Employee Spotlight: Josh Smith PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cassie McDaniel   
Monday, 01 December 2008

Question

What is your current position at the Church and what are your responsibilities?

Answer

Officially, I am an individual contributor. In practice, I’m a team member in Infrastructure’s Middleware group. Middleware responsibilities include proxy and caching solutions, ftp services, n-tier application and Web servers (multiple technology platforms), and some other stuff (that’s the technical term).

Within Middleware, I am part of the Public Facing Sites (PFS) team.  As implied, PFS’ focus is public sites and content, which include LDS.org , Newsroom , Mormon.org , and others. The team is responsible for the application environments’ availability and administration.  To that end, PFS integrates closely with partner organizations such as Dev and QA to provide useful content and products that perform effectively and are highly available.

Question

What is one of the exciting projects that you are currently working on?

Answer

As an application systems engineer, I’m part of an exciting initiative to significantly enhance and increase the Church’s Internet experiences, with a specific four-fold emphasis:

  1. Reach – focus on a larger number of languages, provide desktop and mobile solutions, and augment accessibility for those with disabilities.
  2. Desirability, utility, and effectiveness – improve content so it becomes a natural and integral component of users’ Web experiences.
  3. Speed and quality – deliver quicker, better, and more effectively.
  4. Relevance – personalize audience groups’ content, such as bishops, parents, and youth.

Through concentration on these features, it is hoped the initiative will:

  1. Hasten the work of helping individuals and families to understand and live the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. Gather them into the kingdom of God to receive the ordinances of exaltation.
  3. Help them follow the example of the Savior in serving and strengthening one another.

Finally, this initiative will also provide occasion for community contributions of time and talents, as well as create a global audience feedback loop. 

Thanks to Tadd Giles for the project verbiage, from whom I’ve borrowed.

Question

What is your educational background and/or work experience?

Answer

From a work perspective, I’m a traditional “tech geek.” I’ve been getting paid for computer stuff since I was 12 years old. Most recently I was employed by Seattle-based Washington Mutual, and prior to that I was with San Diego-based QUALCOMM.  Responsibilities have been all over, from layers 1-4 network engineering, business continuity, and middleware technologies, to tech leadership position and mid-level management (process manager in Church parlance).

Educationally, I am perhaps unorthodox. I’m a firm believer that, regardless of one’s educational background, doors to the future always remain open.  I picked up an A.A. and B.A. in psychology while in San Diego and an M.S. in space studies while in Seattle. While at WaMu I also ran for U.S. Congress , our Constitution is my passion. As part of my PhD in astrophysics, I’m currently working on an M.S. in physics.

Question

What or who has been an inspiration to you in your work?

Answer

OK, so the term inspiration obviously implies the Holy Ghost; after all, inspiration comes through Him.  To that end, I’d like to emphasize that I’ve noticed more inspiration at my current desk than I did at desks with previous employers.  Maybe I’m just older and I’ve changed, but I feel comfortable attributing a good portion of increased inspiration to sensitivity facilitated through Church employment.

Other inspirations include my wife and kids, the temple, my grandfather-in-law Ronald Mann, Duane and Sharon Zobrist, Leon Skousen, Joseph Smith Jr., George Washington, Simon Peter, Captain Moroni, Ezra Taft Benson, and Neal A. Maxwell.

Question

What is your favorite part of working at the Church?

Answer

I enjoy that our collective work is meaningful to the world, for Latter-day Saints and non-members alike. Doing more than lining shareholders’ pockets is, for me, a reward greater than gold.

Additionally, I enjoy those with whom I work. The unity of purpose around which we rally is monumentally advantageous to achieve excellence.  Lastly, the location — it is supernal.  For individuals whose ultimate desire is the fulness promised to the faithful , is anything more inspiring than to work beside a temple where the fullness of the priesthood is available?

Question

What is one spiritual experience that you have had while working for the Church?

Answer

In a relatively private moment, I asked an Elder for counsel.  Though simple, his response was sublime: “Keep your covenants; so long as you keep your covenants, all will be well.”  Though he was spokesperson, God was the author.  The truth resonated within, and I share this experience and my witness that obedience to covenants brings security, peace, and promised blessings.

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