Four years at Flexware

This week marked my fourth year with Flexware. It has been a pretty wild ride so far. We've gone from a run down blue pole barn to a brand new building that we built. I've had my gripes at Flexware, like any employee does at any business, but overall I've been treated very well. I've made new friends and enjoyed the company of an old friend. I've also learned an incredible amount. Before I started at Flexware, all of my development expertise was on UNIX based systems. I was a whiz at X-Windows and C coding, but I had no idea what I was in for. I had to quickly acclimate myself to the Microsoft way of programming. It was a bumpy start, but before I knew it, I was certified as a Visual Basic developer, and developing some fairly interesting applications. Now I would consider myself a whiz at the Microsoft way, and I'm working towards becoming a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer using C# and the .NET Framework. I've also learned how to interact with interesting pieces of equipment. I've worked with barcode scanners, vision equipment, marking stations, stencilers, printers, presses, etc., etc. Just about anything and everything you might find on the shop floor with an ethernet or serial port. The variety of things I see in my job keeps it interesting.

I'm working towards my MBA now, and I'm hoping it leads me to even greater things. My goal is to become a proficient team leader and project manager. This week, I took some of my first steps at Flexware towards fulfilling that goal. We have an existing customer who we worked with to create a part tracking system. Unfortunately, the system never worked to the customer's satisfaction. The customer withheld their last payment. We have argued that it is a case of buy-in by the operators, and they have argued that the system simply doesn't work. Flexware has never abandoned a project, and we weren't going to make this the first one. I had a meeting this morning with our company president, and several other folks intimately involved with the project. The previous team lead has now been tasked with one of our new opportunities, and is not available to continue on this project. This is giving me the opportunity to assume the roll of project lead.

I'm really excited about this opportunity, and I'm a little scared at the same time. I know that this is a big deal, and it means a lot to Flexware as a company that we wrap it up and satisfy the customer. I also know that the deck is stacked against me. We have an angry customer, angry sub-contractors, angry-operators, and a budget that has been completely exhausted. Somehow, I need to find a way to get the system to a point where the customer is satisfied, and at the same time not break the bank. And I need to do all of this before the end of the year. It won't be an easy task, but these are the kind of opportunities that I want. This is going to be my first real test to see if I am going to make it as a project lead. I get started on Tuesday. I'll give it my all and pray for the best.


Jade Mason