Meet Elate: Rob Wagner
Rob is the VP of Engineering at Elate. He is a passionate software engineer, master brewer, and gaming enthusiast.
We chatted with Rob about his role and how he found his way to Elate.
I met Brooks in a coffeeshop on a whim in 2019. He had sent me a message on LinkedIn about a product he was trying to build and the idea really resonated with me. I figured I would at least get a free coffee out of it, but by the end of the conversation I was ready to take the leap.
How did you end up in your role at Elate?
I’ve had an interesting path in Software so far. I started in DevOps at Interactive Intelligence and loved building out our internal tools and build / release systems. I then jumped into a more traditional software development role a few years later and eventually found myself as a team leader. When the opportunity came to really test out everything I had learned in all of these previous roles, I felt ready to jump into the VP of Engineering position.
What’s your favorite thing about your role?
Getting the full picture. I have the great privilege of seeing how every small decision we make affects our business and impacts our customers. I have the unique position of having access to our code, being a part of our customer and business decisions, and helping to steer our product.
What makes being an Indianapolis tech company unique?
Indianapolis definitely feels like a tight-knit community. I’ve been amazed at how many times I cross-paths with a former coworker and how easy it is to connect with and stay in touch with my Indianapolis colleagues.
What does your average workweek look like?
I don’t know if I have ever had an average work week. In my ideal work week, I am crunching to get the next big project out the door with my team. Working together to make something new and unique is always satisfying.
In the average week, I might be hopping on a call to help a potential customer understand our system. I may be working with a third party service provider to set up an integration. I might also be planning our next sprint and helping shape our product and design decisions.
If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?
I would be writing software somewhere… it is hard to imagine a life without it. I also love to brew beer and could see a pretty great life doing that for a living.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Elate?
The team. Best people I’ve ever worked with.
What’s your favorite thing about working in Engineering?
Distilling a complex idea into concrete design.
What’s your go-to office/home snack?
Chips and salsa!
What's something your co-workers don't know about you?
Very little… I’m pretty sure they have heard all of my stories at this point.
I have never ice skated and I probably never will. I am irrationally scared of it and don’t feel the need to overcome that fear.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a career in Engineering?
Do as many projects as you can. Always try new things. It’s okay if you don’t finish and it’s okay if the final product sucks. Learn from every project you do and try to do better on the next one. Before you know it, you will be an incredible engineer.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Play too many video games. Brew beer when I can. Spend time with family and friends.
Who has inspired you to get to this point in your career?
Many people have played a big role in my life and my career. It would be impossible to pick just one person. However, none of it would be possible without my amazing partner, Sam. She has always supported any decisions I have made in my career and enabled me to make the crazy leap to start at Elate with Brooks and Abby.
At Elate, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Elate series spotlights real Elate employees across the company. Stay tuned for more from the series!