As is so often the case with feel-good Galway stories, it all started with a chat with Mary Rodgers.
When Agata Western was job-hunting, having heard all about the community spirit of the PorterShed, she decided to pop in for a sit-down with Mary. That same day, Mary happened to be having a conversation with FleetOps.com’s CEO Liam Lynch about a customer onboarding gap his start-up was looking to fill. A few hours later, Agata was being introduced to Liam in the PorterShed…and a job offer followed shortly after.
Almost two years later, Agata is still with the company, which certainly says a lot about FleetOps.com’s effective hiring process.
For those who don’t know, FleetOps.com is a truck transportation data business that creates enterprise software for trucking fleets, and their team is primarily based in Ireland – especially Galway – though they do have team members based in other parts of the world, too.
For Agata, who’s originally from Krakow in Poland, FleetOps.com and the PorterShed are a perfect fit. Their small, but agile team are in tune with the beautiful idiosyncrasies of the community. And they are growing, too, which will mean more curious minds just like Agata’s joining their ranks who’ll get to experience what the PorterShed is all about.
“I think the PorterShed cultivates that strength very well by being very open and having the whole Galway ecosystem in mind, not just how to advance the PorterShed’s vision,” she explains.
Agata adds that the strategic mission of the PorterShed – “to promote the West of Ireland as a very special place to be” – is crucial to the local economy and sustaining an attractive identity. But she also speaks about the “warmth and openness” of the hub that makes it easier for people to network and make connections for themselves – and others around them.
As a Customer Onboarding Specialist with FleetOps.com, Agata focuses a lot on making sure that customers are comfortable with the process they are being sold – guiding them along as they go through the steps.
“When you are in onboarding, you are in the transition between sales and support, and there is that awareness that you want to prove all the good things the sales person said about the product and that you don’t want to cause trouble for customer support!
“It’s a tricky balance. You want them to love the product, and you want them to know how to use it, and that’s the success of the onboarding role,” she says.
Agata works as part of a broader team that ensures that customers are enjoying the experience of using Fleetops.com’s solutions. Each team member plays a vital role in what they do, and right now one of the key focuses they have is to help ensure that the company continues to grow – which means that they need scalable solutions that can move with them.
“We all come together and think, and then we structure our conversations with customers and our processes.”
People like Ross Kinsella take part in these conversations, too.
Ross is a FleetOps.com member who spent some time contracting for the company before jumping on board as a full-time employee – and he has been part of the team for almost a year as a Senior Software Engineer II.
“I touch on loads of stuff, but primarily I work on frontend stuff. I describe myself as T-shaped because I touch on loads of stuff, but then I go really deep on the client,” Ross explains.
Many of the companies that FleetOps.com works with can have legacy systems, which presents challenges to do with sourcing and incorporating data, but they are doing a really stellar job of overcoming this so that truck fleet companies can get the answers they need to improve how they operate.
“You might be wondering ‘of all my driver managers, who’s running the tightest team – who’s team is doing really well here?’, and we can answer that question. We can also ask questions like, ‘what types of trucks in a fleet are costing a company more to maintain than other types?’” Ross explains when it comes to the type of questions FleetOps.com can ask and help customers answer.
Ross is an expert in his field, but his journey as a software engineer happened effectively by accident.
“Oh, I fell into it!” he says
When his brother became a programmer, Ross was prompted to consider it as an alternative career path to medicine, which he had originally had in his sights.
“I said to myself, I’ll do a year of computer science, and if I don’t like it, it’ll help me with improving my HPAT performance, and if I like it, it’s a good career. I ended up loving it. Within eight weeks of being in computer science school, I said ‘there’s no way am I ever doing anything else’.”
Ross joined the PorterShed community in 2017 and has had an enjoyable time as one of the long-term members.
“I knew straight away that I had found my tribe,” he says.
“I was living in Dublin at the time, and while I was there I didn’t think there were any programmers in Galway – at least start-upy ones. And then the PorterShed came along and they had the likes of Joe Smyth hiring a bunch of techies. And all of a sudden, there was a place in my hometown where I could go and do what I want to do which is class because I was thinking ‘I need to go and live in Berlin or Dublin, or San Francisco’ or something, but no I can just walk 10 minutes from my mam’s house and be somewhere I think I should be. For me, the PorterShed is divided from whoever I’m working for, it’s just my place of work – it doesn’t matter who I’m working for, I’m going to be doing it from the PorterShed.”
As both Agata and Ross show, FleetOps.com has attracted employees from all sorts of backgrounds – but they’ve also built a team that likes working together.
Complementing, and complemented by, the PorterShed spirit in which they’re based, they’re a fantastic example of the types of companies who are driving innovation in all sorts of ideas.
What’s more, they go a long way to illustrating just how important it is for a company’s growth to have a varied and multitalented team from all sorts of different backgrounds.
By Trevor Murray
Content Marketing Specialist at the PorterShed
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