Employee Spotlight: Brian Lewis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cassie McDaniel   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Question

What do you do at the Church?

Answer

I work on the .NET Stack Team with Bryan Hinton and Jim Byer.

Question

What does the .NET Stack Team do?

Answer

There are two main goals of the .NET Stack Team. The first is to provide general support to all teams at the Church working on projects with components that use the Microsoft .NET Framework. This support can range from answering technology questions to identifying and resolving specific problems that project teams encounter.

The second goal, which facilitates the first, is to maintain and continue to develop the .NET Stack Library and Services, which are a set of tools to help Church developers quickly accomplish common tasks so that teams can focus on the unique and project-specific design issues they face instead of re-writing the code blocks that occur across most ICS projects. The .NET Stack includes tools for ASP.NET web pages, WPF projects, WCF services, authentication through LDS Account, application logging, and much more. We have even developed Visual Studio New Project templates to enable developers to create Stack-enabled projects with just a few clicks.

Question

How do you think the stack affects a developer's ability to build products?

Answer

The most important goal for the .NET Stack Team is to empower other development and QA teams to apply their talents toward the missions of the Church. There are many smart and creative members of the ICS department, and anything we can do to support them is a success for our team.

Question

Is the stack strategy different at the Church than it is at other organizations? How so?

Answer

The informal philosophy in ICS is to meet or exceed industry standards. Although there are some specific points about the stack strategies for Java and .NET that may be unique to the Church, overall we are in line with best practices and could even be an example for other organizations.

Question

What is your educational background and/or work experience?

Answer

I have a degree in business management, and before that I went to art school to study creative writing. You may wonder how one goes from creative writing to software engineering, but to me, writing coded solutions to real-world business problems is a very creative process. So my current profession is really just an extension of my early art studies.

My first “paying gig” as a programmer was for the City of Fairfield (California), where I developed an application designed to track the location and maintenance schedule for all the water mains, valves, hydrants, and access points throughout the city. That was when I was 18 years old, so I left the position when I went on a mission.

When I came home from the Baltic States Mission, I became a founding partner of Jimbabwe, a software development and design company, where I focused on database-driven high availability applications. After more than 10 years with Jimbabwe, I joined Empire & Great Jones, LLC, again as a founding partner. The focus for E&GJ is healthcare and public health software, and one of the systems I worked on is being used to track and report on H1N1 cases.

Before joining ICS I was the application development manager at Chaco, Inc., a footwear manufacturer, where I was responsible for the end-to-end solution for managing the flow from on-site manufacturing to e-commerce to warehouse integration. Not long after Chaco moved the remainder of its manufacturing operations to China, I was contacted about an opportunity to work at ICS, and since Chaco was no longer the small “Made in America” footwear company I had loved, it seemed like a good time to make a change.

Question

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

Answer

That’s easy. Two current colleagues immediately come to mind, and I apologize to both for calling them out for embarrassment. The first is Bryan Hinton, who is passionate about both the technology we work with and the service we provide to other teams. He is very interested in the success of other projects and has a genuine desire to help other developers. The second example is Carlos Herrera, who not only manages to keep an upbeat attitude in every situation I’ve seen him in, but honestly strives to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ the focus of his work at the Church. Sometimes it’s easy to let technology be the focus of our work in ICS, and Carlos isn’t shy about reminding people where our focus should be.

Question

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

Answer

The opportunity to participate in All Hands meetings in the Assembly Hall has been an unexpected and special part of my Church employment.

 

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