Art + Science = Good Code, Great Service, and Better Recycling Outcomes

Like a musician or poet, a deft programmer is a linguist of sorts. He marries his technical knowledge with an artistic sensibility to craft experiences that transcend the digital landscape.

“Writing code is more like writing poetry than math. You say everything you need to say concisely, with beauty and clarity,” says Brandon Noard, Clients Team Lead for ReCollect Systems in Vancouver, B.C.

Brandon and his team build the Web and Mobile facing code that allows ReCollect to serve millions of residents in the US and Canada with helpful, easy-to-use digital tools for solid waste.

When a resident in Washington, D.C. receives an aptly timed text message that today is recycling day, Brandon and his team helped make it possible.

When a waste hauler in Denver successfully sends a notification to subscribers about a winter weather-related service delay? Yep, you get the idea.

The main goal, of course, for Brandon, is to help enable ReCollect to fulfill its mission to empower people to take part in the programs available to them and recycle better.

“ReCollect can help people be better recyclers, which is a good thing for the planet. The more people that can access ReCollect, and the easier it is to use, the bigger the impact we can have,” says Brandon. “Not everyone can speak in front of the United Nations or something, but everyone can reduce their waste with the right tools.”

From Clerk to Captain: Brandon’s Leadership Journey, Serving People & Planet

Turning the stereotypical image of the tech-obsessed programmer on its head, his interest in code grew from a desire to help others and respect the environment, and not vice-versa.

Freshly armed with a degree in sociology from the University of Minnesota, he entered the workforce post-college as a cashier for a natural grocery store. When his boss made him a test user for the store’s new point-of-sale system, Brandon had some ideas. Before long, he offered to manage the system’s code, which quickly became his full-time job.

Today he oversees the team building ReCollect’s suite of tools, including a Collection Calendar, Waste Wizard and even a Waste Sorting Game. As “captain of the ship,” he says, he charts his team’s course following the direction of Luke Closs, CTO, and David Eaves, ReCollect Co-Founder.

It’s the people, Brandon says, who make his job rewarding.

“I love the people I work with,” he says. “They’re smart. We have great relationships and an awesome culture.”

Minnesota, Monopoly & Metal: What Really Makes Brandon Tick

In his free time, Brandon enjoys volunteering for pet rescue operations as well as hanging out with his own rescued pets.

Here’s his inquisitive dog Oliver:

Oliver, rocking a canoe in style.
Oliver, rocking a canoe in style!

And here’s Milo, his 12-year-old cat:

Milo, warming up while ensuring code is bug free.

He’s also a board-game nut and an aspiring woodworker (AKA collector of power tools) who unwinds by wandering local parks and lapping Minnesota’s many lakes by canoe. One day, he says, he’ll build a sailboat of his own.

He also intently follows all things environmental in the news and otherwise, and finds daily solace in music, especially folk and metal. (Here’s a popular tune by one of his favorite Canadian heavy metal bands, Unleash the Archers.)

 Like good code, Noard says, good music doesn’t happen by accident.

 “There aren’t a lot of things in the world where you can get in the zone, or relax, or transport you to new places,” he says. “The right song makes the day much better!”

5 Fast Facts About Brandon

1. Loves to: Canoe and go to the dentist. (Not at the same time.)

2. Dislikes: Boredom

3. Superpower: I can hear a dog throwing up from a block away.

4. I believe people on Planet Earth should: Learn how to enjoy the time here together!

5. If you were a hot sauce, how hot would you be (1-10)? Probably a 9 or 10! Don’t wanna be boring!