UtilityAPI is growing, but we’re still a compact organization. Every new person we hire has a noticeable effect on who we are as a company. Strong hires are key to our success, and thus, to yours. Meet our latest great hire, Kaleb Smart. Want to talk to someone about getting high quality data for your clean energy projects? Contact us!
It’s tempting to make a little joke about names and destiny. But while true in this case, that’s simply not the most noticeable thing about Kaleb Smart, UtilityAPI’s new Senior Software Engineer. It’s his unique blend of leadership laced with kindness. There’s so much power there. Kaleb isn’t afraid to step in and claim it.
Kaleb went to the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), hoping to study computer science. UAH is known as Alabama’s aerospace engineering program, a feeder school to NASA. But to high school-aged Kaleb, it seemed like they also had a strong computer science program. It turns out they really only taught software engineering, so that’s what he studied, in addition to math and Russian.
No one Kaleb knew was going to UAH. So when he got to campus he did the thing he is known for — he stepped up as a leader to organize social activities that introduced like-minded students to each other. “From basically anywhere I’ve been, I’ve tried to organize after seeing a void of a particular thing,” Kaleb affirmed.
Like many who find their way to software development, one of the things that most interested him at the time was PC gaming. Once a semester, his group organized a gaming night. They rented the event center and invited all interested students to come. The biannual events were always a high success, so, with Kaleb’s help, they set their sights a notch higher — why not meet more often?
His group ended up creating a series of individual gaming clubs that brought people together on Tuesday nights for gaming nights. Students brought their laptops. Only it turned out that some couldn’t participate, because they didn’t own a personal computer. That wouldn’t do.
Kaleb’s group requested and got money from the University to buy computers, download games and have them ready for people to use. From there, they wrangled their own space, dedicated to PC and console gaming. The space teemed with people from different social groups, intermingling, having a great time.
Besides the fun and friends, it’s the power of community that Kaleb remembers. “UAH’s administration saw that there were a lot of students interested. They were like, yeah, let’s give them more money. That you can get something as stingy as a university to spend money on you, that shows there’s power there.”
These days, when he’s not organizing the real world into someplace kinder and more friendly, he can often be found organizing rounds of Dungeons and Dragons, which also gives him an outlet for his interest in improvisational acting and art. “As a dungeon master, I was very into miniature painting. I’d spend a lot of time painting 3d models I had printed. Because of COVID, we don’t get to play in person anymore. My art supplies are in storage. But we still play online.”
In addition to spending his time fighting climate change through the exchange of data at UtilityAPI, Kaleb does a lot of tutoring and mentoring. “That eureka moment when someone actually gets something. That look on their face. That awe of curiosity and inspiration… it’s the best.”
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