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New Crew Member: Will LaFrance

Published July 26, 2018

When Janie left Ten Forward earlier this spring to pursue other projects, we were sad to see her go. However, she recommended Will as her iOS development replacement, and and we're so glad she did. 

A dedicated team player, Will is a co-founder of the Ten Forward Popsicle Gang, the newest member of our Golden Girls Lunch Club (#GGLC4lyfe) and a consistent 10FW Happy Hour participant. (Did we mention he's also a talented programmer?)

Welcome to the team, Will!

What brought you to Ten Forward?

When I mentioned on Twitter that I was looking for my next adventure, Ten Forward was recommended to me by Janie Clayton, a recent alumna of the company who I met years ago in college. Right away I had a brief phone call with (Ten Forward president) Brian, and he described Ten Forward to me as a small company founded by a senior developer, sustainably grown, and with some really neat clients. I'm super grateful for the opportunity to join.

What are you looking forward to learning or doing in your new position?

I look forward to being an important part of our small team and learning to wear many hats. Already I've gotten to write some iOS features, ship several builds, review some Android and Rails code, and participate in the planning process. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to own product releases, branch out a bit into other disciplines, and help mentor interns and junior developers.

I understand you practice jiu jitsu, and will therefore protect all of us should the apocalypse occur during work hours. What inspired you to start learning it?

At first I was looking for an exercise program that would be fun and encourage consistency. I met a guy at a New Years party who was talking about his recent competition victories so I talked to him about it for a bit and he encouraged me to start. I'd always been somewhat interested in learning some ninja skills but thought martial arts were some unapproachable, high-discipline stuff. You'll find that in jiujitsu occasionally but most gyms don't take themselves too seriously and everyone is there to have fun.

You’re also training to be a pilot! What’s the highest or fastest you’ve flown?

One night a friend and I took off in a Cessna 172 from the Wisconsin Dells airport (KDLL) at sunset and turned west towards Reedsburg, climbing towards the sun set, which I highly recommend doing if you ever get the chance. I think we reached 11,000ft on that flight. 

Above 12,500ft you need to use supplemental oxygen to combat hypoxia, and since these are just normally aspirated piston engines you begin to lose significant performance due to the decreased air pressure, just like driving a non-turbocharged car in the mountains. We usually hang out around 3,000-5,000ft if we're not going too far. That particular plane has an upgraded engine and is the fastest aircraft I've personally flown, and it usually cruises at 110-115 knots airspeed, but with a decent tailwind you can easily achieve 140 knots (161 mph) groundspeed.

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

Through the magic of skipping around this is the last question I answered. It's that hard.

If I could only type on one keyboard for the rest of my life, it would be a mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX Blue switches.

I actually use Cherry MX Brown switches at work because they're a little bit quieter, but when noise isn't a concern it's blues for life.

You’re clearly a person of many talents, but it’s obvious what the people really want: your secret for ordering the best ice cream sandwiches at Dairy Queen.

The ice cream sandwiches are made in the stores, and they receive the cookies pre-made and then fill them with ice cream and bag them. The cookies start out fairly rigid but as they approach their expiration date (14 days), they become more and more mushy, which I'm personally a big fan of. When I visit the store I used to work at, my typical order is, "I'll take the oldest ice cream sandwich you have." I hope none of that is trade secret. 

Some people aren't fans of the mushy cookies, though, and they really enjoy that you can get a freshly-made ice cream sandwich at Dairy Queen, rather than one that was commercially manufactured and sat on shelves for weeks or months.

Pet Time!

After a breakup, and moving back home with my parents, I really wanted a dog companion. Amy found me as much as I found her. A friend of one of my dad's coworkers adopted a female pit bull only to find out she was pregnant, and one dog became about 10. 

Amy was the last dog to find a home, and they moved across the country, so my dad's coworker was puppy-sitting and about to give her to a rescue, but I met her the night before and brought her home to her forever family that same night. Her birthday is Halloween and her adoptaversary is April Fools Day, which is very fitting for this goofy pupper.

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

Favorite video game: World of Warcraft when I had more time. As for the present day, StarCraft II.

Favorite TV show: "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver", "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert", and old "Top Gear".

Favorite musician: Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park) is and has been a favorite of mine, and as a throwback, the late Cliff Burton of Metallica has written a few pieces I love, particularly the instrumental "Orion," which I'm learning (very slowly) to play on keyboard.

Favorite podcast: "Waking Up with Sam Harris", "Very Bad Wizards", and "Accidental Tech Podcast".

Favorite emoji: The Colbert 🤨

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Trek, obviously. A harder question is which series, which I think has goes to Deep Space 9 (the latter seasons), though I'm interested to see how Discovery starts developing in season 2.

Author details

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Co-Owner and Senior Software Developer