Get to Know Ryno Strategic Solutions’ Darth Coder

john-thomasTo reach the top of your professional game in a highly competitive field, it takes intelligence, time, concentration, and a serious knee injury. At least that was the case for Ryno Strategic Solution’s Chief Technology Officer, John Thomas (or Darth Coder as he’s known around the office).

A developer or coder, is the person responsible for building websites from the ground up. They are also responsible for making sure they work. John is the mastermind behind one of Ryno’s most important services, but he wasn’t always a digital force to be reckoned with.

“I was a lineman for AT&T [in 1999] and was on a telephone poll when I blew my knee out,” John says. “I had surgery and was on workman’s comp for nine months.” While most people would use the time to catch up on episodes of The Sopranos or play Call of Duty, John decided to take up an interesting hobby. “I got bored so I started coding because my friend’s band needed a website.”

His site building skills quickly advanced while he was working as a database administrator at AT&T and he even began building internal reporting websites for
the global communications company. After nine years of bringing the awesome at AT&T, the office John worked in closed. Deciding it was time for a change, John decided to move to Sunny Phoenix Arizona for a new job.

John spent time working as a lead front end developer for the now defunct Spin Six. It seemed as though he had found the right fit until he had a sudden change of heart. “I had a moment of frustration one day, typed in front end developer in Monster, and the first company that came up was GoDaddy.”

For a developer, there is no higher rank than to be the guy who builds the website for all the other guys who build websites. John applied for the job and GoDaddy instantly took a liking to John’s talent and matter-of-fact personality. He received a job offer by the time he got back to his car after the interview. For three and a half years, John wrote secure code, wrote optimized code, worked under extreme deadlines, and implemented processes to prevent disaster. A disaster, in GoDaddy’s case, could cause half the Internet to, well, shut down. To say it was a high-pressure position would be a gross understatement.

Luckily for Ryno, John decided to bring his disaster-preventing skills and dry wit to our team in 2013. His reasons for joining this crazy marketing family include a reminder of where he came from. “Ryno creates opportunities for small to large HVAC companies to help people every day. To help these companies grow from small to large. To put food on their tables. There is something so pure and inspiring about that.”

As far as what John is currently working on, his description is as simple as his jeans and black-t-shirt-only wardrobe: “We’re securing our structure and bringing the awesome to future projects.” While that may not make a lot of sense, explaining code to someone who doesn’t understand it wouldn’t be any easier.

Because of the complicated nature of his work, a lot of John’s time at Ryno is spent with a Do Not Disturb sign on his door. “Imagine the hardest level of math you’ve taken,” John says, when describing his typical day, “Now imagine you’re working on a math problem at that level and someone interrupts you.” For marketing professionals who’d rather not discuss math, the rest of the Ryno team is happy to let him be and work his magic.

When he does come out of his office, John can usually be found manipulating social media, messing with electronic music or spending time with his wife and four children.