Blog

NFL Washington Football Team Drafts Evans & Chambers

by Alice Swan Mar 29th, 2021 Business News

Evans & Chambers Technology is excited to report that we are working with the National Football League’s Washington Football Team (WFT) on a project that supports its continuous IT evolution in the competitive world of professional sports. 

Evans & Chambers was awarded a contract with the WFT in November 2020 to provide the organization with a comprehensive assessment of its IT infrastructure. This assessment includes providing a current picture of WFT IT resources, documenting their current business operations and how IT enables those operations, determining what IT resources will support continued operational evolution, and building an IT roadmap such that IT transformation will align with operational transformation.

Competitive professional sports today requires the use of technology in ways never imagined 25 years ago. Evans & Chambers is proud to help the WFT stay current with the ever-changing world of IT and data analytics. We are honored that the WFT drafted the Evans & Chambers team to help win the game where technology not only enables business operations but also creates business discriminators on an extremely competitive field of play.

Tech Talk: Lean UX

by Alice Swan Mar 26th, 2021 Tech Talks

User Experience Design (UX) has many flavors, Human Centered Design, Design Thinking, Customer Experience (CX) and more. LEAN is one of these methodologies. Even with LEAN, there are different versions. 

On Tuesday March 23, Don Ruzek, one of Evans & Chambers’ User Experience Designers on the DID(it) team at USCIS, held a Tech Talk, explaining what LEAN UX is and how the team is using it.The core of this talk is about philosophies and techniques related to the book, The Lean Startup”, by Eric Ries. This allows Product Design to develop requirements, UI design, terminology, UI patterns, and more to create the best user experience and business value. This process has been used since 2017 and has proven extremely successful with tasks, tracking, and history related to mission critical USCIS case management.

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

Marina Sullivan’s “Know Your Why” Spotlight

by Alice Swan Mar 8th, 2021 EC Inside

At Evans & Chambers Technology, we believe it’s important to know and share your personal “why.” For our fifth  “Know Your Why” Spotlight, we spoke with Marina Sullivan, a senior project controller that has a passion for developing and managing our contract goals and is a vital contributor to the growth and progression of the company. Marina shared what she finds personally fulfilling about her work at Evans & Chambers (EC) and why she enjoys doing it.

Describe your role at Evans & Chambers

I work directly with project managers and leadership to help define project goals and objectives. I analyze progress reports as well as develop and maintain a project budget. As a key part of the back office support at EC, I’m one of the people that may engage in communication with customers prior to our technical gurus showing up to work on their solutions. It is important to me that our customers know that we care about how we do the work and that every detail is just as important as the end solution. I strive to make every interaction with our customers, no matter how small, relevant and meaningful.

What is your personal WHY?

I’ve always been someone that cares about how my actions and words affect people. I’m always conscious of the perception people have when they hang up the phone after a conversation with me or after participating in a specific activity. At EC, I love the fact that part of our mission statement includes, “in every action, we will put the human experience first.”

What do you do in your free time?

In my spare time I enjoy reading James Patterson books, watching true crime stories (big ID Discovery fan), and I love restoring antique furniture pieces. Okay, so I’ve only done two (2) pieces in my life…but I do love it! Since we’ve been quarantined due to COVID, I’ve finally been able to focus on this a little. I also love anything to do with Real Estate, so if I’m not watching crime stories it’s HGTV for me! Whatever I’m doing, if it’s near the ocean or a beach, I’m happy! 

Tech Talk: AWS Cloud Formation

by Alice Swan Feb 26th, 2021 Cloud EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CloudFormation is Amazon’s primary infrastructure-as-code (IaC) service. Nearly any resource that can be created through the AWS console can (and should) be created using CloudFormation templates. IaC is a cornerstone of the modern software development lifecycle. With IaC, solutions can be deployed, downtown, and redeployed as often as needed. 

Quoting the noted software developer Spider Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” CloudFormation tools need to be used with care and with future maintainability in mind. The objective is always to be able to deploy an entire solution from scratch and with the least amount of code in your templates. 

Pat Ryan, cloud practice lead for Evans & Chambers, has been working with AWS for 4 years, and he presented the following lessons learned during the Tech Talk. 

  • Deploy early and often.
  • Always be able to deploy your entire solution from scratch.
  • YAML is preferred over JSON, as YAML supports comments and is more compact.
  • Make use of the built-in constants that are available when a stack deploys—for example,  AWS::StackId
  • Make resource identifiers unique to the stack.
  • Nest, but not too deep.
  • IAM policies can be complicated to get right in CloudFormation. Separate them into their own template.
  • Give your template to a colleague and ask her or him to deploy it. If the deployment fails, you will find out what resources you forgot to put in the template or what dependencies you did not properly factor out.
  • Deploy from the command line, as it is faster and more easily repeatable than deploying from the console.
  • When creating the template definition for an AWS service that you have never used before, use the documentation and keep the definition as minimal as possible.
  • CloudFormation has its limits. Consider other solutions such as AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK), Ansible, and Terraform.

