For a long time now, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes here at Mocavo. I’ve been tasked with a wide variety of work over the years: sending newsletters, improving the user experience design, building out tools for data ingestion, both books and structured datasets, adding features to our search engine that our competitors quickly copied, all along thinking about how we can enable the Mocavo community to best inherit genealogical information about their forebearers. I, like my colleagues, have always kept the ambitious goal of our company in mind. After we were acquired by FindMyPast in the summer of 2014, we took a snapshot photo of the Boulder office I’d love to share with everyone… (I’d love to also share a photo of the Provo team, but unfortunately couldn’t find one to capture the same time frame!)
I consider everyone in this photo the closest thing to family. Thank you all, for helping build Mocavo over the years. A lot of hard work, long nights, and love has gone into building this platform. We’ve made mistakes over the years, and there have been shortcomings in the product that we didn’t prioritize. The reason for these choices generally boiled down to one of two things: lack of usage by the Mocavo comunity, and, unfortunately, lack of resources, both monetary and personnel. For those of you who don’t check our about page often, over the past year and a half we have lost a lot of personnel. Unfortunately, of the people in this photo, only the product engineering development team remain with the company: myself, Zack Thoutt (then intern, now data analyst), and Jeff Stephens.
Jeff, like myself, started out at Mocavo during the summer months as an intern. Unlike Jeff, I had the luxury of being the only intern in the company, and had the benefit of being able to absorb more of my co-workers time to learn lots of amazing and challenging tasks. Jeff was one of eight interns during the summer of 2013 at our office in Boulder, Colorado (There were some days when there were more interns than employees in the office!) It was a blast, and everyone we brought on during that summer did great work, but Jeff was the one that most excelled.
He demonstrated what we seek here above all else: he has a genuine interest in the mission of Mocavo. Although you will see his work across the site, it was the independent projects we create during Dev Night where he shined and earned his wings. Unfortunately, Jeff was still enrolled as a student at Washington University in St. Louis during his internship, and had to return to St. Louis the following fall, where he stayed until Spring of 2014. After he graduated, he moved back to Boulder and became full time, a week before our company’s acquisition by FindMyPast. Since then, our team has done some amazing things. Unfortunately, being acquired by a company comes with some trade offs and many new challenges. Although we were granted access to a large swath of new databases that we’re working hard to get online still today, I’m sad to admit that we lost momentum for a brief period of time, and the team we have now is hard at work to make sure that is never the case again.
Unfortunately, next week we lose my long time friend and cohort, Jeff Stephens. His departing the company will be especially impactful because it leaves myself as the only remaining core engineering pre-acquisition hire remaining with the company. Although I don’t believe we’ll ever truly replace him or any of the old guard that has moved on with their careers, we are searching for those whom can bring their own skills to the table and help us excel as best we can. If you or another software engineer you know is looking for work, please refer to our job postings on the about page. We have brought on board a large number of amazing co-workers, both in our Boulder and Provo, Utah offices, to fill the gaps but we’re still lacking the ability to push out our exciting advancements in this industry in a timely manner because we’re fighting a lack of personnel.
I would not be the developer I am today without the strength and passion of our team, the same strength and passion I want to pass on to future employees.
– Andrew Purkett,
Senior Engineer at Mocavo.com