I’m Matthew Scheffel, a software developer and former building automation controls technician. You can find my GitHub profile here, my Stack Overflow profile here, my Tableau Public profile here, and my LinkedIn profile here. I enjoy writing about what I ‘reckon here.
You can contact me directly here.
I spent most of my childhood tinkering with
obsolete free computers and developed “the knack” for technology. My toys were Lego, K’NEX, and the small wires that made pink smoke when I tried to fix my hand-me-down computer.
I knew I wanted to be some kind of engineer and that I had an aptitude for computers. I didn’t want to be stuck in a cubicle living that Dilbert software development life, so I opted to study something that could be more hands-on. In 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Ryerson University. That education gave me a well-rounded foundation, but I didn’t end up using it directly.
I became a field automation technician with Honeywell Building Solutions in Toronto, Ontario the same year I graduated. My educational background and computer aptitude allowed me to excel at this technical position. I was lucky to have a good relationship with my manager.
The nature of my responsibilities grew as my expertise and confidence increased. In 2015 a new role was created to describe the position I was already serving in the company, Branch Technical Specialist. I provided technical support for field technicians, proactively improved key sites, and handled field troubleshooting of high profile issues.
In the following year high management turnover left me unsure of who my manager was, and I lost the good working relationship I had. The future of the company seemed murky and my future with the company looked stagnant.
I left Honeywell in 2016 to join Airon HVAC and Control, a small controls company based in Burlington, Ontario. It was my first experience with installing controls systems from scratch, and my first experience with hiring. I did not last a year, though, as the computer aptitude that I resisted leaning into came knocking with an opportunity. I could work a lot less, trade the bucket in a boiler room for a large desk in an air conditioned space, and earn considerably more.
I was the first software developer hired by J. S. Ferraro, an expert in meat trading, livestock markets, and risk management. At the time their risk management system was largely Excel and e-mail based. I built a data acquisition and notification system for them, and converted their Excel spreadsheets into dynamic Tableau dashboards. I migrated their servers from hosted virtual machines in a datacenter to AWS and saved them a bundle doing it. Their data collection, predictive models, and visualization system likely has no equal in the meat & livestock market today.
After two years in the position, the system was built and stable. I hired three software developers and filled a temporary gap as the Acting Director of Information Technology. My former reluctance to enter the I.T. field came back to bite me, as I learned that information technology is not a field that I enjoy. Building new software systems? Love it. Budgeting and planning an ERP rollout? Not for me! I burnt out pretty quickly and quit.
I struck out on my own as a freelance software developer in February of 2020. With less reason to stay in a small, expensive Toronto apartment, my partner and I bought a house in Amherst, Nova Scotia.