Friday, June 5, 2009

TechLife Profile - Kevin Welker - Product/software development manager at 2Checkout.com


By Catherine Reynolds

Kevin Welker is the product/software development manager at 2Checkout.com. The Columbus-based company, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, offers a turn-key solution for small businesses to sell products online by accepting the most popular payment methods as efficiently as possible.

In his role at 2CO, Kevin has broad responsibilities, including assisting with architecture, product direction, project management, working with vendors and managing a team of developers.

Before joining 2CO almost nine months ago, Kevin spent more than a decade at the Columbus offices of AOL, Netscape and CompuServe, where he started as a developer and later became development manager. In these capacities, he worked with numerous technologies and systems over the years. At AOL, he was part of starting the Netscape ISP from scratch to a business with more than 500,000 users.

“After leaving AOL, I was thrilled to find a local spot with a company with such strong ecommerce and social Web 2.0 credentials,” he said.

A key advantage 2CO offers clients that they can start doing business on the same day they sign up, Kevin said. There are no merchant account fees or contracts, making it easy to sell online. Because of its ease of use, 2CO is ideal for business owners who want to focus on marketing and selling their products. 2CO charges a one-time setup fee and then earns a small percentage of each transaction. According to the company’s web site, 2CO serviced more than 2.6 million buyers for a total of $213 million in sales in 2008.

His experience at AOL was the reason Kevin was hired at 2CO, said Vic Cleary, ecommerce product manager. The company was looking to provide a layer of leadership to the product staff, he said, and they needed someone to be able to manage the programmers on the floor.

“A lot of the skills Kevin learned at AOL carried over into our small business. A lot of what he’s brought from his experience at AOL helps to ensure 2CO continues to improve from a user experience perspective.”

A lot of times in smaller businesses you’re in charge of everything, Cleary said. Applying best practices is hard to do because you’re managing people while at the same time doing some of the technical work yourself.

“Kevin is very approachable, and he brings a friendly attitude to an area that can be stressful. That is very important in his role,” Cleary said. “He does a good job of making sure the managers fully understand the expectations and keeping everyone on track and keeping expectations in check.”

Kevin grew up in the Toledo area in a “family of engineers.” As a kid, he used to write programs out of a computer magazine for the Commodore 64. He graduated from Bowling Green State University, where he majored in computer science.

Kevin has seen a lot of changes in technology in the past 10 years. The Internet has changed things dramatically, from ordering online, to the social media side and reconnecting with friends and former coworkers.

Kevin has been a member of the Columbus technology community since 1994. The collaboration taking place in the IT community is refreshing to see, he said.

“I’m psyched about changes in Columbus. A year a go, when I left AOL, I was looking to network, and now there are more events and more groups,” he said. “I’m sure there were networking opportunities before, but now they’re easier to find. You could attend an event just about every night.”

People starting technology careers today have a huge advantage, he said. “The barrier to entry is such that there is an opportunity to write and market your own software applications, such as iPhone apps.” He advises people to pursue what they want to do, whether on their own or with a company in that space.

Outside of work, Kevin enjoys family time and volunteering. He and his wife live in Bexley with their two children. He also is a member of the Bexley Technology Commission, an organization designed to provide the City of Bexley with a large pool of talent to solve city and community technology issues. For example, the BTC recently rebuild and launched the city’s web site Bexley.org. Kevin also recently helped a friend create the philanthropic web site “Make Cystic Fibrosis History.”

Kevin Welker: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinwelker

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Catherine Reynolds, CPC is the IT recruiting division manager at Dawson. View her LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/columbus and follow her Twitter updates http://www.twitter.com/CatRey

2 Comments:

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