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Employee Spotlight: Stephen Mertens

d6d4d626-8927-4f29-81bf-83c2f6171514_image00At STRATACACHE, we view our employees as our biggest strength.  We would not be where we are today without all of their hard work and dedication.  Each month, we will be spending time with different employees to highlight their excellence as well as learn about some of their aspirations outside of work.  

This week’s employee spotlight is highlighting Stephen Mertens, Director of Integrated Services at STRATACACHE.

Stephen, tell me about yourself, what is your role at STRATACACHE?

I’m currently the Director of Integrated Services with STRATACACHE. In this role I am over the Creative Services team of designers, animators and web developers. I joined STRATACACHE in 2014 as a Creative Designer and in early 2016 I took on the role of Senior Program Manager for the Creative Services Department before taking on my current role.

What has been your favorite project at STRATACACHE?

My favorite project was the very first one I was assigned to at the company.  Our goal was to create a set of interactive experiences for a Canadian retailer that were meant to provide product education and entertainment.  I was tasked with designing and developing the digital signage for the project.

This experience taught me a lot about how digital signage can be used and the best practices around UI and UX. These interactive experiences were all web-based so I got to tap into my background in web design and development for creating them. One of the experiences was an interactive game that would be displayed in the toy area of the store for children to play with. It was a great experience creating a game that would be enjoyed by children shopping with their parents.

What is your proudest moment at STRATACACHE?

I’ve had plenty of proud moments but the one that resonates with me the most goes back to my first project that I mentioned previously. I got to be part of the planning and execution of that project and had the opportunity to travel to the store in Toronto to see the final experiences. It was great to see the culmination of all that work and to watch actual customers interacting with them.  Knowing that the things we create are touched by people and makes their lives easier in some way gives me a great sense of pride about the work we do here.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Wow, that’s hard to choose… If I can transport myself anywhere right now, it would be Bora Bora, where I would sleep, dive, drink, repeat.

What can you tell us about life after work?

My wife and I have a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. Most of our evening is spent transporting them between karate and dance class. We are expecting our third child so we have some active remodeling projects at home.

One of my favorite hobbies is working with a local history preservation organization to make web-based experiences that teach visitors about the historic significance of my hometown. Other hobbies I have are aerial photography with my quadcopter, scuba diving, sorcery and collecting vintage advertisements (or old trash as my wife calls them).