Employee Spotlight: Ben Uzelac

Ben Uzelac is our Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and the one tasked with bringing all of our designs to life. He isn’t a typical developer, he does both front-end and back-end (the stuff we see and the code that makes it work, for us novices), and he writes in more languages than most people speak! We put Ben on the spot and asked him some questions so you can get to know him a little better.

What is the best part of your job?
Working with a great group of people to find creative solutions to our clients’ problems.

How do you make it all happen?
Fake it till you make it, baby. I’m mostly kidding – although if you break down my time on a project, it’s probably 60% planning and research, 30% building the thing, and 10% “How late were you working on this, Ben? This looks like hell”.

For custom databases or apps, we’ll start with a discovery meeting. From there, I’ll build out the “backend” – the database schema, API, etc. After that, I build the “frontend” which is what the user sees. Our team tests it internally, I fix the “this looks like hell” bits, and we send it to the client.

On web projects, Kayla or Bill run wild and design something beautiful and creative. So… so… creative. They’ll ask, “Can we do something like this?” I’ll say yes then google it to make sure that is, in fact, possible.

In reality, I’ve been around graphic designers and programmers for most of my life which has given me a unique perspective to the trade. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and I keep up on current trends and best practices so that we can keep pushing the envelope.

(Editor’s note: we sometimes say things like “Ben is a unicorn” or “but… we have a Ben!” This puts Ben under immense pressure to perform, and we’re pretty sure he likes it.)

What’s a project that you worked on that really stands out to you? Why?
Partnering with Main Street America to build an online accreditation tool used by thousands of communities across the nation. I loved the challenge of designing and implementing an API that will be used for years to come, as well as helping a client modernize their infrastructure.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Woodworking, building LEGO (with my kids, I swear), and pretending that I am a bourbon connoisseur.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Count to 5 and breathe.

If you had to pick a song to portray the culture of The Relish Jar, what would it be and why?
The Addams Family! We’re all neat, sweet, and… strange and deranged.