This week’s Meet Our Totems special is going to be all about our in house Brazilian – Mr. Vitor Pena, Director of Technology and self-proclaimed comedian. For the level of genius Vitor possesses, he’s ridiculously down to earth. He’s taken the lead on many of our biggest projects in the past, and has recently taken up the more than deserved role of Director of Technology.
Also a hard man to track down, I was able to catch him for a quick banter session in between meetings.
Give us a little bit on your background/biography.
“After completing my Computer Science degree from FUMEC University in Brazil, I started working as a Continuous Integration Enthusiast. I travelled around Brazil visiting many clients (most of them governmental institutions), implementing CI based software lifecycle (something very new at the time in the mid 2000’s).
From there, I was hired as a Configuration Manager by CPM Braxis (later bought by Capgemini) to do a similar job for the Brazilian government, their biggest client. After completing the job (I guess I must’ve done something right), I got a personal request from the client to start doing work on site as a Senior Software Analyst for the State Treasury Office.
I did that for a while when a previous coworker invited me for an interview at Iron Mountain, and I started with them as a BPM Specialist. There, I enrolled in many projects for huge clients like Toyota, Mastercard, and Visa among many others.
After 2 – 3 years of that, I felt like something was missing, and I wasn’t entirely happy with the direction that Brazilian politics was heading. I didn’t feel like I was contributing to my country in anyway. I was also in a long distance relationship with my significant other at the time, so we made the decision to live abroad together.
While looking through our options, Canada seemed like a very welcoming country. I found out about VFS (Vancouver Film School) which had an office in Sao Paulo and I loved what I saw there. They were just introducing a new program for mobile programming at the time, so without hesitation, I enrolled, which led me to Vancouver.
6 months after studying & living in Vancouver, one of my teachers worked for TTT, and he introduced me to Chris and David and the rest is history. I started my first contract here.
Since then I’ve developed many apps and major systems for Two Tall Totems.
I started here as an Android programmer, but because of my background in enterprise and backend software, I slowly helped the company transition into developing enterprise and backend solutions.”
What are some interesting things about yourself?
“I’m a bit of a movie buff. I have the biggest repertoire full of trivial, useless information.”
What is your most memorable moment working here?
“The open house when we moved to the new office. We had a party on our new patio. It was then that I realized we were actually getting bigger as a company. When I started with TTT, we were a 6-7 person team.
Everyone was so happy, and it was such a rewarding feeling to grow as a company.”
What is your secret super power? (something you’re very good at, that not everyone knows)
“I have awesome jokes. Not everyone laughs all the time, but I like to think it’s because I’m so funny that it takes them a minute to process haha.”
What do you enjoy working on the most?
“I love problem-solving and archetyping new solutions for specific problems. Whenever we have new clients come in, they inevitably have very different requirements. We have to tailor the solution for each one of our clients. I really enjoy that process because I like seeing things being brought to fruition, and solving someone’s problem through technology.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I like to put my headphones on and go on walks, go to pubs and restaurants. I have a very bohemian soul. I love to get together with my friends, listen to some good music and tell some good jokes. And of course, I enjoy some good ol’ Brazilian BBQ.”
Bonus: Who do look up to? (Who is your hero) Why?
“I like to think about people that have been a direct part of my life. I would say my grandfather, father, mother and other coworkers in the past. I think it would be unfair to name specific people. You can only really understand a person’s life, and their struggles as you get to know them. Learning about how they overcame their individual struggles really inspires me.
It’s less about who I want to be, I think I like to take certain qualities from every individual I’ve met in my life that I find inspiring.”
Photo fun fact: Stanley Park (Lost Lagoon completely frozen over)