Chris Hough

Ruby on Rails. Outdoors Enthusiast. Family. Tattoos. Craft Cocktails. Passionate GEEK from Chicago. Live. Learn. Repeat.


As a seasoned product innovator I value integrity, hard work, and intrinsic motivation. I do not believe in wasting time on anything that I set out to do; if I take on a project or join a new team I give it my all. This passion is directly reflected in each of the projects I have had the pleasure of being a part of. While I have managed both local and remote organizations, I write code, tinker with design, design application work flows and processes, but most importantly drive innovation. I believe an organization’s success is derived from the collaborative successes of all of its parts working together to achieve a common goal. I believe we are all capable of innovation, but I will let the master state it better than I can:

When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.

Steve Jobs, Apple Computers

At the end of the day, life has to be about more than just code. You have to actually LIVE IT. If you have not had the pleasure of reading the “5 Mystical Practices of Great Engineers” by Ara. T. Howard, it explains these beliefs better than I can. When I am not online you will find me bouldering, body building, or exploring nature. Music moves me throughout the day. Different tunes are utilized for different purposes. I collect tattoos and hope to have a full bodysuit one day. No, they do not all have stories like they preach on various tattoo tv shows. Meditation, acupuncture, and massage are part of my regular routine. I love to read and have derived inspiration from J.Raymond.

These are mere snippets of my life. I am addicted to the adventure and doing everything I can with the one life we all share in the same game.

Chris Hough Resume

View Chris Hough's profile on LinkedIn


  • Today
  • Whiplash Merchandising Logistics

    Senior Full Stack Developer

    April 6th – PresentPortland, Oregon

    Engineered an integrations application written with Ruby on Rails hooked up to both MySQL and Redis databases. Basically a glorified facade application it owned communications between 3rd party providers and our monolithic central API. It maintained both an external facing API and webhook translations between our datasets and the outside world. During construction I worked to balance convention versus configuration inside of the architecture to solve this very challenging problem all while maintaining > 90% test coverage. Logic was divided between the app controllers, a set of proxy classes, and the infinitely flexible provider classes nearly all in lib. This foundation allowed multiple providers to be worked on concurrently by both inside and outside developer resources. It also contained volatility to a single provider instead of the entire microservice.

    In order to drive a more connected remote focused culture learned in the book Remote, I worked to turn up Slack for the entire organization. This fixed disconnected communications caused by email and the Intercom product. In addition we setup guest rooms to allow us to work with our provider partners asynchronously across multiple timezones in and outside the U.S.

    From my past experience leading teams I worked to implement Gitflow. In our version we instituted 4 branch types: feature, bug, refactor, and spike. Spikes allowed engineers to research various initiatives while still following the project management collaborative process. In turn this reduced knowledge silos, increased code quality, and verified testing coverage.

    Core CompetenciesRuby, Ruby on Rails, MySQL, Redis, Rubocop, Rspec, APIs, Microservices

    Chris Hough Resume

  • Ruby on Rails PDX Meetup

    Organizer of the Ruby on Rails PDX Meetup

    Started 2016Portland, Oregon
  • BilingualHire

    Ruby on Rails Engineer

    January 1st, 2016 – May 30th, 2016Portland, OregonWork Remote from Portland, Oregon

    Redeveloped the original platform from the ground up including a new design, and user workflows. Instead of the complex setup the previous application maintained, this new MVP focuses solely on job posting creation and a simple user interface. The goal of this platform is to help diverse bilingual candidates source jobs and provide a place where companies can post opportunities for these communities. As the sole developer on this platform this required getting my hands dirty with every facet of its conception to implementation to rollout.

    Core Competencies: Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Heroku, PostgreSQL, Sentry, Sendgrid, Rubocop, Jshint, SCSS-Lint, Slim-Lint, Slim-Lang, Bootstrap SASS, Rspec, Simple Form, ReFile

    Chris Hough Resume

  • 2015
  • PlaceWise Media

    Director of Application Engineering

    April 1, 2014 – December 31, 2015Denver, ColoradoWork Remote from Portland, Oregon

    Remotely managed four developers specializing in Ruby, Javascript, and emerging technologies. Direct experience with every component of performance management, including monthly 30-60-90 goal setting and reviews, training, culture change, salary budgeting, and terminations. The team’s primary focus was transitioning the entire architecture off of Adobe ColdFusion, PHP, and SQL Server 2012 to a Service Orientated Architecture designed of Ruby on Rails APIs, PostgreSQL databases, websites delivered via Static Site technology written in NodeJS, and a new re-architecture of the RetailHub Content Management System in EmberJS. When finished this configuration will serve over 600 websites powered statically with data driven via APIs, drastically reducing server infrastructure costs and increasing scalability performance. Finally, when this transition has been completed it will save the company thousands monthly in hosting and CDN fees.

