The 20 Minute Interview: Meet our Project Leader, Chris Gaffney

Eric Kazda  |   November 15, 2017   |  Posted in The QD Team

What does a project manager do? What’s working at Quantum Dynamix really like? We spent 20 minutes with our newest addition, Chris Gaffney, to get those answers and more. Read the 20-minute interview now.

On his daily tasks in project management

My official title is project leader. I typically do a lot of the project management for all clients and also Quantum’s internal projects. I assist with some of the marketing concepts and work as well.

My average day, I talk to the business development team to see if there’s any new projects on board. I then schedule them out and create a timeline. When the projects start rolling, I connect with the clients about projects that are in production. I give the team tasks to work on, manage those tasks, report on those tasks when they’re done, let clients know status updates and if we need more information, and I act as an interface between the team and the client.

I’m great at project management because I have a sense of innovation. I try to innovative in finding solutions to issues. I have a good sense of organization when it comes to tasks and workflows. I am able to communicate with clients in not a sales role, but a consultant role. I have a background in management which lends to my management skills as well.

On his unique career path

I went to Penn State Harrisburg. I was originally doing just management, and then in my junior year I took a human behavior marketing class. Towards the end of that class my professor asked me, “You’re always providing input and adding to the discussion – why aren’t you doing marketing?” I didn’t know!  When I discovered I could take just an additional 12-16 credits to add a double major to my degree, I decided to major in marketing as well.

I graduated in 2013 with two degrees, one in management and one in marketing. After that I rolled into an ecommerce position. I had to learn web development skills for a project. Prior to that, I had only taken a basic web class and had zero background in web design or development. I was thrown into a position where I had to learn SEO, SEM, Adwords – all types of online digital marketing skills that schools weren’t really covering yet.

I also started working on the digital marketing side. The company I was at wanted to launch a new website to reach B2B customers. We wanted this niche website, so I worked with the developer we had on staff. I started learning heavy website development to launch that site. I also started working under a boss who also did a lot of IT support and internal services, so I learned more about data basing and programming languages as well.

After that, I got a job as a marketing specialist for a local company towards Lancaster, PA because I wanted to move to this area. We did a lot of SEM, Adwords management, blogging, and on-page content.

That job was relatively brief. I then started as a junior web developer and project manager at a different web development company. They were launching a large website for a client, and I started handling the daily tasks on the web side. I managed an internal graphic designer and did front end work. I also managed a team of overseas developers in India that required me to work in different time zones. That lasted until June of 2016 when my boss suddenly died. Since no one had access to the account information except for him, I had to start working for another company that came in and acquired his business. The previous business was 50% IT and 50% web, and the new business was mostly IT, so I handled the existing web clients. That morphed into a position of sales, web development, project management, internal system management, and more.

That was my role up until I started working for Quantum Dynamix. It’s been all over the place, but definitely technology-heavy. It’s been an interesting progression of jobs.

On how he ended up at Quantum Dynamix

I met Lucas (our Business Development Executive) at a sales networking event at the Cork Factory Hotel. We started talking and kept in touch when I went overseas for five weeks. I was living an hour and a half north of Madrid in Spain. I worked remotely while my boyfriend was studying abroad.

After five weeks in Spain, I came back to the states to find my company had lost some major clients. They had to let me go because they couldn’t afford to pay me any longer. I called Lucas and got a job interview at Quantum Dynamix. I started working here in July 2017.

On what sets Quantum Dynamix apart from other agencies

The benefit of Quantum Dynamix is that it’s large enough to be stable, but small enough to innovate. There’s enough work and revenue coming in that we’re stable but we’re not fixed in our ways. We can change and adapt. In a couple weeks, we can make and execute a decision.

I’ve worked for smaller companies that are really unstable. If you lose a client you can’t pay your bills that week or have to fire an employee. That type of live or die atmosphere is really stressful.

When you get more than 50 or 60 people working at a company, you start dealing with a lot of bureaucratic inertia that prohibits change. I worked for a company where the younger developers were open to change, but were in conflict with older developers who wouldn’t update their processes. A decision that here would take a few weeks to make – might take 6 months for them or may never happen. Quantum Dynamix is younger and more agile as a company.

I’ve also noticed we genuinely care about the clients we have. We’re honest and dynamic. We really want to improve the client – we want to see them succeed. Many agencies only care about getting the check at the end of the day, not the client’s happiness.

On industry trends he expects to see next year

You’re seeing two things happening at marketing agencies – more outsourcing of work, but not offshore, and people adapting to changing technology by focusing on user experience.

With labor outsourcing, more people are seeing the value of working in the same time zone, even if they aren’t part of your agency. Agencies are choosing to work with other agencies nearby rather than overseas developers. Agencies are starting to specialize in labor and outsource technical stuff to those other specialized people. It’s a great opportunity for growth within the next 10 years.

The second thing is that the with technology constantly changing, algorithms are getting smarter. You have to be more concerned with things like bounce rate and conversions as search engines become more sophisticated. It’s much less about growing traffic and more about user experience. User experience is a much more important process when designing a website than it’s ever been before.

On his experience living in Lancaster, PA

I moved to Lancaster after I started dating Alex. Alex goes to Millersville University, and I was working a job where I had to make an hour and a half commute every weekend to see him. I had to leave Lancaster at 4:30am in the morning just to get to work on time! It wasn’t worth it to me.

But I also enjoyed the city, its atmosphere, and the downtown core. There’s a lot of things for people in my age bracket to do. Lancaster is where a lot of stuff is happening compared to other cities in central PA. I love living downtown, and I’m only a 15-minute walk from work. So I walk to work almost every day. We go to Federal Taphouse, the city parks, First Fridays, breweries, and spend time with family. I like to think I have some culture and class!

How to connect with Chris

Reach out to Chris on any of his social accounts to ask questions about project management or learn more about Quantum Dynamix!

LinkedIn Profile

Twitter (@cgaffneyQD)

Read our Visual Designer’s interview profile here.

Marketing graphs, pen, and iPad
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Eric Kazda

Eric Kazda is a leading expert in the interactive development industry with over fifteen years of experience. With a mastery of critical development technologies, Eric has crafted innovative award-winning work for clients both large and small. Coupling this knowledge with a real world understanding of usability and technological feasibility, his work is developed to be accessible by every user.

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