Breaking Through Walls

Developer program redefines career growth and company culture.
 
Call Box is redefining what it means to have an authentic and remarkable culture. For the interview below, we caught up with members of the Call Box development team at their office in the heart of downtown Dallas.
Mike Garland Designer/Developer Hybrid
Front end designer & developer at Call Box since October 2016. He focuses on engagement on our Application team and has redesigned product onboarding for our new users.
Jackie Bowers Executive Vice President, Product
Executive Vice President, Product and has been with Call Box since June 2011. She's held positions in Accounts, New Business, Marketing, and currently brings insights from those positions into her role in Development.
Edward So Application Developer
Developer at Call Box since January 2015. He works on the Application team and is currently on a special ops initiative to rewrite our database for efficiency and speed.
Mitchell Brunelli NetOps Developer
Developer at Call Box since July 2015. He's on the Net Ops team and is currently involved with orchestrating the replacement of one of our biggest servers.
Cameron Sather Application Developer
Developer at Call Box since September 2014. He's on the Application team and handles internal pages and tools that employees use on a day-to-day basis.
"If we're focused and pulling together in the right direction, then we can do anything." - Reid Wakefield, CEO
What is Call Box and how does it help businesses? Jackie: Call Box is a software company that helps businesses Own the Phone. We believe that "what gets measured gets managed," so our products incorporate feedback loops, gamification, real-time alerts via email and text to get actionable data in front of our users. Edward: Call Box is a midsize company in Dallas. We've been around for over 25 years, but we feel like a startup because we celebrate success so often. Nearly every month, we celebrate another achievement in growth and that feels really good. Our main focus is call tracking, but I feel like we do more than that. We train, coach, and help people Own the Phone. Mitchell: We're a tech company that basically tracks phone calls for businesses. If someone calls a business, it hits our servers, and we track and record that call. We push those recordings through a crowd-sourced reviewing platform to generate a ton of useful information about the calls coming in and how salespeople handle those calls.
"At Call Box we're constantly looking at ways to innovate and improve, and if doing so is outside of the scope of your job description, you're encouraged to step outside of your comfort zone, learn, and make it happen."
Mike Garland
How do I grow my career as a developer at Call Box? Cameron: We have defined career paths for all developers at Call Box with a clear set of guidelines, timeline for review, and salaries attached. That doesn't mean that everyone grows at the same rate, though. You set your own limitations. There are so many opportunities to throw yourself into a project and learn something new as a developer or fine tune your skills. Mike: What is great about Call Box is that career growth is completely within your control. Yes, we have a concrete path for our devs to grow professionally. Each developer has their own projects and cases they are assigned to, but we are constantly looking for ways to improve our software and build our skill-set. With this, there are plenty of opportunities to go above and beyond and showcase your drive as a professional, get tasks done that are outside of your job description, and thus accelerate career growth. Jackie: The Call Box Developer Program is a formal, six-phase program designed push a developer with a lot of ambition, but little experience with us, to a high-level contributor as a Senior Developer.
A group of Call Boxers (left) await the results of the plinko board, and team members (right) enjoy the afternoon during a company celebration.
How is the development team organized and what does each team do? Mitchell: We have two teams in development: Application and Network Operations. The Application side handles more of the client-facing work such as reporting, front-end, and user interaction. The NetOps side is more systems-based and works on things like server upkeep and database maintenance.
"None of the cool products we build matter if they aren't reliable." - Jackie Bowers, Executive Vice President, Product
Above: Call Box team members celebrate after a tough day of competition at the Fit Company Challenge. Below: Executive VP of Product, posing underneath a hand drawn Dallas skyline.
Is there a particular dynamic that makes the team special? Mitchell: I think a lot of people on this team are "doers." If a problem is presented to someone and he or she doesn't know how to handle it, they're able to go to someone else for help. Then when the next problem comes up, they can do it on their own. The developers here seem to thrive on learning about new technology, how our products work and how our customers interact with those products. Edward: I'm friends with everyone on the team. We like to do activities outside of work and that really builds morale. We've done different activities like go carting, tubing, happy hours, etc. When we go out to lunch, the whole team is included. This team community makes our jobs more enjoyable and makes us more effective. It's like college where you get to do a group project together, but now instead of one person doing 90% of the project, everyone is sharing the load and working together.
The company plinko board (left) on display at a milestone celebration party where a few lucky employees will get to try their hand at some generous prizes like a $500 Amazon Gift Card. Developer Ian Ruth (right) taking on camera man duty for a company outing.
(Left) A group of call boxers enjoy a friendly company team volleyball competition. A side project by some of the developers involves engineering a self ringing bell for the sales team.
"You'll struggle here if you're still spending most of your day
passively waiting for a new email that gives you something to do."
- Reid Wakefield, CEO
Is there a personality that might not be the right fit for this team? Cameron: If you enjoy structure around literally everything you do, then you might not be a fit for our team. We have structure in the form of a defined career path, managers, and teams, but it doesn't hinder us from exploring, creating and taking ownership of projects and ideas. Jackie: We're made up of self-starters and developers that want to improve their own skills and improve the product for our customers. Anyone that's looking to just take direction will have a hard time advancing up the Call Box Developer program.
"It's like college where you get to do a group project together, but now instead of one person doing 90% of the project, everyone is sharing the load and working together."
Edward So
What makes Call Box different than other opportunities? Cameron: Most companies have a defined role that they set you in. There are boundaries and limitations about what your job is and what it isn't, and they expect you to do simply what your job requires. Call Box allows you to not only do your job, but to take the lead in any areas that you are interested in. There are no boundaries or limitations at Call Box other than the ones you set for yourself. If you have an idea, you are encouraged to turn it into something that is real and tangible. Mike: Almost immediately after I started here, I was making real, tangible contributions all while being mentored by senior members of the team. These contributions were not only because of the code I was writing or the designs I was creating, but I was included in conversations that would ultimately determine the direction our product went in. At Call Box we're constantly looking at ways to innovate and improve, and if doing so is outside of the scope of your job description, you're encouraged to step outside of your comfort zone, learn, and make it happen.
Some of the Call Box team bring out their winter apparel at a Dallas Stars hockey game. "We are always putting together outtings for our teams, building relationships is important to us." - Cameron

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