Brette Scott is the Senior Software Engineer for NexPort Solutions and has been working in the learning management field since 2009. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering with Magna Cum Laude distinction and a minor in Computer Science from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. Brette has always wanted to stay in Oklahoma to be near family, so she looked for local internships and applied for one of our internships. She was a little intimidated by the length and depth of the NexPort Solutions interview and was pleasantly surprised to be offered an internship. She began working with the company to refactor the Integrated Knowledge Elements (iKe) from ColdFusion to C#. Brette stated, “I’ve learned so much over the years, and I am so glad I landed here.”
Brette works on all components of the NexPort software suite and enjoys the freedom of developing solutions in her own way, secure in the knowledge that her colleagues and stakeholders can provide feedback and advice when needed. Her favorite project has been NexPort Reporting Services. She was one of the first developers of the framework, and she has every right to be proud of the major advancements she has provided on this invaluable system.
My proudest moments at work are when I am the first to find the source of bugs in the system.
When asked, “What is your proudest moment at work?”, Brette replied, “My proudest moments at work are when I am the first to find the source of bugs in the system.” She also stated that, “I’ve learned that it’s important to constantly be learning. Technology is always changing, so you have to keep up to be able to do good work.” Being part of a team that helps people to learn and improve themselves is inspiring to her. Brette’s expansive knowledge and dedication has earned her more responsibilities with each passing year; and now she has been “on-call” for certain weeks and even answering the phones on certain days, which is surprising since Brette is not a big fan of phone calls.
Brette is the seventh of eight children, and they are all very close. Her parents taught them the concept of hard work and determination to make good lives for themselves. Brette applied this concept early. Her very first job was repairing grant-funded laptops during the summer so that her classmates could use them in the following school year. Brette’s favorite thing to do outside of work is spending time with family, especially at Sooner football games. She also enjoys playing poker and playing with her dogs.
Brette’s favorite quote, by Mr. Magorium, is, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.” She likes the quote because it is inspiring and simple. The phrase Brette finds herself saying repeatedly is, “Dan, you’re on mute.” The NexPort team uses Zoom meetings to coordinate their work. She is referring to Dan Pupek, the Chief Systems Architect of NexPort. If someone were to write a book about Brette’s life, she said that the title would be, “Sooner Born and Sooner Bred.” For those of you not in the know, Oklahoma is the Sooner state.
When asked, “What is the best vacation you have ever taken?”, Brette replied, “My husband and I did a cross-country trip to Las Vegas for our honeymoon, stopping for the Albuquerque Balloon Festival and white-water rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.” The weirdest thing Brette has ever eaten is escargot when she studied abroad in France. Brette’s bucket list contains “Winning the World Series of Poker.”
Team Member Spotlight: Billy Caldwell
Meet Billy Caldwell, Information Systems Operations Manager, from our NexPort Solutions Division in Oklahoma City.
What exactly does it mean to wield that title? Billy is the unsung hero who slays our data management dragons. He is responsible for managing day-to-day network operations and problem solving for more than 50 employees nationwide. It’s a job that crosses multiple divisions and departments.
Billy began at AST in 2003 as an intern from Cameron University while working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Instructional Multimedia Design. Once his internship was completed, he began working part-time in customer service, and by 2004, he was a full-time AST employee. In 2007, Billy’s position shape-shifted into Network Administrator when the NexPort Solutions office was established in Oklahoma City. For the next twelve years, he was pretty much a one- man-show, responsible for being on call 24/7 to manage and update the servers and to identify and resolve any issue that prevented employees from functioning in their job.
One of his current responsibilities is to lead the weekly Tier 3 synchronization meetings, where he tracks Fogbugz cases and facilitates communication for Smart Horizons, SHCOE, Dialogex, and partners. His main goal is to run consistent meetings that stay focused on an agenda and the highest priorities.
One of the things I appreciate most about Billy is that he is such a great problem solver. Whatever pressing issue we have, I never question that he will take care of it. He takes whatever you throw at him then uses our nontechnical language and translates it into engineer-speak. - Jenness Hunter
Jenness Hunter from curriculum development at Smart Horizons says, “One of the things I appreciate most about Billy is that he is such a great problem solver. Whatever pressing issue we have, I never question that he will take care of it. He takes whatever you throw at him then uses our nontechnical language and translates it into engineer-speak.” Billy does something for Darwin Global that is vital to all operations—he provides a crucial conduit between key department contacts and engineering.
When not slaying dragons for Darwin Global, Billy’s favorite activity is competitive remote control car racing, a special interest that he has been involved with for 22 years. His most recent accomplishment is participating in Tulsa’s 2019 R/C Chili Bowl in three different classes: Midwest Modified, Outlaw Sprint, and Wingless Sprint. Billy progressed to finals in all three classes and finished 10th in the Wingless Sprint. Click to watch Billy’s victorious qualifier at the event: https://youtu.be/hsZAyk6ZvO4
Billy naturally gravitates toward activities where things can be built, fixed, or rebuilt. One such hobby is restoring vintage cars. He is currently working on a 1952 GMC truck. He inherited a love of cars and mechanical things from his late father, a drag racer who also enjoyed flying remote control airplanes.
Billy also enjoys spending time at gaming stores and events. For the past several years he has been a demo agent for Catalyst Game Labs at gaming conventions. His game of choice is BattleTech, a tabletop combat game set in the 31st century.
When asked what his “happy place” is, Billy says it’s when he completes a project, closes out an issue, or scratches off an item on his to-do list. Yet, a key lesson he has learned is there is such a thing as caring too much. It is important to recognize what tasks are urgent and what tasks can wait till the next day.
Thank you, Billy, for all your hard work and over 15 years of dedication. We dub thee, Dragonslayer, Realm of the Darwin Global.
About NexPort Solutions
NexPort Solutions Group is a division of Darwin Global, LLC, a systems and software engineering company that provides innovative, cost-effective training solutions and support for federal, state and local government, as well as the private sector.