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New Crew Member: Fred Turkington

Published March 1, 2019

After working with Fred last spring on the Madison Startup Weekend committee, I immediately set out to win him over to Ten Forward (with ample help from Brian, Ten Forward's president). 

Achievement unlocked!

We recently had a knighting ceremony for the Ten Forward crew, because of course we did (it included the words "troth" and "auspicious" and "fidelity"). At said ceremony, our new director of operations was bestowed the title of "Sir Turkington, Third of His Name and Advocate For Humanity." 

Fred consistently puts people first, and his self-assurance, empathy and good humor have quickly won over everyone on the team.

What brought you to Ten Forward?

“Knowing you and Brian* from Startup Weekend, and specifically, how creative you all are and how you do serious work without taking yourselves too seriously; that was one of the big draws about Ten Forward’s company culture. 

The other things that drew me here were the chance to help grow and mentor people more directly than I had at previous jobs. And getting to use some of my personal interest in pitching, in using that interest to work with current and future customers. I think I can use that interest to help them overcome anxiety they might have about starting a custom software project and trust us to fix their problems.”

*Brian Samson, Ten Forward President

You have worked at a massive tech company, and now are at a tiny tech company. Are there any lessons you’ve learned in that environment that you think could be applicable to Ten Forward?

“I think one is the value of internal software to help boost the productivity of people. I think that at a large company, it’s very easy to make a business case for software that 10,000 people will use, but harder to make that case for a tool that only 7 people will use. 

Similarly, at a big company, you need to have an opinionated process -  like, ‘THE WAY to do a thing’ - else you’ll have chaos. So where I used to work, everything was strictly process-itized. And I think removing the cognitive overhead of how to do something via making it a process can be really useful, if it’s something that gets repeated often, or doesn’t have a creative element to it: just a task that has to be done.” 

What two people - fictional or real - would you pick to describe yourself, and why? 

"Jed Bartlett and Roman Mars. They both tell long stories on things that delight them. Sometimes they subject other people to their weird interests. They both have a passion for design and place a high value on carefully considered things.

Also they both excel at dad jokes."

Fill in the blanks: "If I could only __ one __ for the rest of my life, it would be __."

“If I could only eat one sandwich for the rest of my life, it would be oyster mushroom banh mi.”


What’s something about you that people might find surprising? 

“People might be surprised that I am very into photography. Because I feel like I’m very businesslike and kind of black-and-white, and logical and technical about things, but photography is a good creative outlet. You don’t even need a nice camera to do photography well, and I really care about it.”



Favorite board game or video game, TV show or movie, band or musician, emoji.

Board game: Dominion
Movie: “Mary Poppins”
Band(s): The Shins and Phox

Re: his choice of emoji: “Last year, in January maybe, everybody’s podcast was about how they got an emoji made. It turns out anyone can do it, as long as they write a convincing proposal for the Unicode Consortium.”


Star Trek or Star Wars?

“As a Ten Forwarder, I think I need to start watching Star Trek, mostly so I can give internal tools funny names, because that's the second-hardest thing in computer science,” Fred says with a laugh. 

“I also have controversial opinions in that I think Star Wars Episode I is the best,” he adds, noting my skeptical reaction. “I will fight you about it.”

Author details

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Co-Owner and Senior Software Developer