Meet Our Team

David Wieland
Founder

David Wieland - Founder

David Wieland

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David Wieland - Founder

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
–Albert Einstein

This pretty much sums up my existence.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I geek out hard over philosophy. Considering life’s questions is not only great mental exercise, but I think it also allows me to be better equipped to look at things from different, sometimes very abstract, points of view.

Phil Leslie
CEO

Phil Leslie - CEO

Phil Leslie

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Phil Leslie - CEO

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

“Solving a problem is hard enough; it gets that much harder if you’ve decided beforehand it can’t be done”, from Steven Levitt in ​_Think Like a Freak_​

At RIVS we are in love with helping our customers increase the quality of their hires, and the speed at which they are able to identify and hire the right candidates. Many companies struggle with that, and it’s a big problem. I love the puzzle of talking with a client about the challenges they are facing, and thinking through what possible solutions could be most effective at leapfrogging over the problem.

Sometimes the solution is something we already have on-hand. Sometimes it’s something that we decide, with the client’s input, that we need to build. Sometimes it’s something we can bring to the table through a partnership. But whatever it is, we love hearing the problems, and working together to find a solution. When you truly commit yourself to solving the problem, it gets easier to through whatever challenges come up along the way.

What is something that most people dont’ know about you?

In 2002, with no prior cycling experience other than riding my dirt bike around the neighborhood as a kid, I rode a bicycle from San Francisco to Washington D.C. raising funds and awareness for people with disabilities — in a group of 65 others on the same mission. The experience, The Journey of Hope, was enlightening and invigorating, and formative for my views on how people with diverse circumstances, abilities, and talents each can have their own unique impact on the world.

Dominik Kondrat
VP of Software

Dominik Kondrat - VP of Software

Dominik Kondrat

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Dominik Kondrat - VP of Software

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

“… programming requires more concentration than other activities. It’s the reason programmers get upset about ‘quick interruptions’ – such interruptions are tantamount to asking a juggler to keep three balls in the air and hold your groceries at the same time.”
-Steve McConnell

So many people do not understand that programming is a creative process. It not only requires knowledge, but also quiet environment where you can focus on your work. Every time someone disturb this state, it takes double the time to get back into it.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I love to ice skate. It is so much fun to slide in a full speed between other people. You never know what might happen or where other people might turn. You can predict it at some degree, but there are always surprises.

Just like at RIVS :) Everyday we are trying to head in the direction set at the beginning (success?), but there are turns and twists that we did not expect.

Christopher Young
VP of Marketing

Christopher Young - VP of Marketing

Christopher Young

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Christopher Young - VP of Marketing

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

My favorite quote is “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it” from Pablo Picasso. I find the quote is the framework for how I approach many challenges. I learn by doing and curiosity always brings out the best in me.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

After coming to the conclusion that becoming a Master Lego Builder was out of the question, I had ambitious plans of going to culinary arts school at Johnson & Wales only to change my mind at the eleventh hour. I enjoyed cooking more as a hobby than a profession. That said, I’d love to open a restaurant some day and step in to cook various nights.

John Kovanda
Director of Strategic Alliances

John Kovanda - Director of Partnerships and Strategic Alliances

John Kovanda

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John Kovanda - Director of Partnerships and Strategic Alliances

Give your best 2 sentence description of yourself.

I work hard and have fun. I probably talk too much.

What is the first CD that you bought. Why did you pick it? What memories do you have listening to that CD?

The first CD I bought was the Spin Doctors “Pocket Full of Kryptonite”. I listened to the same song on repeat and I remember being happy that I couldn’t wear out the CD like I did my cassette copy!

Lindsay Finlay
Major Account Executive

Lindsay Finlay - Major Account Executive

Lindsay Finlay

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Lindsay Finlay - Major Account Executive

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

My favorite quote is, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Unknown

It is a continuous cycle of life. We should never be afraid to fail and always have the courage to continue to be successful.

If you had an extra room in your house/apartment, what would you use it for?

First, I can’t imagine having an extra closet, let alone an entire room! Living in the city of Chicago one must optimize every square inch, but the thought of adding an entire room is very exciting! I would have to say, a Laundry Room. Yes, yes, you read that correctly. I know. It is a rather boring answer, but honestly the thought of having a folding table and a room designated to laundry, sounds great!

Dave O’Connor
Business Development

Dave O'Connor - Business Development Representative

Dave O’Connor

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Dave O'Connor - RIVS

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

Excellence is about stepping outside the comfort zone, training with a spirit of endeavor, and accepting the inevitability of trials and tribulations. Progress is built, in effect, upon the foundations of necessary failure. That is the essential paradox of expert performance.” From BOUNCE by Matthew Syad
This is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds me to strive for and welcome discomfort, which in itself is a barometer for progress.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

One thing most people don’t know about me is that between 2004-2010 I owned six different (terribly running) vehicles and between 2006-2011 I lived in 13 different apartments in five states and the District of Columbia. The Twenties are a weird time.

Cory Gardner
Business Development

Cory Gardner - Business Development Representative

Cory Gardner

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Cory Gardner - RIVS

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

Everything you are seeking is seeking you in return. Therefore everything that you want is already yours. It is simply a matter of becoming more aware of what you already possess.
– Bob Proctor
This statement resonates with the abundance mindset that is perpetually increasing within me. It’s simple and it’s in harmony with the natural laws of the universe.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I appreciate the exhilarating feeling you get in awkward moments. It reminds me that I’m alive. So occasionally I like to do things out of the ordinary on purpose just to be different.

Brandon Bookatz
Customer Success Manager

Brandon Bookatz - Customer Success Manager

Brandon Bookatz

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Brandon Bookatz - Customer Success Manager

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

“Life has no meaning except for the meaning you give it”
-Anthony Robbins

I think that it is important to stop and assess any ‘bad’ situation you are in. Just re-define it and make it better. Did you fail or learn a valuable lesson? Did you get hurt or have the ride of your life? I like to give positive meaning to every aspect of my life.

Who is your favorite super hero? Why?

Batman, because he is a superhero with no powers. Just a lot of money and a willingness to help those in need. Plus, who wouldn’t want a mansion with secret passages to a cave.

Michelle Cantu
Business Account Executive

Michelle Cantu - Business Account Executive

Michelle Cantu

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Michelle Cantu - Business Account Executive

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

My favorite quote is, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Unknown

It is a continuous cycle of life. We should never be afraid to fail and always have the courage to continue to be successful.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

If I had an extra room in my apartment, I would use it to build a walk in shoe closet. I have over 100 pairs of shoes and it would be a dream walking into a room entirely filled with my designer heels. Oh, and a few kicks, of course.

Henry Winn
Web Developer

Henry Winn - Intern

Henry Winn

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Henry Winn - Intern

What is one of your favorite quotes? Why?

My favorite quote is “How strange it is to be anything at all” from the last line of a song called In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. I really like the quote, because it relates highly to metaphysical philosophy, which I find highly interesting. It also comforts me, because if you listen to the song, you’ll understand that Jeff Magnum really means “How amazing it is to be anything at all”, and regardless of whether things are good or bad, at least I exist to experience it.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

Although I love to cook, I’m allergic to a ton of foods, including apple, honeydew melon, eggplant, almond and avocado. All of the reactions are pretty mild, but I still avoid all of those foods. I have a theory that I’m actually allergic to some kind of fertilizer or something because the number and spectrum of things I’m allergic to is pretty outrageous.