What happens when two technical strategists walk into the virtual offices of WebDevStudios (WDS)? The answer is the creation of roadmaps for website project completion.
That works out especially well for our website agency since one of these new teammates has experience as a cartographer, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Folks, meet the two new technical strategists added to team WDS: Bonnie Martin and Ryan Archer.
The addition of these two experts to our website design and development team is essential because technical strategy is an important part of the project lifecycle. It includes identifying the client’s requirements, defining solutions, and recommending the approach.
Having two professionals who are passionate about planning, development, and consulting be in charge of all our clients’ technical strategies is a huge benefit. Please take a moment to get to know Bonnie and Ryan.
Bonnie Martin, Technical Strategist
Bonnie enjoys understanding a client’s business needs and figuring out how to make them a reality with the WordPress framework, saying, “I participate in a series of calls with the client that includes discovery, requirements gathering, needs analysis, and design.”
As a technical strategist, she works closely with engineering and design to create solutions to the requirements discovered during this process.
“The goal is to create a project plan that details every aspect of the project,” Bonnie explains. “The project plan is used by engineers when they are building out the website, and it also serves as confirmation for our client that we’re creating what they need.”
Sounds complicated, right? Well, that doesn’t deter Bonnie. In fact, she reports that when she read the description for her job, she knew she’d found her new career role.
“Based on the website, WebDevStudios seemed like a fun agency, and I was impressed by the fact that the founders had written books on WordPress,” Bonnie says.
Bonnie’s professional background is really interesting. For the past 20 years, she’s been working on websites in a myriad of ways: development, design, SEO, online marketing, content creation, project management, and more.
“My long history in web development means that I’m familiar with many of the ways our clients will be using their websites and what they need their websites to do for their business,” Bonnie expounds, adding, “Of course, every website brings its own unique mysteries and challenges. As a strategist, I can rely on my experience and knowledge to help our team successfully meet the needs of our clients.”
The onboarding experience at WDS has been going well for Bonnie. She describes the team as welcoming and friendly. Also, she appreciates starting her new role alongside Ryan. Bonnie says she’s impressed with the depth of knowledge of our engineering team and the organizational skills of our project managers.
Now, while Bonnie is an impressive technologist, she loves to have fun when she’s not working. For her, that means gaming.
Video games she’s been playing lately include “Assassins Creed: Origins,” “Portal 2,” and “Psychonauts 2.” Additionally, Bonnie likes virtual reality (VR) games, too. She claims they’re a good workout.
“There are VR workouts, and there are also VR games that aren’t intended as workouts, but still give you a workout while playing them,” Bonnie clarifies. “For me, exercising along with a game is a lot more fun than doing a standard workout.”
According to Bonnie, virtual reality tracks movement at three points: the two controllers you hold in your hands and your head movement based on the headset you’re wearing. This lends itself to a common mechanic of VR games where you move your hands to shoot or slice targets.
“For head movement, you can look all around the environment, but games also have you ducking and dodging game elements. That ends up resulting in a lot of squats that you have to do to duck under objects,” Bonnie explains. “You definitely look like a dork while playing, but there’s nobody else here except my dog, so I don’t mind.”
Ryan Archer, Technical Strategist
“As a technical strategist, it is my job to jump headfirst into new projects before the engineering teams begin their work,” Ryan explains his duties. He goes on to say that it’s his responsibility to collaborate with the client to identify all the details of their project.
“Once complete, a detailed project plan is created that outlines the path our developers need to follow,” he continues, “The technical strategist role is split, with half of my time spent talking and researching and the other half writing documentation.”
Whew! You can see how intricate and detailed being a technical strategist at WDS is. We’re glad Ryan applied for the position when it was listed.
“The opportunity to work with a diverse set of clients and a team of incredibly talented people was too great to pass up,” Ryan describes what inspired him to submit his application. “It also helps that for the past three years, my brother-in-law, Oliver Harrison, has been telling me how much he enjoys working with WebDevStudios.”
Glad to hear our reputation proceeds us. However, Ryan’s past is pretty impressive, too. He jokes that his background mirrors the meme that says, “I’ve seen some things….”
For example, Ryan began working in eCommerce in 2000, before the emergence of most content management systems.
“Everything back then needed to be carefully planned and strategized as the resources available now simply did not exist. This experience has given me a solid foundation in strategy and planning,” Ryan says.
He’s been involved with various platform and database changes, point-of-sale integrations, and just about everything else that exists in the eCommerce space. Simultaneously, he was also involved with graphic design, marketing, IT, and creating custom maps for clients as a cartographer.
“One of my most successful projects was for the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association—a not-for-profit group building and maintaining hiking and biking trails,” Ryan mentions. The association wanted to create and sell a trail map as a fundraiser for building and repairing some of the trail infrastructures after a fairly devastating flood.
Like the strategy process at WDS, creating the map involved a series of collaborative meetings between Ryan and a wide variety of stakeholders in the private and government sectors. Ryan says, “To this day, the map turned out to be their most successful fund-raising venture.”
We told you that you would be impressed! What client wouldn’t want Ryan involved with the technical strategy of their website?
However, like Bonnie, there’s more to Ryan than being an experienced technologist. The word in the virtual hallways of WDS is that Ryan is a wine expert.
“Oddly enough, wine is something I’ve only become interested in for the last few years,” Ryan explains, “Working with a wine and spirits retailer gave me the luxury of being involved in wine tastings of dozens of bottles each week. Trying so many different wine styles and grape varieties gave me an appreciation for some of the nuances wine can have.”
Ryan has completed the Level 2 Award in Wines from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) program, which is an international certification on the other side of the coin from the sommelier programs. Where a sommelier is focused primarily on the service and hospitality industries, the WSET program focuses on deeper knowledge of the varietals, regions, and growing conditions to answer the question of why a particular wine tastes the way it does.
“This approach appeals to me, and even though I’m no longer in the industry, I plan to keep going with the education, at the very least, to the next level,” Ryan states. “My advice for anyone trying to get into wine or expand their enjoyment of wine would be to continuously try something new.”
Ryan says that some of his recent favorite wines have been from regions that don’t get talked about nearly enough like Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
Join WebDevStudios as an Engineering Manager
WDS just listed a new open position for an engineering manager. After reading Bonnie’s and Ryan’s stories, surely you’re curious about making a career move to our web agency, aren’t you?
Then consider applying as an engineering manager. Read the job description for all the details and apply online today.