This month’s “Faces of Abe” features someone who initially thought their career would take place on a stage, but then took a somewhat ironic path to technology. When not ensuring that our systems are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible, this newlywed can be found taking on complex home projects and listening to a quite eclectic music playlist. Say “Hi” to Kody Peterson, Director of Engineering.

Where do you call home? 

Kissimmee, FL

How long have you lived there? Where before?

I’ve lived in this area for about eight years. Prior to moving to Central Florida, I lived about three hours south in my hometown of Cape Coral.

Who calls Central Florida home along with you?

I’m a newlywed – my wife (Jessica) and I got married this past November. We have the pleasure of providing a home for Derrick, our Jack Russel/Beagle mix who we adopted in 2012.

What led you to your career path? 

College didn’t work for me. I tend to like to move really fast and consume as much information as quickly as possible and work to immediately put that information into something. That doesn’t really work when you have to sit through fundamental math and speech classes. This lack of “higher education” pushed me to work hard and consume as much information as possible from those around me and the work that I was doing. Ironically, my career in technology occurred when I began working as an IT Support Assistant for the state college that I originally attended as a student. From there, I progressed to working on the college’s website and learning management systems. 

A few years later, I moved to the greater Orlando area to work for The Walt Disney Company helping them launch a new website and later working to help drive the adoption and implementation of new technologies. In 2018, I joined as a Senior Software Engineer working to enhance our Conversate management interface. Over the course of the year that followed, I began a full-time transition to managing and building our infrastructure to support the technological demands of real-time financial conversations.

Speaking of your role, tell us more about what you do at… 

My primary focus is the management and implementation of our infrastructure and release/deployment pipeline. I lead the Cloud Engineering team that works to ensure our systems are running as efficiently as possible and providing a quick response for our clients’ customers talking to the Virtual Financial Assistant. I also support our teams with architecture planning, front end code hacking, as well as repository and code guidelines and governance.

How long have you been with Abe? 

Two and a half years, but man it feels like way longer than that…in a good way!

What do you enjoy best about working at 

The technical challenges of real-time financial communication. Our infrastructure has to support the demands of our clients’ customers and we have to do this as quickly as possible to ensure the conversation occurs in real-time while feeling natural and not like you are talking to a “robot.” This brings unique challenges to how we operate our services and provision our network as well as pushing the boundaries of how we utilize virtual hardware to train the assistant in near real-time.

What do you do in your spare time? 

House projects: You know – those projects that you would typically call on a contractor or someone that knows what they are doing. Nope, not me (which my wife is not a fan of)! I love pushing myself to try to figure out construction related projects on my own. Recently, we built a mudroom in our garage entry replacing a useless piece of granite – complete with a bench and storage space. Currently, we are working on building two, multi-tiered L-shaped garden boxes for our backyard while working to complete our outdoor patio with a stone bench and a fire pit. Next on the list is an outdoor kitchen complete with a sink!

Trail Hiking – Getting outside for some fresh air is always a weekend favorite (when not working on home projects). Jessica and I are working towards multi-day backpacking, but for now we stick to day-hiking local trails.

What’s getting heavy rotation in your music playlist these days? 

I’m a huge fan of 90’s punk rock, but also sprinkle in some techno, big band, jazz/ska and even some songs from broadway hits like “Newsies” or “Hamilton.” That’s a playlist I can listen to year round!

Favorite TV show/series? 

Without a doubt – “Breaking Bad.” Nothing compares to this show for me. “Better Call Saul” has come close, but man, what I would give to have some more “Breaking Bad!”

Favorite movie of all time? 

Hands down, “Office Space.” I am a huge fan of comedy. Mix that in with how everyone really feels about technology (PC LOAD LETTER!) and a red stapler and you’ve got yourself a classic!

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

In my younger years, I was in an “on-Broadway” running of “Miracle on 34th Street.” I played Thomas Mara Jr. as well as other various background characters throughout the show. For a while, I was planning on going the acting route, but instead was bitten by the technology bug later in high school. My love for Broadway continues to this day as Jessica and I regularly go to the theatre.