ITA Spotlight: Chris Bidwill, Engineering Manager, Envoy Global
Monday, October 7, 2019
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Chris Bidwill, Engineering Manager, Envoy Global
Envoy Global is a Chicago-based technology company that offers the only enterprise platform that makes it seamless to hire and manage an international workforce. Our mission focuses on helping businesses compete, individuals succeed and families reconnect, and critical to this mission are the members of our product team, who include Engineering Manager Chris Bidwill.
Chicagoan by birth or relocation?
I was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs.
How did you come to work with Envoy Global?
At the time, I was looking for a new opportunity. I was tired of working in the insurance industry and I wanted to find a smaller organization with a more noble mission that I could help grow. This company ended up being the perfect fit.
What about Envoy Global was appealing?
The company had only three other developers at the time, and we were tasked with rewriting the core application from scratch. Because of this, I knew I had the opportunity to be a cornerstone of something truly special. I also appreciated that all the work we’d be doing would have a life-changing impact on many people’s lives.
What other roles have you held in the tech industry? How did they lead you to where you are now?
I started my career in product support, which was often an unrewarding role. It got to the point where I could expect to get several calls every night between 2 and 6 a.m, but I’m thankful for that experience because it helps me appreciate where I’m at now. It also instilled in me a sense of dedication to code health and quality software. I’ve seen from the front lines the consequences of cutting too many corners.
Out of all the positions you’ve held, which one is the most interesting?
My current position as an Engineering Manager at Envoy is definitely the most interesting. Our exponential growth forces us to continuously innovate, and each year is more exciting than the last.
What do you like most about what you do?
I love the passionate, driven people I work with. We’re all striving toward a common goal.
What did you want to be when you were in kindergarten?
My mom was programming in COBOL and assembler a decade before I was born, so I had exposure to computers as a child even in the early 80s. I remember memorizing the few characters to type into a DOS screen to get a MIDI song to play before I could even spell, so I guess I’ve always wanted to do something with computers.
I also wanted to be the guy who picked up golf balls at the driving range!
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?
When I was a senior in high school, my math teacher told me I was capable of great things, but I was going to waste it all because I had no drive. She said that this year was my last chance, and that the doors would close if I didn’t “wake up” now. She basically told me that it was time to decide if I want to be somebody or sloth through life. That conversation turned my Cs into straight As.
What is the coolest thing you’ve developed or project you’ve worked on?
I was the sole developer for an iOS game called “RoboHero” back in 2011. It was a great learning experience and I must have sunk at least 1,000 hours into its development. Financially, it never amounted to much but it still got over 100,000 downloads The fact that so many people played my game is still kind of amazing.
If money were no object, what would your dream job be?
If I won the lottery today, I’d still show up to work every Monday morning. Even when I retire, I’ll still be coding every day, so it seems this is already my dream job.