Recently Ben Gennaria joined Blue Stingray as Chief Technology Officer. We set down with Ben for a chat and this is how it went —
How did you get started in technology?
Ben: Growing up, I was always encouraged in my love of technology and science by my parents. My dad saw the value of home computing early, and his background in electronics from the Navy helped to give me a head start. I knew very early in my life that a career in computers and technology was my path forward.
As your career developed, how has your mindset changed?
Ben: Shortly after graduating college with a degree in Computer Programming, I was hired on at a local design and advertising agency, Paradowski Creative, in a dual role: software development and IT support. This bridging of software development, hardware, and systems is a path that has been repeated in multiple positions through my career, and it has served me well in balancing real-world deployment and use of the software I develop — the challenges of software engineering, and of building a user experience that reduces friction and improves usability.
As I have progressed in my career, I have continued to develop software and manage dev-ops processes while tackling the new challenges that come with managing larger projects and teams. I am excited now for the next challenge as we grow and strengthen Blue Stingray!
What motivates you the most?
Ben: I love tackling new projects and problems. Diving in, solving issues, and fixing what appeared to be broken beyond repair — that keeps me engaged and coming back for more.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Ben: I’m constantly tinkering with a myriad of small projects. I have a DIY mindset whenever possible, so I always have projects around the house — from the basic, like painting or small repairs, to the fun stuff, like extending my home automation systems. I enjoy tearing anything apart and putting it back together, everything from small electronics to large appliances. I’m always wrenching on my motorcycle.
What are your hobbies?
Ben: I love collecting and playing around with vintage computers. Like I said, I also enjoy working on (and occasionally riding) my mid-70s motorcycle. I love to read and I enjoy playing video games in my (not-so-copious) free time.
What do you look forward to as a new CTO of Blue Stingray?
Ben: I am excited to step into a company that has a strong foundation and help to build it up even stronger. I’m excited to learn from everyone here, to incorporate the things that Blue Stingray does better than anyone else, and hopefully to share the things I’ve learned that can help us to grow. We can be the best place in St. Louis to work — and the first choice for companies looking for the software and support that they need to operate efficiently.
What would be your one suggestion to aspiring Computer Science graduates?
Ben: Never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something, no matter how basic it might feel. The least useful things in software development and self improvement are ego and a fear of appearing foolish.