“Getting to know Two Toasters, one toaster at a time!”
Quality Assurance Lead – Age 36
Last week I snagged some time with our Quality Assurance Lead, Joe Sewell. While Joe is still relatively new at Two Toasters, you wouldn’t be able to tell as he in engrained in every project we have here. Joe’s in charge of ensuring quality of all our deliverables, and that’s a tough job with so many products launching!
“I like that I get to be a part of all the projects. I’m involved from the beginning to the end of development and can affect change and ensure that the things that go out are as good as we can make them! Plus I’m a perfectionist.”
Thank goodness he’s great at multi-tasking and prioritizing. He’s had a lot of practice over the year at companies like 519 Games, Merscom, Oasys Mobile, and GameStop where he was a Project Manager, Localization Manager, Quality Assurance Engineer, and Producer. In these roles he had the opportunity to work on many games with some great clients like ShowTime, Starz Media, and Professional Bull Riding to mention a few.
If you haven’t put it together yet, Joe likes games! While he was a manager at GameStop for over 5 years, he was robbed on the job. Yep! Joe was handcuffed to the counter and left to sit in the empty store for hours until a customer walked in with her children to release him and call the cops. It’s hard to imagine anyone handcuffing Joe, as he’s a pretty tall dude, who in my opinion doesn’t look like he wants to be messed with. But that’s what you get when you’re a nice guy…handcuffed to a counter.
I’m not kidding about Joe being an intimidating looking guy either! Think… lumberjack. Yea, I know, lumberjacks are AWESOME. But actually that’s not too far off from the truth. Joe loves the outdoors, hiking, nature, and adventure. He’s rappelled off a 300 ft. cliff, whitewater rafted in the Upper Gauley, and loves adventure sports of all kinds. This is why if Joe wasn’t in mobile product development, he’d be a Forest Ranger. How cool is that?!
“I love helping people out, making people feel safe. And if I can enjoy a nice hike in a great locale at the same time, it would be fun and enjoyable.”
Not only does Joe enjoy being out in nature, but he also likes to travel. It’s something he’d like to do more often, with another trip to Japan in his future. He loves the culture and the history. Joe has taken Asian History classes, studies Japanese, and also martial arts. But that may be a difficult trip to take anytime soon with a new baby on the way (Due around April 27th). This will be Joe’s second child as he already has an awesome little girl. This wonderful dad will be able to sing them to sleep with his deep, yet soulful voice. When Joe told me that he was in the Men’s Varsity Glee club at NC State, I immediately made him sing for me. WOW LADIES!!!! My personal serenade blew me away. His little girls will have the best “Itsy Bitsy Spider” teacher to help them carry the tune.
Fun Facts about Joe:
- Favorite apps right now are Candy Crush, Heroes Academy, and Letterpress.
- Joe’s Dad was a chef so he was raised in a restaurant and has become quite the cook himself. His wife is always jealous that he can just throw things together.
- He’s a volleyball player, and I would NOT want to be on the other end of one of Joe’s spikes!
- Joe has as design background.
- If Joe had his own charity, it would support our education system, and systems in 3rd world countries. He believes in the “teach a man to fish” mentality.
“Getting to know Two Toasters, one toaster at a time!”
Senior Android Developer – Age 26
Help us welcome James Barr to our Two Toasters team! James joins us as a Senior Android Developer coming from RIM (You know, the blackberry people). Lucky for us, James decided to move on to his DREAM JOB here at Two Toasters where he can focus on Android development for really awesome projects, other than his own personal apps. Previously James made a remote doorbell notifier for himself, so if somebody rings your doorbell, it’ll notify you via text message. He’s really into home automation.
James studied Computer Science at Illinois State University… burr! Keeping true to his roots he enjoys watching the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs, and he enjoys NASCAR – big Jeff Gordon fan. And he’s not just a sit on your butt and watch everybody else get a workout. James used to do long distance running and competes in triathlons! I suddenly feel too lazy to talk to him.
In his spare time, James likes to grab some sushi or Chinese food and enjoy a good Sci-Fi movie – Star Wars is his favorite. Who doesn’t love that??? His favorite apps right now are Falcon Pro (a twitter app) and Ski Safari (addicting game). Check out one of James’ apps: SyncSMS
Junior Android Developer – Age 27
Also joining the team is Chris Pierick! (Yes, they both started the same day)
Chris studied Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota – GO VIKINGS! You may be wondering what a super cool scientist is doing at Two Toasters. Well, we’re more fun than science! Actually, this brainiac enjoys a good challenge and is a self-taught mobile developer. He decided to get out of the lab and into a more fun working environment, trading out the lab coat for shorts and a ping-pong table!
