Although he is technically an Implementation Engineer, Ira's wide-ranging expertise on, well...pretty much anything, is invaluable to Onboard in many ways. Read on to find out about his upcoming Habitat for Humanity trip to Poland, his favorite photography experiences, and more.
OB: Where are you from and where do you live now? IM: I'm a military 'brat'. I was born in Frankfurt, West Germany while my parents were stationed at Giessen. Growing up I moved every 6 to 30 months. In the Army if you aren't being transferred you aren't being promoted. This lifestyle has carried into my adult life as well. I enjoy experiencing new places and meeting new people. I am often asked how I managed moving so often growing up, yet to me I wonder how people could stand growing up in one place.
OB: What does your role at Onboard entail? IM: I am an implementation engineer. I have over a decade of experience working as a consultant developing custom software solutions. In that time my client base has been all over the place, however my approach has been consistent. With any client engagement the first step is to understand their business. And by that I mean understand what they offer, how they provide value, and what their current pain points are. Once I feel I am on the same level as they are I then begin the process of suggesting ways we can use technology to either increase revenue or decrease costs. It's that simple. I am a firm believer of the K.I.S.S. principle. In the end I've always seen my job as more of a problem solver than a 'coder'.
OB: Can you talk a little bit about your upcoming Habitat for Humanity trip? IM: On May 22 I am headed to Gliwice, Poland (a town 60 minutes Northwest of Krakow) to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity's Global Village project for a couple of weeks. I will be joining a team of volunteers from our around the world. Not only will we be living in dormitory on a Polish university campus but we will be working alongside both college students, as every Polish university graduate is required to complete a certain number of volunteer hours, as well as future habitats of the homes because they too are required to complete a certain number for volunteer hours to receive a home. In addition to the physical equity provided by each new home owner, they are 'awarded' a 20 year interest free loan on their new property. This means they not only helped build the house but they are also required to follow through long term to own it. This aspect of encouraging ownership and responsibility is what attracted me to Habitat for Humanity's Global Village Program.
OB: Tell us a little bit about your photography. IM: I started photography in high school developing and printing my own black and whites as the sports editor for our yearbook. It wasn't until several years ago as digital caught on that I started to get serious again. I currently freelance shooting for Timeout NY, helping local actors and models build their portfolios, Realtors selling property, and a couple of other commercial clients.
OB: What was your favorite shoot to date? IM: My most memorable shoot to date was the opportunity I had to work with a young man while working with the Heart Gallery of America program in Tampa, FL. I've been fortunate enough to work with a lot of gifted and talented people in my 'career' as a photographer. But I must say that this young gentleman showed up with an enthusiasm and energy that has been unmatched. I can only hope that I made nearly as much as a positive impression as he left with me. This is a great program and I encourage everyone to get involved where possible.
OB: Any strange photog stories to share? IM: No comment.
OB: What is something people may be surprised to learn about you? IM: Um...see above.
OB: What is the most challenging aspect of working in the real estate technology space? IM: The uncertainty of the real estate market has definitely contributed to companies being cautious in adapting to cost-saving technologies. I find myself in conversations with people today about executing strategies which we identified 4-5 years ago. I am not suggesting that our clients take the financial risk of being first to market with certain strategies. What I try to convey is how the right implementations can actually make a company money.
OB: Who is Onboard? IM: I think one of the biggest challenges Onboard faces is defining itself. Onboard is a lot of things to different people. Essentially we aggregate lots of data and tie that data to geographies. That in itself isn't groundbreaking. What makes Onboard special, and invaluable is our culture. This is something which is difficult to convey on a brochure but is immediately apparent when you step into our office. Whether you are a 'small' or 'large' client you will receive the full attention of everyone involved to ensure you reach the most success possible. At the end of the day, we are only as good as our clients.