To Alan Cherney, programming is an art and he happily bears the title of artist. Programming satisfies his creative urge because, as he says, "you're building something and it involves design and structure." Alan has always been interested in art and computer graphics, and throughout high school he built a portfolio intending to apply to art school. When he began using his computer graphics in simple web programming, he found he had a real knack in that area and changed his focus to computer science, with emphasis on art and design. During his last several years in high school and all through college, Alan was able to earn money and gain experience doing freelance computer graphics.
Alan became an intern at ACS while still attending the University of Michigan, and joined fulltime when he graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. Here at ACS, Alan has been able to make good use of his graphic abilities in the design of GUI interfaces, splash screens, logos and icons and much more.
Coworker Ashley Richter has this to say about working with Alan: I've worked with Alan, the artist, not Alan, the programmer. And, as an artist he's done a wonderful job with a major development project I'm working on. Before Alan got onboard, it was--frankly--rather ugly and we got told so on multiple occasions. But, with Alan's artistic input, it now looks really good and we've gotten lots of compliments on its appearance. I don't know what we would've done without Alan."
Alan grew up in Ann Arbor and wanted to go to the University of Michigan ever since he can remember. It's somewhat of a family practice; Alan's grandmother was the first woman to graduate from U of M with a PhD in organic chemistry. That was in 1935, so the tradition runs deep.
Alan is a member of the product development team led by Howie Brooks. In addition to using his graphic skills, Alan has worked for many clients on numerous software modifications. He has also worked on such major development projects as "internationalizing" Advantage for easy translation into languages other than English, a new client billing system, and –his favorite—rebuilding customer relationships in Advantage. Alan appreciates Howie's leadership style, saying that he is supportive and quick to offer help. Howie is also a great resource, says Alan, and if he doesn't know the answer, he knows who to talk to in order to get it.
In return, Howard appreciates Alan's varied abilities. "In addition to being a great programmer, Alan has an artistic streak. He's known around the office for his whiteboard drawings and he loves to pitch in designing color schemes, icons and other UI elements whenever he gets the chance." Howie values Alan for another reason as well: "When a group of engineers work late into the evening, Alan's the guy who usually organizes dinner. This makes him an indispensible member of the team, along with his excellent engineering skills of course." And Howie has great respect for those skills, saying: "Alan has taken the lead on many large and complex development projects. Most recently he has been working through some very sophisticated alternate delivery functionality for some of our clients in Europe."
Co-worker Stan Bisgaier also comments on both the light and serious sides of Alan. "I always enjoy working with Alan," Stan says. "He has a great sense of humor and often has us laughing with a joke or song rendition, but he is always professional about his work. I'm continually impressed with how much he contributes to the software with his design and artistic talents, in addition to his solid programming skills."
Alan lives in Saline with his wife, Veronica and their infant son, Joaquin. Coming from a family of ten siblings, Alan loves a big family atmosphere and recently became interested in genealogy. He has traced his family line back five generations, and was successful in finding records on 31 of the 32 family members.
In his leisure time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family—son "JoJo" is just getting to the age where he appreciates Dad's attempts at being a growling bear and the two are learning to wrestle together. Hockey is another interest, and Alan is a goal tender on a local hockey team. He is also training for the Chicago marathon later this year. An accomplished runner, this will be his third marathon. Serving as a youth leader at a local church is also on Alan's list of interests, and if there is any time left, Alan likes to indulge his love of art with drawing—graphite his medium of choice.
We're glad that Alan is able to practice his art with Advantage as his canvas.