Flatfile News & Culture

5 Questions with Sam Currie, Staff Engineer at Flatfile

Sheila Lahar

Posted 9/23/2020

Flatfile is excited to welcome Sam Currie to the team as our newest staff engineer. In addition to Sam’s responsibilities on the engineering team, Sam will also lead Flatfile’s data security and compliance efforts. 

Let’s learn more about Sam!

Q: Why Flatfile? (And what do you do here?) 

A: Data problems are absolutely the most fun engineering problems for me to try and solve. Given Flatfile is a data company, there’s a list of data problems we’re actively working on these days on behalf of our customers that are really exciting challenges for me. It gets even more exciting when we’re talking about scalability. For example, when we’re looking at a data issue, we’re not thinking about a few hundred records but rather a few million. I personally like solving problems at that level. When it comes to the team, I immediately noticed that everyone is both very experienced and engaged. I’ve never worked on a team before that has so much commitment. Everyone wants to solve these data challenges and deliver an exceptional product. It’s motivating! 

I’m in a sort of jack of all trades role right now when it comes to engineering where I can work on both front end and back end and additionally I’m helping with anything related to data security and compliance.

Q: You were at one point in academia and in scientific programming where you co-authored two papers. How did you end up in software development? Tell us a little bit about your career path. 

A:  I've been programming since high school as it’s always been a natural fit for me. My educational background is in civil engineering and I worked in the area of energy consumption, specifically determining energy consumption for buildings. This led to a lot of energy consulting roles throughout my career. As I was earning my Master’s degree, I started getting into database administration and was focused on really computational roles which I found interesting. Then I came out to Colorado and I was working as a full time engineer as well as a PhD student. I did it for a while and published papers on Weather Scenario Generation for Stochastic Model Predictive Control Using Vector Autoregressive Prediction and Energy modeling of photovoltaic thermal systems with corrugated unglazed transpired solar collectors – Part 1: Model development and validation but it turned out that being full time at both proved to be too gruelling. I missed things like sleep!

Q: You have a lot of experience in data analysis from previous roles, how does this skillset help you in your day to day work at Flatfile?

A: During my experience in energy consulting, I helped create models to show how much energy a building would consume. I needed to literally model every surface for the building - every light, every computer and I needed to programmatically figure out how much energy a building would be consuming every hour of the day for an entire year. It was a massive data problem. I’m used to managing A LOT of data and am really familiar with data analytics on a large scale. Flatfile’s customers are similarly dealing with a tremendous amount of data and they’re dealing with data that is constantly changing. Because I’ve solved these data challenges in the past, I can empathize with our customers, especially those customers who are feeling the pain of having to clean and wrangle data at scale. I’ve been able to dig in and work with my fellow Flatfile team members to continue building our product to address this very specific pain point - and solve it! 

Q: In addition to scientific programming, energy consulting, and architectural engineering, you also have expertise in compliance and security for technology companies, how did you get involved in compliance and security?  

A: I was leading engineering at a small startup and once we started to sell enterprise deals, there were questions and concerns from larger companies on what was happening to their data. I had the technical expertise to understand the questions that were coming at us from these enterprise organizations and it turns out I would also be the point person to implement any changes. By default I became totally immersed in security and compliance so that we could serve enterprise customers. Now I’m able to bring that expertise to Flatfile which has been beneficial since we work with customers ranging from local startups to global enterprises.

Q: Where did you spend your last vacation? 

A: My last big trip was out to Portland back in February. It was the last trip for me before everything started to get shifty. 

Shifty is a perfect way to describe the world in 2020. Thanks Sam! For more information on job openings at Flatfile check out our careers page.

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