Employee Spotlight: Lucas

Envirosoft - January 11, 2023

Lucas joined Envirosoft as a Software Developer in November 2021 after three years in product development and test engineering. Lucas holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto. Currently, Lucas is working for Envirosoft part-time and training as a professional dancer part-time. This month, Lucas sat down with us to chat about juggling the two careers, building a new emissions heat map tool, and the impacts of the environment on health.  

How did you get into software development from engineering? 

L: After I graduated in 2017, I joined a nutraceutical company. My first project was going through hundreds of Excel files and extracting information and I realized it would be much more efficient to do that with Excel VBA, so that was my first programming experience in the workplace. After a year there, I got another role in programming and IT. When the pandemic started, I came back to Calgary [from Toronto] and I found my current role at Envirosoft.  

Tell us about the day-to-day of your role. 

L: It’s very diverse, there are lots of tasks and projects that the department is working on. I like that variety. They all involve programming in some way or another, which I love, so that’s great. Right now, I’m monitoring any data loaders hiccups, but the longer-term goals are working on the transition into the new tech stack. We’re doing Java right now but we’re trying to switch to JavaScript. We’re doing this because we’re trying to implement the new Planning Tool and it’s a lot easier to do that with a JavaScript front-end, which is a more modern way of making the website. We can have more up to date tools. One thing I’m really looking forward to working on is the heat map, which will be possible with React. It's a function that will be available within the Planning Tool at a later date.

What’s the function of the heat map?  

L: [The heat map] will take our clients emissions data and distribute these emissions on a map. We already have the data in our database but with this transition to React, it’s going to be a lot easier to create that plot, which is not so easy, or even possible at the moment. That's just one of the differences between Java and JavaScript. The newer technologies are more focused on JavaScript, so the switch helps us stay up-to-date too. The backend is still Java, but we’re also using a new technology. 

How would you describe the collaboration of the Dev team?  

L: It’s very good. We’re aware of what each person is working on and sometimes contribute things to each other's projects.  We work on our individual tickets, but we know there are people there in case we run into a blocker and that we can ask for help.  

Do you think that your background as an engineer helps you in your current role?  

L: Some knowledge definitely helps me understand what’s going on, like how the oil industry works, why do we have wells or what’s a well battery. I have to deal with those things in the tool that I built, so it does help to know why you would even have that but I wouldn’t say that it’s essential to have that background to be in programming. It’s helpful that my education and all the work that I did getting my degree isn’t all for nothing [laughs].  

What do you like to do outside of your job at Envirosoft?  

L: Dance. If I had my way, I’d probably be a professional dancer but I probably started too late, and I never really gave up on a career that would be more reliable. I started dancing when I was 19 with capoeira, which is a Brazilian martial arts style dance. Then I tried other things; I did a contemporary class, but that made me realize I had no technical skills, and so ballet was the next step and I’ve been dancing since then. I’m really grateful for the work-life balance here [at Envirosoft], I enjoy being able to do both and accommodate that. Aside from dance, me and my twin are planning to go back to Brazil this Christmas for two weeks to see our grandma. We’re from Campinas.  

If you could draw a Venn diagram of dance and programming what would be in the middle?  

L: Lucas [laughs]. Actually, I’m not the only engineer dancer in my dance program – the overlap is maybe creativity?  

Aside from dancing, what hobbies do you enjoy?  

L: I play the recorder. I actually spent a year developing an app to help people get better at the recorder, it helps to read notes in different keys. I like to read, I encourage people to get GoodReads. I’m reading Lord of the Rings right now, finally.  

What are some of your ecofriendly habits?  

L: Well, I recently moved to downtown so that I can walk to work and I love it. 

How do you feel about climate change? 

L: When we think about the environment, we can’t just think about the present moment. What doesn’t get brought up enough in discussions about the environment is that it has direct impacts on health, and health is very expensive. The damage to the population from pollutants are very expensive. We humans are part of the environment and we’re going to pay those prices anyways. 

Thanks for the chat, Lucas! To learn more about Lucas's dance program or to peruse his current reading list, visit the links below: