Motionworks® Cast Spotlight: Aaron Baxter, Analytics Engineer
It’s been an inspiring year here at Motionworks® with the launch of our new products- Popcast™ and Placecast®, securing a successful series A round, and adding many new talented people to the team as we work to accelerate growth and deliver the highest level of Population Data to the world.
We are excited to kick off a new series of blogs that will feature the amazing people who work diligently behind the scenes to make sure you have the best customer experience with Motionworks® – The Leader in Population Intelligence.
For our first Motionworks® Meet the Cast moment, we sat down with Aaron Baxter, Analytics Engineer, to talk about life, work and his population data journey with Motionworks®.
Q: Tell us a little about your background and how you landed at Motionworks®?
A: My first jobs were framing art supplies at my Mom’s art shop, pulling nails at my dad’s construction site, and ripping stitches/selling smoked fish at a custom embroidery and retail fish shop in my hometown. During High School I was also often found in the pit orchestra of many a community musical, when I wasn’t on stage playing punk-funk in the basement of the local Legion or community hall.
During university, I worked in construction and tree planting, as well as the dish pits of many different kitchens. I also became mildly obsessed with vegan organic waffles and co-founded the “House of Pain” vegan wafflerie – selling bulk waffles to the fine people of Montreal. I only ever made enough money to cover the cost of ingredients.
After graduating with a Master of Environment in Impact Assessment, I started as an Environmental Planner, then later as a Land Use se Planner and eventually Transportation planning – always drawing on my technical background in web development and GIS to assist in the planning process.
Some of my favorite jobs during this period were to plan and design the expansion of the bike share network in Toronto, as well as the Winnipeg Transit Master Plan. This involved a complete redesign of their existing network. This is also when I really started to dig into the profession of population movement analysis.
I chose Motionworks® initially because I respected and admired their approach to population modeling, then secondly because the people are just so damn awesome.
Q: What is a typical week for you and how do you stay energized, while balancing life and remote work responsibilities?
A: I help get the kids off to school in the morning after a dog walk in the woods to get a little nature in. I usually start my workday with the trickiest technical bits, then move into lateral, organizational and social projects.
I like to mix in difficult tasks along with super fun challenges to stay on top of product updates, ad hoc requests and any bug squashing that needs to be addressed.
Walks with my dog, a healthy diet, making beautiful memories with the people I love, and a little music on my keyboard or guitar keep me energized throughout the week. I believe that embracing the chaos of work and life, with an organized space and an occasional cohabitant apology, helps keep balance in a remote work environment.
Q: What’s your next milestone here at Motionworks® and how do you define success?
I love creating digital population twins, scenario modeling and impact predictions coming from the Transportation Planning sector. I can’t wait to get Canada data incorporated into our full product suite, along with upgraded product planning tools.
Further penetrating the Canada market will be a huge milestone I am excited to support.
Having decent and compassionate kids, who are also a lot of fun, is my greatest achievement and would define success as the ability to offer my time and support to my family and community without limits.
Q: Any final thoughts or advice for people just entering the world of understanding population movement data?
Spending time in your community is the essential population movement factor. Always remember to balance all the numbers with a bit of empathy.