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Employee Spotlight: Caleb Duncan

Updated: Feb 20

Every month, we like to shine the spotlight on our team members who make the biggest difference for our subscribers. This month, we interviewed Caleb Duncan, our Engineering Manager! Caleb is a strong and integral member of our team; read more to find out how he makes Liftoff great!

Liftoff: Caleb, how did you end up here at Liftoff?

Caleb: I have been with Liftoff for three years this month! When Andrew recruited me, the statement that sold me was, “If you had an opportunity to work for Google when it was in its infancy, would you?” I have been in software development since I graduated from the University of West Georgia with my BS in Computer Science in 2011.

Liftoff: What is it that you do for Liftoff?

Caleb: As Engineering Manager, I am responsible for feeding the unicorns, ensuring all our hamsters stay on their wheels, and that the platform maintains a constant flow of pixie dust. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles and being able to solve unique challenges; overcoming them as a team gives me the same feeling as when you place that final piece and step back to see the completed picture fully emerge.

Liftoff: What’s your favorite feature of the platform and why?

Caleb: My favorite feature is our CICD pipeline. Did you know we average 10-20 code changes released to production every week? This pipeline is vital to ensure code changes propagate into each of our four environments (DEV, QA, Sandbox, and Production). Knowing that code changes are stringently examined and tested and having the confidence that those specific changes were delivered correctly is essential to having a stable platform.

Liftoff: Tell us about a mentor who gave you support during your career. What did they teach you?

Caleb: An individual who truly taught me the best way to conduct business was David Hart, Former CEO of Mountville Mills Inc. Mountville hired me directly out of college, but it was the company’s values that influenced how I conduct business today. Do the right thing, do what is best for the customer, and drive improvements and innovation. The man behind those values, who I witnessed living them every day, was David Hart.

Do the right thing: This one can be tough at times, but it aligns with my Christian beliefs. David helped me to understand this value by using the phrase, “jump on the sword.” When customers are plagued with an issue, you’ll get nowhere by arguing over whose fault it is. Instead, it’s better to take ownership of the problem and fix it so we can all move forward.

Do what is best for the customer: What is “best” can be tricky to quantify, but it becomes easier if you ensure that what’s “best” doesn’t contradict the first value. Unlike traditional beliefs that cause businesses to bend over backward to meet the demands of their customers, what’s “best” is better defined by taking the time to understand the core issue and partnering with the customer to formulate a solution that will not only solve their issue, but also prevent similar issues from happening again.

Drive improvements and innovation: For me, this seemed easy at first, since working in software development requires you to be innovative. However, this value extends far beyond software development. Building off the other two values, you start considering everything you do for the customer. Task management, employee engagement, community involvement, and even team morale can all end up having a positive impact on our customers. Sure, I’ll never be able to resist a chance to automate something, but you should never feel that you can’t improve both professionally and personally.

David used one final analogy to help cement all these values into a single takeaway. I can still hear him say, “Caleb, never focus on making your slice of the pie larger; instead, focus on making the whole pie bigger so everyone benefits.” I truly appreciated his mentorship over the years and I took with me some valuable lessons he taught me. I left Mountville, a company that David helped to become the largest floor mat manufacturing plant in the U.S., on good terms and with the knowledge of how a company should treat its customers and employees. I’ve shared this story with our president, Andrew, and am grateful that I landed at a company that shares the importance of customer and employee relations.

Liftoff: What do you like to do in your free time?

Caleb: When I’m not working, I enjoy taking hikes with my family, serving at our church, and playing Zelda. Oh, and tech articles are my jam!

Liftoff: Is there anything else you would like to say to the audience before we go?

Caleb: To our Liftoff customers, I would say, “Though I may not have met you personally, I truly appreciate you! Providing a secure, stable, innovative commerce platform that you can call yours brings me tremendous joy.”

To the Liftoff team, I would say, “Stop searching for the answer - you should know it’s 42! You’re amazing. Let’s continue making Liftoff Commerce the best commerce platform, bar none!”

Phrases I like to say:

  • “Mistakes are what make us human, but what we do with those mistakes defines who we are.”

  • “I define my success by how successful my team is.”

  • “Anything is possible with enough time, money, and effort.”



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