Integrations Squad @ SpotHero

Welcome to our team blog entry! We can’t wait to introduce you to the inner workings of our squad and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and why we do it. You’ll also get to meet some of our amazing team members and learn about the technology stack that powers our work. 

My name is Larry Mitchell and although I’m relatively new to the company (Nov 2022), the group of engineers I manage in this squad is some of the best in the industry.

Thanks for checking in on us and I hope you enjoy reading our blog, we’re also hiring now.

What do we do

SpotHero is a two-sided marketplace connecting parking customers with operators who provide spots for reservation. Our team focuses on integrating operators (suppliers of parking facilities) to the rest of the business. To do this by:

  • Support multiple types of protocols to support a wide variety of operators
  • Measure and monitor operator uptimes to ensure that parking customers can have successful reservations.
  • Be proactive with operators to develop and support features that help their business grow.

Our Tech Stack

As a squad, we value continuous improvement, an outcome-focused approach, supportive mentorship and transparency, and a culture of experimentation. Our team is composed of experts in high-performance distributed computing, event-based architectures, and relational database technologies. 

  • Our back-end engineers make use of a diverse set of technologies including Python, Django, Kotlin, Postgres, and Kafka. 

Recent Successes

ICB Architecture

The ICB is an implementation of the circuit breaker architecture pattern. In truth, this can be called an outage service and is intended to make SpotHero more resilient in the face of connectivity failures. Being a real-time system, there are times when connectivity to operator APIs and facilities will be lost and in that event, we want the system to recognize the issue and have the ability to compensate gracefully for service loss. 

The new Integration Circuit Breaker (ICB) service was successfully rolled out and is now providing coverage for our connection with the SP+ transaction data API. We will be migrating all transaction data connections to the ICB service in 2023.

Our squad

Please take a moment to meet the rest of the members of the squad:

Andrew Holbrook – Senior Backend Engineer

Who Am I: 

I’ve always had an interest in how things work. I was the kid that would take random things apart to see what was inside and how they worked. Naturally, this continued onto computers and when I got my first PC I started learning how to write HTML/JS. My high school offered introduction classes to programming, and I took every one that I could while continuing to learn other languages like C in my free time. I realized early on that I wanted to develop software for a living, so I attended courses at Seneca College. Since graduating, I’ve worked on various projects (e.g. Desktop Applications, Android apps, and Rest Services) before co-founding Rover Parking which led to my joining SpotHero.

Where are you now: 

Newmarket, Ontario

Hobbies and interests

Outside of work, I enjoy playing video games and Sci-Fi shows.

Brian McCaffrey – Staff Engineer

Who Am I: 

Since I can remember, I have always been fascinated by anything even mildly related to computers. My introduction started with video games but grew into a passion for how the software worked. When I was 13 I remember trying to make my first mod for Half-Life; I failed to deliver anything of substance but learned a ton in the process. This led me to study computer science at the University of Minnesota.

Toward the end of school, I helped form a startup that attempted to create a combination of Groupon and Yik Yak. From there I bounced between a variety of companies and discovered that I love writing code for the JVM. Most recently that has taken the form of Kotlin; I find it powerful and love the structure that statically typed languages bring. I’m a fanatic for using docker to create realistic tests that simulate production better than ever before.

Where are you now: 

Evanston, IL

Hobbies and interests

Outside of work, I live with my wife and son in Evanston. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing board and video games, reading science fiction, and bouncing between other hobbies (currently experimenting with smoking meats). Space has always fascinated me and I enjoy reading about the latest discoveries throughout the universe. I love reading about technology in general, and as of late, quantum computing and nuclear fusion spark my curiosity.

James Brinsfield –  Product Manager

Who am I:

I’ve always had a fondness for math. Not necessarily because it came easy to me (spoiler: it didn’t) but rather because the process of going from ‘this is abstract gibberish’ to ‘this is important and it makes sense’ is very satisfying. This feeling, along with my curiosity about how everything works gave me the idea to go to college for mechanical engineering but ultimately I ended up changing gears to study finance and economics.

Post-college, I spent several years in real estate before taking a chance with an early-stage startup in the parking reservation space. It was here that my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of product development. Building cool products that solve real problems for real people, and the constant problem-solving required checked off a lot of boxes for me. After that company was acquired by SpotHero, I found myself drawn to the high-value but also highly complex domain of integrations as the area where I felt my skill set could make the biggest difference.

Where are you now:

Baltimore, Maryland

Interests and Hobbies

  • Running/Biking, endless house projects, and spending time with my partner, three small dogs, and 1 cat who yells. 

