September Volunteer Spotlight: Scott Lundgren

This is the latest installment of a series highlighting volunteers with the Open Charlotte Brigade (OCB). OCB uses technology and advocacy as a tool for open government, open data and civic engagement.


Scott Lundgren of Open Charlotte

It’s been a couple of months since we did our last volunteer spotlight. For that, you have my sincerest apologies and, I take full responsibility! Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

So now, without further ado, may I introduce our September volunteer spotlight, Scott Lundgren! [cheers]

Open Charlotte- So Scott, you know we have to start with a proper icebreaker question. Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream?

Scott Lungren- A lot of people hate on vanilla, but it’s the first flavor I order when trying a new ice cream shop. If one can’t get that right I don’t want to try your oreo triple-fudge, pistachio, salmon, birthday-cake flavored ice cream of the week.

OC- Alright. Fair enough! And, where do you hail from Scott?

SL- Without giving away answers to common security questions, I was born in North Carolina. I’ve lived or spent significant time in cities in all US time zones and moved to Charlotte 10 years ago.

OC- And let that be a lesson to you, folks. Security first!

OC- Now, are you self-taught, formally educated, or did you attend a Bootcamp?

SL- Formally Educated; Bachelor of Science, School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University. Go Dores!

OC- Vanderbilt! Nice… Where are you currently employed?

SL- My work is in Infrastructure/Operations/Security at Payzer, a local fintech startup serving the contractor industry and yes, we’re hiring.

OC- Did you hear that, guys? They are hiring, and Fintech is hot right now!

OC- Cool. And, how long have You have been a member of Open Charlotte?

SL- I got involved at the first interest meeting in winter 2012, came back for the organizational meeting in early 2013 and haven’t left!

OC- OK. And, what projects have you worked on and what is your favorite and why?

SL- My favorite project is usually the one that I’m currently working on. My role changes as the organization evolves. I’ve gone to Meetups as Ambassador telling audiences about our vision, our values, and soliciting volunteers for projects. I’ve written a lot of documentation so, it’s easy for new people to get started. I worked on early parts of the Winter Gift Project in conjunction with CPMD. Right now, I’ve been working to harvest & analyze legislative data out of the North Carolina House & Senate.

OC- What is your favorite technology stack?

SL- One without bugs. Every stack has its pros/cons and scenarios where it’s best to apply it. I started my career in Microsoft’s stack, but I’ve worked in C, LAMP, and Rails. Now with micro-service, big data, and serverless platforms, on any given day, I touch multiple stacks. That’s why Open Charlotte has a culture of using the stack that solves a problem for residents because that’s what matters.

OC- Cool. And what direction would you like to see Open Charlotte take in the future regarding growth, membership, or projects?

SL- I’m super excited about the recent name/branding change. As Charlotte has grown, that’s new residents who can benefit from easy to use transparent services from government-generated data. To propel our organization’s growth, I feel we need to finish our 501c3 process. As for our membership, I feel as an organization we’ve made strides communicating to the community that technology is not a prerequisite to volunteering or bringing the vision to fruition. The project that I still burn to work on is having access to the Charlotte Transit Authority’s real-time location data of their buses.

OC- Would you encourage those who are not technically inclined to join Open Charlotte? If yes, why?

SL- Absolutely, I would encourage any resident to come and take part. The fundamental idea that is exciting is harnessing local innovation on top of government data to create transparent and easy to use services. What made Uber evolutionary was not a car that took you from point A to point B. It was knowing when the car was going to arrive & how much it was going to cost. We want to create that kind of experience where citizen & government interact (transit, social services, zoning, regulations, traffic, taxes) so that living in Charlotte is meaningful.

OC- OK. Final question. I promise! ;) What are your thoughts or opinions on where you see the Charlotte Tech community going in the future?

SL- Well, generally, I see the tech community getting bigger and more diverse. This has been sorely needed. In fact, I want to take a minute to give some shout-outs. I would like to extend a thank you and plug to the following individuals and organizations:

  1. Sherrell Dorsey for founding BlkTech Interactive, https://blktechinteractive.com, here in Charlotte to support black entrepreneurs and technologists throughout North Carolina thru funding, experiences, and training.
  2. Cristina Veale, Alyssa Lemon, Luise Clark (https://www.girldevelopit.com/chapters/charlotte), Rachel Parsons (https://charlotte.chicktech.org), Sam Shaibani (https://www.meetup.com/Women-in-UX-Charlotte/), Caitlin Sellers Castevens, Paula Okonneh & Sharon Jones (http://ladytechcharmers.com), Carly Gardner (https://www.meetup.com/WomenInTech/) and Erin Summers (http://www.wogrammer.org) for creating the spaces where they saw a need
  3. John Epperson & the organizing team at Charlotte Devs, https://charlottedevs.com, for creating an umbrella for those interested and new to software development or coding that extends to seasoned people looking to give back with mentoring or community.

OC- Very cool! Well, thank you for your time, Scott!


Don’t forget to join us next month for the October Volunteer Spotlight!