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

Dave Rabrun’s “Know Your Why” Spotlight

by Alice Swan Feb 22nd, 2021 EC Inside

Employee Spotlight:

At Evans & Chambers Technology, we believe it’s important to know and share your personal “why.” For our fourth “Know Your Why” Spotlight, we spoke with Dave Rabrun, a software architect who excels at solving the biggest technical obstacles and challenges in his industry. Dave shared what he finds personally fulfilling about his work at Evans & Chambers (EC) and why he enjoys doing it.

What is your role at Evans & Chambers?

I am a software architect at EC, and I solve the biggest technical obstacles and challenges in my industry. My resolutions to such obstacles and challenges involve not only developing architectural diagrams and deploying microservices but also building trust with EC’s customers, coworkers, and community. At EC, I have supported several contracts, mostly as the technical lead, providing positive results for EC’s federal customers. With every project and development cycle at EC, I grow as a software architect, which enables me to have a veritably positive influence on people’s lives.

What is your personal WHY?

I’m happiest when I can work across varied and interesting projects. There’s never a dull moment in my role at EC. One day I’ll load and process terabytes of satellite data, and the next day I’ll build a global outbreak interface to help a federal epidemiologist. I appreciate EC’s community outreach efforts. EC understands the importance of giving back through fundraisers, food drives, and volunteering to build technical solutions for local nonprofit organizations. 

What do you do in your free time?

Dave is an avid outdoorsman, homesteader & DIYer. During the fall & winter months, most of his free time goes into hunting, fishing & making kombucha and ginger beer. In the spring & summer, he’s all about gardening, movies and grilling with family & friends in his backyard.       

Nathan Ostrander’s “Know Your Why” Spotlight

by Alice Swan Feb 8th, 2021 EC Inside

At Evans & Chambers, we believe it’s important to know and share your personal “why.” For our fourth “Know Your Why” Spotlight, we spoke with Nathan Ostrander, a software developer who enjoys tackling new projects and being challenged by his work at EC. Nate shared what he finds personally fulfilling about his work at Evans & Chambers, and why he enjoys doing it.

Describe your role at Evans & Chambers

I am a software developer on the Security Control SaaS development team at EC. My day-to-day work consists of maintaining current and implementing new functionality to meet the customer and team’s vision. I also maintain our corporate partnership status and relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which enables me to learn more about the business side of things. 

Being involved in the earlier stages and participating in the growth of this project has been a great experience. It has been a true pleasure to work with a team that tackles each challenge with enthusiasm and to see our product improve because of it. 

What is your personal WHY?

I look at the big picture, ensuring we tackle problems in a way that improves the product and keeps up with this forever-changing industry. Continuous learning and improvement is what I strive for. I enjoy working at EC because it has given me an opportunity to make my voice heard, even at a junior level.

What do you do in your free time?

In his free time Nate enjoys playing piano, playing video games with his friends, and learning new recipes. Nate’s new go to recipe is Just One Cookbook’s stir fry vegetables. In the summer months, you can catch him either boating with his family or sailing lasers on the Chester River. 

Stephanie Tevenal’s “Know Your Why” Spotlight

by Alice Swan Jan 28th, 2021 EC Inside

At Evans & Chambers, we believe it’s important to know and share your personal “why.” For our third “Know Your Why” Spotlight, we spoke with Stephanie Tevenal, a technical editor who takes pride in facilitating information sharing for key players in the national defense community. Stephanie shared what she finds personally fulfilling about her work at Evans & Chambers and why she enjoys doing it.

Describe your role at Evans & Chambers

I serve as a senior technical editor on one of EC’s DIA contracts. My day-to-day duties consist of editing all-source analytical products as well as directing and coordinating editorial operations. I work closely with writers and experts to enhance product readability and ensure accurate, timely, and quality publications. I also train and mentor junior editors to ensure guidance and standards are communicated clearly to the workforce and to improve production flow and quality. 

What is your personal WHY?

As a military brat and long-time government contractor, I hold integrity, responsibility, diversity, and commitment in high regard. I feel lucky to have joined a company with the same values. I am honored to facilitate information that directly informs intelligence professionals, first responders, warfighters, policymakers, and force planners.

What do you do in your freetime?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I enjoyed spending my free time hanging out with friends, going to the movies, comedy clubs, ax throwing, book club, hiking, bike riding, and traveling. Since the pandemic, I spend most of my free time at home with my roommate Sassy—a beautiful, incorrigible, and loving calico cat that adopted me 4 years ago—and occasionally out with my pandemic buddy for a hike. As an introvert, I’ve enjoyed the extra alone time for reading (16 books so far—fiction and nonfiction) and for various personal and home projects.

