While completing my Bachelor of Commerce in the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University I sought out ambitious projects to hone my skills and build my resume during the summer months. In the spring of 2001 Leonard Lee gave a presentation on campus and mentioned that Lee Valley was ramping up a team to build their own eCommerce site. I interviewed for the content management team lead position and got the job, in part, due to the live demonstration of the ASP-based site I had built in the 3rd year IS design course (taught by my favourite professor, Rob Riordan).
That summer I managed a team of 7 staff converting catalogue photos, text and pricing information from a Sybase backend system to the new web architecture. I played a key role in the development of the custom CMS, communicating business needs to the technical staff, and providing training to the new web content staff. By the time I left the following year (staying on part-time while completing my degree), the website would grow to become Lee Valley’s leading sales channel. It is a testament to the quality of that team effort that the core user experience / design of the site has not needed to change in almost a decade since it was launched.