Jordy Stradtman is a Software Engineer at Revel with a passion for BBQ, reading, and continuous learning. We sat down with Jordy to talk about his incredible career in the technology field, his past work with dolphins, and what he finds most rewarding about working in healthcare technology.
Tell us about your background in technology – how long have you been in the industry?
I knew I was interested in computers and technology at an early age. I guess you could say I started in the industry back in 1972—that’s when I started learning to code. Of course it was a very different type of tech back then. I learned to code using punch cards. After high school I joined the U.S. Navy as an oceanographer and learned a great deal about programming, mainly because the officers didn’t think computers would be a “real thing” and didn’t want to learn it! I’ve been in the technology industry for over 40 years now and still learn something new every day.
How do you personally keep up with the ever changing technology landscape?
Looking back 40 years it’s crazy to see how much has changed. To stay current I follow a few different technology blogs, belong to a couple of technology forums that follow tech trends, and enjoy reading and bouncing ideas off my friends in the industry.
One of my biggest passions is reading. I’m much more interested in reading than watching videos or listening to podcasts. Outside of technology, I’m a huge Terry Pratchett fan. He’s an amazingly witty writer.
You’ve worked in a lot of different industries. What’s unique about the challenges of developing solutions for healthcare in particular?
The constantly evolving environment. Because things are always changing, people tend to be leery about it. Healthcare is expensive and can be a horrible drain on people—especially if they don’t have a lot of money to begin with.
It’s an exciting challenge working to build solutions for healthcare because we know there is a better way. It’s rewarding to be a part of the positive change that is happening in healthcare. Seeing how we can apply intelligence to healthcare communications makes me hopeful for the future of healthcare and the way people view the industry.
What excites you about working for Revel?
Where does one begin? I like the level of intensity of the people here. It’s inspiring. I love that I get to work with really smart people. It motivates me to be better every day. In general, I feel if I don’t learn something new every day I feel like I’ve wasted a day. I’ve never walked away from a day at Revel feeling like it was a day wasted. I think that speaks volumes to the caliber of people here.
What functional area of the Revel technology platform are you working on right now?
Right now I’m doing a lot of QA work on the platform. My background is in web development and I’m excited to eventually transition to that, but QA is a great way to learn so I’m happy with where I’m at.
What area of tech will make the biggest impact on healthcare in the next year or two?
Things will continue to advance at a fast pace—humanity will always be developing tools to extend our lives, make us healthier, and hopefully make our lives easier. Wearable technology is a big one I see making more of an impact. Soon we’ll be able to plug in and be instantly alerted if something isn’t right.
Another thing I saw recently that piqued my interest was a Ted Talk about 3D printing – a doctor was literally able to print out a human kidney! It’s crazy that I got to live to see this, it’s really an amazing time to be alive.
Your experiences in the US Navy have led you to some “underwater” interests today. Can you tell us about your work with dolphins?
During my time with the Navy I was an ocean systems technician and had the opportunity to work with a variety of ocean mammals, including dolphins. My role was to work on algorithms and formulas to more accurately locate subs using passive sonar.
We studied ocean mammals to understand how sound travels underwater. I worked in Hawaii studying dolphins and sound propagation for 3 years and got pretty good at it. By the end, we were able track subs within 4-5 yards of accuracy.
On the ground, you’re also a competitive BBQer. Tell us about the Bones Brothers!
I’m a Freemason and one of the brothers was interested in participating in BBQ competitions. I thought it sounded fun. It’s a great way to spend time—furious activities, followed by long periods of drinking beer and spending time with my friends—followed by more furious activity. We started 9 years ago and throughout the years we’ve continued to compete, but we also started using the BBQ engine to fuel charities.
Our first event benefited We Can Ride, a therapeutic horseback riding organization. Each year we host our own event called Ribs, Bibs, and Blues to benefit those in need around the Twin Cities. It’s been a really fun way to give back to the community.
Last question—explain how you have time for a successful career plus all these amazing personal endeavors?
I don’t! But really, it’s all about prioritizing what’s most important. Revel is a fun job for me. I spend all the time I need in order to get the work done, but being with those I love, doing things I’m passionate about is absolutely a top priority. That’s what motivates me to work hard. You can always make time for what matters most—it’s a mindset.