A Marine veteran, surprisingly a former canine trainer and now a key part of Fantag’s development team. Get to know Fantag’s Development Operations Engineer Zach Norris.
Zach has been a key part of the development team for the past two years at Fantag. He’s been in the unique position to see the company evolve first hand while also making a huge impact on the product development side.
Brandon: How would you describe your role here at Fantag?
Zach: I’m a Development Operations Engineer. I help the developers who work in product engineering and development and enable them to do their jobs faster and more efficiently with less risk. I take the products we design and ensure that customers always have access to those products.
Brandon: Can you give me a brief overview of your past experiences leading up to Fantag?
Zach: Yeah, I did my first networking program in high school and basically have been in the industry since. I first went into the Marines for eight years as a Data Communications Chief. After that, went to school at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for Computer Science. Once finishing school worked for AT&T as an Operations Engineer in Dallas Texas. Then had an opportunity to work for a startup here in Sacramento called Wyndow as an Operations Engineer. I first started working remotely from Dallas then had an opportunity to join them full time and moved to Sacramento. Then two years ago came over to Fantag.
Brandon: I’m curious about your years in the Marines. Can you tell me about that experience?
Zach: The Marines was a great experience. You're given a lot of autonomy, you’re sometimes given vague orders and you’re expected to make correct decisions that complete the mission. A great example, at 22 years old I might be told to go to Korea and set up communications and that’s it, that’s the orders. In the military, you’re really thrown into the fire fast and it’s really a situation where you’re going to sink or swim. The great thing about the Marines is you have a very strong support system with mentors and other Marines so that definitely makes it easier to be successful. Everyone has the common goal of completing the mission. It’s not about personality or egos, it’s about completing the task at hand efficiently and safely.
Brandon: One other experience I wanted to ask you about that I noticed on your LinkedIn profile was your work as a Canine Trainer. That really caught my eye, something I wouldn’t expect to see on your resume. What was that like?
Zach: Yeah that was a really neat opportunity while I was at school at Southern Illinois University. I had just gotten my new puppy Atlas and he was just getting in trouble and I didn’t really know what I was doing so I started taking him to private lessons for training. I started working with the trainers and one of them said I would be great doing this. Initially, I thought they were joking because my dog was so poorly behaved but they were serious. I decided to take the job because it seemed fun and I enjoy learning new things. The owner of the facility I was at also had a non-profit program called This Able Veteran, which focused on training working dogs for veterans with PTSD. We would train service dogs for tasks that veterans couldn’t do themselves. Like if someone couldn’t bend down, we would train the dog to pick up keys, socks, shoes, anything that the veteran needed. We also trained dogs for emotional issues. We would work with the veteran personally and that dog would be trained toward their specific needs. For emotional support, we would train the dog to pick up social cues that lead to their issues. We would work with their family members and find out their tendencies. An example, if someone maybe starts clenching their jaw or starts fidgeting and that usually leads to a panic attack, the dog can pick up on the cue and start pawing at their foot notifying them they need to stop. That person then knows they need to do their breathing exercises or go for walk preventing the panic attack or whatever issue they have. It was very rewarding to work, probably something I won’t do again but it was a really great experience.
Brandon: One last question, more technology focused. When did you first get into technology and why?
Zach: It’s been forever for me. The first thing that really grabbed me was radios. Like hand radios and even walkie talkies when I was a kid. I used to modify them and build antennas for them. I thought it was cool technology allowed for communication. I remember making a radio with my grandpa, just a simple kit radio. For me, that’s what got me started in taking things apart and having an interest in how things work. Being able to say, wow, that’s cool, I wonder how it works. Then that turned into I want to be able to build that thing. I wanted to be able to create the things I daydreamed about.
Fantag makes applications and embeddable technology that lets everyone access video moments that matter to them. Our focus is on helping content creators and app developers create, identify, package and distribute those meaningful video highlights in ways that help them reach more customers and generate more revenue. Whether our patented video synchronization technology is integrated into your favorite app, or made available to fans by live event producers, we are powering innovative video experiences and creating a world where no moment is ever lost.