About Me


Ideation, design, strategy and hands-on realization of Internet services.

I am a cellist, a third generation student of Yip Man, and an avid traveler.

I have also had the good fortune to be a developer of large scale Internet services from an early age. I started out burning the midnight oil hacking during high school years. After winning awards from the Department of Energy for a project on cryptography, I found myself working at a telecommunications company before the age of 18. A couple decades later, having led development of new products and platforms at fortune 100 companies, government agencies and startups on three continents, I now burn the midnight hours helping companies succeed in building cloud-native microservice platforms. This includes crafting a complete vision, advising on organizational structure and processes, training staff and hands-on guiding of development as needed.

Starting August 2018, I embarked on a two year expedition through the backcountry of Asia working on landscape photography as well as various Internet projects and immersing my kids in new cultural experiences.


Skills


Self-driven, entrepreneurial, I know what to do when given a clean sheet of paper (or even dirty ones). UNIX/Linux/Mac preference.

Software Architecture
95%

AWS Cloud
90%

Microservice Design
95%

SaaS Platform Strategy
85%

LAMP Stack
65%

Java/Spring Stack
95%

Cello (gathering dust!)
40%

Photography
60%

Wing Chun Kung Fu
70%


Experience


A brief overview of my work experience.

You can also see my LinkedIn profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminbenson


Enterprise Architect (December 2016 – August 2018)

  • Leading design and development of e-government microservice platform on AWS
  • Setting technical strategy and approach for APIs & Microservices at NIC – resulting in a successful adoption of APIs and Microservices across the company, including: Enterprise Products, state-specific applications, and federal applications
  • Conceptualizing, Designing, and Communicating the API & Microservice strategy and approach to technical and non­technical employees
  • Evangelizing the use of APIs and Microservices throughout the company, including technical SMEs, business operations and executives, to drive adoption and successful collaboration
  • Developing and guiding the implementation of API & Microservice adoption, including changes to software development methods and processes, adoption of new tools and software development best practices


Enterprise Architect (January 2016 – December 2016)

  • Lead architect at fintech unicorn (billion dollar startup)
  • Ground up redesign of loyalty/offers platform on the cloud with highly configurable rules engine
  • API spec-driven microservices architecture on AWS
  • Continuous integration and deployment using AWS Code Pipeline and Cloud Formation
  • Integration with Cognito for platform authentication and identity management


Lead Software Architect (February 2012 – November 2015)

  • Led the design and development of 3M’s next generation toll road and public transportation system as a SaaS platform implemented in the form of SOA ReST micro-services.
  • Management of large development teams including offshore teams
  • R&D work with noSQL solutions, Cassandra, Zookeeper and other cloud technologies
  • Technical consulting during RFI/RFP process to do fit/gap analysis and solution architecture
  • Ground up redesign of legacy software into suite of SOA micro-services using business rules engines and distributed in-memory message queues for efficient high throughput operation
  • Incorporated Enterprise Services Bus (ESB) for data integration and composition of services
  • Moved development environment to Amazon/AWS cloud infrastructure


Chief Software Architect (April 2010 – December 2012)

  • Developed the first international person-to-person lending platform in China including consumer services and back-office systems. Provided general oversight of marketing and ground operations.
  • Designed double-entry accounting system for tracking financial movements across individual accounts, corporate accounts and field partners.
  • Built consumer services on Amazon’s cloud architecture (EC2, ELB, EBS, RDS, S3, …)
  • Ported 385,000 lines of proprietary PHP code to 25,000 lines of standardized Java in three months using the latest Java frameworks and ORM technology – accomplished in tandem with comprehensive redesign of critical business processes.
  • Designed comprehensive affiliate sales solution for tracking fundraising efforts both online and offline.
  • Fully multi-lingual / localized operations (including website copy, translation services for submitted content, email messaging, blogging, and other extended systems)


Professional Services Analyst (May 2006 – July 2008)

  • Development and analytical support of BPM (Business Process Management) imaging, workflow and customer management software for financial service clients.
  • Travel to worldwide client sites to troubleshoot complex workflow software and develop integration, data conversion and reporting across UNIX, Windows and mainframe systems.
  • Fast problem solving in chaotic environments with level head utilizing wide range of skills and often learning new languages and systems as needed.

