The Southeast Examiner – August 2018
By Emily Puro
On the west side of SE 12th Ave. between Hawthorne and Madison, sits a black concrete building that, like so many other buildings in inner SE, appears to be undergoing renovations. What’s going on in there, or more importantly, what’s going in there? That black slab of a building is soon to be the bright, modern home of AltSource, a tech company that’s been in the neighborhood for more than a decade.
Founded in 2004, AltSource partners with companies of all sizes and across all industries to develop custom software solutions to address critical business needs. “Most companies have unique business processes and challenges, and many find that their needs are better met with custom technology solutions, versus off-the-shelf products that are not designed with their specific needs in mind,” says Dave Moore, founder and president. “This has fueled the rapid growth of AltSource over the past five years.” To meet the increasing needs of new and existing clients, the company purchased and is renovating the building at SE Hawthorne and 12th, and has been hiring to fill a number of positions.
The company currently has 110 employees and is housed in five separate buildings in inner SE. When considering a move to a larger, consolidated headquarters, it was important to Moore and his team to remain in the neighborhood as many employees, including Moore, live in the area. “It’s important that people have the opportunity to do meaningful work close to where they live,” said Tim Karoli, senior product owner at AltSource, and 11-year resident of Ladd’s Addition. “For me, being able to help our clients achieve their business goals through technology, while also being able to stay involved with my kids’ daily activities, is a key reason I like working at AltSource. I appreciate that Dave is trying to make a positive impact in the community.”
After purchasing the building in 2015, Moore and his team began designing a new space with a goal of creating an energy-efficient, functional and visually appealing workplace. To minimize the project’s carbon footprint as well as disruption to the neighborhood, the shell of the 94-year-old building (which for many years operated as Fred Meyer bakery, candy factory and ice cream plant) remains intact. Existing windows are being upgraded, and new windows, skylights and roll-up garage doors will add to the natural light and enhance airflow. The company has added a mezzanine with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air patio to welcome the outdoors in, and to showcase the view looking toward downtown and the west hills. To ensure an energy-efficient design and construction process, local design-and-build firm Siteworks worked closely with Energy Trust of Oregon. The companies researched the best environmental practices, and are incorporating wood reclaimed from the original building in the new design. The building will provide secure indoor bike parking to encourage employees to bike to work.
With its continued growth and new headquarters (slated to open in late summer) AltSource is hiring to fill a number of positions, including sales, project coordinators, product managers and developers at all levels. “We’re always looking for good developers who are passionate about applying critical thinking and creative problem solving to address business problems,” says Jennifer Tiana, director of software development. “Our developers have direct involvement in the planning process with our clients, so we look for developers who are business-minded and can see the big picture to create a solution of true value for the customer.”
In addition to the creative nature of the work and the visible impact employees make on their clients’ businesses, they strive to be one of the top-paying companies for developers, and offers an incubator program for junior developers. Employees enjoy a culture that values work/life balance. “People tend to head home at the end of regular business hours to be with family and working late nights and weekends is the exception rather than the rule,” Moore says. “We also try to be as accommodating as possible for vacation schedules to encourage employees to take time to focus on what’s important to them outside of work.” After three years with the company, employees receive an extra week of paid vacation, and after five years, employees receive a travel bonus to help fund a special vacation or other time away.
The company regularly coordinates volunteer opportunities for its employees, such as holiday shopping for families in need and neighborhood cleanup events. In July, they worked with the City of Portland to clean up trash and paint over graffiti in the neighborhood. The company plans to use its new headquarters to host community events, and is committed to continuing and even expanding its support for the neighborhood. “The new building has some space available for a tenant to lease,” says Moore. “We’re hoping that can be used by an organization that will enhance the community even further.”