Serving at USDS: Hank Knaack
In this blog series, we share the stories of USDSers. Find out where they were before USDS, why they joined, the challenges they face, the impact of their work, what life post-USDS may be, and what they’ll miss most. Hope you enjoy meeting them!
Hank Knaack, he/him, Immigration Team Lead — Design, Department of Homeland Security Digital Service, previously worked at a UX consultancy in Los Angeles, from Phoenix, AZ
What’s your background?
My background is in user research and interface design for startup and enterprise products in education, financial, real estate, and fitness. I’ve had experience working and volunteering with nonprofits, was in Americorps, and before moving to DC had participated in Hack for LA: a weekly meet up to create tech solutions or work arounds for community members interacting with the city. This gave me an appetite to tackle civic minded problems at scale.
How does your work make an impact?
I have many avenues to create impact at USDS, which is what keeps it interesting and fulfilling. From working directly on user experience challenges for systems that process immigrant’s applications for green cards or Temporary Protected Status, to helping the DHS procure better contractors who build interfaces that American people and immigrants use regularly to communicate with the government, to developing long-term strategy for USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
What do you want to do after USDS?
I would love to bring a “digital service”-esque work style and philosophy to another market that would benefit from it; back in LA or my hometown. From my experience interacting with city or state government folks, there’s an appetite for it and many exciting things are already starting to take place in Georgia, Austin, Sacramento, etc. I want to keep the civic tech momentum going!
What will you miss most about USDS when you leave?
When I I leave USDS I’ll miss working with such an intelligent, caring, and hardworking people who make it fun to come to work everyday. Even when the work gets tough, they can remind you why you’re here: to help the American people.
The best of technology.
The best of government.
And we want you.
We’re looking for the most tenacious designers, software engineers, product managers, and more, who are committed to untangling, rewiring and redesigning critical government services. You’ll join a team of the most talented technologists from across the private sector and government.
If you have questions regarding employment with the U.S. Digital Service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit usds.gov/join.