“The USPTO is unique from other jobs I’ve had because the agency embraces change. Over the last few years, the momentum for improvement in my technical branch has been pretty unique.”
When we asked Andrew how likes working at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), he cut right to the chase. “I’ve worked at a number of federal agencies, and the USPTO is hands down the best place to work," he said. "I’ve been able to learn new skill sets in order to expand my role and contributions to the team because other employees took the time to collaborate."
This opportunity to continually grow skills is of utmost importance to Andrew, who possesses a technical background in electrical engineering from Bucknell University. This led him to his first role with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as a contractor with the Systems Performance Branch (SPB) in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).
“It’s a whole branch with people just working on performance,” Andrew shares proudly.
This experience sparked his interest in becoming a federal employee at the agency. He soon applied and was hired to serve as a computer scientist in the same branch. In that role, he improved the USPTO’s performance analysis products as part of a larger effort within OCIO’s Software Quality Assurance Division to routinely monitor USPTO applications and to support their development teams with tools to improve their own monitoring.
Andrew then had the opportunity to grow his career and transitioned into his current role as a Technical Lead for the One Patent Service Gateway.
“My interest in computer networking led to a career in performance monitoring, which then led to application development,” he explained.
The scope of his work includes the full spectrum of software development from concept to a running application.
In his new role, Andrew continues to add value to OCIO and to the larger agency through continually working to improve system performance enterprise-wide. Andrew believes the in mission of system performance championed by SPB, and success in this area requires a positive and collaborative work environment. The outcome of this work is critical — ensuring the pre-examination processing of applications submitted by inventors are processed quickly and accurately.
Andrew said there is no “typical day” on the job, and he is energized by new and better ways of doing things. His short, but motivating mantra for success— “Stay after it”—helps him tackle complex problems with positivity and resiliency.
“I also really value the freedom I have to pursue new and innovative ways to perform my job,” he said. “Looking at systems and asking ‘Is it working well enough? Could it be better? What are the options for improvement? Is it worth it?’ and then getting to lead the development of modern IT tools and techniques to help the USPTO better meet its mission is exciting.”
Workplace flexibilities are key to balancing a fast-moving workplace.
“Working from home allows for a vastly improved work environment,” Andrew noted. “Our systems run 24/7. Issues and inspiration can come at any time so being able to shift the workday help keep all the balls in the air.”
He’s able to still find community at work by connecting virtually with coworkers and teammates.
When it comes to soft skills necessary to be successful on the job, Andrew considers this kind of collaboration to be at the top of the list.
“Like any workplace, employees need a desire to collaborate and coordinate,” he explained. “That’s a good starting point for building trust, which is a prerequisite to doing anything new.”
And new things are exactly what Andrew hopes to continue to do in his critical, innovative role.