Tech Talk: Building Out a DevSecOps Pipeline

by Alice Swan Jan 27th, 2021 Cloud EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

Anyone who is familiar with the process to achieve Authority to Operate (ATO) understands that it is often fraught with issues that can holdup development and delivery of software products to their customers. Software development teams are in need of an effective development strategy to shorten these timelines and even make a continuous ATO possible. 

DevSecOps is becoming increasingly popular in the Federal Government to push through these limitations. Leveraging the continuities gained with DevSecOps such as Continuous Monitoring, Continuous Inspection and Continuous Testing, a development team’s security & development posture is robust and can more easily navigate the Risk Management Framework (RMF) & ATO process.

Dave Rabrun, a software architect at Evans & Chambers, presented a virtual tech talk on building out a DevSecOps Pipeline with readily available open-source tools & libraries. Dave was able to showcase the benefits of continuous inspection tools such as SonarQube and Arachni. From there, Dave presented a seamless DevSecOps pipeline that leveraged development with Github, integration with Jenkins and deployment with AWS CloudFormation.

About the EC Tech Talk Series

The Tech Talk Series is an employee-led platform dedicated to EC’s core value of continual learning. These talks aim to cover a broad range of technology-based topics to promote the sharing of best practices and ideas across EC’s project teams.

Kayla Cross’s “Know Your Why” Spotlight

by Alice Swan Jan 5th, 2021 EC Inside

At Evans & Chambers, we believe it’s important to know and share your personal “why”. For our second “know your why” spotlight, we spoke with Kayla Cross, a software developer who embodies EC’s core values of excellence and teamwork. Kayla shared what she finds personally fulfilling about her work at Evans & Chambers, and why she’s doing it.

What is your role at Evans & Chambers?

I am a Software Engineer at EC who loves coding and communicating effectively. I strive to understand the needs of our user base, as well as to extend the mentorship I have received at EC to new members of the team. I now mentor our interns on projects and strive to emphasize that it takes time to get familiar with the codebase and encourage deep learning of our framework. Through mentorship meetings and weekly knowledge shares, our team’s effort to continue connecting while being fully remote makes me proud.

What is your personal WHY?

My journey at EC illustrates how much of a difference mentors make in career growth. I joined the company in 2018 as a software development intern. My first interview for the internship was with Jamil Evans, and I was surprised that the cofounder of the company took the time to interview me. It communicated how flat of a structure EC has and how deeply involved the leaders are in day-to-day work.

That close involvement extended well after my interview. My fellow team members placed importance not on the need to know the answer immediately, but rather on the process of learning together. I became much more confident in my coding and felt welcomed as a member of the team. Additionally, I was happy to find out that the learning doesn’t stop after our internship program – for example, this year I was lucky enough to attend the AWS re:Invent conference using the resources EC provides for training. I prosper with EC’s investment in team members who care about mentorship and continuous learning at all stages of employment making our company a positive and engaging place to work.

What do you do in your free time?

Kayla enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction (in non-quarantine times, with the help of the DC Writer’s Salon), and her current project is a novel about a fake psychic. Her latest obsession is training her 3-month-old pup Oscar, who has been crate trained but hasn’t yet learned to code. She lives with her partner Max in DC.

Pat Ryan’s “Know Your Why” Spotlight

by Alice Swan Dec 15th, 2020 Events News

At Evans & Chambers, we believe it’s important to know and share your personal “why”. For our first “know your why” spotlight, we spoke with Pat Ryan, a seasoned systems engineer with a passion for solving tough problems for several of our customers. Pat shared what he finds personally fulfilling about his work at Evans & Chambers, and why he’s doing it.

What is your role at Evans & Chambers?

My position is cloud practice lead. In my customer-facing role, I work with national security customers in migrating mission applications in the cloud. The customer’s objectives are typically to dramatically reduce cost and increase mission effectiveness within a highly secure environment. As practice lead, I advise executive management, support sales teams, promote cloud excellence both internally and externally to the company, and mentor the younger staff toward objectives such as professional certifications.

What is your personal WHY?

I’m most effective when I can work within a small, talented team on a challenging objective. I thrive on solving tough challenges with elegant solutions.  EC has been great at hiring smart, talented people and getting them on contract to work on difficult problems in the public sector. The hours and budget for training gives me time to keep my skills up-to-date.

What do you do in your free time?

Pat Ryan is a DC-area native and lives in Rockville. In his free time, he plays guitar in a cover band, rides his bike, and spends time with his wife and two children. He is also very attached to his cat, Tim, who he rescued from a shelter last spring. This past October he participated in a 310 mile bike ride for Operation Second Chance, a charity for veterans.