Chris Howard takes FTF on the road as he interviews 3 of the individuals making an impact at Code Launch 2023 in Houston. This episode includes interviews with Brian Candido from Tech Elevator, a company bringing in-person and remote tech learning opportunities to Houston, Matt Bonasera from InTech Energy360, which aims to tackle the complex balance between energy efficiency and air quality, and Oleg Lysiak of Honeycomb Software, the development company working alongside Matt’s team that won Code Launch 2023.
[00:00] Podcast begins - Live from Code Launch 2023
[00:12] Starting a Tech Elevator in Houston & remote vs in-person learning
[06:05] Getting started at Tech Elevator as a career starter, changer, or upskiller
[11:56] InTech Energy360 & the cure for New Building Sickness
[18:19] Combining efforts between InTech and Honeycomb to win Code Launch
[22:31] Bringing Ukrainian pride to Code Launch with Honeycomb Software
[25:53] Understanding the potential of a remote team for your startup
Interview 1: Brian Candido, Market Leader at Tech Elevator
If I’m someone looking to make a career change and get into tech, how does Tech Elevator help me accomplish that?
Initially developed as an in-person only education provider in Cleveland, Tech Elevator has since expanded into numerous cities, including Houston, and has adapted a remote learning option due to the limitations of the pandemic. Brian explains that as the company continues to evaluate which learning environment and structure works best for their students, Tech Elevator has been working with numerous companies and organizations to figure out the skills and experiences needed for new tech practitioners to thrive. Students at Tech Elevator typically fall into 3 categories: career starters, career changers, and tech practitioners looking to expand their skillset. With a thorough application process and plenty of opportunities for mentorship from entrepreneurs in the Houston community, Brian believes that getting into tech has never been more accessible thanks to Tech Elevator’s expanding programs.
“A lot of education has become really transactional in approach. I have a student, they graduate, and someone gives them a job. The way that we're approaching this is really, we want to understand the problem and be a part of the solution. I think the best way to do that is to engage with the community and get that buy-in to see how we can be part of the solution.”
Interview 2: Matt Bonasera, Chief Enterprise Architect at InTech Energy
What is Energy360 and how does it approach energy efficiency holistically?
The “new” building smell is a danger in disguise, according to Matt Bonsera, who’s work revolves around the intricate balance between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for people when it comes to systems like AC and chemicals like you might find in new carpeting. InTech Energy360 uses a variety of IoT devices to monitor and improve the energy efficiency and safety of the buildings that people work and live in, attempting to avoid what Matt calls “New Building Sickness”. This balance is precarious; what’s often safe for people chemical and energy-wise indoors often releases harmful emissions into our atmosphere. However, Matt is comforted and encouraged by the many businesses, especially schools, that understand the potential for harm and advocate for the safety of the buildings they run.
“You can make a building very energy efficient, you can just seal it up tight, and then everybody inside dies. Or, you can add a lot of air purifiers, add a lot of generators, run the ACs nonstop, and you get a really healthy building, but then, the planet dies. What we really wanted to strike was that balance.” - Matt Bonasera
Interview 3: Oleg Lysiak, VP of Partnerships & Business Development at Honeycomb Software
Many startups think they need to build a local team and that remote is too difficult. What do you say when you're talking to them about remote opportunities?
Winning top prizes at Code launch is an honor that Oleg Lysiak of Honeycomb Software attributes to his teammates working remotely from Ukraine. As a Ukrainian himself, the war with Russia has taken a toll on much of the work that Honeycomb and their partners have been trying to accomplish this past year. However, hope is on the horizon and the hard work of Oleg’s team has never ceased. When asked about remote opportunities within startups, Oleg explains that, even with the occasional challenges of communication, remote work can help startups adhere to their small budgets and accomplish what many large tech companies (like Apple) have been able to succeed at in recent years, including increasing production and keeping product costs low for their consumers.
“I suggest for startups to have somebody tactical here as a product owner, somebody that can guide the ship, but early on, it's good to have a team offshore. It's a good choice to outsource as much as you can…That's our strategy. Once the startup grows, then they will be able to give other jobs and can have a mixed model.” - Oleg Lysiak