Our Developers: The Drivers of Your Customized Solutions

 

“DECIDE4ACTION is much more than a software company.”

This is a phrase that we repeat often, internally and externally. Manufacturers and production facilities learn quickly that we can do and deliver much more than what they expect.

We specialize in providing cost-effective, customized solutions for manufacturing to easily capture, track and analyze production, lab, quality assurance, and quality control data. For 30 years, we have designed and introduced solutions into the textiles, bottling and food & beverage industries. Our solutions range from production line monitoring to comprehensive SCADA monitoring to lab information management to automated quality assurance to even automated management of testing. Plus, we have customized solutions that include both software and hardware.

One of our oldest and largest clients said it best when they said “We see DECIDE4ACTION as more of an engineering company and not a software company. They listen to us and learn our business. They provide a turnkey solution, not just drop-off some software and walk way.”

So, we are much more than just a software company. But software is a critical component to our success. From all angles, we are knee deep in it. That means, we are doing one or more of the following every single day:

  • writing or updating code for enhancements and functionalities
  • interacting with APIs (Application Programming Interface) so various programs can connect to share data
  • designing GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) to be easier to use and navigate
  • implementing advanced reporting and analytical features
  • testing and retesting our work to catch bugs and issues before clients see them

The “we” who does this work and “magic” are members of our software development team. And we recently sat down for a pizza lunch to hear from five key members of that team. Below are a few questions and answers from that conversations.

Members of the Software Systems Engineering department:

  • Philippe Bergeron
  • Carlos Viveros
  • Devashree Jadhav
  • Adithya Mahesh
  • Colin McKeon
Q: Tell us about yourself and your background, and why software development

Philippe: I am from Montreal, Quebec, and received a BA in Chemical Engineering from McGill University. So I am a homegrown software developer because after college, I worked for a capacitor manufacturer and started picking up software skills. I always enjoyed working with computers. While with that company and working as an engineer, I saw we had poor tools to work with and ended up building some. I just love writing code.

Carlos: Tabasco, Mexico is my home town. The famous sauce is named after this city, but it is made in the US. I earned a BA in computer science and engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. And ever since I was 10 years old, it has been my dream to be a software programmer. It started with the Atari 2800. I wanted to make games. Even had a Commodore 64, so I first started programming in basic. I am old school.

Devashree: Originally from Pune, Maharashtra in India, I earned my Masters in Computer Science from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering & Computer Science.  For me, right out of high school I liked designing apps. I started working in C and C++ and it was fun. When I started in my Masters program, that is when I saw I could do so much more and I started building applications for mobile and web and creating APIs. When people ask why I chose software programming, I tell that my parents actually asked me to do it. They saw how much I enjoyed it and knew it was a great field to enter.

Adithya:  I am also from India, from Mahbubnagar, Telangana which is in the southern part of the country. My computer science background is most recently earning my Masters in Computer Science from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX.  Like a lot of people, I got into development first by playing video games and wanting to design them. During my Bachelors in Technology and Masters, I learned various programming languages, web tools, animations, backend programming, etc. But my work in Silicon Valley showed me more of what can be done. Now I just really want to make people’s lives easier.

Colin: Grew up in Iowa, moved to South Carolina to go to school at University of South Carolina. Played rugby and earned a BA in Media Arts. With design, I took a few coding classes. After graduation, I became certified in Front End Web Development. Like many software folks, I have always been a gamer and wanted to build games. But what made me really love programming was seeing written code become a beautiful user interface. I like the challenges of debugging and it opened my interest into even more complex applications and development.

Q: What do you bring to this team and to DECIDE4ACTION?

Philippe: I have worked with a lot of different technologies, so I have some idea on how to do something from the overall architecture standpoint. I dabble. I tinker. I like learning new things and working through challenges. That is probably from my electrical, mechanical and chemical background. Our global interface, I designed it, so that should help us more easily expand and maintain that critical piece of our platform.

Carlos: Mexican food and I am very customer oriented. My first thoughts are always towards the customer when I think of designing something. I bring 17 years of experience to my role. I like learning new things and am excited to be working in REACT and newer languages. The others on this team have said that I provide adaptability and am a quick learner.