Software Architect (May 1998 – May 2006)

  • Designed and developed ePriority®, a secure Internet messaging service for the distribution of financial documents now owned by DST Output, LLC and used by more than 30% of US financial service companies.
  • Worked with CEO, CIO, mutual fund representatives, and project managers from affiliate companies to establish a unified vision and direction for the product.
  • Supervised developers and managed vendor relationships.
  • Expanded architecture to serve as a high-volume secure outbound email platform for banking and other SEC regulated institutions.
  • Designed a true fault-tolerant architecture consisting of Sun, Amdahl, IBM RS/6000, and Cisco equipment to provide 100% availability and uncompromising security.
  • Designed all proprietary software including SMTP and POP3 servers from scratch to support demanding scalability, speed, storage and tracking requirements.
  • Developed Web reporting platform using XML/XSLT engines – allowing clients to customize their own reports.
  • Ported C network applications and Web framework to Java and Java Struts/Velocity.


Lead Web Developer (March 1997 – May 1998)

  • Redesigned Sprint’s consumer site with increased functionality, simplicity, and esthetic appeal
  • Participated in the selection and management of Sprint’s core multimedia partnership with a nationwide panel of product managers. As the technical lead, mediated discussion between marketing and product management groups
  • Designed web infrastructure to provide high-availability and content staging
  • Developed custom solutions to support various business needs including dynamically served versions of Sprint’s consumer web site
  • Developed intranet for Sprint executives to track projects through internal and third party processes –
    written in C with server-side logic using NSAPI
  • Developed dial-up connectivity software for Apple O/S and served as the primary development contact in partnership with Apple, Netscape and other vendors


Some of the Testimonials...


I gathered a few testimonials from people I’ve worked with from many different positions – c-level, managers, developers, etc.

Mike Arnold
"Ben had an immediate and extremely positive impact on the team. I was impressed by his sound reasoning, comprehensive analytical approach and singular focus on measurable results. Ben is hardworking, focused and equally at ease working on a team or as an individual contributor. Ben has deep technical skills in distributed architectures and modern application frameworks yet is very capable of communicating effectively with senior level executives in a context they understand. I would rank Ben amongst the very best I have had the pleasure to work with."

Mike Arnold
Enterprise Architect
-
Honeywell Security and Fire
Jon Wyler
"Ben is a creative problem solver who manages to implement new ideas while remaining true to the original concept. He is always available for his colleagues and contributes greatly to strategic discussions. It was a pleasure working with Ben at Wokai and I hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again in the future."

Jon Wyler
Senior Workplace Experience Manager
-
CBRE
Edward Winkler
"Ben has the drive to spend time in the trenches, while the vision to see the whole process, and practical use. I consider my time working with Ben some of my most productive years in my professional development."

Edward Winkler
Operations and Project Manager
-
VML
Mike Metzger
"Ben is a very talented software engineer and architect. He performs extremely well in both a team environment and working independently. He grasps new concepts quickly and would frequently take on complex assignments. He was a pleasure to work with and would not hesitate to hire him back."

Mike Metzger
CTO
-
EveryIncome
John Maiale
"Ben is brilliant and quite imaginative. He was a key resource on a large international project that required long periods of travel. Ben was very willing to work the hours necessary to ensure project success. He was a leader and worked well with all project staff both on-site and remote. I would hire Ben in a minute if he chooses to return to Kansas City."

John Maiale
Client Relations Manager
-
DST Systems
Nameer Raouf
"I enjoyed working with Ben, his technical ability and commitment is very high. Ben is capable to technically run large projects and his problem solving is excellent. I would work with Ben any time on any project as he is a true team player."

Nameer Raouf
Head of Solutions and Technical Delivery
-
DST
Eric Strautman
"Ben is exciting to work with. He always has a different perspective to share and can offer up clearer, more logical ways to achieve the intended result. Ben has been at the forefront of Internet technology development with many high-profile companies. He's one of those guys that doesn't look at his watch or sleep until the project at hand is complete. Ben was the most important team member that I had the opportunity to work with during my time at Corporate Document Systems and our parent company, DST Systems. His programming and his leadership of his programming team created the technology backbone for an array of products, many of which still thrive today."

Eric Strautman
Marketing Manager
-
Name Brand Identity, LLC
Carolos Villalobos
"I had the opportunity of working with Ben in the MVSS department at 3M Corporation, where his many talents, skills and hard work earned him the respect of all. Ben managed to impress me every single day with his drive, commitment, passion, honesty and attention to detail, which is why I did bring him to my department, and make him our Architecture leader. His drive to get things done is only rivaled by his ability to deliver, because his many years of experience gave him the knowledge and judgement which perfectly complements his winning attitude. 3M’s complex and stressful environment tested Ben’s attributes, and not only did he never slow down, but instead he arose as the natural leader he is, spreading his drive to excellence. His professional and people skills are as impressive as his personality and I have personally witnessed what he is capable of, which is why I highly recommend Ben for any architecture position. His sense of ownership and impressive speed to learn, makes him the ideal candidate to drive critical, complex and high-visibility projects. I am thankful for the opportunity I had of working with him, and I look forward to working with him again in the future."

