Blog

Evans & Chambers Technology Reunites at the Ballpark!

by Alice Swan Sep 22nd, 2021 EC Inside Events

On September 19th, Evans & Chambers (EC)  leadership was thrilled to host more than forty staff members at Nationals Ballpark to demonstrate EC’s gratitude and appreciation for the dedication and commitment the EC staff offers everyday.  After many months of COVID-related restrictions, many familiar faces and some new ones came together in a left field luxury sky box to relax and enjoy a fantastic buffet of food and drink. The weather was beautiful and the ballpark lively as the Nationals beat the Rockies for a late season victory.  The gathering was punctuated by boisterous cheering for the home team by the EC staff. 

“It’s wonderful to meet so many teammates in person after only seeing them in virtual meeting spaces over the past several months,” said David Carroll, EC’s channel sales manager.  “I can’t imagine a better place to watch a baseball game.  It’s great to know the EC leadership team truly recognizes the hard work we do everyday,” Carroll continued while enjoying a plate of wings and lounging in an outside seat in the sky box.  

Jamil Evans, President of EC, said, “I’m so proud of this group. They are such a dedicated and smart team that continually delivers at a high level for our clients. Their efforts have been the backbone of our recent growth and development as leading cloud and software developers in the DC – NoVA region.”  Evans added, “We are planning more social events like this as health restrictions loosen so we can further extend our commitment to supporting our clients and staff at a high level.  Connecting with our team in a relaxed atmosphere has been a cornerstone of our success. I genuinely look forward to these events because of the quality people we have on our team.”   

Despite the trying circumstances the team has encountered due to pandemic-related work environment restrictions, EC has continued to thrive and remain leaders in DC’s software development community. 

 

No Comments »

Tech Talk: Efficient Cloud Development & Deployment

by Alice Swan May 7th, 2021 EC Inside Tech Talks

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the resurgence of remote work and an ever-increasing number of networks that a Developer must be ready to engage with, effective DevOps Strategies have become integral to every Team’s Software development Life Cycle.

On May 4th, Dave Rabrun, A Software Architect at EC, held a Tech Talk explaining different methodologies to developing, deploying and maintaining software on disparate networks. During the presentation, Dave provided the audience with information about several collaborative operations & development environments that he uses to move data and code across his networks.

 Dave also presented advantages of completing as much development as possible from commonly accessed networks such as DI2E, Dicelab.net, AWS GOVCLOUD or AWS Commercial. From there, Dave showcased several tools he considered essential to his DevOps Toolbox. The tools he showed were AWS Cloudformation, AWS SAM and SonarQube. He went on to explain that with proper configuration & leveraging the templating and automation available with Cloudformation & SAM CLI, a developer can deploy the same system, every time, across different AWS networks. With SonarQube, the audience were shown that they could create a baseline to ensure a predictable security cadence for their applications & deployments.

Lastly, Dave went over common pitfalls to deploying to disparate networks such as “building to origin” instead of “building to destination” and not taking advantage of unit testing. The concept of “building to origin” is creating applications based on the system of origin, instead of “building to destination” which predicates building applications to the lowest common denominator or the network where the software will eventually be deployed.

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.

No Comments »

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! 

No Comments »

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.

No Comments »

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.       

No Comments »

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. 

No Comments »

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.

No Comments »

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.

No Comments »

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.

No Comments »

Tech Talk: Amazon S3 Tools and Best Practices

by Alice Swan Oct 9th, 2020 EC Inside Tech Talks Technology

With cloud storage becoming an increasingly attractive option for businesses due to cost-savings and no physical hardware management, many products & services have been moving to the cloud.

Amazon’s S3 is one of the most popular cloud storage services on the market. It offers industry-leading scalability, availability, security, and performance. S3 can integrate with websites, applications, and much more. While AWS handles many aspects of security ranging from physical hardware security to network security, the customer is still tasked with configuring S3 to meet their regulatory and compliance needs.

On October 8th, Colin Ardizzone, a software engineer on the Security Control team at Evans & Chambers, held a virtual tech talk to provide an overview of S3 tools & best practices for meeting regulatory and compliance requirements. He discussed configurations and practices you can take when managing your S3 infrastructure to provide security and redundancy when handling data in S3. He also discussed how to enable inventory reports which can be used to help identify gaps in your configuration and prove you are meeting compliance regulations.  Using Amazon Athena, inventory reports were queried using SQL, allowing for a quick and easy analysis of large batches of files. Lastly, he demoed Amazon Macie, a fully managed data security and privacy service that uses machine learning and pattern matching to help identify and protect sensitive data in S3.

Security in S3 is a shared responsibility between AWS and the customer. Tools like S3 inventory, Macie, and Athena can help alleviate the customer’s burden by staying on top of security risks and helping maintain an evidence trail.

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.

No Comments »