Singlewire Spotlight: Max Magee

Each month, we’re featuring one of our stellar team members on our blog. Learn more about them and what they do at Singlewire.

Tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up, and how you became a part of Singlewire Software, LLC.

I'm originally from the east side of Madison. I graduated from East High School in 1999 (go Purgolders...rawr?), and graduated from UW-Madison in December of 2003 with a bachelor's degree in Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics. I moved to Houston right out of school to work for the United Space Alliance, the primary contractor for the space shuttle. I worked around 30 missions in various capacities of Abort Region Determinator (ARD) engineer and specialist, plus 10 missions as Abort Support flight controller in the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center. While in Houston, I met and married my wife. When the Space Shuttle program was retired close to the end of 2010, I was laid off, and I wanted to move back to Madison to be closer to family (and because Madison is awesome and has fewer hurricanes and fire ants). A couple of months after returning to Madison, I interviewed and was the first new developer added after Singlewire split from CDW.

How long have you been at Singlewire and what’s your position?

I started working at Singlewire in March of 2011- so, I've worked here a little under 7 years. I'm a software developer on the InformaCast Fusion and InformaCast Advanced teams.

Please describe what you do at Singlewire.

We look at different technologies and figure out ways to use them to help our customers. For example, I don't know of any other system that brings together notifications on someone's laptop, desktop, mobile phone (through text and apps), desk phone, calling their home phone, overhead paging system, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc, with just the push of a button, or a click of the mouse. By bringing all of those disparate technologies together, (FUSING them, you might say), it makes reaching everyone you're trying to reach so efficient.

What’s been your favorite project you’ve worked on here?

I worked with our CTO to build a Cisco IP phone simulator (really a server with a bunch of back-end workers) that could act just like it was a 79XX phone, register with CUCM, and respond exactly like a desk phone would when InformaCast Advanced sends activations and broadcast commands. We used it to stress test InformaCast Advanced with up to 20,000 simultaneous broadcasts being sent out over only a minute or two. We learned where bottlenecks were, and we could tell our customers what the real load-tested performance would look like. We generated a LOT of network traffic for those tests.

What have you gained from working at Singlewire?

When I began with Singlewire, I was not really a professional developer. I could build simple software programs, but had very little idea about unit testing, infrastructure, or the whole build process. My expertise was primarily with Python, but through small steps, I was able to not only contribute to our original core product in Java, but learned a ton about developing maintainable, testable builds. Singlewire really does things right when it comes to creating new products and using best-in-class technology. Our software team is really strong, and I'm not ashamed to say that I learn to use great new technology, and useful practices from them nearly every day.

Where do you see Singlewire in the next five years?

Oh, we've got some really exciting developments in the works! Not only are our existing products getting constant upgrades and new features, but we've got a couple of game-changers, in terms of new work to drastically improve performance and reach of our customer's notification systems. I can't really give any more detail, but it's certainly a very busy, and creative time for us.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

While living in Houston, I began practicing Kuk Sool Won 국술원 (traditional Korea martial art). Kuk Sool is a comprehensive martial arts system that includes traditional weapons training, joint locks, throws, pressure point application and striking, as well as archery, knife-throwing and internal energy (ki) development. I've competed in state, national, and world tournaments, earning my black belt (testing for 3rd degree currently). I helped to start a Kuk Sool Won club at the UW Madison, of which I currently am head instructor.

I also enjoy watching movies, reading books (usually audiobooks), running, lifting weights, and playing with Katherine (a.k.a. Kat/Kit-Kat), my 2-1/2 year old daughter (see below). I'm a Green Bay Packers, Badger football and basketball (and hockey when the team is good) fan.

Tell us a little about your family.

Kat (see above) was born on the Ultimate Pi Day: 3/14/15 (π = 3.1415). Kat is really into horses (including, but not limited to My Little Pony), the Disney movies Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, and Brave, kiddie pools and splash pads, the color pink, and dogs. She's crazy for dogs.

My wife Andrea and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in September with a trip back to Washington D.C. where we were married in 2007. She's a Registered Dietician in the pediatrics department at the UW's American Family Children's Hospital. She's also a tremendous cook, a runner, and enjoys trips to Ikea and the Container Store. She's originally from Newport, Rhode Island, and was deployed to Iraq as a combat support medic almost immediately after we were married.

What’s the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

There's really only two places that I know that I want to return to before I die- the first is a little bed and breakfast in Trim, County Meath, in Ireland. (It's a quaint, little town where they filmed the York Castle scenes in Braveheart.) The second is Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. Both are amazing for different reasons- Lambeau for the history and excitement, and Trim for the Medieval/Anglo-Norman history, the scenery, the pastoral setting, awesome food plus great beer.

What TV show or movie are you most ashamed to admit you love?

Well, I enjoy Star Trek (and almost all of the subsequent series, especially The Next Generation), but I'm not ashamed of that. I have recently found myself enjoying My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with my daughter- boy is that show messed up! They've got John De Lancie, the actor who played Q in TNG playing a goat/satan hybrid character named Discord who inflicts Q-like mischief on the Ponies. I'm a little ashamed, but still enjoy it.

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