Hi, I’m Ben! I an independent web deb developer living in Greenville, SC. In my free time I enjoy hiking, reading, riding bikes with my wife and children, and indie hacking.
Global Director of Technical Support and Customer Success | February 2023 - September 2023
As the Global Director of Customer Success and Technical Support at Netlify, I am leading a world-class team of support engineers, providing 24/7 assistance to our growing base of enterprise customers who are adopting composable architecture.
Drawing on the success of our highly acclaimed Concierge program at Gatsby, I am expanding and refining it to cater to a larger audience of developers and businesses who use different web frameworks, to empower users, increase retention and provide expansion opportunities.
I am also introducing Customer Success as a critical function at Netlify, defining clear responsibilities and identifying key opportunities to reduce churn and drive expansion.
And following the acquisition of Gatsby by Netlify, I'm leading the initiative to merge our two support teams, ensuring a seamless and unified experience for all of our customers, no matter where they come from.
Senior Director of Customer Success | January 2020 to February 2023
During my time at Gatsby, I started as the sole Customer Success Engineer, responsible for support, consulting, integrations, and sales engineering. Over three years, I built a team of empathetic and customer-focused individuals, and we achieved outstanding results.
I scaled our customer support from just me to a global team of three dedicated engineers, supporting over 1,400 paying customers and thousands of free users of Gatsby Cloud hosting and content preview products.
I also implemented a monetized customer success program called Gatsby Concierge, which helped customers use Gatsby more effectively, reducing churn and generating over six figures in annual recurring revenue at 40% margin.
To ensure our customers were happy and satisfied, we rolled out a quarterly business review process and renewal planning, resulting in over $500k of expansion revenue.
Our customer-centric approach paid off, and we were acquired by Netlify in February 2023.
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.
Front End Developer | February 2015 - November 2017
- Develop efficient, user-friendly backend content management systems
- Integrate front-end development products with content management systems.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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%.
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.
- Event: DrupalCon Global 2020
- Date: July 2020
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.
- Event: Gatsby for Agencies and Teams: Better, Faster, Smarter Webinar
- Date: March 2019
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.
- 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
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.
- Event: DrupalCamp Asheville
- Date: July 2018
I discussed four of my own homegrown principles for developing accessible websites:
- Web Design is more than graphic design
- Be ASAP: As Semantic As Possible
- Websites should look good naked
- 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.
- Event: DrupalCon Nashville
- Date: April 2018
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
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.
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.