Earlier this year, Ryan McManus took his startup AVE AutoMedia Inc. from Columbus, Ohio to Portland, Oregon to work in an incubator started by Jaguar Land Rover. AVE has already produced its first product, Neptune—an educational video app for kids that will be integrated with Connected Cars. In September, McManus hired Galvanize graduate Chris Castro as the company’s Chief Technical Officer. Here, McManus talks about what he was looking for in a CTO and why the skills Castro learned at Galvanize made him the right fit for the job.
What’s your background? And what were you looking for in a hire when you contacted Chris?
I’m a serial entrepreneur. I have a strong marketing and business background, but always have to rely on other people for product development. A month into the incubator program, we were looking to build our technical team. We needed someone who could come in and understand both frontend and backend technologies—the full stack.
What made Chris a good fit for the projects you had in mind?
Chris’ role in coming onto this company is specifically based on the knowledge and experience and training he received at Galvanize. Had he not gone through that program he wouldn’t have been right for us at the time. In a short period of time, he had developed a deep understanding of the entire stack; that allowed him to come in and talk to everything we were doing.
Sounds like he was able to get up to speed pretty quickly?
We went from one week where there was a concern that we didn’t have the proper technical resources to move as fast as we were moving to I brought Chris in for a week and had complete confidence that we had a good plan and had somebody that knew what they were talking about.
How does Chris’ experience compare to other developers you’ve been in contact with?
I’ve worked with a lot of developers that when you start talking they say “We don’t have the resources” or “Well, that’s someone else.” Not Chris. I never get an “I don’t know” from Chris; I get an “I’ll figure it out.” In a month, we finished our IOS app.
Would you look to Galvanize for future hires?
I would hire any of your Galvanize students. I think you guys are producing world class talent. I wish there was a program in Columbus, Ohio. We need a program like this; there’s a real talent crunch. There are so many startups and growing business and not nearly enough talent and resources.