In a world as ever-changing as the one 2021 has presented us, we recognize the need for influential technologists and the work they do in keeping us connected and moving forward every day.
Over the last year, we’ve seen projects related to COVID-19, healthcare technologies, innovations in city government, and tech companies that grow the local economies of our mid-Atlantic cities. It is, indeed, our job to stay tuned into this work here at Technical.ly. But in honor of our third annual RealLIST Engineers, it’s time that you all get to recognize them, too.
We’re spotlighting those developers, data scientists, meetup organizers and other innovators who are building new things every day and sharing what they’ve learned with their local communities. In building this list, the search began with a public call for nominations. Then, we consulted technologists — big shoutout to Ben Garvey, Anthony Putignano and Kris Molendyke for their review of the noms — and looked back through our own coverage.
As with last year, 2021’s honorees are creating, maintaining and securing the software and infrastructure that’s being built here in Philadelphia each day. Some come from esteemed higher ed backgrounds, while others are self-taught, but they’re powering the local tech industry as a whole. Whether they keep a busy meetup group going, have a passion for expanding the talent pipeline or work internally to inspire innovation in new devs, this group holds some of the “real”-est engineering folks we know.
Let’s take a look at the third edition of RealLIST Engineers in Philly, in alphabetical order:
Ronessa Acquesta, senior decision engineer, Nextmv
Acquesta’s nominator told us that out of the startup’s rapidly growing tech team, she stands out as “thoughtful, articulate and extremely talented.” But Acquesta didn’t start her career in engineering — in fact, for more than a decade, she taught math at two New Jersey schools.
In 2017, she pivoted, earning a certificate in data science and visualization from Rutgers University, and went on to work as a teaching assistant at two tech bootcamps: one at University of Texas, and on at University of Pennsylvania. She worked for three years as a software engineer elsewhere before joining Nextmv in March of this year.
“The transition from teacher to software engineer is no simple feat, especially as a woman in tech,” her nominator wrote. “She made the transition and is now helping give back to others trying to do the same.”
Matt Bell, director of product development services, NextFab
At the start of the pandemic, Bell and his team at the makerspace network worked overtime to figure out which projects needed extra resources and which organizations across the city they could assist. He was integral to NextFab’s effort to digitally distribute instructions and templates for mask making, his nominator wrote…