Larry Mitchell – Senior Engineering Manager

Who Am I:

My name is Larry Mitchell and I grew up in a tiny mining town in Quebec. At the age of seventeen, I applied for and attended Royal Roads Military College as a military officer. Served in the Canadian Armed forces for several years, then went back to university for Computer Science and Physics. Worked in high tech for three decades in a wide variety of areas, Remote sensing, LIDAR, Satellite Comms, Defense, FinTech, Crypto/BlockChain, Capital Markets, Distributed Computing and JVM design.

In the course of my career, I’ve had the chance to work on six of the seven continents. I’ve done pretty much every job from engineer to CTO. 

At SpotHero and enjoying it. Excellent engineering culture and a great people-focused company.

Where are you now:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – I came to Toronto decades ago with the plan to stay 2 years and then go to Japan. But met someone, got married, … kids. I’ve lived in many other places (US, Europe, Australia, the Caribbean,… ) in the interim, but always kept a place in Toronto. I’ve stopped traveling (except for holidays) and prefer my quiet house in downtown Toronto.

Hobbies and interests

Advanced technologies – ML and Quantum Computing

Fiction writing – working on several books, hoping to publish soon

Martial arts – Currently studying a Koryu Kenjutsu system under a Japanese master

Peter McGuire – Senior Backend Engineer

Who Am I: 

I’ve been interested in computing since I was a little kid and my older brother brought home a Commodore PET that I poked at using BASIC until it did some interesting things.  From there, I made embarrassing websites all through High School.  I moved into electronics in College and University, delving into circuit design and low-level firmware.

My interest-turned-career eventually moved up into the cloud while I worked with a small IoT startup, where I pursued a love of learning from electronics to software and system architecture.  Now with SpotHero, I’m continuing my software journey by working with the various systems and technologies that are part of the Integrations squad.

Where are you now: 

Victoria, British Columbia

Hobbies and interests

I enjoy interesting cooking challenges and the science of growing food.

Robb Robins – Agile Coach

Who Am I:

I came to technology from a background in the humanities (including philosophy, English literature, music, and psychology) and am finding new ways of applying these disciplines to my work.

Originally from northern Wisconsin, my family (wife, Meghan; daughter, Margot; sons, Julien and Simeon) live in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Where are you now:

Winfield, IL. Where the majority of our downtown is taken up by the Central DuPage campus of Northwestern Hospital

Interests and Hobbies:

Coffee, camping, camping gear

Ruchika Patel – Quality Assurance 

Who Am I: 

Born and raised in India. Always curious and interested in knowing and learning new things. In school, I was interested in biology and wanted to become a dentist. But destiny has planned something in tech for me. I didn’t get enrolled in dentistry and during summer break in college, one of my cousins got me introduced to SQL server and programming. I got interested in learning databases. 

Landed into a QA tester role for my first tech job and then no looking back. I kept on learning more about quality and testing tools, automation, and new technologies in my field. I am at my happy place at SpotHero as Sr. QA Analyst. Grateful for what destiny has planned for my career and thriving to learn and grow more in technology.

Where are you now: 

Chicago, IL

Hobbies and interests

I like to cook and experiment with different cuisines and add an Indian touch to the recipes. Also fond of gardening and growing vegetables, flowers and herbs. Nowadays I spend my free time playing puzzles, reading books and painting with my 2 yr old son.

Vanessa Williams – Principal Engineer

Who Am I: 

The first thing I ever programmed was a “Baby Go Bye-Bye” buggy (you could set its course using a series of “patch cords”). Eventually, I graduated to my father’s Texas Instruments programmable calculator. I loved math, so I wound up in the Computer Science program at the University of Waterloo, just as personal computers were becoming a thing.

My career has ranged over many areas over the course of more than 3 decades: engineering control systems, scientific simulations, and interactive 3D computer graphics, to name a few. When the World Wide Web came along in 1994 I jumped on that bandwagon, soon becoming the Technical Director of Canada’s first, largest, and most successful interactive agency creating B2C and e-commerce sites for large multinational brands. 

Since then, I’ve founded my own peer-to-peer software company, worked in a computational biology lab at the University of Toronto, and eventually landed at an AI/IoT company where I worked for 9 years as Principal Engineer and Technical Product Owner before joining SpotHero.

I have a passion for software architecture and helping teams improve their ability to make and communicate architectural decisions. I like making things that improve the lives of real people and/or create some social good. Digital parking reduces congestion and pollution in cities, makes life easier for drivers, and improves the ability of cities to make decisions about the use of resources.

Where are you now: 

Toronto, Ontario

Hobbies and interests

Science fiction & fantasy, history & philosophy of science and medicine, generative art. 

Interested in joining SpotHero?

We are looking for a Senior Engineer, Backend or checkout our careers page.

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