• May 18, 2022

Rocket.Build 2021 Highlights Creativity and Community

Since 2014, Rocket Software has hosted our annual innovation event, Rocket.Build, to urge our employees to find creative ways to make a difference for our customers, partners and the entire Rocket community. For the first six years, the event was hosted in person – teams working together for a week, day and night, from various conference rooms around the globe. The past two years, the event shifted to a virtual structure to prioritize everyone’s safety amid the ongoing pandemic. As a result, participation and more importantly, collaboration, took off. 

The virtual event set records for participation from Rocketeers, partners and even university students who were now able to collaborate from wherever they were in the world. The virtual Rocket.Build continues to be a chance for contestants to flex their coding and creativity skills while networking with fellow experts with a shared passion. 

Dedicating the Space to Create 

We know Rocketeers are busy solving our customers’, partners’, and other Rocketeers’ complex problems, moving them closer to their transformation goals and helping their solutions operate at peak performance. With this critical work filling their days, there often isn’t enough time to work on that tool they’ve always wanted to experiment with or the idea they know would be useful but haven’t gotten around to executing. That’s what makes Rocket.Build so meaningful – it’s protected time devoted to creating. 

Participants are given the time away from their day-to-day work to completely focus on making their idea a reality. They see the project through from beginning to end, culminating in presentations to a panel of judges and executives from Rocket. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience to grow professionally and personally that results in products and solutions that often get integrated into Rocket roadmaps for our customers to put to use.  

We want to thank everyone for their hard work making Rocket.Build a success this year and congratulations to the winners! Read on to learn about some of the innovative projects from the event. 

Founder’s Cup Winners 

The Founder’s Cup is awarded by our co-founder, Andy Youniss. This year, the prize went to the builders of “Rock’nShare,” Jeremy Cathelin, Francois Carretti, Fabien Gautreault and Jean-Daniel Dumons. Their project was inspired by the live streaming e-sports platform. Something similar would be useful to them as developers in the professional world, they thought. Since working remotely, they had lost the ability to do paired programming, where multiple coders share the same screen with one typing and the others explaining what to type. 

This sparked their project, which allows live code to stream between users for streamlined collaboration. Code sharing from a central repository across time zones brings in the different perspectives that developers were lacking in the remote work environment. With this solution, they can again participate in live brainstorming similar to when they were working in the same room.  

Congratulations All of the Winning Teams  

Rocket.Build is more than simply a competitive exercise, many of the Rocket.Build projects are implemented after the competition into products and initiatives that are available to Rocket customers and team members. This event is about delivering real value, while having fun! Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to seeing how the future of your projects come to life. 

  • 1st Place: Detecting Anomalous Behavior on IBM Power-based Environments: Tim Hill, Prasad Potluri and Lodewyk van der Westhuizen 
  • 2nd Place: I’m SSO Excited: Hrithik Govardhan, Suman Appadwedula and Jared Hunter 
  • 3rd Place: DVM 2 Cloud: Veena Thomas, Raj Katira, Jyoti Jangam and Uvais Mohamed 
  • 3rd Place: RCOP – Rocket Capacity Operations Planning: Michael Rajkowski, Paul Chang, Larry Schoenleber and Dan Castle 
  • Executive Leadership Team Award: Automated Release Management in Jira Best: Nolan Rogers, Vadim Kokoulin, Joe Manganaro and Fayaz Abdul 
  • Executive Leadership Team Award: R&D Release Compliance Tracker: Grissom Ke, Jason Sun and Nannan Duan 
  • Newcomer Award: Machine Learning on z/OS Dataspace Logs: Jeyaananthen Balasubramaniyan, Vijay Chapalamadugu and Pavan Malladi 

Supporting the Community with Rocket.Build 

Rocket’s values of empathy, humanity, trust and love were highlighted across the projects presented at Rocket.Build. This year, judges awarded the inaugural Humanity Award to a team that pursues an idea that benefits the greater good of the Rocket community. This year’s award went to Matt Barkau, Priyanka Singh, Swati Dave and Amit Lokulwar for their work to make the Rocket site more accessible. With their solution, users can navigate the Rocket site using voice commands, a tool that is especially helpful for visually impaired users.  

Giving back to the community was a broad theme this year. For instance, the “Code Green” project allows users to turn their computer to an energy saving option to browse websites less graphically, ultimately reducing energy consumption and environmental impact. Another entry, “RocketHealth,” established an internal challenge to encourage Rocketeers to live healthier lifestyles through an app that has teams compete to be more active. 

These projects are only a few examples of the care and attention that Rocket.Build participants put into benefiting their coworkers and customers in creating their solutions. We’re proud to have a community that goes above and beyond to help each other and look for innovative ways to improve everyone’s lives. 

That’s a Wrap on Rocket.Build 2021 

Thank you again to all who dedicated time and energy to yet another inspiring Rocket.Build! If you’d like to learn more about the event, visit our website.

Matt Deres 1 Posts

Rocket Software SVP, Chief Information Officer. Matt Deres joined Rocket in 2019 as Chief Information Officer. He brings over 15 years of senior-level transformational IT experience and was previously the Senior Vice President of Information Technology at ACI Worldwide and the Vice President of Global Infrastructure & Operations at PTC. Matt was also the NA Regional Infrastructure Head at Computershare and the Global Hosting Services Manager for Thermo Electron (Thermo Fisher Scientific). Matt studied in the B.S. of Technical Operations Management program at Northeastern University and also studied in a Registered Nursing program.


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