Team member spotlight: Joel Boonstra

Joel is one of Agathon’s partners and our go-to guy for internal processes and troubleshooting. Although he’s been with Agathon since 2004, and a partner since 2007, his role recently transitioned to focus more specifically on internal operations as the DevOps Lead.

He loves getting to the bottom of a technical mystery, and he collects odd bits of knowledge from a variety of places to help him make connections and solve tricky problems.

Joel has been married to Leslie for 14 years. They have two daughters and a large needy cat named Zanzibar Monkey McBean who think he’s a dog. In addition to spending time with his family, he enjoys reading, playing board games, watching TV/movies, and playing softball.

Here’s a bit more about what makes Joel tick:

1. What is the best part of working from home? The worst part?

The best part is the flexibility that it offers for the rest of my life. I’m home when my girls get home from school, and I have the opportunity to shift my schedule so that I can go on school field trips, get breakfast with Leslie on days she’s not at her own work, and other stuff that balances life and work.

The worst part is… probably the same thing. With no clear division between the office and not-the-office, it can be tricky to be truly done working for the day.

2. How did you meet your wife, Leslie? When did you know she was the one?

We met all the way back in third grade, when I moved to Escondido, CA with my family. We attended a fairly small school so it was pretty easy to meet everyone (including Leslie). We didn’t start dating until after college, though, and from a distance. I think I’ve always had a suspicion she was the one… it just took a little while for us to get together.

Joel with his wife and two daughters

3. What has been the most surprising part of fatherhood for you?

That my kids manage to grow and learn despite me not knowing what in the heck I’m doing.

4. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Tacos. Do I have to choose one specific kind? If so, carne asada.

5. What are your top three favorite movies?

This is a tricky question and I don’t appreciate being put in this position, but I’ll give it a shot. In no specific order: Goodfellas, Star Wars (the first one, aka A New Hope), and if I’m forced to choose a third one on the spot… Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I reserve the right to change this in the future. Hey, speaking of which, Back to the Future was a good movie.

6. What is your favorite #workdaywednesday location?

It’s less about the location and more about the people. I like meeting up with coworkers to catch up. BUT, Morgan often has delicious homemade treats and his cats are friendly, so we’ll say Morgan’s place.

7. What drew you to computer science as a field? Is technology something you’ve always been interested in, or was it something you discovered as an adult?

At some point in high school I decided I wanted to do computer stuff, and that just sorta stuck. I don’t know why, exactly, except that it seemed interesting. We didn’t have any sort of computer education available in high school, but I tinkered around a bit on our home computer (and my TI-83 calculator, which had some programming capabilities) even though I never had ready access to the internet or the web until college. Web programming itself piqued my interest midway through college, and I’ve been doing it in some way or another ever since.

Joel and his cat, Zanzibar Monkey McBean

8. Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Definitely cat. We had a few cats growing up, including one who adopted us when I was in elementary school and lived for about 17 years. I’ve never had a dog, and they seem like a lot of work.

9. Because no Q&A is complete without this question … If you could invite 6 people, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would you choose?

Let’s stipulate, for the purposes of this question, that loved ones, relatives, etc. are excluded from consideration because of course it would be nice to to see them, yes?

So let’s send invites out to Stephen Colbert, John Dickerson, Tony Gwynn, Dolly Parton, Amy Poehler, and Fred Rogers, and see what kind of a conversation we can get going.

10. As a Partner and the DevOps Lead at Agathon, you do everything from building internal tools to assisting with client support. What is your favorite part of your role?

I’m quite new to the DevOps Lead role, so I’m still determining what exactly that means for Agathon, but I think the stuff I like the most will fit in really well. I like to see a problem that needs solving (either with automation or integration) and figure out how to make that happen. It usually involves learning new skills and solving puzzles and (ideally) results in making my coworkers’ jobs easier.

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