Employee Spotlight: Matt Shirey

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By Chris Rapozo — Sep 21, 2023 11:00 AM

Employee Spotlights Cover Matt Shirey
What do you do at Hannon Hill?

I’m a developer on the Professional Web Services Team. I work with clients to update their existing websites, implement redesigns to their current site, write web services scripts for third-party and internal integration into Cascade CMS, and write html/css/js for the designs they receive from an agency they are working with.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you joined the company?

Before joining Hannon Hill in April 2021, I worked as the Webmaster at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX. While I was there, we had been a Hannon Hill client for six years. I also have a small web development company where I help small businesses in my town improve their web presence.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

The accomplishment I'm most proud of thus far is when I created a company as a senior in college. I kept that company going for the past 15 years, and it's still going strong. I originally called the company "QWERTY Technology" and offered IT services for small businesses. After getting into web development more, I eventually phased out the IT part of the company and solely did web development. After a few years, I changed the company's name to That Web Guy.

What do you think makes you unique as a team member?

When I joined Hannon Hill in 2021, I already had several years of experience with Cascade CMS as a client. I also have 10 years of experience in higher education and five years in K-12.

When I worked at Midwestern State University, I oversaw all HTML development, trained our 100+ content editors, and managed both our web servers and our on-prem server that ran Cascade CMS.

The move from higher education was a hard decision, especially since it was my alma mater. Still, after working remotely during the first three months of COVID, I knew I needed to make a change, but I wanted to continue to work with higher education.

What skills or qualities do you think are most important for success in your role?

As a full-time remote employee, the most important quality is self-motivation, as I don't get to go into an office and see co-workers. That can get isolating for some, but we have several ways to keep in touch with the team, such as our team Slack channel and weekly team meetings.

What motivates you?

I thrive on seeing the projects I work on help different universities deliver their message to current and prospective students.

I worked with a university client to create a new site in Cascade CMS that allowed the team to create a public-facing form so visitors could submit obituaries.

When the form was submitted, it would then use the Cascade API to create a new page in Cascade and populate it with their responses and then notify a particular individual so they could review the submission and then publish the page.

What has been your most memorable vacation spot?

I have fond memories of a trip my wife and I took to Puerto Rico. We stayed for two weeks for a vacation/wedding. We hadn't traveled outside of the contiguous United States before that trip. Europe is on the list of places to visit someday.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, working on DIY home projects, and playing a few video games with friends when I have free time.

During the beginning of COVID, I built two desks for our boys to do their schoolwork. I would have purchased something off the shelf, but I really wanted to make them by hand. I also wasn't able to find anything in a store that worked for a child-size wheelchair.

After that project, my wife discovered my new talent and asked me to convert a closet we had into a "mud" closet, and I built everything she wanted for her idea.

What's your favorite quote and why?

"Do, or do not. There is no try." - Star Wars

I have a son who has Cerebral Palsy, and my wife currently has some major medical issues. I tell them both that we always have to push to accomplish what we want, no matter how hard it is.

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Chris Rapozo
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