As many of you know, we hold a User Group conference each year to showcase our latest technology as well as provide an opportunity for customers and partners to network. Over the last several years, we have given out our Excellence and Innovation Awards that recognize our customers and partners that have demonstrated and achieved great results, have successfully launched transformational initiatives for their business and/or use Descartes’ solutions in innovative ways.

Last year, we decided it was not only important enough to recognize our customers and partners, but just as important to recognize our own employees for their contributions in helping make our customers and partners successful. Descartes appreciates the commitment, hard work and contributions our employees make and wants to continue to foster a rewarding and high-performing work culture. With that, we introduced the Descartes Quarterly Employee Excellence & Innovation Award Recognition Program for Employees.

To be eligible for the nomination, the employee must have, amongst other attributes, demonstrated:

Innovation – championing of new and valuable ideas to develop new or better processes, tools, methods, systems, products or services in support of Descartes’ mission Excellence – performance with pride and to the highest professional standards, exceeding expectations, achieving exceptional result(s) for external and/or internal stakeholders

We wanted to tie it directly to our customer and partner awards, and from now on, honor not only our customers and partners at our User Group Conference, but our exemplary employees as well!

Joe FoleyI thought it important to give a little introduction prior to announcing the winner. So, without further ado, we would like to honor our very first Descartes Quarterly Employee Excellence & Innovation Award winner - Joe Foley. Joe came to Descartes through its acquisition of Flagship Customs Services in 2006, where he was their Web Products Manager. Joe is currently a Director of Research and Development in our Government Solutions group. His specialties include International trade, and business-to-government and business-to-business messaging.

Joe’s most current project entailed completely redeveloping the backend system of AESDirect for the U.S. Department of Census. AESDirect is the U.S. Census Bureau's free, Internet-based system for filing Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) information to the Automated Export System. Descartes and team, at Census, had a very specific deadline to complete the project, which gave them a little over a year to not only design and develop the new backend to AESDirect, but also to integrate it with the existing front ends. The team had to roll out the system and migrate over 40 million Electronic Export Information (EEI) records, and then transition the almost 75,000 companies that use the system from the old database to the new database. Joe’s leadership was instrumental in the success of the project.

Joe’s favorite parts of the project were problem solving and design. From the beginning, Joe and team had to overcome several challenges to come up with the best solution. I asked Joe what he thought made the project so successful, and he told me it wasn’t just the completion of the technical side, but also that they were able to maintain good communications with the client throughout the project. The team held weekly status meetings to make sure that all key stakeholders were aware of the progress and any potential risks looming on the horizon.

Congratulations to Joe for being this quarter’s Employee Excellence & Innovation Award winner and for being an outstanding project team member.

Written by Ed Ryan

Chief Executive Officer at Descartes