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It's #TechThursday! Meet Ray, Applications Development Manager with our Retail Systems Technology Team

This week's #TechThursday is featuring Ray, Applications Development Manager with our Retail Systems Technology team! Ray found his passion for IT while serving in the military and has played an integral role in implementing many transformative solutions across the Giant Eagle enterprise. 

What led you to a career in IT?

While serving in the military, my job was as an Electronics Technician; however, I had the opportunity to work with Software Developers at one of my duty stations. It was through working with them that I decided to pursue a career in IT.

Can you describe some current (or recent) projects you’ve worked on? 

A recently completed project was the implementation of a new Fleet Tracking telematics solution from Samsara, which provides hours-of-service logging for our CDL Drivers while also providing truck and trailer tracking. This cloud-based software solution needed to be integrated with several of our legacy transportation systems by using many of Samsara’s restful API’s. The implementation of this solution allowed me to work with developers on integrations while also working with Dispatchers and Drivers regarding process change. Working with so many facets of Transportation and IT for this implementation was very rewarding. 

What has been your career path within Giant Eagle?

I started my career with Giant Eagle as a BI Developer on the Data Warehouse team where I developed reports and cubes using the Cognos solution. From there, I’ve had the opportunity to take on various management and business analysis roles in the Supply Chain and Retail Systems teams.  

Through each of these positions and roles, I’ve had the opportunity to keep a toe in the Business Intelligence world by continuing to do BI and SQL development, as needed.

What is your favorite thing about your role and working at Giant Eagle?

There are two things I enjoy about working at Giant Eagle. First, is the team-oriented, “can do” environment! Whenever presented with a challenge, everyone rallies together to solve the problem at hand. This was recently exemplified with the COVID crisis where so much was accomplished in a short amount of time.

The second is change! When I accepted the offer to come to Giant Eagle 23 years ago, I was curious as to how much technology could be used in a grocery/retail environment. I can honestly say in my time here, I’ve never felt bored, stagnant, or unchallenged. There is always something new to do.

What is your favorite thing about working in IT?

Many conversations between business and IT start with “We need to do X, Y, and/or Z.” When this happens, it stimulates a thought process on how to solve that problem, with what technologies, who is the audience, from whom do we need support, how much will it cost, how long will it take, how will it be supported, etc. and the collaboration that is required to make it all happen. That said, the process of building and delivering solutions (large or small) that reduce costs, drives sales, or generally improve how people work are my favorite things about IT.

A "fun fact" about Ray:

While not at work, I can typically be found in the woods of any of the local parks on my mountain bike!

I also occasionally volunteer for Veteran-related activities such as the Mutt Strut (2018) and helping to prepare a new home for an Iraq/Afghanistan Veteran. Additionally, I volunteer for Trail Pittsburgh events, which supports maintaining parks around the Pittsburgh area.

“The process of building and delivering solutions (large or small) that reduce costs, drives sales, or generally improve how people work are my favorite things about IT.”
- Ray, Applications Development Manager

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