It’s SparkFun’s 20th anniversary! Today you’ll be hearing from Jennifer Mullins, a SparkFun employee who’s been here for over 11 years!

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SparkFun is 20 years old this year! We’re lucky enough to have a bunch of employees that have been around for over 10 of those years, and we wanted to share their reflections on their time here with you. Today you’ll be hearing from Jennifer Mullins. Read below to see her full answers!

Tell us about your background.

I have had so many amazing opportunities over the past 11 years with SparkFun starting with my first role as a part of our Customer Service team to today (wearing many other hats in between) being able work alongside a truly incredible group of folks as our Sales, Support and Services Manager.

It’s been so incredible over the years to see the passion for what we do, the mind blowing creativity from every part of all the teams that make SparkFun what we are, and the evolution of the people (past and present) and how we continue to move forward as a company.

It’s been a wild {and awesome} ride!

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I am lucky enough to have grown up here in Colorado and my husband and I enjoy this awesome state we live in with our two kids. Around chasing kids to their sports and school and social activities, juggling our jobs and all the other fun adult things, my husband and I enjoy the generally lovely weather here whenever we can by getting out for some wind therapy whenever we can. My love for my Harley landed me the nickname of GhostRider a few years ago from Glenn, our CEO. I dig it!

Hyperedge- . IoT, Embedded Systems, Artificial Intelligence,
Hyperedge- . IoT, Embedded Systems, Artificial Intelligence,

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on at SparkFun?

Being in roles through my time with SparkFun that have been centered around the admin and custom support realm of SparkFun I haven’t been deeply involved in many of the projects SparkFun has released into the world. Most definitely have enjoyed so very many of them, but can’t claim a pivotal role myself. I did make my attempt in my own electronics project years ago for Halloween that year to install a rather ridiculous system of multiple LilyTwinkle boards, tons of LilyPad Rainbow LEDs and a probably borderline unsafe amount of battery packs onto the inside of a rockabilly style dress. After picking the brains of our Tech Support team, and some of our more creative folks with our Engineering team that worked with the LilyPad line, I went off to make my first SparkFun fueled creation. For years we had big Halloween parties in the office, and always had ‘best costume’ contests of course including a category for costumes that included SparkFun products.

Brimming with confidence from the folks I’d gotten help with I set off to start putting my super flashy LED dress together. A few days of working on it ahead of Halloween and I was putting together the last set of LEDs (rather late at night might I add) and realized that I maybe smelled something that may or may not been similar to something on fire. If you’ve ever smelled burning electronics, you know what I mean. In my late night haze managed to wire up my power backwards and managed to almost melt one of my poor LilyTwinkle boards. In my frantic flailing to figure out what was wrong I singed my dress, burned my hand, and did not end up with a finished flashy LED dress. Even as a solid fail, it was still a ton of fun and a great story to share with the team the next day.

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What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen a customer make with our products?

Honestly I don’t think I could possibly sift through the hundreds of projects I’ve seen over the years and pick a favorite. I’ve been able to talk to and help people that have made automatic pet doors to IronMan and Marvel costume replicas, autonomous lawn mowers to livestock monitoring systems…and so much more! It’s quite literally one of my favorite things about SparkFun that we have so many people willing to share their creations with us.

What brought you here?

My world before SparkFun landed me a handful of random jobs before I ended up working for a local property management company. I had been there for a few years and while I loved the work I had a friend who had started working at SparkFun the year prior and constantly raved at what an awesome place it was. When I got the call a new position had been posted I jumped on the opportunity and haven’t looked back since!

How has SparkFun evolved during the time you’ve been here?

One of the things I have always truly loved the most about SparkFun is that we are constantly evolving. From learning and supporting new technologies, to processes to support our customers ranging from strategic B2B partners to hobbyists. Through the years there has been a constant theme of not just taking SparkFun for what we are today, but looking back at who we have been, who we are today and where we want to be.

Do you remember your first day?

My first day at SparkFun was joining our Customer Service team eleven years ago, who also happened to share space in our old building with our Tech Support team. I was so nervous to be moving from my prior jobs in property management to stepping into a world of electronics I knew next to nothing about. I was lucky enough to have a few very good friends that already worked with the team though! The immediate acceptance and inclusion into an incredibly tight knit team was absolutely incredible. From day one I always felt like I belonged and had an important role with the team and the company.

Whenever we brought on a new teammate we would do the whole introductions to all of the leadership team, tour of the building, and generally ended up being able to take a tour of the facility led by Nathan. It was honestly overwhelming (in the best way) to see all of the crazy awesome projects around the building, seeing our manufacturing equipment on the production floor and the rows and rows of all the doodads and thingamajigs I had no idea what I was even looking at. The passion for what we do from so many people was just as amazing then as it is now.

On my first day my manager at the time ordered lunch for the whole team so we could all get some time to get to know each other, and since I had some friends at my awesome new company we wrapped up the day enjoying a celebratory brew after hours at one of our local craft breweries down the street from the office. Best first day ever.

What’s your favorite spot in the building?

Oh man, that’s tough! At our current HQ you can never go wrong with the view from the rooftop patio. The view of the mountains and that magical outdoor escape has definitely been a favorite for in office team meetings and occasionally just enjoying being out in the sunlight over the years.

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There are just so many different things throughout the building that are so fun to see. After more than a decade I could still just sit and watch the production and kitting teams hammering out products for hours. Going and poking in on Engineering and the Product teams to see what fun things they are tinkering with, and that also happens to be where some of my favorite office doggo’s have been over the years. The shipping team rolling carts through aisle after aisle making sure all the things get sent into the wild. Wandering adventures anywhere throughout the building are always sure to bring new things to see and great conversations.

How would you describe SparkFun’s culture?

As with so many other parts of what makes SparkFun who we are, our culture has evolved through the years. We’ve had our ups and downs (as every company or team does) but one thing that has always been at the heart of our culture is our people. Everyone is always willing and welcoming to work together and support each other however we can. Consistent friendly faces (and doggos) across all of our teams and the drive to make sure we are building SparkFun to be the best we can be.

What is the best part of the work you do?

So, so many things, but top of the list is the people! Internal and out.

My direct teammates are such an amazing group of folks. Having the opportunity to help support and grow our team, the business relationships we have, and the company as a whole is most definitely a part of my life I am so proud of and thankful for. Being a part of our Business Development team and being able to work directly with so many different people and projects gives me the opportunity to also bask in the awesomeness of all of the other internal teams at SparkFun as well.

Tech Support and Engineering (and can’t forget our SparkX team) to help find and build all the latest and greatest new products and finding solutions for our customers, Supply Chain and all the crazy hoops they jump through to make sure we have parts on the shelves, Marketing to help us get SparkFun out into the world and amplify our presence across so many different channels, Operations cranking out hundreds upon hundreds of products every single day (production → shipping), and of course our Admin and SWIT teams making sure all the gears keeping spinning internally. So many things we do every day have a direct link that allows us to work so closely with so much of SparkFun.

And the outside folks and the customers we work with. Just, wow. Getting beyond how incredible the things are that are created using SparkFun products, every day is a new puzzle and a solution to find. I get to work with internal and external folks every day finding solutions to their needs and solving problems.

Read more about this on: Sparkfun Commerce Blog