Project44 wants its new hires to feel welcomed and included — and that’s not just marketing speak. The company sponsors social events, mentorship opportunities and even a 60-day onboarding program, New Hire On Ramp. Perhaps the most notable of this onboarding program is Inform Champions, where new hires are paired with teammates from different parts of the business to show new hires the ropes.
While these initiatives increase camaraderie among employees and boost confidence in new hires, they also directly impact project44’s mission to build an industry-leading supply chain management platform.
We spoke with a few team members at project44 to learn how the company’s onboarding resources nurtured their professional growth and why they enjoy paying it forward to new hires.
EMPLOYEES: 200, 130 locally
WHAT THEY DO: project44 connects, automates and provides visibility into key transportation processes to accelerate insights and shorten the time it takes to turn those insights into actions through its advanced visibility platform for shippers and third-party logistics firms.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Chicago, Paris, and Aalborg, Denmark
NOTABLE PERKS: A fully-stocked kitchen, in-house library and monthly themed happy hours are just a few perks.
Ravneet Sidhu, Software Development Engineer in Test
Ravneet builds and maintains in-house test automation tools, contributes to infrastructure building activities, and trains and mentors software engineer interns.
BEYOND WORK: Ravneet finds inspiration in reading nonfiction books and especially loves to learn about different cultural interactions, history and how individuals overcome hardships.
What initially drew you to project44?
It was project44’s vision that drew me to be part of this family. During my interview process, I had the opportunity to talk with our CTO Will Hansmann, and he shared his vision as we brainstormed various ideas about visibility platforms and big data in general. It was experiencing a highly professional and organized recruiting process and meeting with a visionary leader that drew me to the company. Now I get to see project44’s vision becoming a reality every day, and I am so glad that I am part of this journey.
What was the largest obstacle you faced during your onboarding? How did you overcome this challenge?
The largest obstacle for me was not having industry knowledge. I was not familiar with logistics and supply chain management since my prior roles did not give me exposure to those topics. However, my manager and team were aware of this and they provided me with the right resources to quickly get up to speed. They gave me several reading materials and provided one-on-one domain knowledge training. Also, part of the onboarding process gave me the opportunity to shadow train. All of the training and shadowing gave me a better understanding and the confidence to grow further.
I get to see project44’s vision becoming a reality every day, and I am so glad that I am part of this journey.”
Describe project44’s internship program. How have you benefited from working with an intern? What do you think your intern has gained from the experience?
I am really passionate about teaching and mentoring. I experience a lot of contentment when I help someone by sharing knowledge that can help them succeed in their role. I started my first job as an intern, so I understand the importance of the opportunity, especially in the field of software engineering where hands-on experience is instrumental in getting full-time job opportunities.
At project44, the internship program is designed to give interns exposure to various tools, technologies and frameworks. The interns get an opportunity to contribute to project44 applications and services by collaborating, innovating and building applications with us. Our strategy for the internship program is “learning by doing,” which really works.
Phil Dunham, Senior Engineering Manager
Phil oversees software development operations by making sure the product vision is executed and the applications his team owns are performing well. He also supports engineers in their development and careers.
BEYOND WORK: Phil is always happier and mellower after he’s seen live music.
What about your company or your work inspires you?
When I started with project44, I was impressed with how many industry veterans joined the company because they recognized the opportunity the company provides to make an impact in this space. I also appreciate that in my role I can inspire my team to be productive and to feel ownership over the software they write. I want them to be proud of what they produce, and project44 makes that possible.
How is this company's culture different than previous companies in which you've worked?
I feel more engaged at project44 than at my previous jobs, which makes me happy. In some ways the culture is still being formed, which means there’s an openness to change and a palpable feeling that input is welcome. Any “problems” we have aren’t really problems so much as natural and temporary growth spurts for a company at this stage, so those aren’t a downside for me.
In some ways the culture is still being formed, which means there’s an openness to change and a palpable feeling that input is welcome.”
How would you describe your leadership or management style?
I am always happy to play the dumb pointy-headed manager role. I assume I know next to nothing and ask lots of questions until I understand the problem and surrounding context. I’ve been in software development for the past 20 years, the first half as a Java developer and the second half as an engineering manager. My resume includes Orbitz, Amazon and Groupon. Throughout my career, I’ve used the 5 Whys iterative interrogative technique, and project44 has allowed me to further grow in this approach to root cause analysis and to focus on operations.
Marques Woodson, Staff Software Engineer
Marques leads the front-end architecture for client-facing products.
BEYOND WORK: On most mornings, Marques can be found in his garage gym weightlifting before heading to the office. He also likes writing technical articles and creating courses for Pluralsight in his free time.
Tell us about Inform Champions. How does this program welcome new hires?
Inform Champions is a program to help ease the transition of new hires into our company. An Inform Champion, or senior staff member, will take a new hire out for lunch or coffee and be there to help answer any questions the new hire may have about project44 and our culture. The Inform Champion is usually from a different department so that they can provide a unique perspective of project44 than what the new hire may receive within their department.
How are employees empowered to help shape or participate in the office culture?
There are lots of opportunities. One of our engineers has set up a monthly board game night that is sponsored by project44. We have ping-pong tournaments and a ping-pong Slack channel with a leaderboard for anyone who plays. Every Friday, we hold a Breakfast Club meeting that involves an employee giving a 15- to 30-minute slideshow presentation about themselves. All of this shapes the culture of project44.
I’m also excited to see our team grow, which means bringing on talent at all levels and having a chance to mentor new engineers.”
When you think about your future at project44, what is one thing you are especially excited about?
I’m really excited about seeing us grow into an industry-leading platform not only in the U.S. but internationally as well. I feel that I can really contribute to that goal, and I’m excited to do the work. I’m also excited to see our team grow, which means bringing on talent at all levels and having a chance to mentor new engineers.