Carolos Villalobos
Sr. Software Engineering Manager
-
Charles Schwab
Steven Gregory
"Ben is one of those individuals that takes total pride in the quality and business applicability of the products and software services he delivers. During my time at 3M, Ben was the Lead Architect designing a next generation SOA based Tolling solution. Ben led the project from initial concepts and requirements definition with the customer through design and implementation of the software services and finally to delivery on time in full to the customer. Ben is a extremely capable software and systems architect, with exceptional coding and design skills that would make him a vital asset to any company. Ben also excels with the design of performance software, the is critical in todays enterprise distributed software solutions. I would recommend Ben to any employer."

Steven Gregory
Directory of Software Devops
-
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.
Jonathan Bernard
"Ben is effective at many levels of product and system development, spanning from the low-level technical implementation details to the long-term, big-picture strategy of where the product fits in the market. More importantly, he has the valuable ability of determining where his effort would be most effective. Often a very complicated problem can be greatly simplified by solving it at a different level. Ben excels at the kind of holistic thinking that allows teams to find these kinds of solutions. As a team leader and manager, Ben is good at evaluating people's level of expertise and finding ways to leverage their strengths. He is not afraid to delegate responsibility and authority to others on his team. I experienced this first-hand, being allowed to own and set the direction for work in my area of expertise. Ben is more interested in growing people and finding a way for his team to succeed than in catching people in their mistakes or owning every detail of the work. Ben exemplifies behavior to which any managers should aspire. Working for and with Ben was one of the things I most appreciated about my time at 3M. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for help in bringing a software product from conception to implementation. Given the opportunity, I would gladly work with him again."

Jonathan Bernard
Principal Developer
-
Fairway Technologies
Kincade Park
"Simply put, when I make a short list of the best architects and best teammates I've worked with, Ben is one of the first persons who comes to mind. He has all of the obvious pre-requisites including both breadth and depth of technical knowledge, comfort with both design up-front and emergent architecture and deep understanding of Agile/Lean methodologies and principles. The things that really set Ben apart are his people skills, focus on continuous improvement, sincere interest in understanding the business goals just as much as the technical, pragmatism when balancing those goals and his willingness to not just step down out of the ivory tower of architecture but to help tear that tower down. When you add the fact that Ben also carries himself with integrity, honesty and a sincere desire to make things better and have fun while doing it, Ben is a great guy to work with and has the ability to lift a team and an organization. I emphatically recommend Ben and sincerely hope I'm fortunate enough to work with him again one day."

Kincade Park
Director of Engineering
-
uShip
Elizabeth Blase
"His broad technical knowledge makes him invaluable to Wokai and would render him a powerful asset to any organization. However, beyond his unquestionable technical expertise, Ben is unique in his ability to communicate inextricably complicated issues to even the most lay un-tech-savvy of individuals. Ben also takes initiative and leads projects outside the technical realm in areas of marketing and general business. He performs well in each of these areas and is a pleasure to work with."

Elizabeth Blase
Counsel to Commissioner
-
Securities and Exchange Commission
Raj Polikepati
"While working with Ben, I learnt a lot about Microservices development and platform engineering. Given the tight timelines, it was sometimes overwhelming for the team to learn a brand new way of building enterprise solutions. Ben pulled us all along with his spirit and throttling the learning process. Despite the tight timelines, Ben remained steadfast in ensuring that the Microservices are truly enterprise-class and reusable across products and applications for multiple domains. He was instrumental in us adopting the Spec-driven Microservices deployment and leading the definition of several specs. Ben is one of the best hands-on architects, I have worked with in my long career. Any company starting on new platform development would be lucky to have him on their team."

Raj Polikepati
Director of Engineering
-
Technology Leadership Digital Platform
Will Simpson
"Ben is simply one of the best architects I know. That is a pretty bold statement. It is not just his tech stack knowledge, which is extensive and well above the bar, but his ability to bring a team together. Ben will drive hard toward technical excellence and toward team excellence. That "and" is what makes him so very valuable!"

Will Simpson
COO
-
New Iron
Jonathan Pruitt
"He's really good at seeing strategic solutions that few others are able to discover. Give him a problem and he'll get to work right away analyzing, organizing, and building."

Jonathan Pruitt
Product Manager
-
Main Street Data