Jim Publicover

Builder

Poetry is my first love. I’ll be forever amazed that you can get to the best poem by taking a novel and boiling off all the watery parts. This is the same process I use as a Ruby on Rails builder. Here, I get to take a client’s vision, carefully remove anything that isn’t logically essential or pretty, and give it back to them as a fully realized app.

I first interviewed with Airship when I was a little too green for them to take me on. Understandably so. I was so impressed with their culture of teamwork, support and genuine technical curiosity (as well as the solution to a common remote work environment that was just so so so on point) that I kept in touch sporadically for the next year and a half, just checking in here and there. They had an opening the last time I reached out, and I jumped at the chance to join the team.

Everything before Airship is kind of a winding path. I grew up in a small town in the northeast corner of Ohio. After attending Northwester University, it didn’t occur to me to live anywhere besides Chicago, so I did that for about the next 15 years. Poetry degree in hand, I spent a lot of time in the nonprofit sector: PR contact, writer, editor, content manager, (well-meaning but ineffective) teacher through AmeriCorps. I spent plenty of time gigging on the side writing and ghostwriting tech manuals, essays, librettos, catalogs, editorials, all sorts of stuff, really. This was about the time that craft beer was coming up too, so I spent some time honing my beer snobbery.

Through a series of improbable events, I found myself in Greensboro, North Carolina. I got hooked up with an advertising agency and eventually became their chief copy editor. (What has two thumbs and had to edit a phone book in two months?) I first met my wife when she came on as a freelance writer for a project I was working on, which made the job that much more attractive. After yet another series of layoffs (because advertising industry), my wife and I started a boutique agency—I spent so much time setting up WordPress websites and paying for database plugins, I decided to go to a coding bootcamp to learn how to put these things together myself. After gigging around as an RoR dev for a few years, I found Airship.

I ended up staying in Greensboro for far longer than I planned, but it’s working out great. Here’s what they don’t tell bohemians in cities like Chicago: life in the suburbs is completely awesome. It allows me to be a geek by day and a nerd by night. My twin boys (two and a half years old at time of writing) keep me very busy. I’m a pretty big gamer who counts himself lucky to be alive during the advent of the barcade. I read when I can. Same for writing, tinkering with hobbyist hardware and software projects, cross-stitching the occasional retro gaming piece and learning to fix stuff around my house (2019 was a great year for plumbing). I still find time to edit, too, for friends and relatives. I promise I’m fun at parties despite all this.