Devashree: Well, for me it must be Indian food. But really, I am looking to create more ways to make our applications and solutions more efficient. Developers might call it improve reusability. But for customers what that means is our solutions will be even more stable, even easier to update and customize, and will new functionalities will be able to be added even more quickly.

Adithya:  Cultural diversity. And advanced knowledge of backend programming and programming challenges. My focus is I want to strengthen the web platform – make it even more stable and stronger. In the long run, our application will be maintaining a lot of data and integrations, so I want to make it as easy as possible.

Colin: Cheesy Dad jokes, also known as bad jokes. Seriously, I bring design aesthetic. I am passionate about creating the most intuitive and the easiest experience for the end user. If it is easy to navigate, then users will want to come back and will feel more comfortable with more products. Also, I am a very eager learner and a team player.  It is fun to work and partner with clients to design what they need. Carlos says that “Interface is king because if it does not look good, then people do not think the program is good or up to date.“ So my arts background can offer a different perspective.

Q: Why DECIDE4ACTION and where do you see it going?

Philippe: Computer Control + Integration (CC+I) which became part of DECIDE4ACTION had a really solid core of products. What we are doing is making solutions like production line monitoring, SCADA, lab information management, quality control verification, quality assurance management, etc., more modular, more modernized. This makes make them more viable and more expandable across other industries such as food production, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetics, and even into discrete manufacturing. Our integrations are tighter both internally across our solutions and with external systems such as ERPs, MESs, warehousing, inventory, etc.

Carlos: We are going to the future, if I had to summarize. We are in a very good position as we modernize the foundation of applications. We are adding enhancements and improvements. I started with CC+I and we used to be content to maintain and manage via only our current clients. DECIDE4ACTION is diversifying and expanding the customer base as well as solutions. Plus, we are updating the look of the software to be more current. Even as software environments change about every 6 months, the core code and function of the application always remains the same. By strengthening our core and foundation, it is easier to be build, expand and do more with our platform.

Devashree: I already see examples of us going global, improving, enhancing and modernizing the foundation. We are using all the latest technologies, Artificial Intelligence, etc. Because we are very database driven, we work with APIs all over the place that are using data from various databases. The DECIDE4ACTION platform started with beverage and bottling industries but is growing far beyond beverage manufacturing.

Adithya:  DECIDE4ACTION customizes solutions for our clients. We work with them to capture the specific data they need to answer their manufacturing challenges. To do this, it means we have to make all the applications talk together. Lots of integrations on the backend. From my perspective, I see this platform changing the way decisions are made by companies. Their data is more integrated across all their systems. Data and information are more easily shared across departments and locations. This brings the best information to the employees, so they make the best decisions. Their work becomes a little easier. Jobs and work places are improved.

Colin: Different places have certain standards. This team is very open to finding best practices. The scalability and making things modular are what is helping us move into other industries. We focus on paying attention to what will work the best, fastest, and be the best for the customer. For example, we use TypeScript which makes the errors more specific. This forces our development team and our development efforts to use a certain structure to ensure that it will be correct. It helps avoid bad habits. This does take more time, but it is better in the long run because we can find the bugs or errors before a customer does.

Q: We assume that you notice software differently. So like an architect appreciates structures and buildings, what is your favorite software program or application and why?

Philippe: QuickBooks – It is extremely powerful for what it does and it can be picked up very quickly without any training. Under the hood it is very powerful, very customizable.

Carlos: As a user, I love OneNote.  It is just freedom unlimited. A digital version of a toy chest to stuff whatever you want it into.  As a developer, Lotus Notes. I love Lotus Notes. The basic design of the interface, you can do anything with Lotus Notes.

Devashree: Amazon and Uber. They handle lots and lots and lots of data. Data from all across the world. Their stability is amazing. Rarely happens that they lose or have lost something. And they have great a support system. The UiUx is great. The strong backend database fascinates me.

Adithya:  Trello – it is my favorite for keeping tasks. Very user interactive. You can keep track of anything. Perfect task manager. I just found it attractive. Super satisfying.

Colin: Codepen.io  – There is so much inspiration as an UxUi guy. To do things new and different, it shows you exactly what someone is doing in the browser. Cool animations, many methods for doing different things.