    Extensive Service Orientated Architecture Planning, Budgeting, and Vision Implementation. This involved reviewing costs and projects for new resources for the team, designing the new Model View Controller based platform, marketing the concept to executives and stake holders, cross training junior developers on the vision, setting quarterly goals to match our roadmap, and verifying the transition plan daily.

    Created the Pull Request Process for the enterprise. By integrating concepts used by industry experts, this process required each code PR to have 100% passing test coverage, Rubocop and Brakeman reviews, and product owner reviews on our Staging Environments. While our entire stack was under NewRelic monitoring, the new architecture written in Ruby on Rails was also hooked up to CodeClimate for external code reviews and grading, and Sentry for external error reporting. The APIs maintained a > 3.5 GPA. To increase participation and make this process change fun, we setup a PR game using emojis and tracked each point across the entire organization.

    External API Client Technology Relations Coordination and Implementation. Helped on-board new clients onto our Ruby on Rails API serving various combinations of PlaceWise data to external content management systems. This included supporting ultra high holiday U.S. consumer shopping based traffic over Black Friday.

    Instituted a focus on training via monthly competitions with the primary goals of reducing developer silos, increasing JIRA ticket fluidity between all departments, and reducing bugs in our architecture. Results were published monthly and teams were encouraged to update their skills, especially in new languages, each week.

    Rolled out the implementation of Slack based communication to the entire enterprise. Integrated Github and CodeClimate events, setup department channels for infrastructure and maintenance processes, and published our GIT PR check in scores for every PR. Slack cut emails nearly in half as a result of this implementation, and increased effective communication between on-site and remote employees and consultants.

    Core Competencies: Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Agile Development, Remote Worker Communication, Remote Worker Time Management and Project Execution, Performance Management, Goal Setting, Product Design and Implementation, Service Orientated Architectures, APIs, Culture Change, Client Management, External Consultant Management and Processes, GIT, SQL Server 2012, PostgreSQL, Adobe ColdFusion, Fusebox, ColdBox, JIRA, Slack.

    Chris Hough Resume

  • NYU

    Ruby on Rails Programming Course

    Completed 2012New York, New York
  • PlaceWise Media

    Web Applications Engineer

    August 31, 2009 – April 1, 2014Denver, ColoradoWork Remote from Portland, Oregon

    Chief Engineer and Project Manager for the multi-tiered RetailHub Enterprise Content Management Software (CMS). This application was originally written over ten years ago in a custom Fusebox like framework and traditional ColdFusion templates across numerous folder structures. Ninety percent of the application was completely re-architected using the ColdFusion ColdBox MVC framework. At the same time the event driven framework was being implemented for this piece of software the entire workflow management was also redeveloped. Various modern UI/UX principles were implemented during this process to speed up every interface, reduce unnecessary clicks, and increase security across all user levels.

    Converted the entire development organization from Subversion to GIT. This included setting up training where applicable, decoupling numerous repositories from Beanstalk, and migrating all of our code to our new GIT enterprise configuration. During this transition an archival process to BitBucket was also established to avoid clutter and save money with our Github team account.

    Re-Architected the Shoptopia iOS Application Backend. Hired an external Senior Ruby Engineer to help guide the transition of the organization from utilizing a Python Django plus ColdFusion API architecture to Service Orientated Architecture written across six Ruby on Rails services. This migration took the software off our own datacenter hardware to Heroku, and then the ProfitBricks cloud.

    Core Competencies: External Consultant Management and Processes, JIRA, Agile Development, Remote Worker Communication, Remote Worker Time Management and Project Execution, Service Orientated Architectures, APIs, Culture Change, Client Management, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Adobe ColdFusion, Fusebox, ColdBox, Fusion Reactor, SQL Server 2012, PostgreSQL, Project Management, Process Design and Implementation, GIT, Subversion, UI/UX.

    Chris Hough Resume

  • 2009
  • Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP

    Applications Developer

    January 7, 2008 – March 12, 2000Chicago, Illinois

    Mid-Level Applications Developer supporting architectural project management systems written in a combination of Adobe ColdFusion, Javascript and SQL Server 2005 databases. Primary roles included evolving the Project Management Information System (PIMS) application, and supporting the implementation of a multi-lingual database to support Chinese characters.

