board shortly after.
Can you tell me about the current project you are working on and your role on the team?
Our team is currently working on a project for Golfzon, a golf simulator company. I’m working on getting their new site set up so that they can expand their business in the United States. As a Senior Product Manager, my role on the team is to work with both our internal development and QA teams to make sure that we’re continuing to deliver the work and then interfacing with the Golfzon customer to make sure that we’re getting all the requirements for the new site, as well as staying on their scheduled timeline.
What do you enjoy most about your role as a product manager? What do you find most challenging?
I think it’s probably a little bit of the same answer for both. I really enjoy wearing many hats and being able to do a bunch of different things with our development team both internally and externally with the customer. I think I like being able to do different things—no two days look the same. I enjoy the variety of work that I get to do, but that is kind of the most challenging thing which, funny enough, is because no two days are the same.
You have worked on a ton of different projects for a handful of clients. Does any one project stand out as your favorite? Why?
My favorite is probably the Drive, Chip and Putt project. The Drive, Chip and Putt is a youth golf program that is run as a collaboration between the Masters, USGA and the PGA to help get kids into playing golf. I think it’s my favorite because I get to be a part of the yearlong process of kids registering for their local golf events, seeing them compete throughout the year, and then seeing the finalists come together at Augusta in April. It's rewarding because it’s really shows the strength of the program, and it's always exciting to be a part of it.
What's the best piece of career or life advice that you've ever received?
That’s a great question, and there's a lot of advice I've been given. One that stands out is that you shouldn't get too caught up in the short-term of things and to appreciate the longer-term aspect of your career. I feel like you can get so focused on what’s happening right now and letting things get to you if something doesn’t go your way. Let’s say you don’t hit a deadline, or a project is off schedule. It's very easy to stress yourself out about that, but if you take a step back and view things more in the longer run, you’ll see those small missteps are just a part of a longer path that leads to a successful project. You just have to continue to work hard and remain confident that the result of your efforts is that things are going to work out and you’re gonna work through this problem. That’s been really helpful because sometimes, at least for me, I get too focused on what’s happening right now that I forget to take a step back and breathe. So the advice of "always look at the bigger picture" has been really helpful.
Last summer, you had the chance to play in the Brightspot Unified Challenge. What did that experience mean to you?
It meant so much to me. It was such a rewarding experience to be able to bring together the First Tee kids, the Special Olympics athletes and the military veterans out on the golf course. It was so fun to see how everybody was enjoying themselves and coming together for such an amazing event. Everybody came from different backgrounds and we were able to share stories throughout the whole round of golf, and I really got to know my playing partners. It was really inspiring to learn about where they’ve come from and everything they’ve gone through. It was a fun day overall, and a day that will always stick with me.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
It’s a great question, because I think that the people here are definitely my favorite part. The support that I’ve gotten from all of my coworkers has been amazing. Besides the people, I would say my favorite part is the variety of work that we get to do. I’m on the delivery side, so I work directly with our customers. I’m fortunate enough to get to work on a lot of sports projects because sports are one of my favorite hobbies. Simply looking across the company and seeing how diverse our customers are and the different problems that we’re solving for them is really enjoyable. I always know that there will be some exciting work to do.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
If you can't tell, I really like to play golf. I’m not very good, but I love to get outside and play with my friends. We started playing with some other Brightspot coworkers when the weather was nice, which was always fun. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and watching football on the weekends. I find it very fun to go out to dinner and trying to find new restaurants and different foods from different places. Washington, D.C., has such a great restaurant scene, so it’s really fun to try out different places to eat.
If you could have any superpower, which would you like to have? Why?
I think I’d like to be able to control time, either to go back in time or to slow time down. I think it’d be really cool to be able to play with time. I don’t know if that’s a real superpower, but I guess if I could choose anything, that’s what I’d do.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d really like to go to a tropical island, so my dream destination would be the Maldives. I’ve been seeing a lot of pictures and it seems really beautiful, so that's where I'd travel!