Introducing the brand new Packbackbooks.com

Meet the Packback team behind the new Packbackbooks.com website, and learn about our process that led us to the relaunch of our new site!

After nearly 9 months in the making, we are proud to announce the release of the brand new Packbackbooks.com website! We could not be more excited, not just about the new site and what it’s going to allow us to do in the future…but about the awesome people that built it.

For a little background on the relaunch: Packback was founded by four students at Illinois State University 3 years ago. Of our four cofounders, three are business guys and I am a product designer…but none of us are engineers. We launched the first Packback MVP in 2012 out of our dorm rooms at ISU with the help of an awesome Chicago tech incubator Dashfire, who handled our engineering work in the early days of Packback. The Packback MVP carried us through two years of growth, including surviving the spike in traffic from our appearance on Shark Tank, but it was time to build our long-term solution that would carry us into Packback’s future.

We are proud to now have one of the most incredible engineering teams in Chicago at Packback, and we made a decision as a team to rebuild and redesign from the ground up. We stripped out many of the original MVP’s less-used features (goodbye, feature creep!) which allowed us to focus our customer’s attention on the goal of searching for and renting their class eTextbook. The heroes behind the Packbackbooks.com relaunch are Packback’s code cowboys (and cowgirl!); our awesome engineering team.

Meet the Packback Engineering Team

Meet Karl “Tennessee Honey” Hughes

Karl joined the Packback team as one of our very first founding team members (Employee #4!) and has really seen Packback come to life. He’s a unique breed; a talented tech entrepreneur, who genuinely cares and empathizes with his team members and has become an amazing leader as Packback’s Head of Engineering. Outside of engineering at Packback, he runs a several of his own side ventures; ITBrander, a job site for IT Professionals, JobBrander, a job site and media site for general job seekers and Casual Kook, a site where he shares his own vegetarian recipes and adventures in fitness.

Check out Karl’s blog, side projects and all-around awesomeness here.

Meet Samantha “Code Warrior” Geitz

Sam started out studying literature, learned to code on her own, went back to grad school to become an engineer, and has come full-circle back to her literary background, using her engineering superpowers to help Packback rent eTextbooks to college kids! Sam is one of the leading minds in the country on Laravel development, and will be presenting at this year’s Laracon on August 11th. Sam other superpowers include; finding the perfect GIF for any situation, maintaining a vow of silence every morning until reaching sufficient coffee intake, and out-nerding anyone at Game of Thrones book-to-show accuracy ratios.

Check out Samantha’s blog here. (Right now, she’s doing a series on the Do’s and Don’ts of becoming a web developer!)

Meet Pete “Running Man” Clodi

Pete joined the Packback team this Winter, right in the thick of the start of the Winter Semester (one of Packback’s craziest times of year) but has always been cool as a cucumber. From his first weeks here, he has completely redefined the way we approach our site’s front-end, pushed us to always take a step back to evaluate our processes and proposed solutions…and made the rest of us realize what massive couch potatoes that we are. He has so many 5K, half-marathon, and marathon medals that he leaves one at the office to use as a beer bottle opener like it ain’t no thang. Last summer, Pete backpacked across Europe, and now he’s Packback’ing along with us!

Check out his recent presentation about AngularJS apps here.

Meet Brice “Dr. Pepper” Shatzer

Brice is Packback’s resident sassy Sass expert. Not only is he obsessed with perfection in his front-end code, he is always coming up with great new ideas for how to improve our UX (and his suggestions are always delivered as a masterful sassy quip, of course). Instead of turning coffee into code, Brice subsists almost exclusively on Dr.Pepper. We’re kind of hoping all the chemical in that stuff make him live forever, since we kind of like having him around. This year Brice has: launched 1 complete front-end for Packback, drunk nearly 200 bottles of Dr.Pepper, and funded all the crowdfunding campaigns he could get his hands on. A few of his favorites: Exploding Kittens, Max Gentleman and Reading Rainbow.

Check out Brice’s Github here. Check out his website here.

Meet Eric “The Professor” Tendian

We call him The Professor for a reason. Eric is the most brilliant 20-year old that we’ve ever encountered. When Packback has a problem, Eric figures out how to fix it. No problem is too big or too small, too front-end or too-back-end. Besides being Packback’s Software Engineering intern for well over a year, Eric is launching his own startup, a student class registration platform called Clarify, and by night he’s basically Batman. He runs a site called Crime is Down that live-tweets crime updates heard on the City of Chicago’s Police Scanner. Eric can be found in the Packback office late into the night with a police radio in his ear, keeping Packback and the City of Chicago safe.

Learn more about Eric (Chicago’s engineering prodigy) here.

And big shout out to Steven Maguire, who laid down the foundation of Packback’s architecture, helped hire many of our first engineers, and built out our initial product development process.

If you want to learn more about Packback, read our story here.

If you want to meet the rest of the Packback team, visit our team page!

And of course, be sure to check out the new packbackbooks.com!