Employee Spotlight – Wade Allen enjoys translating technology into beautiful images

Wade Allen, Quality Assurance (QA) Lead, graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in bio-medical engineering. He had an interest in medical imaging, and after graduation was hired by Vanderbilt to make “pretty pictures” for research papers. He enjoyed analyzing MRI images that told a story about a patient’s brain, abdomen, or spine. Wade is included as an author on several papers due to his work.

Wade enjoyed working with people and patients as much as he enjoyed analyzing the resulting scans. He worked with a few MRI machines that used very powerful magnets, and patients could not have any metal inside their bodies. Wade would share details about the machine with patients and help calm them before their scans.

After four years at Vanderbilt, Wade started his first software testing job. He remained in the medical field, but now he would test software that helped surgeons guide where to implant medical devices in the brain. The company was so new, it operated out of a condominium. The servers were in the bathroom, and if they ever got too hot, Wade had to cool them down with an AC unit stored in the bathtub.

Wade moved from that small start up to a very large health insurance company where his skills at testing software accelerated. He learned how to make major improvements based on the needs of the end user. His broad experience made him the perfect employee for Velocity, although he wasn’t sure about that during the interview process.

Sean Rand, VP of Technology, asked some tough questions during the interview. “I asked Wade to share his approach on challenges, failures and successes. One key learning I took away was his growth mindset of constant improvement and teamwork,” Sean reflected. “I knew in that moment that Wade would be a pivotal contributor to the success of Velocity Risk. His uncommon background in biomedical engineering allows him to think in ways other people may not, and that is a major strength he brings to his team. His commitment to Velocity Risk whilst balancing family life is testament to his ownership and leadership skills, I’m excited to support Wade’s growth even further in the coming years at Velocity Risk.”

Velocity was launching a new Policy Administration System, and Wade was hired to test the system and every phase of the process from a broker starting a quote to finalizing the declarations page for the customer. Wade knew that testing was more than understanding the rules of the system; it was about understanding the needs of the customer. He reached out to the product development teams that required the software he was helping build. He formed many working relationships, asking the right questions to ensure the final product would be a success.

Nathan Quist, Sr. Product Analyst, knows firsthand the importance of the product team’s connection with the technology team. “Wade helped me understand how the system worked and how I could better test tickets that applied to my work. Because he was not as familiar with property insurance, I shared my product knowledge. He quickly picked up concepts, resulting in solving issues early, before they would be harder to find and fix.”

One of the many reasons Wade enjoys his work at Velocity is that the company embraces technology without being a tech-only company. He feels encouraged to push the envelope, taking on difficult challenges without the fear of failure. Wade believes that “failure teaches us,” and is proud to work for a company that supports and embodies that value. Wade remembers his favorite project as one that required long hours, late nights, and lots of opportunities to fail before the final, successful project was launched. The team even earned T-shirts that showed off their camaraderie and collaboration.

One of Wade’s teammates on the project was Nathan Martinez, Developer in Technology. Nathan knew the project would succeed thanks, in part, to Wade’s leadership and communication skills. “Wade is the kind of leader that exemplifies Velocity’s cultural values. He’s a phenomenal QA engineer, but he is also a kind and effective communicator; the work he has done in training and organizing QA technical resources and personnel have been a major factor in the successes on the Tech team. Wade is fun to talk to. And, if you can catch him on a virtual call, you may get to see his adorable kids in the background!”

When Wade isn’t solving tech challenges, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, ages 8, 5 and 2. The family shares Wade’s fascination to learn and experience new things. Their interests range from violin, baseball, and playtime. When the family plans a trip, they look for new and interesting cities to visit. If a city hosts a great museum, playground, hiking trail and restaurant, there is a good chance the family will book an Air BNB so they can enjoy everything the town has to offer as soon as they walk out the door.