Six New Team Members Join Gaia GPS

We’ve just wrapped up a flurry of hiring at Gaia GPS, the biggest and fastest expansion the company has ever seen. We’re delighted to introduce you to six new Gaia GPS team members, all focused on making the software and maps better.

If you are on our mailing list, you probably saw our hiring blast earlier this year. All the folks you’ll read about below applied in response to that email and came from the Gaia GPS community. Get to know them below (ordered by start date), and then check out bios of everyone on the team on the Gaia GPS company page.

Austin Hess

Software Engineer III

1) Proudest Professional Achievement: Rebuilding the New York Times’ email and newsletter system from the ground up. As the primary engineer on the project, I designed and implemented most of the components of a system to notify millions of users of breaking news within minutes.

2) First Outdoor Adventure: I’m not sure exactly when my first outdoor adventure was, but I do remember one particular excursion near where I grew up in Pennsylvania. I was wearing rubber boots because the area was swampy, and as I was heading back I decided to take a shortcut along the edge of a pond. A few misplaced steps later and I was thigh-deep in smelly mud. After a 30-minute struggle, I extracted myself—but with only one boot. I walked the last bit with a bare foot, and never saw the boot again.

3) Go-To Camp Meal: Any rice/legume combo, with a good amount of hot sauce.

John Czaplewski

Software Engineer II

1) Proudest Professional Achievement: Designing and building a database and app for bedrock geology (Rockd). Before, there was no easy way to find out what kind of rock you were standing on. Now you can just open an app.

2) First Outdoor Adventure: The first time I went backpacking was with the University of Colorado, Boulder, hiking club. During the night a snow storm rolled in, which forced us to wake up every hour or so and push the collapsed tent off of us. One of those times I thought I heard someone walking around to fix their tent, but in the morning I saw bear tracks inches from where my head was.

3) Go-to Camp Meal: Mac and cheese with smoked sardines.

Jay Martindell

Software Engineer III

1) Proudest Professional Achievement: Implementing smooth-zooming on the Google Maps website. It’s the kind of thing that mostly goes unnoticed, but it replaced the previously janky scroll-to-zoom function for customers who collectively use it a few billion times each month.

2) First Outdoor Adventure: When I was younger, my scout troop scheduled an intro-to-backpacking trip to Lanham Lake, an easy 1.5-mile trek. We were hit with a torrential downpour that lasted all weekend. After sloshing through shin-high puddles, we arrived at camp, erected a fortress of tarps, and made the best of it. When we noticed the “Noah’s Tarp” branding on one of them, we couldn’t stop laughing. It’s difficult to say we spent much time “outdoors” that weekend, but we certainly experienced the elements.

3) Go-to Camp Meal:
As far as I’m concerned, there are two ways to eat ramen: as a dry slab topped with seasoning powder, or cooked with butter and seasoning powder. Anything involving liquid in the final result is a recipe for a scalded lap (I would know).

Torrey Hogan

Software Engineer in Support

1) Proudest Professional Achievement: Working for Pacific Gas and Electric after the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion—I trained a team of engineers to perform quality control for improved safety.

2) First Outdoor Adventure: My first backpacking trip was on the Kalalau Trail in Kauai with my best friend. We planned a 10-day trip for only 22 miles of trail, and camped at the same beach for six days. We almost lost our minds to boredom.

3) Go-To Camp Meal: Pad Thai Ramen. With crunchy peanut butter. Add hot sauce as needed.

Lee France


1) Proudest professional accomplishment: Working in the Patagonia region of southern Chile, creating topo maps to be used for the Patagonian Expedition Race. At the time, the area hadn’t really been mapped, and the effort involved some intense backcountry field testing.

2) First Outdoor Adventure: The trip that comes to mind was a nordic ski summer dryland camp I did in Washington when I was probably 11 or so. I had a very uncomfortable external-frame pack my Mom had used hitching around New Zealand when she was in college. I also remember getting a fish hook stuck in my hand while at camp…rookie mistake.

3) Go-To Camp Meal: Mac and cheese with a bunch of added veggies and some sausage cooked over the fire or stove. Not the lightest-weight meal, but so worth it after a long hike!

Jeremy Lehman

Software Engineer I

1) Proudest professional accomplishment: Helping to launch the share feature for Amazon Photos, allowing customers to share their photos with all their loved ones and friends.

2) First Outdoor Adventure: My first outdoor adventure was climbing Mt. Ellinor in the Olympics during the spring. I managed to only fall down a grand total of 20 times.

3) Go-To Camp Meal: Backpacker’s Pantry Three Cheese Mac & Cheese

New Projects on the Horizon

With the size of the company expanding by almost 50 percent in recent months, the team is excited to dig in on projects to add great features, faster infrastructure, and more maps. Keep an eye out for big improvements to Hike Search, as well as updates to the map catalogue and mapping efficiency on the mobile app.

We’ve wrapped up this round of hiring, but we look forward to growing even more in the future. Be sure to check the Gaia GPS Jobs page for current and future openings.