Friday, September 19, 2014

Employee Spotlight: Danny Valdez

Danny Valdez
Our greatest strength here at LinkU is the people that serve on our team. In August, we had our company quarterly meeting and handed out awards to some of our *star* employees for the quarter. The special thing about these awards, is that they are nominated by their peers. There is no better way to know who the shining stars of the team are then asking the team itself. By pointing a spotlight on each of the winners, we hope you get to know them and our company culture a little bit more.

Danny Valdez a.k.a. "The Little Designer of LinkU" is a Senior Designer at LinkU. Danny received an award for "Above and Beyond" at LinkU. The "Above and Beyond" award is awarded to the employee who truly goes above and beyond their job description to provide our clients the best product and service. Danny has been with LinkU since its humble beginnings and has had a pivotal role in making LinkU what it is today. Please meet Danny....

Give me a little info on you. Where you grew up? What did you enjoy as a kid?

I grew up in San Jacinto, California, a rural/suburban town about 2 hours east of Los Angeles. As a kid I would often dress up as Batman or a Ghostbuster. My teenage years were lived in front of a Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64. And much of high school was spent awkwardly quoting Austin Powers. One constant though, was an interest in art; specifically drawing. I went to UC Riverside where I graduated in 2005 with a BA in Fine Art.  It was there that I was first introduced to digital art, Photoshop, and web design.

What inspires you?

Art/Design/Creativity/Experimentation/etc. I'm inspired by artists and craftsmen who are passionate about the work they create: who strive not to just learn new skills, but to create new techniques, to perfect their knowledge of a specific medium, and to become masters at what they do, through precision and dedication, all with a socially conscious awareness as to how their work may affect the world around them.

What do you love most about your current role?

Having been with LinkU for nearly 8 years now, I have definitely been able to watch this company grow. But it has only been recently that I felt I had any say in "how" we grew. I am now more closely involved with the implementation of larger company projects, including the evolution and maintenance of our back-end systems, and I love being able to have a say in what the face of LinkU will look like in the years to come.

What have you learned while working at LinkU?

Nearly everything I know about web design.  I left college with little more than a vague introduction to HTML authorship (and Flash; this was 2005), and thought of entering the web design field as merely a backup plan to other artistic pursuits. But my time with LinkU has been extraordinary in their ability to let me learn and grow both technically and creatively. I went from fumbling my way through projects, not always fully understanding why or how things were working, to a lead designer who feels like they have complete artistic control over the technology in front of him.

What are your current hobbies/interests outside of work?

Since college I've been into comics.  But not comics like the Batman/Superman type. More like small, independent, stories, without men in tights and scantily clad women battling to save the world. I've been creating small comics since that same time. I'm currently trying my hand at a long-form web-based comic project, updated weekly.  It's available here: http://tenyears.dmvcomics.com. I also like to run.  And when I travel I take way too many photos.

What’s your favorite music, movies, foods, etc.?

I've been listening to Tool on repeat every day of my life since 2000. (Well, maybe not the much. But I've listed to them a lot.) I think The Wire is a (nearly) perfect show. I'm not sure I label movies as "favorites" anymore, since I almost never watch anything twice—but I think the last movie I saw in theaters was Boyhood, and it was amazing. I love pesto. Anything with pesto. Also, living in LA, I feel personally connected to the Metro system here and use it every chance I get. I think that is literally everything there is to know about me! The end!
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