December 15, 2020

Daniel García: The Tech Genius of Innovation DuPage

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aniel García is Innovation DuPage’s Technical Solutions Architect. What is a Technical Solutions Architect, you may ask? Inquiring minds, or technologically illiterate minds, such as my own, want to know.

Initially Daniel’s position was conceived as solely focusing on software development, but his skills, and the skills he employs for ID, extend well beyond that, so his title encompasses an idea of the many types of work he takes on. Daniel can adjust user interface and user interface design, he can program software engineering, infrastructure engineering, web development, and more. He’s constantly looking for ways ID can automate and design at a higher level, and is the tech brains behind Innovation’s recent, exciting website upgrade, particularly the integration of video on the landing page.

When I asked Daniel how he ended up at ID, he laughed and said, “it’s kind of an embarrassing story, actually”. But after hearing the details, I couldn’t help but think this was a match made in innovation heaven. 

ID co-produces the BIG IDEA Pitch Contest with COD, where anyone can pitch an innovative business idea for development: the top three ideas win cash prizes, and the winner also receives a six month Innovation DuPage membership.The finalists get to practice preparing a presenting a pitch deck to a panel of judges. Daniel entered the BIG IDEA Competition last November with an app proposal that, among its several uses, informs the user of their food’s nutritional value and how they can make it healthier. While his final presentation didn’t exactly go according to plan, as his keynote speaker never showed, after it was over Travis pulled Daniel aside and said, “I want to hire you”. Daniel credits the number of technical terms he squeezed into his deck for Travis’ interest, but clearly his innovative spirit is a perfect fit for ID.

Daniel García at Apple Park

Daniel doesn’t just work for ID, though. He’s a student at College of DuPage, and a software developer at the nationwide construction company, Graycor. He’s constantly juggling different commitments, including his current projects for ID, which includes developing a livestream event for startups and community members to gather together in an online setting, as well as a new feature for the website, a members portal. The portal will allow resources to be even more accessible to their members. 

While his work at ID is his first foray into the start-up world, Daniel said that his favorite part of the job is the chance to get to know these amazing member companies, both the companies that are actively seeking ID’s support to make it to their next level, and the ones that are already producing innovative tech. Daniel is particularly excited by one of ID’s member companies who is developing autonomous technologies, noting that exposure to their process is ‘really cool and a huge benefit to the job’. 

Daniel especially loves getting to work in website design, and the ‘human interaction’ of it. He focuses not just on a company’s branding, but specifically the user’s experience: the accessibility and readability of the website, among other things.

Accessibility is critical to both website design and user interface design - which is what Daniel works in everyday - and centers around making websites easier to use.

Every user interface and web design has different needs, Daniel explains, because you’re targeting a different market. Accessibility needs change depending on the intended audience. But before worrying about potential issues consumers may have while navigating their site, businesses first need to think about how and if their customers can find their site, which is based on marketing. ID is working with marketing software called Hotjar that shows how users interact with features on the site, and Daniel is excited to begin making improvements to the site depending on its feedback.

Daniel can imagine a future career as a CTO or engineering leader, but wants to keep working mostly with software. He may even keep working on the app idea he submitted to the BIG IDEA Pitch Contest.

He’s constantly inspired by the technological innovation of the member companies, which Daniel feels is incredibly unique, and makes ID’s incubator work stand out, especially given its location in the suburbs.

He’s looking forward to hopefully growing the number of members and user engagement as ID continues to grow and further expand their marketing.

Given that before the COVID shutdown, Daniel would wake-up at 5am every day to drive to ID, only to drive to his second job later in the morning before hurrying to afternoon classes, I have no doubt he’ll be able to accomplish whatever dream he sets his mind to. ID is fortunate to be in such capable technological hands.

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