Rob Lazorchak is Brightspot's Director of Quality Assurance, where he leads a team of QA specialists to assure the smooth and successful delivery of varied, challenging and unique customer projects. When he's not in the weeds of testing complex use cases and requirements, Rob can be found enjoying the outdoors and especially the beach with his family.
How long have you worked for Brightspot? What brought you here?
It will be a year in August. I previously worked with David Gang, Ping Pan and a number of folks from AOL. I was approached with the opportunity to work at Brightspot, and it sounded like a really great company. I had enjoyed working with the team before, so I jumped in and here I am.
Can you tell me more about your role as Director of Quality Assurance? What is a typical day like for you?
As Director of Quality Assurance (QA), I lead a team of over 25 people. During my day, I make sure that teams are free of roadblocks so they are able to get their job done. As part of this, I sometimes have to jump in and help teams complete various tasks in order to reach their delivery dates. Part of my job is to encourage teams in general to not just test the tickets, but also to think about page performance and how a site will load. This means part of my days are spent doing load and page-performance testing as needed and reminding teams of the importance of these as well as other other types of tests such as acceptance and security testing. My day also involves talking to the various project teams to ensure they have enough resources, as well as reviewing the health of our projects and making recommendations to help teams be successful.
What do you find the most interesting about QA?
I love it all! It’s basically a chance for me to work with smart and talented people to help make sure a project gets delivered. We get to start early on the project looking at the requirements and help point out any potential issues or concerns we want to raise. During testing, we’re working closely with the development team to look at what’s being built and providing feedback back to the team. Also, at the end, we are there to review the customer feedback and help answer any of the customer's questions. We get to do a wide variety of things and work with a large number of people, so it makes it exciting. At Brightspot, each project is so different and interesting that it forces you to think of ways to best ensure quality is reached.
What traits or characteristics make someone successful at QA testing? Why?
Curiosity is always a good thing! Be willing to try new things. At Brightspot, we always have a lot of new and different projects. Sometimes we are doing front-end testing and sometimes we are doing back-end testing, so being willing to jump in and learn new things is important. It’s also important to not be afraid to reach out and ask if you’re not sure of something or need help figuring out a problem. These are some traits that make a good QA individual. Plus, being technical helps out a lot as well.
How have you grown professionally since starting at Brightspot?
I would say my people management and hands-on testing skills have grown significantly. Working on so many projects, and with a large and mostly remote team, I spend a lot of time talking. As a result, my communication skills have grown, as well as my confidence to jump in and give recommendations on how we should do things. My background before coming to Brightspot focused more on desktop applications or communications protocols. Here I am learning more about front-end testing as well as page performance and load testing, so in the last year I’ve learned a lot about that.
Do you have any piece of advice for college students or those who starting their careers in QA?
The big thing is, don’t be afraid to try. The second thing is always look for advice and suggestions. The world of QA is always evolving and there are so many tools and ideas out there. Do your research. Take time to try different tools and see which ones work for you. Make sure you keep learning and asking questions. Curiosity is such an important characteristic to have because things change so fast, so it’s always fun to look at the latest technology and how we can do our jobs better. Remember to talk to people and learn from the experience of others. We have people who have been doing QA for 25 years to people who have just started. Take time to talk to your team members and learn from them.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
There are so many, but I would definitely start with the challenges. Every day is something new, which I love. It makes the day go by fast and at the end of the week the goal is to feel like you’ve accomplished more than what you’ve added to your plate. I love that it’s a small company where everyone is willing to work hard and to jump in and ensure we’re building something that the customer is going to love. That’s an exciting part for me.
The other aspect of the company that I love is the company is always organizing various charity events to give back to the community. Some of my favorites have been being able to help build bikes for kids or spending the day decorating a local veterans' organization for the holidays. Giving back is such an important value I have learned as I grow older.
Lastly, the additional recognition rewards for employee performance. One example: I am a big golf fan and Brightspot sent me to Sunday at the Masters Tournament this year, which was a lifelong dream. The company did this to say thank you for the extra hard work. This was a total surprise and a chance to cross off a bucket list item, which was such a treat and great experience.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
I love to be away from the computer! Outside of the office I love spending time with my wife and my son. I love being active, which includes biking, golfing, running—anything outside! We recently bought a beach house and we’re down at the beach a lot spending time with our family.
If you could have any superpower, which would you like to have? Why?
The power to heal others. My son was born with a heart condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and at the time he was the smallest patient to survive the three surgeries required to repair his heart. After that, my wife and I started a charity called Hayden’s Heart Heroes. We collect funds for John Hopkins Pediatric Cardiology and the PICU that performed the miracle 18 years ago for our family and do it every day for so many other families in the region. For us, it’s a way to give back to the amazing teams at Hopkins as well as try to make it a little easier and better for the next family that has to go through the doors of Hopkins. To date we have raised over $400,000 and have a dream/goal of reaching a million one day. When I retire, I am hoping to spend time volunteering with families and kids with heart conditions.
What summer activity are you most excited about?
I’m excited able to spend time with my family at the beach. Having a wife who is a teacher and my son who is going to be a senior in high school, it’s a chance to just get away and relax and enjoy family time.