2020 has presented many problems to solve.
On a wide scale, society is working to find a cure to a previously unknown virus that’s causing a pandemic. And inside local companies and communities, it has brought a big effort to adapt to the unexpected changes in the market and life, while continuing to deliver services and bringing people together.
It sounds like a time when we need engineers. So at Technical.ly, it’s fitting that we’re wrapping up our RealLIST series spotlighting the technologists who are solving problems every day.
Baltimore’s RealLIST Engineers returns for its second edition today. (See 2019’s honorees here.)
We’re recognizing software and IT pros for their problem-solving prowess to address technical challenges, and their work to spread skills and motivation throughout the community. This year’s honorees range from self-taught programmers to Ph.D.s, each making an impact on both systems and people. Increasingly, we find that this range is reflective of the tech community as a whole.
So, you might ask, how did we decide who’s real? It started with a public call for nominations. Then, we consulted technologists and looked back through our own coverage. We considered how the person in mind was influential within their organization or community, how they overcame a specific technical challenge and how this person contributed to educating others on technical issues.
So let’s take a look at the second edition of RealLIST Engineers Baltimore, in alphabetical order:
Craig Addison, instructor, Byte Back
Dr. Amir is a computer science professor and director of a lab that specializes in performance and security of networked infrastructure. Among a number of inventions, he developed technology that used in the power grid, servers and routers. He is also chief scientific officer of Columbia-based LTN Global Communications, which has played an outsized role in the pandemic by facilitating remote performances on “American Idol” and the Democratic National Convention. Plus, JHU turned to the company to stage its commencement remotely in the spring.
The students and alums of his lab know he’s fond of the saying, “Me and you will change the world,” and is a ready promoter of the work of his students.
Jason Anton, full-stack engineer, Bellese Technologies and tech lead, Code for Baltimore
Bringing experience from Owings Mills-based civic tech company Bellese, Anton joined the brigade that works on local tools. During the pandemic, he was the primary developer on Code for Baltimore’s application that allowed the Baltimore City Health Department to contact “500-plus faculties in an instant” to assess needs during the pandemic, saving hundreds of hours of work.
Stephen Becker, engineering lead, Catalyte/Surge
Leading software engineering across multiple teams at the Baltimore software development workforce company, he was ID’d by his nominator as the “definition of a force multiplier,” as he spends time in code reviews and pair programming. For Becker, it’s about the team, and he’s focused around making them successful. At the same time, he is continuing his education at night, showing dedication that others admire.
Adam Bouhmad, founder, Project Waves
A graduate at the IT training program that has a local base in Southwest Baltimore, Burt is now an instructor helping others to launch tech careers. The desire to help others gain skills extended beyond course hours, as she continues to mentor former trainees. It also extends helping others in the office and seniors in the community, always bringing patience and empathy.
In the pandemic, she has also been instrumental in finding software that provides a real-world experience for trainees in the virtual environment that was implemented by NPower nationwide. And she was one of a few instructors on a committee that devised new strategies for internship opportunities for trainees at NPower.
A voice for breaking down barriers faced by women and people of color in tech, Burt has spoken to a group in Baltimore and helped to create a guide from the Chanel Foundation and INCO on authentically building diverse and inclusive workplaces.
Dan Edlow, director of engineering, VitusVet
When a member of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 list is nominated, we suppose we can make some room, as well. Dr. Gardner created the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard, which includes a map and data visualizations tracking the disease at the heart of the global pandemic. It launched in January of this year, before the coronavirus came to the U.S. It now gets one billion usage requests per day, according to the university.
Now, Dr. Gardner oversees the team of students and colleagues that keep the dashboard up and running. It started with two people, manually entering the data. Now, more than two dozen people are updating the map, and an analytics team from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory helped to streamline data entry. Going forward, the team is adding the ability to forecast hotspots.