The BESPIN team owes a few thank you’s to our colleagues at Platform One in San Antonio, Texas.
Without the stellar work they’re doing and the collaborative environment they’ve created for their teams, Edward Blackburne might not be a part of BESPIN today.
“I had a few friends who were part of the PAQ program and worked at Platform One and they said it was a pretty good gig and I should look into joining,” Edward said.
The PALACE Acquire (PAQ) Program offers participants the opportunity to launch civilian careers within the Air Force. The multi-year formal training program offers positions in a range of fields such as engineering, personnel, science, security, and more.
After graduating from the University of Texas, San Antonio with a Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security, Edward applied for the PAQ program and was placed with BESPIN.
Moving to Montgomery, Alabama was a big change for this Texan but Edward says he’s been pleasantly surprised with how much he’s enjoying his new home.
“Coming from big cities like San Antonio and Houston, I had some preconceived notions about what living in a smaller city would be like but Montgomery is pretty nice,” he said. “I really like it, the living is slower-paced than a big city. There is always something going on in a city and that can tire you out quickly.”
His first PAQ placement at BESPIN was with our security team and Edward was recently named the delivery manager for Team Atlas. Team Atlas is BESPIN’s dedicated help desk for issues regarding accounts and access.
“I know this sounds a little cliche but security is pretty important and plays a role in every part of an organization,” he said. “Especially an organization like BESPIN where we are developing software and as Team Atlas we are the gatekeepers to all of the tools and environments the developers use.”
Even in high school, Edward said he was interested in tech but it was in college when he zeroed in on cybersecurity and saw its importance in the broader tech community and world. Security probably isn’t the first thing someone thinks about when they are interacting with technology but he reminds everyone it’s built into all of the tech and software we use daily.
“People don’t want to use an application that’s not secure,” Edward said. “However, security is often taken for granted.”
“If you want something to be secure you can lock it down completely and make it very hard for anyone to access but that wouldn’t bode well for BESPIN,” Edward said. “Yes, it would be secure if team members had to contact us every time they wanted login access for something but that logistically wouldn’t work for an ecosystem of our size with teams who are trying to accomplish a lot of things.”
The issue of security came up when BESPIN began working remotely in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With our teams continuing to work in distributed environments until we receive further notice. Instead of working from the BESPIN’s downtown Montgomery office, team members have been building applications from their homes.
“When we actually dug into it, working remotely is not that different from the BESPIN office. A lot of the applications and tools our team uses like Gitlab and Mattermost are self-hosted. That gives us more peace of mind than if we were using a SaaS offering in the cloud where we don’t know the locations of the databases, and simply hope the servers meet our security needs.”
And working from home has given Edward flexibility he didn’t realize he’d enjoy so much. Team members with early morning questions and late-night requests also benefit.
“I feel more in control of my schedule. You can hop on early if you want to start work early one day or if you need to take a midday break and then work at night, you can. If there is something you need to get done, it’s so much easier. It feels more flexible.”
As the United States Air Force’s mobile center of excellence, BESPIN delivers exceptional user experiences across both native and responsive applications. Everything we do is focused on enabling our community of customers, Airmen, vendors, and others to achieve digital mastery. We coach, train, mentor, and educate the next generation of digital service professionals.