KJR Collective Catch Ups: Steve Butler

The Collective

11 February 2019

A couple of times a month, we like to get to know members of the KJR Collective a little better. Today is an extra special catch up as we get to know KJR’s very first employee, Steve Butler.

Years in the industry: 21

Started at KJR: In August 1998

Based in: Brisbane

Currently working with: APA Group, Department of Human Services, Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works and various other wrangling duties for the greater KJR good.

What Steve loves most about his job…

Improvement. It’s in Steve’s nature. And he’s stood the ‘test’ of time with KJR because he revels in working on the “not so good stuff and helping to make it good – if I can.” One might ask how someone stays interested working at the same company for 20 years, Steve says it’s simple. Different tech, different people and different ways of working have kept him sane.

How Steve got into this industry…

Cast your mind back to the University of Queensland campus, circa 1998. Steve had studied software engineering and was in his final weeks of finishing his PhD thesis. He was researching the use of formal methods, which can be used to prove correctness of software. One fateful day he bumped into KJR’s founder, Kelvin Ross, in the halls of uni. Kelvin excitedly shared what he was doing (started a business, preparing organisations for Y2K etc etc) and casually asked Steve if he “wanted to test.” A week later he was officially signed on as Employee Number One of K.J.Ross & Associates.

So, by the time Steve got to the end of his thesis on formal requirements, he found himself at the other end of the software lifecycle, and happily so – despite commenting that “testing should be done early in the lifecycle too.” But it wasn’t a clean break in knowledge and skill, Steve’s first job with KJR saw him working on a lot of requirements and formal reviews, so all those years studying formal methods and requirements were not for nothing.

What Steve thinks about the future of tech…

As someone who enjoys turning technology from average to amazing, it’s no surprise that Steve is optimistic and relaxed about the future of tech. Why add to the anxiety of others? He does acknowledge the risk they speak of, but he’s also confident that smart people will develop and manage innovations while closely monitoring the risk profiles. In his opinion the reward will outweigh the risk.

He also does other things…

With three young children (including identical twins), Steve spends a lot of time “messing around with the kids.” And they with him, and the iPad. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with Steve having to pay strict attention to parental locks – the kids have figured out time and time again how to crack through it! “There’s a strongly worded letter coming your way, Apple.” Another skill Steve is passing on, not quite lost to his youth, is playing guitar. He enjoys teaching his youngest around the chords while enjoying what he describes as “a pretty ordinary life.”

Steve’s final word of advice…

Find something you like doing. Then find ways to do it better.

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn

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