Last year at OpenForce, DotNetNuke Corporation was on the verge of closing our first round of funding. 2006, 07 and 08 were challenging years as we struggled to find a business model that would support our company of 6 and allow us to grow. Shaun, Scott, Nik and I formed DotNetNuke Corp. with the goal of building a company that would allow us to better manage the project and improve DotNetNuke with access to increased resources. With the investment we received in 2008 we have been able to grow the company to nearly 30 employees and contractors. As we have brought in additional employees, it has allowed us to further focus our efforts rather than running around trying to do everything ourselves.
One of our first people we hired after OpenForce last year was Cathal Connolly from the core team. Cathal joined Charles Nurse who already worked for DotNetNuke Corp and brought his deep understanding of DotNetNuke security to the company. At the same time we began to build out our engineering office in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada – not far from Vancouver. We quickly hired Sarah Darkis and John Lucarino who both had prior experience working with Shaun and who also had extensive experience working with DotNetNuke and ASP.Net. This was our engineering team for the better part of the first 9 months in 2009.
As sales of DotNetNuke Professional continued to grow, we were able to start a second round of hiring. We brought in Ken Grierson this past summer. Ken is a senior test engineer, with many years of experience working as a tester at Microsoft. He has worked hard to help us add more rigor to our testing and QA processes which is starting to pay off as we near our 5.2.0 release. Ken has also started working with our community QA team to ensure that we are fully aligned with our QA efforts on the community side.
Around this same time we were able to hire a network engineer. What many people did not know is that this is a role that sort of fell in Scott Willhite’s lap several years ago. Scott is not a network engineer, but has been able to keep the DotNetNuke infrastructure for both the project and the corporation running quite well over the past 7 years. I am often amazed at how well he did, but know that it involved quite a few late nights and long weekends. When we hired Konstantine Tcherenkov for the network engineering position in September, Scott was able to finally able to begin focusing on his primary responsibilities as Director of Community Relations. Konstantine quickly came up to speed on our infrastructure and has already begun work on a restructuring of our servers and infrastructure to provide greater stability, redundancy and scalability for many of our critical systems.
Another recent addition to the engineering team is Chris Kendall who was hired to head up our support team. If you are a Professional Edition customer, you have probably already had a chance to talk with Chris as he is managing our customer support for Professional and Elite customers. This has been one part of my job over the last year, but a part I was quite happy to turn over to Chris. Chris brings a passion for the job that is unbelievable and even without a lot of DotNetNuke experience was able to jump in and begin making a huge difference from his very first week onboard the team.
As everyone already knows, Shaun has also worn many hats during the first 7 years of DotNetNuke’s growth. Like all of the founders, Shaun has been pulled in many different directions and desperately needed some additional help in engineering to manage our growing team. We were very fortunate to be able to entice Rob Chartier to join DotNetNuke Corp as the Director of Engineering. As an ASP.Net Insider, Microsoft MVP and longtime DotNetNuke user and evangelist, Rob was a natural fit for the position. Rob’s brings his background in agile development practices to the engineering team and is using those skills as he heads up feature development for the community and commercial DotNetNuke editions.
With Rob onboard, I have formally taken on responsibility for the Quality, Support and Maintenance side of the engineering department. I have the privilege of working with Ken, Chris, and Cathal to ensure we are putting out the best possible product. We are focused on ensuring that we have a good grasp on all of the items that exist in Gemini for the DotNetNuke Core as well as Professional and Elite editions and will be working hard over the coming weeks to close them as quickly as possible, and putting the appropriate tests in place that they do not re-appear in future releases.
With the exception of Cathal, all of our engineering hires work from our Abbotsford office. This is great for building team cohesion and simplifying communications. Unfortunately, many of the great developers in the DotNetNuke community don’t live near Abbotsford. With a solid core engineering team in place, I was happy to hear that were approved to make a few hires from outside the Abbotsford area. Over the past couple of years Shaun and I had the opportunity to hear from a number of people in the community that they were interested in joining DotNetNuke Corp. whenever we had an opening.
Well, the day has finally come, where I am happy to say that we have hired two more members of the DotNetNuke Core team. Both of the individuals have been working with DotNetNuke for many years and have a passion for the project that matches that of almost anybody in the community. Shaun and I recognized that as capable as Ken, Chris, Cathal and I are, it is probably not enough to meet the goals we have for the quality and maintenance team. We needed some additional people with a deep understanding of DotNetNuke who could immediately jump in and begin helping our support, quality and maintenance efforts on their first day.
I am happy to welcome aboard Phil Beadle to the DotNetNuke Corp. team. As many of you already know, Phil was a founding member of the Core Team and was recently named a Trustee in our latest team re-organization. Phil has worked for the past four years at Readify where he built up an impressive resume working on some very cutting edge DotNetNuke projects. Phil was the lead architect of the Readify team working on the Afl.com.au and Nrl.com.au sites, some of the largest public DotNetNuke sites anywhere in the world. Like Rob, Phil also comes from an agile development background. I am looking forward to working with Phil to use his knowledge to implement automated unit testing and improved continuous integration practices. Phil is a great addition to our engineering team and I am looking forward to December 7th when he will officially begin work as a new member of the DotNetNuke Corp. engineering team.
The second core team member who has accepted a position with the engineering team is someone who may come as a surprise to many people. I am happy to welcome Alex Shirley as our newest member of the support and quality team. Anyone who frequents the forums or pays attention to our bug tracking system, knows that Alex has been a very dedicated member of the DotNetNuke QA team for the past several years. As a core team member Alex has been a passionate advocate for improving the quality of our releases. As the release manager for the past couple of years for the project, I often have the task of making sure we get releases out the door. Even when Alex and I have disagreed on issues regarding the project releases, we both wanted what was best for the DotNetNuke project. I love Alex’s passion and willingness to be a strong advocate for his position. During his tenure on the core team he has kept the team focused on making sure that each release was the best possible version of DotNetNuke given the constraints that we often are forced to live with. I look forward to working with Alex to help put in place additional processes to ensure that we are living up to his high quality standards. Alex will also have the opportunity to work with Chris Kendall on the support team and to ensure that issues found by our customers are getting the appropriate attention from our maintenance team.
Our final hire is someone that Rob Chartier has worked with in the past, Keivan Beigi. Keivan joins the Abbotsford/Vancouver team and helps round out the DotNetNuke development team with his real-world enterprise experience. Recently, he has worked with many of the large US Telco providers, not to mention many of the Fortune 500 with the design, implementation, deployment and support of various projects focused around transaction processing. It is in his enterprise experience we will gain the most value.
I am really excited at all the growth that has occurred on engineering team this year. I look forward to continuing this trend in 2010 and further improving DotNetNuke. This is an exciting time to be a member of the DotNetNuke Corporation engineering team and the DotNetNuke Community. I can’t wait to sit at OpenForce 2010 and talk about all the great things we accomplished in 2010.