Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, programmer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

October 7, 2004

Day Three at Augeo Affinity Marketing

Lunch Break, Day Three at Augeo Affinity Marketing, Saint Paul, Minnesota — Things are going well at the new job. We've been in Minnesota about 7 weeks now, though I didn't re-start the job hunt in earnest till several weeks after we moved. Thus it was with some surprise that I received about phone calls and e-mails from about a dozen recruiters starting two weeks ago, and even more surprising when I received two excellent job offers last week. What a bounty to get two offers in the tech industry in this day and age!

Both positions would play a key role in generation and analysis of corporate data. Both would pay well. In the end, the decision was a confluence of two factors: environment, and, to a lesser extent, geography. Truth be told environment probably would have sealed the deal without geography. Environmentally, the rejected company is a large subsidiary of a Fortune 100 company, whereas Augeo is a small, private company with a family-like atmosphere rooted in the restaurant industry. Geographically, Augeo is less than four miles from my home and requires no highway travel (useful in winter), and the Fortune 100 would have required 15 miles of travel across downtown Minneapolis and involving two interstates and two other major highways.

So, to make a long story short, I now find myself learning the ropes at a great company with a high growth curve and room for me to make meaningful contributions outside of my narrow scope (if I'm up to the challenge). My title is "Data Analyst/Programmer;" I am responsible for maintaining various custom in-house software applications, as well as generating, tweaking, and interpreting data from thousands of customer records.

The history of the company is a bit complex and will bore most folks. The short, short version: Ember's Restaurants were founded in the '50's in the Twin Cities; in the late 90's, they were spun out as individual franchises to facilitate growth; the owners realized that they had a great franchise support model that they could apply beyond Ember's America, and thus created the Foodservice Advantage Club. This service has now been further refined into a whole package of business savings (through external service providers) and management tools that can be offered to small businesses through various large organizations — thus serving as a marketing and loyalty-building device for those large companies. The data we get back from the individual members allows us to make better sales pitches to both the large and small business participants, as well as refine our products and negotiate with the different service providers. Oh, and along with Ember's America, the company manages the U.S. franchise operations of the up-and-coming Joey's Only seafood restaurants.

The time off since moving here has been great; I haven't had that much time away from work or school in 11 years. Then again, I was doing quite a bit of work, not just sitting around reading (though I did plenty of that). But it was self-directed work, which was a nice change of pace. Nevertheless it feels good  to be getting out of the house again, meeting great new co-workers, and to be in a role where I'll be able sharpen my abilities while helping to develop a powerful business concept.