Born: Seattle, WA
Hometown: Bee Cave, TX
Colleges: Mississippi Valley State University and Whitworth University
Hey Ben - What's keeping you here in Texas?
The instant I moved to Bee Cave I knew I had found my home, and immediately started to build a life here. The culture, the food, the genuine authenticity of the people, their personal and emotional investment in each other, and so many other qualities have made me steadfast in my dedication to them. While my personal beliefs in social issues lured me into politics, it's meeting with fellow Texans and hearing about their issues that drives me every day.
You're young. Why now?
I believe in the immediacy of now. Our freedoms are in danger now. Our environment is collapsing now. Our jobs, our welfare, our safety are all in danger right now. We've had four presidents serve in congress by the time they turned thirty - Andrew Jackson, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and James K. Polk. In fact, Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden were both in the US Senate by the time they turned 31.
When you ask, 'why now?' I'd say both history and reality remind me I'm behind the curve and need to catch up.
Why the US Congress and not starting with Bee Cave City Council or State House?
We see time and time again that municipalities and down-ballot offices are having their laws stripped and their powers revoked or superseded by the larger government. When the city of Austin stood its ground against targeted deportation actions focused on non-violent and non-criminal immigrant families, the Texas state government stepped in and passed a bill binding the hands of the city. When bipartisan efforts to minimize use of racially-discriminant mandatory sentencing minimums were on the rise, this administration's policies superseded and required they continue to be enforced.
I'd like to take action on these issues at the highest level, and in a manner allowing us to ensure all freedoms of all people are forever protected. The best way for me to do this, and the way I'm most qualified for, is to address these issues at the federal level.
We have to know - did you vote for Hillary, or for Bernie?
Ultimately, I was honored to vote for Hillary in the 2016 general election. Bernie truly captured the attention of America in the primaries, and I wish I could have voted for him again in November. His personality was exciting, his charisma off the charts, and he displayed an ability to connect with many generations of voters better than anyone we had seen since Obama in 2007 and 2008.
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2002 - Senate Page: Rosemary McAuliffe (D - WA 1st)
2006 - Campaign Volunteer: Maria Cantwell for US Senate (D - WA)
2008 - Democratic Precinct Captain for Mississippi Valley State University
2008 - Caucus Delegate for Barack Obama in the Washington State Primary
2014 - Campaign Volunteer: Josh Brannon for US Congress (D - NC 5th)
2015 - Exploratory Committee - Ben Garves for Congress (D - SC 1st)
2016 - Campaign Volunteer: Hillary Clinton for President (D)
2017 - March for Science Austin Planning Committee and Lead March Marshall
2017 - Tax March Austin Planning Committee
2017 - Ben Garves for US Congress Campaign
Fitting under the marketing umbrella of the SolarWinds organization, I oversee a $700,000+ annual program budget for an online IT infrastructure social community called THWACK. With over 130,000 users and 2,000,000 annual unique visits, my community is the gold standard in the IT space and for online communities as a whole.
2015 - 2016 Product & Program Manager at BENEFITFOCUS (www.benefitfocus.com)
Cross-functional manager, simultaneously overseeing multiple software development products, projects, and teams. Initially Benefitfocus operated on in a waterfall release format and I joined a pilot team that introduced an agile scrum environment and built it out company-wide. Clients ranged in size and scope, up to SaaS projects and product customizations for the likes of Google and other high-profile (NDA-protected organizations of 10,000+ employees) organizations. In this role I also assumed responsibility as the business analyst in charge of building a scalable operation and modeling resource demand, capacity, and utilization. Directly reporting to me were a team of project managers and their individual teams, including one scrum team I led as a scrum master.
2013-2015 Project Manager at APPEN (www.appen.com)
At Appen, I worked remotely while managing multiple international field teams for high-tech companies in content analytics. In the last six months I have grown the scope of my current project from an incubator pilot of $20,000 to its current budget of $3.5 million dollars annually. Global clients are confidential, however do include two top tier social networks, a leader in e-commerce, and one of the world's most popular search engines. In these projects, I have ramped resources in over 15 markets and languages, managing production of team rosters ranging in size up to 200 autonomous consultants. This includes training and delegation of pertinent tasks to associates, QAs, leads, auditors, and admins. My work at Appen was as a member of a new projects division, focusing on implementation of projects and pilots for new clients. An additional responsibility undertaken more recently was as a production point of contact for two functional tool/app releases, including development of a training and documentation toolkit, and documenting user feedback for use with developer teams to enhance tool functionality and envision possibilities for future iterations.
2010-2013 Audit Manager at DESTINATION HOTELS AND RESORTS (www.destinationhotelsandresorts.com)
In this role I had dual responsibilities between front office management and non-partisan auditor of hotel transactions, including management of payroll and scheduling, acting as the standing liaison and HR conflict mediator between staff and management when the situation arises, and executing staffing and hiring decisions for the front office - things like writing and posting job listings, interviewing candidates, calling references, and new-hire paperwork. I also trained and educated new employees for both leadership and non-leadership positions within the property. On-call status for any emergencies within the hotel regarding technical and operational situations. Generate policy and implement systems regarding the day-to-day operation of the hotel and the functions of the front desk to build more staff-friendly, guest-friendly and time efficient processes.