Connector Spotlight: Dan Almer
March 22, 2022
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
What do product development and rock climbing have in common? The answer is Dan Almer. Adventurous and adaptable, our two-wheeling Director of Engineering is ready to cast the die, is always up for a board game, and he’ll only tell you to take a hike if he’s willing to join you.
Tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on?
As the future of work continues to be reimagined and unfold before us, there’s a lot of focus on how we can improve collaboration, especially in regards to optimizing work and communication across teams. At present, I’m involved with developing an internal tool at a big tech company used by thousands of employees to integrate multiple task management tools with each other and optimize work and communication.
Beyond this project, I’ve contributed to over a dozen projects across a number of clients in the last seven years I’ve been at Connected. One highlight is a two-year project to help a leading big tech organization foray into hardware. I developed the back-end for the initial prototype and continued into its development until it went on to have over a million units shipped across North America when launched in stores and online.
What’s the most interesting challenge about the project?
Creating a common data model and data pipeline that can be extended if needed in the future. I know that likely doesn’t sound that exciting, but when you’ve got so many variables, so many data inputs, and you’re someone like me who loves finding order in chaos, you can see why this is exciting to me.
Where did you work before Connected?
There have been a few places. Most notably, OANDA, IBM, RATESDOTCA (formerly Kanetix), and BMO. I couldn’t be more grateful for how my experiences and learnings at these companies and Connected have helped me get to where I am now.
What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?
It has to be seeing the growth and development of Connected from 2014 until today. It fills me with joy when I look back and see the growth of the people I’ve worked with on projects and the engineers I manage outside of my projects. I don’t think it’s pride; rather, I’m just happy to see such success and fulfillment.
Do you have a mantra you live by?
Always be open to feedback, growth, and learning – not just from people with more experience than you, but from everyone.
What do you love to do outside of work?
I try and go rock climbing whenever I can (gyms like Joe Rockhead’s or HUB Markham, and outdoors at places like Niagara Glen or Lion’s Head are great) and hiking and biking. I’m a big fan of card/board games like Dominion, Gloomhaven, Catan, Marvel Legendary, Codenames, and Smash Up to name a few. I also enjoy competitive fighting games like Smash Bros Melee and Ultimate, Marvel vs Capcom, Dead or Alive, and Street Fighter.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?
Album – Uyama Hiroto – Stratus (from the album A Son of a Sun)
Movie – Seinfeld: The Complete Series (if this doesn’t count, then The Raid: Redemption)
Book – John Steinbeck – East of Eden
Describe yourself in three words.
Chill, adventurous, adaptable.
And finally, what’s your favourite product and why?
Five Ten Anasazi shoes. Chris Sharma, who inspired me to start climbing ten years ago, rocked these in the 90s, and they’re still just as good today. Also, the perfectly designed Gamecube controller.
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