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Hudson Valley app developer Chris Garrett

Spotlight On: Christopher Garrett

Christopher Garrett is a game developer and contract software developer living in Pleasant Valley.

What are you excited about right now?
I’m working on an iOS game called Moji Match. It is a turn-based game similar to Scrabble or Words With Friends, except that it uses emojis instead of words. I’m excited because my beta testers love the game and have gotten hooked on it.

More about Moji Match:
Moji Match is an emoji game made in the Hudson Valley. Lots of ? in it but you’ll ❤️ it.

See the project →

How did you end up in the Hudson Valley, and what do you love about it?
I came here in 2007 when my wife got a job at Vassar College as a chemistry professor. Since then I have grown to love so much about this area. I love the outdoors, so we have taken advantage of the great opportunities for hiking, cycling and camping nearby. There are great restaurants, and enriching cultural activities. But I think the best thing is the sense of community and general desire to improve the world around us.

Who are other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
Chris Muscarella of the Field Company recently moved to the area. My Field Company skillet is one of a handful of objects in my house that is a joy to use on a daily basis.

And Dennis Crowley. I love his willingness to try crazy things to make the world a better place. Kingston Stockade games are now one of my favorite summer activities.


Join Christopher and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley designer Shauna Keating

Spotlight On: Shauna Keating

Shauna Keating is a designer and front-end developer living in New Paltz.

What does your daily life look like?
I work at a studio called Moonfarmer where I work as a designer & front-end developer. Every day, I get to work with my team at our studio in uptown Kingston to design and build websites, applications, and art.

I am pretty active in the local tech & design community. I serve as an organizer for the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup & Catskills Conf, am the Director of Programming with AIGA Upstate NY, and am an active participant with HV Women in Business. The longer I’ve been here, the more I hear about amazing little communities forming around all kinds of topics.

What are you excited about right now?
I spent the end of 2017 building a big newsletter announcement of everything we have accomplished last year, and I think what I am most proud of is the work we have done to actively engage and celebrate the place in which we work.

Radio Kingston has been my primary project for the last few months. It’s a really amazing project that not only is challenging and engaging for me as a designer, but actively pursues making the community I spend so much of my time in stronger. Over the course of the project, I’ve done wireframes and initial user experience (UX) design, front end development for it’s launch, illustrations of the city of Kingston that we use in the header of the website, and UX for additional features as we continue to work on it.

See the project →

Earlier this year, we worked with the folks at Hudson Valley Weather to design and develop a new Android app for them. I did a full UX audit of their existing iOS app and created a new design that utilizes the native elements in the Android operating system. After that our developers used my prototype to create a React Native app that you can download from the Google Play store.

See the project →

Plus, Moonfarmer as a brand is actually pretty new. Since we announced/launched it back in 2017, I’ve been doing a lot of design work for different places our identity gets applied, and it’s some of my most fun and interesting work. Having our own website to make additions to has also been a great opportunity to obtain new skills. I started learning React so I could build some of the case studies we put up on our site to show our work. I’m really looking forward to the ones I am working on now going live!

See Shauna’s Moonfarmer business cards →

How did you end up in the Hudson Valley, and what do you love about it?
I grew up about an hour south of here in Bergen County, NJ. I started living in the Hudson Valley as a student of SUNY New Paltz, enrolled in the BFA program for graphic design. When I graduated, I decided to stay and start off my career here. Even though it’s a difference of about 55 miles from where I grew up, it’s very culturally different here, in a way that’s really good for me.

The Hudson Valley is different because of how much people value community, creativity, and human connection. For someone working in my field, it makes a really excellent environment to work in. The people I’ve met here are not people that go to work and hate their jobs, but people who are doing the things they love and care about. There is a culture of collaboration and respect I haven’t seen anywhere else.

The typical trajectory for someone who grew up where I did is you move home after college, get a job in New York, and commute over an hour each way on the train every day. There isn’t a lot of room for side projects or community involvement with that lifestyle. Living here, I do have a pretty packed schedule, but I am spending more time meeting people and making stuff rather than commuting.

(The view of the mountains is pretty good, too.)

Who are other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
Through running tech and design events I get to meet so many excellent and talented individuals! To name a few:

Becca Kennedy, who runs a UX Consultancy in the Capital Region called Kenneson. Becca has a PhD in Human Factors, and brings a really great perspective from a psychology to doing UX research.

Sarah Vogwill, who I met through having AIGA events in Kingston. Turns out her studio is only a block away from Moonfarmer. She’s a designer running a small studio, called Studio 7, doing branding and web design.

Brandon Walsh is a developer I’ve worked with for the majority of my career, and is current member of the Moonfarmer team. He is a full-stack developer, specializing in Rails, React, and WordPress development.

Caylena Cahill, who does some really great work in the realm of photo-centric marketing, running her business called CC Photo and Media. She also runs a podcast called Put a Fork in it, which is worth a listen!

Nicole Langlois, who co founded a co-working space up the street from my apartment in New Paltz, called One EPIC Place. Her business does a lot to engage creative people in New Paltz and all around the Hudson Valley.


