Get to know the people behind the platform! Meet Hunter Stewart, a self-taught programming guru that has been with us for several years now. We sat down to chat about his background, how he came to GROUNDFLOOR, and what his favorite parts of the job are.
What do you do at GROUNDFLOOR?
I am a software engineer.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Mississippi, but I’ve moved all over. I lived in Austin, TX on and off for about 10 years before moving to my wonderful new home in Asheville. It’s the farthest north I’ve ever lived!
How did you end up at GROUNDFLOOR?
It’s kind of an interesting story! My background is actually in philosophy - that’s what I studied in college and that’s what my degree is in. What makes philosophy so interesting to me is the construction of a very specific, logical worldview governed by a particular set of rules. Software engineering, in my view, is very similar. I was drawn to the idea that I could create a functional system that operated based on specific, logical principles. So, after I graduated, I taught myself the programming language Ruby and decided to see where it could get me. I was primarily looking for a smaller organization that had values I could get behind, instead of working for some giant company.
In 2014, after looking for job opportunities on AngelList, I landed a phone interview with Chris Schmitt, GROUNDFLOOR’s VP of Software. We hit it off pretty much immediately -- I really loved how genuine and real he was during our conversation -- and I ended up having several more phone interviews with him. I really liked what Chris had to say about GROUNDFLOOR; the mission, the approach to finance, and the emphasis on leveling the playing field so everyone can participate were all aspects of the company that were incredibly appealing to me.
I was initially brought on as a remote contractor back in the days when GROUNDFLOOR was located in Raleigh and had just 5 or 6 employees -- in fact, I remember flying out to Raleigh for meetings and actually staying in Brian’s house! It was a wild ride, and one of the most exciting times of my career.
I’m now a full-time, remote software engineer, and I couldn’t be happier. Working around and with really good people is important to me, and it’s why I’m still here.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Well, I love programming and think it’s really fun, but what’s really special about GROUNDFLOOR is the mission of the company. The focus on creating equal opportunities for everyone is truly unique. Additionally, as I touched on before, I just love the team I work with. It’s such a tight-knit group -- it’s like a family. I know I’ll seem way too sentimental saying this, but I really do wake up and look forward to working with them every day.
What is your favorite midday pick-me-up?
Coffee! I love sitting on my back porch with a mug and just taking in the quiet. I also am very into meditating. I take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes to do a meditation of some sort -- it really helps me get in the zone for my programming work.
What is your hidden talent?
I’m a musician! I’ve been playing music basically my whole life. I can play the guitar, the piano, and the banjo.
What is your favorite item on your desk?
The picture I have of my wife and dogs. It makes me so happy.
Thanks so much, Hunter!