title: About Me permalink: /about/

Hi, I’m Ben! I live in Greenville, SC and work remotely as the Director of Customer Success for Gatsby. In my free time I enjoy hiking, spending time with my wife and children, and learning to play the banjo.

I create fun, innovative, accessible, and fast websites. I try to leave every bit I code I touch more readable, performant and accessible than I found it.

These are the accomplishments I'm most proud of:

## Speaking

### MagMutual.com: On the JAMStack with Gatsby and Drupal 8

  • Event: DrupalCon Global 2020
  • Date: July 2020
  • Slides

My colleague Bob Kepford and I shared our decoupled architectural approach to rebuilding https://www.magmutual.com on the Jamstack.

It is an inside look at our decoupled approach for MagMutual.com: combining open-source frameworks like Gatsby, Drupal 8, and Serverless, as well as third-party services for user management, a learning management system, and private APIs to build a robust custom platform.

### Gatsby at Mediacurrent

  • Event: Gatsby for Agencies and Teams: Better, Faster, Smarter Webinar
  • Date: March 2019
  • Recording

In this webinar I shared a little bit about how we've introduced Gatsby into our workflow at Mediacurrent and how things have changed as a result.

I discuss:

  • how Gatsby has changed our development process
  • how Gatsby has influenced the types of projects we are able to take on
  • how even things like hiring and advancement are changing as well
  • Event: Gatsby Days
  • Date: December 2018
  • Recording

In this talk at the first Gatsby Days event, I discuss how trends in modern web development and moving away from "CMS-Centered Development". I share a case study from our first decoupled Drupal and Gatsby project at Mediacurrent.

I also discuss the different ways decoupling can change things at an organization, including the development process, but even beyond into hiring and client diversity.

### Common Accessibility Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  • Event: DrupalCamp Asheville
  • Date: July 2018
  • Recording

I discussed four of my own homegrown principles for developing accessible websites:

  1. Web Design is more than graphic design
  2. Be ASAP: As Semantic As Possible
  3. Websites should look good naked
  4. Talk to your computer (Use ARIA attributes)

I also covered 10 common accessibility mistakes that I come across (and that I’ve personally made), and how to fix them.

### Component Based Development

  • Event: DrupalCon Nashville
  • Date: April 2018
  • Overview

This full day training session starts with an overview of component-driven development, typical workflows, and benefits for teams and stakeholders, and then we dive deep into the workflow by building out a sample Drupal theme using the UI Patterns approach. We cover:

  • An in-depth look at creating patterns including markup, styles, and behaviors
  • Composing complex UI patterns by nesting simple patterns in larger patterns
  • Integrating front-end patterns with Drupal using the UI Patterns module to simplify the process and preserve Drupal’s baked in goodies
  • Advanced workflows with Sass, a Drupal 8 theme generator, incorporating ES6/Babel with patterns

## Experience

### Gatsby

Director of Customer Success | May 2021 - Present

Engineering Manager, Customer Success | July 2020 - May 2021

  • Grew from a team of 1 to a team of 5.
  • Created and scaled technical support from less than 100 customers to over 500 customers and 5000 active users.
  • Created and scaled consulting program resulting in 10x ARR and 6 figures in gross revenue.

Staff Software Engineer, Customer Success | July 2020 - July 2020

Senior Software Engineer, Customer Success | January 2020 - July 2020

Helping customers succeed using Gatsby beyond their wildest dreams!

### Mediacurrent

Senior Frontend Developer | December 2017 - January 2020

  • Lead front end development for complex architectures utilizing Gatsby, Drupal, Auth0, and Apollo Server.
  • Define requirements, estimate new features, review pull requests and provide constructive feedback for other front end developers.
  • Refactor a complex React/Redux application for a major insurance company, increasing stability and maintainability of code and introduced unit testing strategy to increase test coverage by 1370%.
  • Perform accessibility remediation for enterprise clients to bring them into WCAG 2.1 AA compliance.
  • Speak and write effectively on various front end development topics including accessibility, component-driven development, React, Gatsby, and remote work.

### Up&Up Agency

Front End Developer | February 2015 - November 2017

#### Key Responsibilities:

  • Transform static design comps into fast, accessible, interactive, maintainable HTML/CSS/Javascript
  • Develop efficient, user-friendly backend content management systems
  • Integrate front-end development products with content management systems.