Join Shauna and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

The Bear Mountain Bridge at Night

The Vision for Talentbase

The Hudson Valley has an incredible creative scene, but unless you already know about it, it can be hard to find. For someone who’s just moved to the area, or who’s just returning after college, how do you connect with all the interesting people doing interesting work nearby?

Events like the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup have done wonders in getting the local creative community connected, but they only happen monthly, and no single event can capture the full the spectrum of people who are interested — there will always be people who either can’t make the drive, or have to work, or just aren’t up for spending the evening with hundreds of strangers.

I’m a firm believer in the power of serendipitous connections to drive economic growth — get new people with new ideas talking to each other, and great things can happen.

In cities like New York or San Francisco, this happens naturally — just walk into your corner coffee shop and you’ll meet a dozen potential collaborators. But the Hudson Valley is more widely spread out, and our distributed geography requires a distributed network to connect people.

I built the HV Talentbase to be just that — an online creative network for interesting people doing interesting work in the Hudson Valley. Anyone with a Hudson Valley zip code can create a profile and share snippets of what they’ve been working on — screenshots, photographs, writing samples, video, audio, or anything else they want the world to see. It’s for sharing all kinds of creative work — design, tech, visual art, music, food and drink, writing, crafts, and things I haven’t even thought of.

I already know of at least one user who’s gotten work inquiries through Talentbase, just by filling out their profile and sharing some of their work. There’s a huge need for talented, capable creative workers in the region, and I’m continuing to add features to make collaboration and hiring easier than ever. Talentbase will make it possible for freelancers to find their next job, local firms to find their next employees, and outside companies to recognize the value of hiring in the Hudson Valley.

As Talentbase grows, we’re starting to see a digital map of our region’s creative talent emerge. I think a lot of us have the feeling that something special is happening in the Hudson Valley right now, and this will enable us to better understand and articulate it. I suspect we’ll find that the creative scene in the region is even broader, deeper, and more dynamic than we already know it to be.

Ready to join? Go to hvtalentbase.com to sign up!

Hudson Valley composer Tyler Walker

Spotlight On: Tyler Walker

Tyler Walker is a composer and app developer living in Highland. This is the first in a series of regular interviews with Hudson Valley Talentbase contributors.

What are you excited about right now?
I’m currently working on mastering my album Ridiculously Techno Christmas.

More about Ridiculously Techno Christmas:
Santa spiked the Kool-Aid! Deck the Halls with Lasers and Glowsticks, it’s Ridiculously Techno Christmas.

I started this project in 2012 with a 5 song EP. I added a song a year since then, and it finally feels like a record. This year I’m working on mastering it myself (my first time attempting this) and getting it up on the the streaming services. The version currently on Soundcloud is only sorta kinda mastered, with each track done at different times.

See the project →

How did you end up in the Hudson Valley, and what do you love about it?
My wife and I met as Vassar students, and we always wanted to return to the area. The Hudson Valley can be shockingly beautiful, yet it’s also peaceful and unassuming. Almost every stranger I meet treats me like a friend.

Who are other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
My friend Chris Garrett has made an excellent iOS game called Moji Match!


Join Tyler and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

The Hudson Valley Talentbase sign up screen

Focus on Onboarding

The HV Talentbase just received a slew of changes related to the first-time user experience — it’s now easier than ever to create an account and set up your profile.

An animated rendition of adding skills in Hudson Valley Talentbase.

Changelog

  • ? The Hudson Valley Talentbase is now open to everyone with a Hudson Valley zip code! No more invite required to join the network — consider this the end of the “soft beta.”
  • ? We’ve instituted a new onboarding process to help new users figure out what to do after signing up.
  • ??‍? It’s now easier to add skills to your profile and change the order in which they display.
  • ? Ongoing aesthetic and textual changes to keep things feeling fresh!

Stay tuned for some more changes coming very soon.

The Shawangunk Ridge over the Wallkill River from New Paltz

Peak Foliage

Peak foliage is always my favorite time to be a Hudson Valley resident.

I take special pride in seeing the lines of cars making their way through New Paltz into the mountains, and I’m sure many of you saw similar sights throughout the region. There’s nothing like the leaves changing to summon the tourists out of the city.

We haven’t gotten much of a Fall this year, and I suspect this weekend was both our first and last perfect Hudson Valley autumn Saturday of the year. Even Sunday’s wind and rain couldn’t take away from the glow it left me with.

I launched HV Talentbase just a few weeks before my wedding. Between that, the honeymoon, and the past few weeks of getting back into the swing of things with both work and life, the Talentbase release schedule has been quiet. That was my plan all along — release the beta version, get people using and testing it, and then jump back in refreshed and ready to go.

There are lots of new features coming soon, as evidenced by the project roadmap. I’m aiming to take some of the fiery Peak Foliage energy I always get in the Fall and turn it into shiny new toys for the Hudson Valley creative community to use.

Let’s go!

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