Drew Michel is a star programmer at Drover! Here is his story!
Hey there! My name is Landon Michel, but most people know me as Drew. I’m currently the Chief Programming Officer here at Drover. I am from a small town in East Tennessee called Rogersville. Currently, I live in Cookeville Tennessee where I’m an undergrad at Tennessee Tech University studying computer science.
I have always been interested in how things work, whether it be people, cars, or computers. I can remember that at an early age, I became very interested in how electronics worked. I remember receiving a Lego-like electronic kit as a gift; the kit was geared towards teaching kids how circuits work. I would spend hours playing, trying to see all of the different configurations and circuits I could make.
Once I reached high school, I joined the VEX robotics team, where we were presented a challenge/game at the first of the semester and had to design, code, and build a robot to complete the challenge. Since I went to a fairly rural high school, and this was one of the first years that the VEX program had been implemented at my high school, no one (not even the teacher) knew how to code. I didn’t really have an interest in learning how to code but I really wanted to be able to bring the masterpiece of a robot that I had built to come to life and win. I spent hours after school that semester researching how to code in RobotC, a variation of C that was meant to be used with the VEX kits. It got to the point that I really enjoyed toying with the code to see what different types of functions I could implement on my robot. The competition was a blast. We experienced some difficulties with our robot nonetheless but still came in 3rd out of twelve teams, so it was an incredibly positive experience for me and left me with a strong passion for coding.
Shortly after building the robot, I realized that I wanted to do more things like that, so I graduated from VEX kits to toying with more powerful Arduino boards. At this point, I had my heart set on becoming a mechanical engineer, and I thought that being able to build things with electrical components would be a good skill to have. My coding skills advanced with the more complex Arduino projects I took on.
I graduated high school and left my small country town for the big city: Cookeville, Tennessee. I’m joking of course -- but moving from a town with 5,000 people to a town with 30,000 people seemed like a big transition to me at the time. After my first semester of mechanical engineering classes, I quickly realized that I was much more passionate about coding. So without hesitation, I changed my major to computer science -- a decision that I would not regret.
During my time at Tennessee Tech, I came into contact with the founder of Drover: Jeff Garland. He pitched me the idea for an eco-friendly, charitable rideshare app. I was instantly hooked. I had recently started my own iOS app development company, Nexus Heights, so I was very eager to get involved with more app design and development. I’m very passionate about the environment, so the focus on having our Drovers drive eco-friendly cars really appealed to me. I continued to work for Drover for the length of my internship, but had to leave after the summer to focus on school. I was thrilled when Jeff contacted me again to lead a team of developers for another summer internship. It’s an honor to work for a company that possesses the values that Drover has, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds!