Pinch me, it feels like I’m in a dream. Sounds childish but that’s how I felt weeks ago when Bert Nieves accepted a position to join Shugo.
It’s always an exciting time when adding a tremendous resource to your team, but it’s more exciting when it’s with someone you’ve known for over thirteen years. And even more when that person has mentored you in the past and had a profound impact on your career.
It’s why I couldn’t be happier to welcome Bert Nieves to the Shugo team. We have such a long history (which I’ll get into shortly) but more importantly, Bert makes our team so much better. Even before his “official” hire date I knew the immediate and long term impact he’d have on our organization.
Bert’s as good as they come technically. He’s a software architect. He’s a senior level developer. He’s experienced working with cloud, mobile, artificial intelligence and a host of other technologies. But that’s not just it. He’s a strong businessman, an entrepreneur, a visionary.
I met Bert back in 2003 when I interviewed for a developer position at PayChoice. Bert was a senior architect on the team working as a consultant and was part of the team that interviewed me. Luckily I was offered the job and my career took a turn into payroll. As many people know, once you get into payroll you’ll never get out.
Over the next few years, Bert and I worked hand in hand on a number of projects. He was much stronger than I technically so I leaned on his experience. He took me under his wing and taught me software architecture and instilled a number of development best practices I still use today. When I decided that being a full time employee really wasn’t for me anymore, Bert shared with me the ins and outs of the world of consulting.
He shared the level of work to demand out of yourself and your peers. Heck he even helped me figure out what my initial consulting rate should be. Bert was also instrumental in the creation of what is now our team at Shugo.
Back at PayChoice we were in the market to hire some additional developers. One of the developers we interviewed wasn’t a 100% fit for the job title but each of us turned and said we couldn’t let this guy walk. He was way to talented and would do some great things in his career.
We went to management and pleaded to create an additional hire. We needed to find a way to keep this guy, he was just that talented but not an exact fit for the job description. That guy is Rob Bacher. Funny how now the three of us are back working together.
Bert was also instrumental in another hire at Shugo a few years back. We were looking to add to our development staff and knew the best way to find talent was to ask colleagues we enjoyed working with and admired. Bert was the first phone call we made and he immediately introduced us to Justin Kloos. Justin was a perfect fit for Shugo and now is responsible for many of the features we offer clients today.
He’s mentored myself, Rob and Justin. I guess you could say we’re sort of Bert’s disciples (don’t tell him I said that though — he’ll hold it over our heads). It’s why I say I feel like I’m in a dream. We’ve not only added a valuable technical and business resource, but a friend who’s had an impact on our careers.