Our June spotlight of the month goes to Charles Lee, Principal Engineer. The spotlight recognizes Charles’ commitment to Brace Software’s Technical and Business Success. He talked to us about how Brace has contributed to his professional growth as well as his impact on Brace.
What is your position and what does that entail?
As Principal Engineer, I contribute my expertise and decades of technology experience across the organization. It is a role that requires a breadth of knowledge and depth regarding its practical application.
Tell me about your career before joining Brace and how you ended up here.
After graduating, I wrote image processing software to process neuroradiology data at Johns Hopkins Hospital for their Taylor Brain Atlas project. The dawn of “Web 1.0” drew me back to NYC, where I worked my way up to Director of Architecture at StarMedia Networks. After the bubble popped, a friend pulled me into the hedge fund world as a data and quant developer. Yet another bubble popped, resulting in the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, whereupon I switched gears to writing automated trading systems. A fortuitous lunch with another friend led to me joining Merlin Securities just as they were being acquired by Wells Fargo. There, I met Rob Brueckmann, who is now Brace’s VP of Engineering. He left to join Brace and made a very convincing case that we had the opportunity to build an industry-changing product, so I followed him here.
What is an exciting project you have been working on recently? What is your proudest professional accomplishment at Brace?
My most exciting project is also one that is my biggest contribution to the Brace platform; the Brace Rules Engine.
Upon joining in 2018, I spent months with our industry expert, poring over thousands of pages of servicing guidelines and researching all of the open and closed source business rule engines on the market. Nothing satisfied the requirements from my analysis; they were either too limited, needlessly complex, immature, etc. Buy or build?
With so much still unknown about the scope of our problem space, I wrote a bespoke decision engine for Brace, one that solved our immediate need for decisioning loans through the mortgage servicing “waterfalls”. Since then, it has evolved in tandem with the actual waterfall logic, since an engine without business rules would merely be an academic exercise.
What is your favorite part of working at Brace?
Among many thoughts, there are two things that come to mind:
- Intellectual engagement with your colleagues
No one gets away with “cause I said so” or administrative fiat. Senior or junior, people are encouraged (and expected!) to speak up and contribute intellectually in order to continually improve our process and products.
2. Technology partnership with the business
Here at Brace, technology is not a cost center; we are an integral part of the business.
What is something you would want others to know about Brace?
Come work with people who are at the top of their game to build THE industry-leading solution to help consumers and servicers achieve mutually optimal outcomes.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
There isn’t a big difference between this and my role as Principal Engineer, since I spend my off time tinkering with technology in general. That said, my away-from-keyboard time is ocean-oriented; I sail a 33' racing catamaran, fish from my pilothouse powerboat when there’s no wind, and am refitting a 40' cruising catamaran for a transatlantic trip. I also spend slivers of time maintaining my piano chops, trying to level up my guitar chops before my fingers get too old, and noodling around with a 50’s vintage accordion I picked up at an auction.