Inside Orbit with Adam Gramling
Happy Friday, folks!
Continuing our Inside Orbit series, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Adam Gramling. Adam came to Orbit 2 years ago and is our Enhancement Project Manager. Adam handles all of our client enhancement requests. This is not a small task by any means, and Adam does it with a smile on his face (always), a Coke in one hand, and a box of Kashi cereal in the other. (Seriously, he eats a lot of Kashi and drinks a lot of Coke – they should probably sponsor his volleyball team).
Adam literally sits 2 1/2 arms lengths away from me and cracks me up all day long. If you’re ever in our offices you should swing on by. It’s like living in a dorm room back in our little nook. Guitar? Check! Peanut butter? Check! Volleyball? Check! Case of coca cola? Check check! (Note: I tried to take a pic but Adam wouldn’t let me post it).
Without further ado…
Where are you from?
I’m from Adrian, Michigan: delightful & strange. I like to say I’m Southern: my grandma and grandpa were from Arkansas. I definitely have a weird accent at times, but part of me thinks I just invented it to sound British (or get girls (0 for 2 haha)). People always ask me where I’m from, then I have to remember how thickly I spoke in my weird fake accent; I say ‘Michigan,’ they say ‘No way,’ and then I run.
What made you decide to become a PM?
I was a manager at a bookstore for most of my younger life, but when my place closed down (RIP), I decided to go back to school for web design. When I saw the Assistant PM position at Orbit, I honestly didn’t even know what a web PM did: I was aiming for a junior developer position. But I love the blend of social and technical in PM land; that’s always been my toughest challenge: finding a career that combined my love of gab and logic.
What brought you to Orbit?
Following some solid advice I got in an unemployment-mandated job skills class, I made a list of the top 50 companies I wanted to work for and then checked their job openings regularly.
Orbit was my number one company. I loved their attitude, their portfolio, and the fact that they were in the Ravenswood corridor (3rd coolest street in Chicago!). When I saw the open position, I jumped and they luckily hired me: my unemployment was almost up!
Tell me about a favorite project you worked on and why?
I’ve worked on a lot of fabulous projects, but my favorite would have to be the Golden Apple Scholars program. The challenges were interesting, the client was fun and the work our developer did was grand.
Can you share at least one tool or trick that makes your life easier as a PM?
It’s not really a tool or a trick, but I find that everything goes better when I frame everything (and I mean everything) positively. Oh, your launch is delayed? A great opportunity to hone the content. That estimate came in higher than you were thinking? Look at all the ROI it’s going to bring. Gremlins ate your website? Gremlins are pretty cool!
Focus on the positive, even when there isn’t any.
What industry blogs or sites do you read religiously?
Embarrassingly none, besides our own. I do a lot of crosswords though: that has to count for something!
Who’s your hero? Why?
My parents. They’re just the nicest people: funny, smart, loving; everything you want to be as a human.
What’s one tip that you can give a client about redesigning a website?
Don’t get overly bogged down in the sitemap phase: the beauty of a content management system is that you can change your sitemap as time goes along. Follow some best practices for sitemaps and website navigation and keep that project humming along!
What motivates or inspires you?
Doing good work and cracking people up.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I wrote a musical. No, you won’t hear it. But I’m trying to write two more!
How many cups of coffee do you consume in a day?
I’m a Coca-Cola guy. I drink a lot: it’s delightful.
What’s your favorite nickname and how did you get it?
A-train: I gave it to myself. I tried to get Siri to call me ‘A-train’ and she kept saying it like ‘a train’ – which was annoying/fun. I really don’t talk to Siri enough to warrant her calling me anything, so maybe it was for the best. It’s not a real nickname (though I still feel cool saying it).
If you could see any band (past or present) who would it be?
What beer do you currently have in your fridge at home?
I love Finch Beer. One of my old co-workers is the Head Brewer: super nice guy. Other than that, I go for PBR or Brooklyn Brewery or something equally hipstery.
What do you like to geek out on?
People talking. I love when people ramble longer than they should. It fascinates me. I used to play this game to see how long I could get someone to talk about something, but then I realized it’s kinda mean.
Isn’t he a jolly fellow? You could find him on Twitter if he was a Tweeter, but he’s not. So, you’ll have to say hi to him in the comments below.