Run. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
That was the motto for 12 HCSS employees who embarked on an amazing trip to Canada this summer. HCSS sent 12 running enthusiasts, dubbed team “HCSS Fast Track” to the 2019 Reebok Ragnar Relay, a race spanning 200 miles around beautiful Lake Ontario and finishing at Niagara Falls.
The runners split evenly into two vans and alternated run shifts, or “legs,” for 26 hours straight — no stopping. However, the amazing scenery, cool temperatures, and friendly Canadians made up for the physical torture of running three different times in one day. Some of the participants were new to running, while some have been running for years.
In addition to the race, the HCSS athletes also visited customers in Canada. Since they were a mix of developers, IT and human resources, it was a very unique opportunity to interact with customers face-to-face and get an inside look on how HCSS software is used in real-life scenarios and projects.
Jonathon Hinchley, a developer for HCSS Safety, said he usually doesn’t get to interact with customers since he is usually just writing code or fixing bugs.
“After attending UGM 2019 and getting the opportunity to visit some of our wonderful Canadian customers, I’ve realized one of the hidden perks of HCSS: interacting with customers,” Hinchley said. “As a developer, this offers a rare opportunity to hear how our customers use the products we build and improve workflows to better suit their needs. On our trip to Canada, I got to meet Robert [Camerini, estimator] from Soncin and talk about some of the suggestions their safety manager had for the safety product I work on.”
Soncin builds bridges and other infrastructure, such as the Humble River Bridge in Toronto, which Hinchley had the chance to test out during his second leg of the Ragnar Relay.
HeavyJob developer Andrew Schmees said engaging with customers and hearing about the unique challenges facing their business is always fascinating.
“Bugs, APIs, and release schedules make up the bulk of our focus but are typically far from our customers’ minds as they worry about the day-to-day of staying in the black, managing equipment, and whether HeavyJob can integrate with their accounting system (spoiler: almost always). The shift in perspective is refreshing and a great reminder of the tangible effect our hard work accomplishes.”
Technicore proved a perfect example of bringing value when six HCSS employees met with founder and CEO Tony DiMillo, who was discussing purchasing HeavyJob with one of his other employees.
“We spent an hour of facetime with Tony, and over that time, through answering questions he had and connecting some dots on how our software can solve some of his main problems, he turned from being real skeptical to wanting HeavyJob,” said HCSS Software Development Manager Brenton Morneau. “Exactly one week to the day later they signed off on purchasing HeavyJob. It was an amazing accomplishment, as none of the six HCSS employees in the room with Tony were salespeople.”
This trip to Canada offered a lot of unique experiences for employees of the tech and construction industries — exploring a new country, running around one of the world’s wonders, and visiting the direct users of the fruit of everyday efforts at HCSS. There are few things that would top this experience.