DEG is full-service agency headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., but they also have a team located at Gravitate. DEG brings together strategy, creative, and technology to deliver the best solutions for it's customers. I recently was able to chat with Ben Robie, an architect at DEG, to learn a little more about what he does, and why he loves working at Gravitate.
Can you start out by telling me a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m married to a beautiful woman, a father of 3 fantastic kids, a follower of Jesus, a lover of technology, and an advocate for orphaned and vulnerable children. As for my professional life, I’m a solution/technical architect that works inside of the e-commerce practice at DEG—specifically working with Magento. What that means is that I need to maintain relationships with my peers across the industry, understand any new technology in the space, and lastly, to be able to deeply understand all of our clients needs around e-commerce and how we have implemented them technically. If I do all of these things successfully, I will be able to find the best solution for them, and will be able to communicate it to them well.
It sure sounds like you've got a lot on your plate, but really enjoy what you do! Can you remember when you first learned about your field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I always new that I wanted to do something with computers. I was never a hardcore computer nerd, but I enjoyed technology and being the one to solve problems for my family and friends. I think the ability to help other people and to look smart doing it is what hooked me. I studied Management Information Systems at the University of Northern Iowa and it thrusted me into the world I am in today.
What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting off?
Don’t just focus on the technical. Being able to communicate a solution to your audience is just as important as doing the actual work.
Can you tell me about DEG and how you got your start there?
DEG is a fantastic company to work for. The people are fun and brilliant. The work is hard and interesting. The leadership is wise and full of integrity. DEG is a full-service digital agency that works with our clients on all things digital. These things include: email, e-commerce, portals & collaboration, websites, mobile development, social media, demand generation, CRM, analytics, creative, and the list goes on…
The story about how I got my start there is not too exciting and is much like how everyone else gets their start at a company. I was not finding professional fulfillment at my previous company, so I started looking for something else. DEG was a great option and I jumped at the chance.
What is your favorite thing about your team at DEG?
The people I work with care about doing a great job, and have the skill to do it. Everything flows from that. Great people, great work.
Why did you choose to be a part of Gravitate?
DEG is headquartered in Overland Park, Kan. and needed a space in Des Moines. We looked at a ton of places, and Gravitate was so intriguing because it shares a lot of the same values that DEG has. The community of hardworking, kind, smart people make it a great fit for us.
What is your favorite memory at Gravitate?
My favorite memories always involve ping pong and the shenanigans that accompany it.
Where would you like to see the Des Moines startup/tech community in five years? Ten years?
My only hope for the Des Moines tech community is that it keeps growing with the same type of people that it is growing with right now—interesting people that are wicked smart and super kind.
If you could give any advice to someone looking to get into this industry, what would it be?
Good ideas are rewarded, but hard work is 100% necessary to be successful. People are more willing to partner with you because of your work ethic than because of your ideas.
What are your top 3 favorite things about Des Moines right now?
I love that the city is starting to thrive with new construction and attention being paid to the downtown.
I love that there is opportunity for many different types of people with different backgrounds and skills.
I love that people generally are very genuine in their desire to help other people and actually be a community.
Where can we get in contact with you?
I write electronic mail from firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet the tweets from @benjaminrobie, and link in at linkedin.com/in/brobie
Are there any big plans on the horizon for DEG?
DEG has had a great year because of the great partnerships that we have with our clients. Our big plans are to simply continue to provide exciting and creative solutions for our clients so that we can continue to thrive along side of them.