    Chief Developer of the SOM Forums application. This piece of software utilized the Adobe ColdFusion CFMBB forums open source project and was used as a question and answer multi-tiered application supporting project managers across the enterprise.

    Core Competencies: Adobe ColdFusion, HTML, CSS, SQL Server 2005, Project Management, Process Design and Implementation.

    Chris Hough Resume

  • 2007
  • Northwestern University

    Economics of Trading Course

    Completed 2007Chicago, Illinois
  • AT&T

    Team Leader – Web Technology

    August 2001 – September 30, 2007Chicago, Illinois

    Chief Engineer, Head Designer, and Representative for thirteen states for the Manager’s One Stop Tool (MOST). An extensive high availability multi-tiered metric based dashboard application responsible for productivity improvements, costs reductions, and increased overall performance management at every level of the enterprise. The backend was written in Adobe ColdFusion on top of a SQL Server 2000 database. Data fluctuations were managed with over 60 DTS packages interacting with mainframes, Oracle and SQL Server 2000 databases, and Excel spreadsheets.

    Senior Project Leader to five Adobe ColdFusion developers. This intensive role required writing development processes, software development guidelines, coding standards for the department, internal client and project team coordination, and annual performance reviews.

    Chief Engineer, Head Designer of the Customer Service Bureau (CSB) and Network Dispatch Center (NDC) Online Handbooks. Once deployed these handbooks replaced the traditional paper binder processes that call center agents used to process call queues. These documentation applications were updated in real time, which resulted in immediate, consistent enterprise-wide changes. This initiative across five states reduced call times drastically, increasing both customer and employee satisfaction scores, and was utilized 24/7 (including during emergencies).

    Chief Engineer, Head Designer of the eKnowledgenow Online Learning Management System used by trainers to schedule, track, and administer online courses for over 1,000 non-management employees in the customer service bureau organization.

    Chief Engineer, Head Designer of the Business and Residence Revenue Always Grows with Service (BRRAGS) application that housed customer driven evaluation data that analysts reviewed and classified to determine where to target performance management of employees, or to correct existing processes that may not be working up to expectations. Data collected was used to improve customer evaluation scores, yielding better overall customer service.

    Core Competencies: Adobe ColdFusion, HTML, CSS, SQL Server 2000, Oracle, TSQL, PLSQL, DTS, Server Performance, Microsoft Windows Server Management, IIS, Load Testing, Project Management, Process Design and Implementation, High Availability On-Call Monitoring and Reporting.


    Key Contributor Award: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007.

    Employee of the Month: January, February, December 2004, and March, April, July 2005 from the Installation and Repair Organization.

    Certificate of Appreciation April 2003, from the Installation and Repair Organization.

    Accomplishment Certificate for the Network Dispatch Center’s Handbook project in 2003.

    Chris Hough Resume

  • Keller Graduate School of Management

    Master of Business Administration

    Graduated 2005Chicago, Illinois
  • 2001
  • Illinois College

    B.S. in Management Information System

    Graduated 2001Jacksonville, Illinois

    Computer Club, Investment Club



I tend to publish my life as an open book. Each day is a page wrapped in yearly chapters. If you're looking to work with me, have questions about my writing, or you want to meet for bouldering please email me at

I included the map below because the story of my life has taken me from coast to coast. My path started in Chicago. I grew up in a blue collar home, the oldest of four, and was the first to go to college. My family was not able to help me with my art or math homework, but they instilled in me many core principles.

  1. Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it.
  2. Live life to the fullest and when you work on something give it your all.
  3. Never quit. It’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts, but rather what you do when you get back on your feet.
  4. Take care of your things. Organization is important.
  5. Be careful with your heart.

This is far from the full list of lessons. I keep most of the rest close to my heart. Many people growing up in the Midwest tend to camp out and never leave. Curiosity and the drive for something different has been a part of me as far back as I can remember. My first stop out of my home was Boulder in the summer of 2008. I jumped into the startup tech scene, learned about how many different foods exist outside of a can, and fitness became a top priority in my life. In the spring of 2010 I sold my things and migrated to 83rd and Columbus, the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Enduring the grind of the island was a true adventure, and it was the start of my remote working career. After few years of the chaos, I started researching where to go next. In the fall of 2012, I sold most of my things and drove from the East coast to Portland, Oregon. The Oregon trail took me through Chicago, Boulder, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Eureka, and finally Portland. The stops on my trail taught me many things, and my adventure is far from over.