Jon Dodson
The headshot of Jon Dodson sporting a sharp red button down standing in front of a tree on a nice day.

Jon Dodson

Software Engineer and Leader - (971) 533-8367 - Portland, Oregon
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I'm a human-centered Engineer that creates products people love. I thrive working on challenging projects that are amazing enough to require intelligent Engineering and passionate consideration of system critical uptime.


  • 18 years professional experience designing and building web applications.
  • Ruby on Rails, AWS, Azure & Salesforce fluency.
  • Backend API design & development with other 3rd-party integrations.
  • Proven ability to take difficult projects from idea to production.
  • Management and leadership of cultural and skill diverse engineering teams.



February 2020 - Current
Lead Member of Technical Staff @ Heroku February 2022 - Current
  • Lead Ruby Developer on the Tools Support Experience team.
Lead Member of Technical Staff @ Trailhead February 2020 - February 2022
  • Leadership: Led the Engineering efforts of the Trailhead Assessment team. We managed the platform and services that powered hands on challenge & multiple choice question assessments. We worked at the center of the Trailhead monolith & services
  • Concept to Code: Shipped Badge Ratings from concept to launch. This project survived a large creep of product scope that caused a creative rearchitecture and ended up shipping with only a minor delay
  • Secure by Default: Worked closely with the security team to provide documentation and code fixes to ensure our new features were secure at launch
  • Team First: Created team runbooks to document and manage all team operations to enable seamless Engineering oncall and operation (Mystery Science)

March 2019 - February 2020
Senior Software Engineer March 2019 - February 2020
  • Lead an effort to upgrade from Rails 5, 5.1 to Rails 6 with zero downtime. Refactored usage of Octopus project gem Sharding to native Rails 6 Sharding.
  • Worked on Inventory Management for an all new Supply Pack project where we shipped physical packs to teachers for enhancing Mystery Science lessons. Worked alongside project leaders to hit a tight deadline. Took existing code that was hard to reuse and buggy and refactored it maximize ease of use and project success.
  • Worked on a security effort that identified several security concerns and remedied them. This security focus included secure code remediation with the Brakeman project gem as well as collaboration with security experts.


August 2016 - December 2018
Manager of the Daily Grind Team May 2018 - December 2018
  • Created a new bug triage process to bring clarity to the Site Reliability team on their roles & responsibilities.
  • Enhanced our data sync process though multiple Ruby based Heroku apps to pass PCI compliance audits.
  • Rebuilt our Splunk Universal Forwarder / Rsyslogd log system in Azure using an Ubuntu based Linux implementation.
  • Led the load testing efforts to test, optimize and tune our production systems for our ESPY awards advertising campaign.
Manager of the Foundation Team March 2017 - May 2018
  • Led a high profile internal project managing the Foundation team of 4 developers on the East and West Coast alongside 6 contractors working for different countries and organizations while keeping on target.
  • Successfully navigated the Foundation team through Bonobos being aquired by Walmart.
  • Worked with business stakeholders to craft improvements to our Rails based Spree / Solidus E-commerce application. Many enhancments were made to our tax & inventory accounting.
  • Fostered high morale & team comradery during a challenging NetSuite ERP migration project.
Principal Engineer August 2016 - March 2017
  • Partnered with Bonobos Ninjas to improve our backend customer service admin tools.
  • Provided ongoing enhancements and maintenance to an internal application that sent messages to our warehouse. This Ruby based Amazon SQS message service provided two way communication with our warehouse for customer orders, short shipments, returns, purchase orders & nightly inventory sync.
  • Happily supported and extended a Ruby based Sinatra application that that created a JSON API wrapper over the Windows based Simparel ERP application.


September 2012 - August 2016
Development Manager Sept 2015 - August 2016
  • Moved the team from ad-hoc development to a sprint based two week development cycle.
  • Worked with the team to create appreciated best practices to increase our release quality, test coverage and reduce maintenance costs.
  • Set clear goals for team members and met with them regularly to deliver consistent and useful feedback.
  • Shipped several high profile features to help grow our sales funnel and attract new merchants.
  • Led the team and wrote code to share real time MySQL production data to Salesforce using Lightning Connect and OData.
Rails Senior Developer Sept 2012 - Sept 2015
  • Created the LivingSocial merchant connect feature that allowed existing merchants to run a follow-on deal aimed at past customers. This wildly popular feature was used by tens of thousands of merchants to attract repeat customers to their place of business.
  • Built a popular internal JSON API in Rails to centralize all email communications for LivingSocial merchants used by many different applications and teams.
  • Maintained Rails application social tool for LivingSocial merchants to manage their online brand. Added statistics, tracking and reporting functionality.
  • Added a new API service layer to LivingSocial Merchant Center to enable useful cross-talk between other LivingSocial applications.


