Q. Dave, tell us a little bit about your role at Thunder.
Since I started at Thunder a little over a year ago now, I’ve been doing a lot of different things–working on our internal operations, selling, and working on different customer projects. I’ve been able to find a lot of opportunities to change processes and tools to create greater efficiency, adaptability, and transparency. I helped our team streamline how we sell–automating the steps between creating estimates, proposals, and statements of work. I built out our ZapExchange, an internal community that allows our employees to install almost 100 accelerators (reusable innovations that we can give to our customers). I worked on ways to streamline our delivery process and pick tools to help us do better. My new role allows me to focus my attention on how we can continue to be innovative both in what we deliver to our customers and how we deliver to our customers. I’d love for our tools to allow us to be more adaptable and transparent with our customers and each other.
Q. What made you want to come roll with Thunder?
Everyone I talked to at Thunder was excited about doing Salesforce integration in a new and better way. I knew I wanted to be on a team that was focused on doing great work, but I got excited about being a part of a company that was truly focused on their culture. Everyone I interviewed with was focused on building the right culture. Focused on compassion, where we support each other as whole people. Focused on transparency and being candid and honest with each other and our customers. Focused on ownership, letting people drive toward solutions with minimal barriers and backing them up. I wanted to work for a company like that. I wanted to help make a company like that at which others could work. And I believe that if we build it right, that kind of company will attract the right people and deliver the best customer experiences.
Q. Thunder is not your first company in the Salesforce ecosystem, what other experience do you have in the Salesforce world?
I had been in the Oracle Service Cloud (formerly RightNow) ecosystem for around 13 years. In 2018, the demand for that product seemed to be softening and it felt like everyone was picking Salesforce. I found PolSource, a growing boutique Salesforce integrator. Not only did I get a great education in learning the platform, but I was able to apply what I’d learned working with service businesses to some amazing Salesforce customers including several Fortune 100 businesses. When PolSource was acquired in 2020, I was eager to get back to a boutique firm that was focused on the nimble, bespoke version of consulting.
Q. So humble brag, we noticed you have 11+ Salesforce, AWS and SCRUM licenses and certifications… are you going for a record?
No. As competitive as I am, that would be foolish. We have so many people who are significantly more certified than I am. What’s important to me is to be qualified for what we do. Getting certified is usually the end of a path where I (or we) dig deep into technology or techniques so we’ll have the right know-how and skills.
Q. Checking out the Thunder internal slack channels, we see that outside the office you are quite the foodie and chef. What is your favorite thing to eat and make (and can we try it?)?
Really, I cook because I love to eat. I don’t know if I have a favorite thing to cook or eat. I go through phases. Last year in one day I baked almost 80 mini pies of around 12 different varieties because I wanted to test some recipes. Recently I bought a pizza oven and I’ve been making a lot of pizzas. Fresh sourdough pizza crust is something special and it lets me flex my bread-making techniques.
Q. Last one! As a leader at Thunder, what are you most excited about in the near future for the rapidly growing company?
I’m a technologist at heart and it’s a great time to be a technologist because the pace of technology change is just so fast. Integrating applications is so much easier so that we can give users amazing single panes of glass. There are more ways to automate than ever before so we can let users focus on value-add activities only. Plus, we’re only scratching the surface on what AI can do. We’re investing a lot into generative AI and the ways it can be applied to our customers’ business objectives. We are staying in front of all those waves so we can direct our customers to practical ways they can use those technologies to transform their businesses. That’s exciting.
On the other hand, the part of business that energizes me is solving problems as a team. I love working with great people. So far, we’ve hired exceptionally smart, talented people–who are also kind, thoughtful, and interesting. If we keep it up (and that’s our plan), we have the opportunity to be the best place to work and to get amazing solutions.