#### Accomplishments:

  • Spearheaded the agency use of pattern libraries and wrote about it for CSS-Tricks
  • Developed an internal CSS style guide for standardizing our approach to CSS/Sass for across all projects.
  • Learned Drupal 7 on the fly, developed an award-winning Drupal 7 site for the University of Kentucky and became lead Drupal developer.
  • Developed documentation templates currently in use in all agency projects.
  • Streamlined build tool setup with Webpack, npm scripts and Grunt.
  • Led the agency adoption of SVG and automated build tools.
  • Led the team in documenting front-end and server configuration best practices to streamline current development and help onboard new developers.

#### Projects:

##### University of Kentucky Help Center | 2017
  • A knowledge base for students, alumni, and faculty to find the information they need to succeed.
  • I used CakePHP as a caching layer between a React.js front end the Salesforce Knowledge Base API.
##### University of North Carolina | January 2017
  • A simple Wordpress microsite for the Friday Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
##### University of Kentucky Academic Exploration Tool | November 2015
  • A tool to help current and prospective students discover their majors and programs based on their interests or career aspirations.
  • I developed the front-end of this project as well as the majority of the Drupal site-building/backend.
##### Design @ Up&Up | October 2016
  • A custom Drupal 8 application that integrates with Bugherd.
  • Our team uses it to upload jpg or png comps to a client project, and the client can use Bugherd to markup the comps with feedback.
  • It provides an intuitive way for clients to see their comps in the browser and a much easier way for us to collect and keep track of feedback.
##### Post, an internal content calendar tool | January 2016
  • I built an internal tool to help our account management team, our content strategy time, and our clients manage the content strategies that we are developing for them.
  • I developed the front end and backend.

#### Technologies Used:

  • HTML5
  • Sass
  • CSS
  • SVG
  • Javascript
  • React.js
  • Grunt
  • Webpack
  • Drupal
  • PHP
  • jQuery
  • Wordpress
  • CakePHP
  • Python
  • Django

### Freelance

Wordpress / Frontend Developer | October 2014 - June 2015

  • Designed and implemented custom dashboards for a family of new and used car dealerships to provide high- level sales metrics for each dealership and the business as a whole, as well as monitoring the ROI of paid advertising campaigns to the upper management.
  • Developed and updated custom responsive Wordpress themes.
  • Technologies Used: HTML, CSS, SCSS, Less, Javascript, jQuery, PHP, Wordpress, Grunt, custom dashboards.

### Gannett

Digital Strategist | October 2013 - September 2014

  • Utilized Polk automotive market data, Scarborough, Nielsen, and other marketing resources to help plan the sales strategy for automotive advertising sales teams at both our Greenville and Asheville newspaper locations.
  • Planned and executed strategic integrated marketing campaigns—paid search, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, print, and targeted digital display—for franchise and independent automotive dealerships.
  • Developed a web analytics consulting process to help qualify new clients and increase revenue, achieving year- over-year revenue growth of 22%.

### Chicago Tribune

Digital Advertising Sales Consultant | February 2012 - September 2013

  • Collaborated with marketing directors, property managers, and leasing directors to plan, budget, and execute successful multi-platform advertising campaigns for apartment communities in Chicago’s western suburbs.
  • Developed advertising plans utilizing the Chicago Tribune Media Group and Apartments.com portfolio, including SEO services, web development, paid search, digital display, mobile, print, and pre-print advertising.
  • Negotiated with new and existing clients to protect profit margins while securing customer satisfaction. Managed $800,000 of revenue from local and national Real Estate Advertisers, achieving 15% growth.

## Side Projects / Volunteering

### Engaged Encounter

My lovely wife and I are presenting couples for South Carolina Catholic Engaged Encounter. We provide weekend-long marriage preparation retreats for engaged couples. I am also the treasurer.

### Second Nature Journal

2013 - 2017

I started and ran (with the help of some friends) an online journal for critical thinking about technology and new media in light of the Christian tradition, Second Nature.


2013 - 2017

The IISTC (International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity) is the non-profit we started to publish Second Nature. I was executive director.

## About this site

This site is a Gatsby site I designed and built. The type is set in IA Writer Duospace.