Employee Spotlight - Brandt Abbott - Senior Software Engineer

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We’ve known it from day one: Without a strong team, Covered will go nowhere. That’s why we’ve taken incredible care in assembling a smart, resourceful, and utterly solid team of collaborative, quality-focused professionals. That’s also why we do our best to celebrate our team at every opportunity. Our employee profiles help us do exactly that. This month’s profile celebrates a truly another crucial member of our engineering team, Senior Software Engineer Brandt Abbott.

Creative, resourceful, clever, organized, and precise, Brandt can come up with a solution for nearly any problem. When his engineering colleagues need to find a solution, they always find it helpful to ask Brandt’s opinion first. After all, as a senior software engineer, he’s probably seen a situation like it before. His consistently insightful opinions and ideas can often send them off in a good direction.

His colleagues greatly value Brandt’s thoroughness, organization, focus, and mentoring, which helps keep them all honest and on track. They also appreciate his eternal willingness to have frank discussions about tools, methodology, and designs. Brandt is always working to make sure the engineering team fully understands what Covered’s systems need to do, and that they’re building what’s needed as efficiently as possible. He’s the team’s steady, thoughtful, and occasionally prone-to-dark-corners Charlie Brown — well, if Charlie Brown was also an acknowledged king of both movies and snacks. With his endless supply of beef jerky and his seemingly limitless movie collection, Brandt is a great guy to have around.

So without further ado…

What is your favorite Covered Core Value (Accountability, Transparency, Collaboration, Excellence, and Generosity) and why?

Collaboration. Two heads are better than one, and having the ability to bounce ideas around with a colleague is highly valuable. This is especially true during cross-department collaboration at Covered.

What do you enjoy about working at a start-up?

The fast pace, small group sizes, and the ability to just walk over to anyone in the organization and collaborate without any red tape.

Do you have an office nickname? What is it?

I actually have two: Brandters and Brenda. Brenda was a mishap when a previous colleague dialed the wrong number and assumed she was speaking with “Brenda” and not me. She insisted she’d dialed “Brenda” and asked me, “Are you sure this isn’t Brenda?”

What three traits define you?

Quiet, cautious, and direct. Usually I’m quiet because I’m pondering any number of items on the checklist in the old brain. I have learned to be more cautious about software architecture and implementation as I’ve grown as an engineer. Directness usually doesn’t fit with being quiet and cautious. However, to cut through any confusion, I am often a very direct communicator.

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

Source: Wikipedia

It’s less of a “historical event” and more of a “historical person”… I would want to just hang out with Nikola Tesla for a day or two during his prime. Why? I’m interested to know how great minds think, and how their ideas come to them.

What are your three most overused words/phrases?

“At the end of the day,” “out of pocket,” and “spearhead”… just kidding, I never use any of these. Most of my overused words/phrases include, “Why didn’t that work?”, “That worked the first time?”, and “I think I know how this works.” Sometimes, software engineering can include some guesswork, especially when you think something works one way and it turns out to be undocumented and works in a way that is completely unexpected.

What is your favorite activity to do for fun?

Running around my house playing laser tag with my daughter, or fighting a war together against the Siths with our lightsabers. Outside of parenting, I enjoy playing multiplayer video games.

What are your top two guilty pleasures?

Playing video games and eating food. I enjoy playing video games, but they eat up a lot of time, so I have to manage that time accordingly. And I love cooking new foods and trying different cuisines from around the world.

Which cartoon character would you most like to switch lives with?

Source: Twitter

Bruce Wayne — not Batman though. I’m not cut out for fighting crime, but I’d enjoy chilling in the Wayne Manor all day and driving Bruce’s fancy cars. Bruce can take over my daily software engineering tasks. Have fun with that SOAP/ACORD integration, Bruce!!

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

Stop trying to teach yourself BASIC and C++, and instead pick up PHP in a couple of years so you can create a website where people can upload pictures and tell people what they are currently doing. Call it “smile page,” “face page,” “Facebook,” or something like that.

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