A Decade (!) With Chris Barajas
Posted By Paul Kafasis on July 23rd, 2020
Today, I get to do one of the best parts of my job, because it’s time to commemorate another employee milestone here at Rogue Amoeba. Our technical support guru Chris Barajas recently reached a full decade with the company, and we’re tremendously pleased to celebrate the occasion here.
In 2015, when we marked Chris’s five year anniversary, I talked about the challenging nature of tech support:
Technical support is a demanding role here at Rogue Amoeba…In addition to providing helpful and polite responses, there’s a great deal of problem-solving required. Tracking down bugs and issues based on reports from users is also a key part of the job.
That’s all as true now as when it was written. In fact, our product line has expanded, and it’s now more powerful than ever. Helping customers understand our products, and use them to their fullest extent, continues to require both patience and keen insight.
However, Chris’s role here at Rogue Amoeba has also grown. In 2017, Support switched from a one-man show to a team, when we hired a second full-time tech. Chris has led the support team well, and been instrumental in pushing Rogue Amoeba forward. With his guidance, the support team has adopted a more modern backend, updated multiple internal systems and tools, and written new policies based on years of experience.
Many things have changed since Chris was hired in 2010, but his passion and advocacy for our customers has remained unwavering. His dedication to always seeking to make things better is an inspiration.
An Artifact of Our Appreciation
Long-time blog readers may recall that after five years with Rogue Amoeba, employees are presented with a custom challenge coin. For a ten year anniversary, we wanted to go even further. Companies often give employees some sort of mass-produced award when celebrating a milestone. That’s nice enough, but we wanted to do better.
With that in mind, we decided to create something different and distinctive:
Yes, that’s a silver Rogue Amoeba logo-shaped token of our appreciation. It was hand-crafted by our own CTO Quentin Carnicelli, in his shop. He dreamed up and implemented the entire project.
Crafting the Artifact
Now, Quentin’s very modest about the whole thing, but I’m happy to speak for him. His initial idea was to have an object created by a jeweler or metalsmith. However, after talking to multiple candidates, the desired size was simply too big for them. As you might expect, most jewelers are focused on making rings and other small objects.
Instead, faced with a fast approaching deadlined, Quentin decided to roll up his sleeves and do things himself. To start, he acquired a melting furnace, which is sure to come in handy if fondue parties make a comeback. However, according to Q, the melting is the easy part. Building the mold on the other hand, takes some effort. In this case, that meant getting a vector file from our designer Neale, then CNC plasma cutting our logo shape out of 3/8″ steel plate. Another 1/4″ steel plate formed the back, to which the logo’s rings were attached via interference fit pins.
After the mold was ready, it was time for some test pours. Several test pours were done in lead before Quentin was satisfied the project was viable. At that point, melting down of the silver commenced. In total, four more pours were done before the correct pour speed and mold pre-heat temperature were achieved.
After the silver cooled, it was polished to give it a nice texture and sheen. Rather than the smooth perfection of modern jewelry, however, the end result has the quality of a piece of old-time bullion.
We certainly hope Chris enjoys this physical representation of our appreciation. It ought to make for quite the conversation piece. Worth noting, however, is that the object also has actual value. Just in case Chris ever falls out of love with Rogue Amoeba, this artifact can be melted back down to pure silver, and sold for a healthy sum. Try doing that with an acrylic trophy!
If you’ve emailed our much-lauded support team in the past decade, you’ve undoubtedly benefited from Chris’s hard work. Whether you received a reply directly from Chris or worked with our other support techs, Chris’s influence was present. Because the support team is an integral part of the development process here at Rogue Amoeba, that positive influence also extends to customers who’ve never needed to contact us for help at all.
So on behalf of both the rest of the Rogue Amoeba team, and all of our customers, we thank you, Chris! We’re grateful for the work you’ve done this past decade, and hope for many more fruitful years to come.
P.S. We’re Hiring
This post is meant to show our appreciation for Chris’s fine work, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also note that we’re currently looking to expand our team. We’re hiring a Mac software developer, and you can read more over on our Jobs page. Come join Chris and the rest of our tremendous group. You might just wind up here for a decade!