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Joe Hueffed
Joe Hueffed on Elliott Bay with the Seattle skyline behind him. (Photo courtesy of Joe Hueffed)

Joe Hueffed grew up in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and later graduated from Seattle University. From there, the IT veteran’s resume reads like a checklist for the most iconic companies in the region.

After receiving a BA degree in Humanities and Economics and an MBA in Information Systems, Hueffed went to work at Starbucks in 1998. He spent 15 years at the coffee giant in various IT roles including functional analyst, systems analyst and application developer.

“I ultimately moved on into IT management and technology project management roles,” said Hueffed, who can also add Geek of the Week to his list of accomplishments. “I’ve worked in IT roles at Amazon, Nordstrom, various consulting roles at T-Mobile, Microsoft and Costco, and currently as a technical project manager at Kaiser-Permanente in Renton.”

Hoping to inspire a new generation of tech-minded young people, Hueffed also teaches an evening course at Seattle Central College focusing on Object Oriented Development in Java, and he volunteers at his alma mater, Seattle Prep, through the TEALS computer science education program.

Hueffed and his wife also own and manage a rental property in Kent, Wash., and through the organization Neighborhood House they provide housing for previously homeless families.

Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Joe Hueffed:

What do you do, and why do you do it? “I love application development because of the creativity involved as well as the technology itself. I love IT project management because it allows me to exercise and demonstrate leadership while remaining in the technology space. Working in IT since the 90’s has allowed me to enjoy a prosperous lifestyle, even throughout the Great Recession, and provide for my family.

“I teach because I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge with the next generation of IT leaders, as well as helping promote computer science education. If the students were brats, I simply wouldn’t do it. But their enthusiasm and gracious appreciation motivates me to continue teaching at the community college level.”

What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? “I strongly believe that one of the best academic disciplines to prepare for careers in the information technology field is Liberal Arts. Liberal Arts trains students how to ‘learn to learn,’ rather than simply learning ‘XYZ,’ this specific skill or that skill. Application development is often like writing an English paper; it requires a structured format as well as a logical reasoning and structure. Additionally, programming requires creative design, which courses like philosophy and economics prepare students for. Increasingly, careers in technology require moral and ethical values, which the study of Liberal Arts and Humanities promotes.”

Where do you find your inspiration? “Implementing value-added systems for corporate organizations is highly rewarding. Being part of ‘something larger,’ across an entire nation, if not the world, is empowering. Teaching students, and enabling them to reach their fullest potential while also enabling them to find their passion in technology careers, fuels my motivation.”

What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? “It doesn’t sound original, but mobile phone. Communications are critical, more so than physical transportation. To communicate is to influence.”

What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? “I love the Kaiser campus in Renton because it is pleasant and no-nonsense; plenty of room, parking and amenities. For teaching, I love the Seattle Central campus because of its location on Capitol Hill and Broadway. The area is rich in culture, diversity and excitement. I also love returning to my childhood neighborhood. It’s also the neighborhood where, within a 10 square block area, I was born, attended college, grad school, and became married. Straight outta’ 206!”

Kaiser-Permanente campus
The Kaiser-Permanente campus in Renton, Wash., where Joe Hueffed works. (Photo courtesy of Joe Hueffed)

Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) “Sometimes we need to treat our personal lives as a project, complete with RAID log, backlog, agile Kan Ban board, project schedule, calendar, and of course, our executive sponsor, our spouse.”

Mac, Windows or Linux? “Windows. Grew up on Capitol Hill, one block from 520. Have to represent the #206 & #425”

Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? “Kirk. Because who doesn’t want to be Captain?”

Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? “Anything but time machine. Carpe Diem!”

If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … “Launch a start-up in a city which lacks development. Cities like Spokane, Tacoma & Bremerton could greatly benefit from just one of the many firms which grade Seattle’s downtown.”

I once waited in line for … “the original Star Wars movie.”

Your role models: “Anyone that works in IT admires successful leaders of technology companies, such as Bezos and Gates. I also admire Pope Francis, and moral leaders such as Princess Diana, Martin Luther King and Ghandi. More recently, I admire West Coast government leaders who have led the U.S. in progressive policies. I feel the world needs more leaders who can combine leadership in technology and industry with moral leadership often found among religious, non-profit and political leaders. Lastly, Google ‘Lt. Colonel Stanislav Petrov’ and know we may not be here without him. Never forget that computers are machines, and always keep humanity as part of every equation and decision.”

Greatest game in history: “Combat, Atari 2600.”

Best gadget ever: “The sailboat, the first solar-powered vehicle.”

First computer: “Commodore 64.”

Current phone: “iPhone.”

Favorite app: “Waze. How did we ever navigate without it?”

Favorite cause: “Computer science education. So many IT jobs are going unfilled, while so many Americans are struggling to obtain good paying jobs that support a middle-class or above lifestyle.”

Most important technology of 2016: “IT security.”

Most important technology of 2018: “IT security.”

Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: “I didn’t believe my dad, but he was right: ‘Do what you love, the money will follow.’ I would also add, ‘You’ll never succeed at something you don’t enjoy doing. You simply won’t be able to successfully compete with people who love their work if you don’t love yours.'”

Website: “Once developed a windsurf website complete with wind alerts, but the support and maintenance gave way to family.”

Twitter: “I use Facebook.”

LinkedIn: Joe Hueffed

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