May 2010 – September 2012
Rails Team Lead
  • Designed and built the back-end to an extremely robust and usable B2B and B2C social product.
  • Implemented and maintained our production systems on Amazon using EC2, S3 & RDS on Ubuntu.
  • Created simple and pragmatic standards for unit, functional and front end code coverage.
  • Built our API service to power our mobile client. Focused on speed, simplicity and ease of use.


November 2008 – April 2010
Senior Developer & Philosopher
  • Built a usable calendar in Ruby on Rails and JavaScript.
  • Created an embedded calendar JavaScript widget to provide businesses the ability to share events with customers.
  • Implemented the CalDAV & iCalendar standard to allow calendar subscriptions and sync with iCal, iPhone, Thunderbird & Lightning.
  • Took part in the CalConnect CalDAV & iCalendar standards body spanning multiple organizations.


June 2007 – November 2008
Core Team Developer
  • Extended functionality of registration software to enable ccTLD transfers for .CC, .TV, .BZ & .MOBI domains.
  • Created a generic XML deserialization routine to work with database connectivity layer.
  • Pioneered MVC framework technology for building maintainable code.
  • Built a departmental code documentation standard.


June 2005 – July 2007
Software Engineer
  • Created multiple projects to customer happiness using multiple technologies such as Java, Rails, PHP, PERL and Python.
  • Implemented a very robust shopping cart application in a very new Rails stack using SOAP.
  • Built a prototype C and PERL based BioDiesel fuel pump using Phidget hardware and the Debian platform.

Mentor Graphics

May 2003 - May 2005
Network Services Developer
  • Pioneered a software system to interface with databases and monitor Cisco network devices.
  • Integrated PERL and Python Scripts with Unix shell scripts in the Solaris environment.
  • Drafted a departmental coding standard.

Community Involvement

Cheerful Ghost

Created the social video game site Cheerful Ghost from concept to implementation. Cheerful Ghost tracks over 33 thousand video games you can write about on any platform such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, PS4 and PC. Under the hood Cheerful Ghost was created using Ruby and Rails and is an OAuth 2 authentication server that provides identiy services to our games such as Tale of the White Wyvern.

"Cheerful Ghost is an indie website that was started January 2012. We are a close group of friends that love talking all manner of geek such as films, TV and video games. Cheerful Ghost also published the space shooter rogue-lite Starship Rubicon and created Tale of the White Wyvern."

Tale of the White Wyvern

Created the game Tale of the White Wyvern with Travis Newman. Tale of the White Wyvern is a text based mini-MMO that leans heavily to the BBS games of the 90's. Under the hood Tale of the White Wyvern is an Ruby on Rails application that uses Cheerful Ghost for OAuth identity services and was created to be very performant.

"Tale of the White Wyvern is a text based, high fantasy, sword and magic adventure mini-MMO that you can play with your friends!"

Starship Rubicon

Published the Indie rogue-lite space shooter Starship Rubicon through Cheerful Ghost. Brought the game to the Steam, Humble Store, & Desura stores to sell the game digitally. Worked on a successful marketing campaign focusing on the game and it's unique gameplay. Showed the game at various game conventions including Indie Game Con, Portland Retro Game Expo, OMSI After Dark & Game Masters.

"Starship Rubicon is a modern take on the classic space shooter genre. It's a smart and challenging rogue-lite that features a unique control scheme, pixel art remixed with real NASA photographs, and an existential crisis about who is REALLY the monster."

Zemus Gem
Zemus is a ruby gem that translates URLs into embeddable code you can insert on a page. It does its magic by simply inspecting and hacking up the URL itself, it makes no external requests to a web service. Zemus is Open Source code hosted on GitHub and is available for you to use & modify. It was extracted from Cheerful Ghost production code.

Volunteered and gave several talks and panel roundtable discussions at the local Portland Indie Game Squad functions on GIT, Indie game publishing and crowd funding.


Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science from George Fox University.

Courses completed in the Masters of Computer Science at Portland State University.

Professional Skills

  • History of creating a fun and engaging team focused work environment.
  • Ruby and the Rails framework starting with Rails 0.9.
  • HTML, CSS and responsive web technologies.
  • Everyday use of Unix backed operating systems such as Linux and MacOS.
  • Use of GIT in every software project I touch.
  • Java and it's incredible assortment of libraries.
  • MySQL, PostgreSQL & Oracle.
  • Frequent travel to company headquarters and conferences in cities such as New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and Chicago.