Meet Submittable: Interview with Greg Grossi, Programmer

09/28/2015

In this next installment of our Meet Submittable series, we chat with Greg Grossi, one of our rock star programmers.

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Greg Grossi shunning modern technology.

Tell us a little about yourself.

When I was a kid I was infatuated with the movie Smokey and the Bandit and wanted to be a truck driver when I grew up. I had my first job in a bicycle shop when I was 13, and saved enough money to buy this new type of bicycle called a mountain bike. It was around this time I also discovered this narrow board that you stood on like a skateboard with a rope handle attached to the nose and started sliding down hills. Fast forward thirty years and I’m still doing the same thing, except I’m a programmer and not a truck driver. But I’m still riding and sliding down hills.

I see this ancient, wooden sliding contraption is still celebrated in Turkey at the Petranboard Skiing Festival. Did you make your own board as a kid?  

I’ve never heard of that festival in Turkey, but it looks like fun! At first we did make our own until my best friend, Danny, actually got one of the first Burton snowboards called The Woody. I vividly remember the first time on it in his backyard, laughing at each other and taking turns wiping out.

What do you do at Submittable?

I drive around in the Submittable van and give out free ice cream cones. Some days I try to program.

How did you come to work at Submittable?

John Brownell, one of our three genius Submittable co-founders, was someone I had worked with in the past and I found him to be just a pleasant, great dude.  He’s from Michigan and lived one town over from me in high school. I was pretty sure he and I were the only Detroit Lions fans in Montana. During our next meeting we talked music and I discovered he was the lead singer of my favorite Missoula band. Sometimes you just get a feeling about a person in life and don’t know why… then you get a random email, which leads to an interview, which ultimately leads to this work situation that I have never in my life felt so good about.

You have a degree in Forestry. Did you study programming in conjunction with forestry? If not, how did you become such a tech whiz?

Funny, I actually hated computers until I was forced to use one for a GIS class. After graduating in Forestry from the University of Montana, I moved to Bozeman. I had a heck of a time finding a decent forestry job so I went back to school for computer science. At that time it was very easy to find an IT job in Bozeman.

How long have you lived in Montana? What brought you here?

This is my 20th year here. While I was a forestry major at Michigan State University I took a summer road trip with a couple of friends to Missoula. Upon my return I promptly quit school at MSU and transferred to the University of Montana. I lived in a storage closet in my mother’s condo while I saved enough money to buy a $500 car and enough cash to get to Missoula. As they say… the rest is history.

What do you do in your free time?

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Greg snowboarding in Glacier National Park

I enjoy hiking, fly fishing, and snowboarding at the low profile ski resorts. My hands-down favorite mountain is Lost Trail. They aren’t open Monday through Wednesday which makes for some insane powder days on Thursday. Adventure motorcycle riding takes me all over the West. A lot of times I don’t even have a plan. I just pack to camp and end up someplace weird.

What’s been your best food experience?

I was just in New York City enjoying a celebration of Denver cuisine at the James Beard House. We were there to enjoy a dinner prepared by the top five chefs in Denver. Lucky for us, my brother is one of these five. He served a killer dish of roasted Colorado lamb and fermented Hotchkiss apples.

No way! That’s a big honor for your brother (and a lot of fun for you, it sounds). What is his name and where does he ply his trade?  

Yes, it was a big honor for him and he deserves it. His name is Kevin Grossi and he works at Lola Mexican Fish House in Denver. If you are ever there, I highly recommend Sunday brunch.

What’s your secret talent/superpower?

I think it might be coaching youth sports. I have been coaching youth hockey and soccer for the last 10 years and I’m now seeing some of these kiddos play competitively in middle school and high school. I would say the superpower is introducing a brand new sport to a timid kid and watching that kid develop into a confident player who truly loves the game.

Sasha Bell