Adam is originally from Philadelphia, but has lived in and around the Philadelphia and NYC metro area for most of his life. Adam went to Penn State for Electrical Engineering, and worked for many years designing and engineering commercial audio visual systems. About 7 years ago Adam was working in Manhattan in his previous industry for a company that was imploding when he decided to go to General Assembly for a nights and weekends bootcamp, and ended up back in Philadelphia working at Comcast for his job in development. Adam later went on to work for what is now Rackspace and eventually Obsidian / USCIS.
1. What is your role at Obsidian?
I work as a software developer on the DID(it) contract for USCIS, which builds and maintains internal systems for mainly USCIS, with some minimal overlap to ICE and other DHS agencies.
2. Before working for Obsidian what was the most unusual or interesting job you had?
At Comcast I built internal tools and dashboards for their Xfinity tier 3 incident management group. You never knew what you were walking into every day at that job.
Some of my best stories though come from when I was working on a contract at Warner / Atlantic Records in New York as an audio engineer. The daily traffic of pop music stars like Whitney Houston, Madonna and Puff Daddy always kept things, shall I say “interesting”.
3. What is the best vacation you’ve been on?
I’ve done a great deal of traveling in my off time as a dj many years back, with probably my favorite trips being to China and Japan. When you’re in Tokyo or Shanghai, you know you’re not in Western civilization anymore with chain restaurants and stores. This made these trips probably the most memorable in my lifetime.
4. If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?
Jeff Bezos. The amount of issues he apparently makes instant decisions on throughout the day (some of monumental consequence) is supposedly incredible.
5. What is your favorite quote to live by?
I’m a huge Steve Jobs fan, but one of my favorite quotes of his is: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
6. If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tough call, but probably either Pho or Sushi.
7. What do you like to do on your days off?
I’m always working on a coding side project, and typically working on a DIY / maker type thing. I’m also an outdoors person and if it’s WInter, I’m snowmobiling as often as possible, or in the Summer cycling / ATV riding.
8. What is your favorite movie? Book?
I’m a huge movie fan, so it’s hard to name just one. Anything Christopher Nolan, from Memento to Tenet (with the latter being in my opinion his most incredible work to date). My favorite TV show of all time remains to be Breaking Bad, and seeing Bryan Cranston live on Broadway in the show “Network” was a memorable moment for me. Book: “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader” by Brent Schlender.
9. What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last five years?
Attack your goals, projects and ambitions with a marathon mentality, not as a sprint. Be strategic, not tactical.