When Chris isn’t working he enjoys playing video games, going camping, and of course having a good beer or two. He even brews his own beer, which I’m going to remember for my birthday… as I expect a special brew just for myself! Also, a fun fact, Chris used to juggle at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. I believe that makes 3 jugglers at Two Toasters, officially!
Right now the app that Chris is enjoying most is Bandsintown. It tracks musicians you like, has all the venues and their shows in the Bandsintown database, and recommends new artists for users. If you’re interested, you can check out an app that Chris put out himself called D&D Dice by b.freq for pencil and paper games.
“Getting to know Two Toasters, one Toaster at a time!”
iOS Developer – Age 24
I sat down with one of our iOS Developers, Geoff Mackey, to pick his brain for your enjoyment! A little background about this beer-pong pro is that he started his fun-filled career at Capstrat, a well-respected communications firm in Raleigh, building websites. With the use of mobile phones increasing, he noticed there was more opportunity in the mobile field and felt that the web was becoming sort of ambiguous. While he’d never built an iPhone app before, we at Two Toasters can recognize talent… and Geoff had it! It’s a good thing we did too, because if Geoff weren’t a mobile developer, he’d have been making hip-hop music.
“One of my best friends is a producer, and I could see myself wanting
to team up with him.”
Luckily for us, Geoff has been with Two Toasters for a year now and has worked on multiple projects including Room77 and Go Try It On. While working on Room77, Geoff conducted his first usability testing here at Two Toasters, which was a great experience for someone like himself who strives to create the best experience possible for each app’s user base. From that moment, Geoff was on a roll and has become our go-to usability testing guru here at Two Toasters, which means he’ll soon have his hands in every project that we work on!
You may have noticed I slipped a beer pong reference in there somewhere and that isn’t just for fun. Geoff practices his aim all around the office with any open glass he sees. Distracting you may think… but not here! Everybody needs to cut loose every now and then. When asked about why he likes working at Two Toasters, Geoff responded,
“The people. The atmosphere here is really open and accepting, and
generally supportive and happy — which made going from zero to
professional iPhone developer really easy. It’s also challenging
because everybody here is so smart.”
To give credit where credit is due, not just anyone could go from zero to professional iPhone developer so easily. But then again, Geoff isn’t just anyone. Not only is he super talented, he’s also super helpful around the office. In fact, we implemented a little star system that all the guys seem to hate. It rewards them for cleaning up after themselves and others. Geoff was the first to reach 10 stars and we asked him to give us a wish list of prizes. We decided to grant him all three:
- A Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard
- A hand-made sandwich by either myself or Sara
- Executive decision power on where the company eats on 1 Friday of his choosing
While I had Geoff in my clutches, I decided to pick his brain on other apps. His favorite is Path. He thinks Path knows what they are doing,
“The app works really well; it’s clean and well designed.”
Digging further, I found out that Geoff doesn’t have many apps on his phone. He uses his phone in a very practical way and rarely plays games on it or uses apps for fun. He uses his phone mostly for email, communicating with people, and getting news. Immediately I questioned how he can create apps that people will want on their phones, when he himself doesn’t utilize many apps.
“Everybody has different needs,” Geoff said. “We’re usually building
an app to meet a specific need, which is why those users want to
In his spare time, Geoff likes to play basketball and golf. The golf course is Geoff’s outlet for frustration and stress relief:
“It’s the only time in my life that I ever get really angry. Hitting
bad shots, missing putts… I just want to scream, bend my club and
throw it in a lake… but in every other aspect of my life, I’m pretty
But enough with this stuff, lets get into the fun facts!
- Geoff enjoys quirky, intelligent, not over-produced, fun movies. His favorite is Fight Club.
- His favorite super hero is Spiderman, because he’s imperfect and really smart.
- The craziest thing Geoff has ever done? He flew to Maine by himself and attempted to hike 100 miles alone. He didn’t make it… but that’s not the point. The point is he tried and will try again next year! You can read about his fun experience here.
- Juggling projects isn’t Geoff’s only talent. He recently bought a new set of juggling clubs for his hobby!
- He can also play the piano, trumpet, and a little bit of the guitar.
- Geoff aspires to be a ZIN (Zumba Instructor) in his spare time.