Throughout his career, Shadrach White has participated in hundreds of successful government IT projects. While more often than not we hear about the failed IT projects, White thinks little credit is given to efforts that transform the work process and ultimately serve the public interest.
“There are unique challenges when selling and delivering solutions in the public sector but these solutions tend to have financial longevity and they make a positive impact to the communities they serve,” said White, who is founder and CEO of cloudPWR, a Tacoma, Wash.-based cloud software company working on digital transformation solutions for government and public agencies across Washington state and beyond.
Beyond the work he and his company are doing, our latest Geek of the Week is also an impactful member of the Tacoma business community. White is a mentor for the Tacoma Challenge, an advisory board member for the University of Washington Tacoma School of Engineering and Technology, and a frequent guest lecturer for UW Tacoma’s Entrepreneurship program.
He was the first Tacoma business leader selected to present at the inaugural Founders Live South Sound in February and works closely with Startup253 founder Lee Reeves to mentor and drive awareness for the Tacoma startup ecosystem, helping organize and promote New Tech Tacoma’s happy hour event series — when there’s not a pandemic.
Away from the hype and bustle of Seattle’s tech scene, White is attracted to Tacoma’s lower operating costs, less congestion and workforce development for companies that need to recruit both senior and entry-level employees. And he credits Tacoma-area universities and colleges with turning out highly qualified candidates on a regular basis.
For the past 25 years, White’s focus has been on designing and implementing content management solutions in both the private and public sectors. As the shift to cloud computing began in 2010, he recognized an opportunity to build a company that delivered cloud based solutions for state and local governments.
“Our platform is configurable to meet a wide variety of use cases that connect citizens with agencies in a simple and effective way,” he said of cloudPWR. “We streamline the processing of public disclosure and records requests, medical cannabis patient registration and many other repetitive transactional processes.”
A proud Alaska native, White enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, snow sports, and his favorite new endeavor, e-biking, throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Shadrach White:
What do you do, and why do you do it? Now more than ever there is a monumental effort to modernize the tools and processes that enable government agencies to efficiently and securely process citizen requests digitally. cloudPWR began helping public sector agencies at a time when CIO’s wouldn’t consider using cloud solutions, today it’s a top priority. Our growing team loves what we do and achieving success in this market is not just good for our customers but our communities as well.
What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? We are our government. We should embrace that concept as opposed to drawing a line between government and those of us in the private sector. Working to increase efficiency, security and performance of government software is challenging and rewarding. We face long lead times, and layers of bureaucracy. But for me it’s rewarding when we help those on the frontlines of our government. We help increase transparency through secure, clear, and quick Freedom of Information Act requests and other records requests. The government deserves modern and innovative tools and technology and we’re here to deliver.
Where do you find your inspiration? Exercise clears my mind and the most creative moments of inspiration usually follow. Recently I was e-mountain biking in Alaska and suddenly it dawned on me that incorporating our focus on cybersecurity as a key competitive differentiator could make a positive impact on our prospecting and lead generation.
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? Zoom Q2n-4K Handy Video Recorder and Ring Light for optimal online meetings and quality video recordings. The equipment is super compact so it makes it easy to setup just about anywhere you need to look your virtual best.
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? Usually I work at our offices in Tacoma. Our experience building the business in the South Sound has exceeded our expectations, from workforce development to professional services we have everything we need in Tacoma and no commuting required. I also take advantage of visiting our clients, advisors and partners and over the last six months I have enjoyed remote work locations throughout Alaska in Ketchumak Bay, Bristol Bay and the Kenai Peninsula and most recently from Baja.
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) Managing work and life balance is an exercise in communication and personal commitment. I’d say first set yourself up for success at work. Work on being communicative, actively share your perspective, problems you might encounter, and any of your solutions with team members or supervisor, and be ready for feedback. Any healthy work environment will embrace your participation and support you.
Second, when faced with a difficult challenge or feeling a lack of motivation, exercise and fresh air are my go-to actions. Many of my best problem-solving experiences have been while I am outside walking with a colleague, not necessarily talking about work but connecting on other topics. Don’t be surprised by how powerful hitting the pause button on work and shifting to health and well-being can be for avoiding burnout when your work and life balance is unbalanced.
Mac, Windows or Linux? I use Mac daily and Slackware Linux on occasion.
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? Kirk always followed his gut instincts, that has served me well. Doing things for the right reasons and trusting your team has always delivered positive results.
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? I’d have to say a time machine, I’d definitely go forward in time 100, even 200 years. By that time humans will be colonizing other planets. Thanks, Elon!
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … Expand our R&D teams to accelerate our roadmap, invest in our go-to-market strategies to increase brand awareness and expand lobbying efforts in states that have or are planning legal cannabis reform initiatives.
I once waited in line for … A pair of Jordan Retro 3’s. In 1998 I started my first company, an athletic apparel brand focused on retro jerseys and streetwear inspired by basketball in the lates ’60s and early ’70s. Rucker Park in New York City hosted legendary summer pickup games that included professional athletes competing against the best players from all five boroughs. I met Earl “The Goat” Managault shortly before he passed away and so many others.
Your role models: Elon Musk because his dreams and achievements are legendary and ongoing. Kind of reminiscent of Jim Kirk in his fervor to accomplish the impossible at great risk.
Greatest game in history: Tiger Woods 2019 Masters win.
Best gadget ever: iPhone.
First computer: Macintosh 128K.
Current phone: iPhone XR.
Favorite app: Pluto TV.
Favorite cause: No Pebble Mine.
Most important technology of 2020: N95 face mask.
Most important technology of 2022: Augmented reality.
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: Always remain open to redefining what success and happiness look like.