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Want to Work with Us? Take a Peek at What We Did in 2014
Since we’re always on the lookout for great talent in Kansas City, we attend career fairs throughout the year and encourage our co-workers to recruit their hard-working friends. Through these processes we get a lot of questions about our company culture and what a day at RNL looks like.
We figured, in addition to telling you, we’d show you what life is like at the white building on Rainbow Boulevard by recapping 2014.
The year brought new faces…
It brought 15 new faces, to be exact. All four departments boosted their counts, with three new creatives in marketing, seven new brains in engineering, three new brawns in sales, and one new support in operations (who we stole from Apple). If you’re a quick mathematician you probably noticed that these numbers only add up to 14. So who’s missing? Why, that’d be our new CEO, Dirk Wakeham.
Speaking of new faces, the summer meant the return of our engineering internship program. Veteran intern Russell White returned for his third summer in a row. With him came University of Kansas computer science students Daniel Anderson and Alvin Cheung. We remembered why we wholeheartedly believe in meaningful (and paid) internships. And when the summer was up? We sent off our new friends with what we knew they’d appreciate most: a Friday afternoon off, a company-wide foosball tournament, and a surprise gaming truck complete with four big-screen TVs.
…and some of our new faces weren’t human
We admit it: We’re just a mess of animal lovers. After housing an official “bring your puppy to work” day in 2013, we decided to let things be a little less official last year. It seemed it was almost every other week that a co-worker was bringing their furry friend into the office —whether it was a dog, cat, or rabbit. We met Joe’s laidback black lab, Donald, and Beth’s babies: golden retriever mix Holly and shepherd mix Jasmine. President Dan Miller even brought back the very popular Bernese mountain dog, Bear, who was immediately showered with tons of hugs and loving.
One of us played foster parent for a few weeks to two adorable terrier mixes. After the foster care period was up, three of us met up at KC Pet Project to meet the whole litter. Well, a few belly rubs and pairs of puppy dog eyes later, the three sisters found new homes.
Yeah, we got pretty nerdy at times…
And who wouldn’t? We are a tech company, after all. We baked a pi-shaped pie on March 14 and donned our geekiest shirts during spirit week. But that doesn’t mean we weren’t just a tad bit nerdy every day.
…but we still proved to be die-hard sports fans
This included dual monitors for Royals watching, Red Fridays during Chiefs season, and laptop relocation to the big screen for the World Cup. We debated over our favorite college teams and encouraged active lifestyles by playing together in basketball leagues.
If there’s one thing we loved to do, it was eat
We wouldn’t be Red Nova Labs if we didn’t take every opportunity we could to eat some delicious food. From planning a Thanksgiving potluck to preparing caramelized bananas in honor of the World Cup in Brazil, we know how to celebrate in style. Don’t even mention the words “shrimp boil” around our office unless you want to be greeted with 40 glazed over grins.
This year we hosted our first annual chilli cook-off, where 15 employees volunteered to whip up their best chilli and everyone else so kindly volunteered to eat all of it. The operations team delighted the office with all-you-can-eat tacos from Mi Ranchito, while the engineering department surprised us with Aussie meat pies from Pie Hole KC. Beth Donnelly, Project Manager and (as she’s colloquially known) “Momma storEDGE,” embraced her nickname fondly by regularly bringing in pick-me-ups in the form of bagels, donuts, and bacon. Whether it’s barbecue, lobster, pancakes, or gyros, if you provide it, you can guarantee we’ll stuff our faces with it.
Amidst all the coma-inducing lunches (and spontaneous breakfasts and surprise homemade baked goods), something else happened. We bonded with one another. Department lines blurred as designers sat with developers and interns joked around with the president. We hazed our new employees, discussed the company’s direction, and somehow found that our co-workers had become our friends.
We brought back spirit week
And what better way to celebrate your company and your co-worker friendships than with a second annual spirit week? We sported our favorite RNL-themed attire on Monday, found our twins on Tuesday, appreciated the wild west on Wednesday, and wore our favorite nerd shirts on Thursday. We finished the week on a funky note by wearing our best disco outfits on Friday.
We celebrated holidays together
The operations department officially won Halloween by dressing up as each other and hanging up the most ghoulish decorations around their office. They weren’t the only ones that got into the spirit, though. Red Nova Labs was filled with Despicable Me minions, witches, wizards, and even social media applications.
Then we got a little more sentimental with Thanksgiving. We reflected on all the things that make working at RNL so great and took a two-day break to prepare for the sprints of work before the holidays. In December we brought out the Christmas tree and partied together by poking fun at our new CEO (he was a great sport) and wheeze-laughing at a comedy improv team.
We supported each other
Some of us celebrated important life milestones like getting married and having children. Others sought out to best personal goals, like brewing their own beers, running a 10k, and donating to ALS during the frenzy of the ice bucket challenges.
One of our new designers put his skills to slightly less conventional use when he printed out posters of developer Joe Istas during a particularly feature-packed release and again when he made pig-themed shirts and cups to accompany us on our outing to American Royal.
We made a mark in the community
Yes, it’s true we won KC SourceLink’s Battle of the Brands. Our office was featured in Silicon Prairie News and on KCTV5, while our unconventional startup culture landed us on Brazen Life and Finding Kansas City. But honestly, that’s not what we’re most proud of.
What we’re most proud of is the wonderful community of Kansas City. 2014 was a big year for our town with the Royals making it to the World Series and Huffington Post ranking KC as the coolest city in America. And we’re pretty pumped that we were here to experience it all.
We did our part to contribute to this wonderful city with events like the K-State Graphic Design Senior BFA Exhibition at our office and a canned food drive that we held for Harvester’s. We certainly hope to carry on our small part in 2015, with plans underway to host local WordPress meetups and speak at the American Institute of Artchitects panel on culture. Whether it’s putting food on our neighbors’ plates or working to cultivate Kansas City talent, we want a part in it.
Hop in on the fun this year
2014 was a year we won’t be forgetting soon. In fact, we hope to use it as foundation for an even better 2015. Want to join us? There’s always room at our ping pong table for one more.