60 Days In

By | Community, Culture, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers | No Comments

Do you know the elevation of your house?  Everyone in Houston now knows the exact elevation of their house. 103 – that’s mine. The other really important numbers are 104, and 101.5. 104 feet is the elevation above mean sea level of the top of Barker Reservoir levee, and I live just upstream of that levee, so my house is just a foot below the hypothetical high point of the floodwaters.

Why bring this up? Well, I had been at Daxko for about 2 weeks when our soggy friend Hurricane Harvey came to visit. So my third week at Daxko was spent at home, because the two entrances to my neighborhood were under water. Thankfully, my house stayed dry, because the water level in reservoir only got to 101.5 feet. A lot of people weren’t so lucky. But that whole week, Daxko people, including people from Birmingham, were on HipChat, exchanging crucial information, offering help, and checking in on one another. It was a great way to get to know the community of people who work here – well, great for a massive, catastrophic flood anyway.

Daxko people are engaged and helpful, and they look out for each other – that was my big observation at the 60 day mark.

We survived the flooding, and the massive, catastrophic traffic snarl that lasted another 2 weeks, and then we moved into the swanky new Daxko office, in the suburb of Sugar Land.  Locals will be sure to tell you it’s ‘Sugar Land,’ two words, not ‘Sugarland.’  It’s a great new office, in a nice, dry part of town. As a major plus, the building next door has a café that makes decent chocolate chip cookies.

Here are a couple of fun links:

  • Water Data – This shows the current water level and some other stats for the Barker reservoir. Many people in West Houston spent lots of time on this site in September, keeping an eye on the water level.
  • Cool article from the Houston Chronicle with some helpful graphics about the reservoirs.
  • Very cool aerial imagery from just after the flood. You can see the water in the streets in my neighborhood. You can even see the flooded blue car from the picture below, and boats moving through the flooded streets, rescuing people from flooded areas.

This picture is the main entrance to my neighborhood. And thankfully, that isn’t my car there in the 3+ feet of water. The water actually came up even higher after that pic. So be really careful about buying a used car in Houston for a while…


Clayton M. is an Instructional Designer who enjoys running and craft beer.

Spring 2017 Impact Day

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I’ve been a Daxko team member for over four years now, and one of my favorite things about our company is Impact Day, hands-down. It’s a way for us to give back to our communities and to bond with our fellow team members. I led a group of 10 team members at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, an organization that is very near and dear to my heart. I have two rescue dogs, and I volunteer at the GBHS in my spare time. My group spent the day socializing, walking, and bathing dogs. I can’t think of a better way to volunteer my time! It’s so rewarding to do work that I love on a daily basis for a company that I truly believe in, and also take time to give back to my community.

Check out this video to see snippets from our Spring Impact Day:

A Recap of Kids Code-A-Thon

By | Community, Culture, Technology | One Comment

This month TechBirmingham presented their Kids Code-A-Thon at Daxko! Over 60 local children attended, eager to team up and create an app that would positively affect Birmingham.

Let me start by saying this: I work in Services. I know very little about coding… but [spoiler alert] by the end of the day, I moved from the Hospitality Team to leading a team of brilliant kids with the coolest app in the building.

Trent and Adam (of Airship) kicked things off by leading a brainstorm with the kids to come up with app ideas that would benefit Birmingham. Here are a few of my favorites:img_0766-jpg

After splitting up, each team selected ideas from the brainstorm to develop and later present to a panel of judges. At this point, I was still on the Hospitality Team, so I was walking around to see if the kids (or volunteers) needed anything and scoped out what everyone was working on.

One team was working on a pet translator. Another worked on a volunteer crowdsource. Yet another was working on a “BirminghamGo” app. My favorite, though, was a team working on a Birmingham Scavenger Hunt. In the app, the user had to go to each landmark in Birmingham to answer a trivia question. When the user answered the question correctly, they would acquire an item needed to save the princess from “Blazer,” the UAB dragon, at Vulcan.

Just before lunch, one of the volunteers had to leave, and I was asked to step in and work with the Birmingham Scavenger Hunt team (aka Team Awesome). SCORE. We got right to it. They had already decided on landmarks and characters, and although the team was swiftly building the app, their difficulty was in telling the story and coming up with a plan – something I am good at. I absolutely loved helping them discover how to tell their story, what types of imagery to use, and coaching them in how to present their app to our panel of judges.

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They were having fun, I swear.

Prior to judging, a couple of very special people joined us…

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The kids (and adults) were enthralled to see the Stormtroopers! They lined up to have their pictures made and get autographs.

At the end of the day, Team Awesome won second place and were begging for some extra time to finish building out their app and implement it.

I’m so grateful that Daxko is invested in future generations of coders and geniuses and that my teammates would show up to work on a Saturday – some in full Stormtrooper gear – to make an impact in our community.

Congrats to TechBirmingham for a very successful event!


Emily V. is a proud dog mom, and Netflix connoisseur, and lives on Daxko’s Engagement Solutions Team.

How to Impact Your Community in Just One Hour

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Throughout last week, several members of the Daxko Software Engineering team visited five different schools in the Birmingham area to teach an Hour of Code. Code.org organizes this campaign annually to teach students about computer science. The concept is simple – spend one hour doing a fun, engaging activity that educates kids on coding. The Daxko team used several methods to teach kids about how code affects many of their daily activities, including Scratch, a BB-8 robot, and Minecraft.

Hour of Code isn’t only fun for the kids – it is genuinely fun and rewarding for Daxko team members as well.

Daniel V. is a QA Engineer at Daxko, and he enjoyed seeing the kids “genuinely interested in code and excited about technology.” He continues, “Kids are growing up in a time when technology touches all parts of life, so they seem extremely interested in learning how it gets put into motion. Before working at Daxko, I didn’t have much exposure to computer science. I was inspired to help my own children learn about it through my involvement with Hour of Code this year. I hope to be involved in Hour of Code in the future as well.”

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Napo M. facilitating for a classroom full of students

 

Shaun S. is a Software Engineer and has been with Daxko for several months. He says, “I had a great time playing coding games with the students using a BB-8 Sphero robot. We played magic 8-ball together and then programmed the robot to drive around, gesture, and say things to the kiddos. Every class asked me where they could get their own Sphero to program. The Elves will be busy making BB-8 Spheros this year!”

Shaun happened to teach his Hour of Code at the school where his wife Haley is a librarian. She added, “All my kids really loved the Hour of Code presentation! It was such a big hit that Brookville Elementary is buying its own Sphero!”

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Nick M. and Butch M. discussing how code is like Legos

 

Butch M., Daxko’s QA Team Lead pictured above, says, “Seeing kids’ faces light up once they realize they can code is a great feeling. The kids we had the opportunity to share our time with is the next generation. It was great introducing the younger kids to some basic programming concepts and giving the older kids some resources they can use to get started coding. Minecraft + Python Scripting = Kids’ Minds Blown!”

Kelly M. is a QA Engineer at Daxko, and this was her first year to participate in Hour of Code. She enjoyed it, saying, “It was incredibly exciting and inspiring to see so many young girls and boys announce their tech dreams during our brainstorming session. All the kids were very motivated to finish their projects and problem-solve their way through code issues. If the future of technology is in their hands, we’ll be okay!”

The Hour of Code is an easy way to impact your community. The Daxko team will definitely be participating again in the future, and we encourage you to do the same. Get started here! Let’s do our part in paving the way for the Software and QA Engineers of the future.