Websites and full-stack development for associations

Washington DC Metro


Growing up computing

My first class on the basics of using a computer was completed back in 1994. My wonderfully progressive parents were always seeking to expose me to new things, and I had been enrolled in a program called FUTUREKIDS. The program covered the basics of using MS DOS to load and run programs and update data.

Having just turned 6 years old, I had no idea that this would spark an interest and send me careening head-first into a nerdy adolescence followed by an exciting career in software and computing!

Hello, Association World!

Fast forward a couple of decades – after I completed my Bachelors degree in 2010, I landed a job at a leading iMIS reseller, where I spent nearly 13 years helping associations reach their technology goals. A bright new face in an unfamiliar industry, I was eager to brain-sponge and learn anything I could get my hands on to build my career. Little did I know, this experience would serve as a master-class in professional consulting and the software industry.

I had the opportunity to explore my interests and work in many varying technical roles: IT admin, systems architect, software support analyst, systems migration and upgrade specialist, webmaster, data analyst, project manager, technical trainer and documentation writer, SSO and integrations expert, and full-stack programmer. I became the resident expert on the iMIS RISE web platform and completed dozens of complex website implementations and projects. I also leveled-up my other iMIS skills and earned the Certified iMIS Professional (CiP) and Administrator (CiA) designations. As time went on and iMIS became more website-focused, I helped clients move 20+ year old systems to the cloud / EMS enterprise version by using my web skills to tailor the staff and member-facing RiSE websites.

As my career progressed, I spent more time in meetings and less time coding and engineering, as many often do. While I enjoyed the fast pace and intensity of project management and planning work, I found myself longing to do more work directly on the technology.

My true calling: making awesome websites and web-based solutions.

After few years into working on RiSE and iMIS, I began learning more about other website platforms and started using WordPress for a few side projects. In 2020, I combined tools from Vimeo and Zoom along with iMIS and WordPress, and helped to mastermind a virtual event that was delivered to a LIVE audience of over 300 attendees watching via live stream. It went great, the client was thrilled, we did it again the following year, and I was absolutely ecstatic! My creativity was thriving, and I became eager to do more innovative and inventive work.

The next chapter

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to run my own business and embrace a modern, asynchronous work lifestyle. When my daughter was born in the winter of 2023, my heart completely overflowed with joy, and she immediately became the center of my universe. As I considered the future, I decided that the time had come to branch out on my own and start my own company.

After securing the endorsement from by-far the coolest wife on the planet, I formed Philstack LLC in April of 2023. At Philstack, I continue following my calling – serving up professionally tailored websites and clever business solutions to the association and non-profit community.

Why Philstack?

I came up with the name “Phil-stack” as a play-on-words – my name is Phil, and I’m a capable and proven full-stack developer with a little something extra. In fact, three things extra:

  1. Association business analysis experience and expertise
  2. Clear communication skills
  3. Project management training and experience.

Artisan in a world of cogs.

I believe you have to fully understand what you are doing in order to do it well. For me, that means understanding the business needs and constraints as well as all of the technology involved to satisfy those needs. I’m the kind of guy who didn’t fully trust the car until I understood how the engine works. The pasta just tastes better when you know how it was made. Only once you clarify the full picture can you truly see the forest through the trees.

In my experience working with talented developers and business professionals, I found that most were either terrific organizers and planners with good business sense *or* gifted and skilled programmers with vast technical abilities. Those with either of the skillset were great assets to my teams and more than able to play their role in the symphony and do their jobs well. However, it was rare to find someone who could do *both* – someone else who really understood the value of understanding. Instead, there was almost always a layer of translation needed to communicate between the technical people who can make it happen and the business professionals who need it done right.

Extra translation means higher costs to complete a project.

My clients need the most from their money to get their technology aligned within their budgets and get back to focusing on the mission. Associations and non-profits face unique challenges unlike those in commercial industries.

I’ve spent the past 12 years learning how dozens of different types of associations work – from professional trade organizations and medical boards, to educator certifying bodies and international standards-setting authorities. While I worked to solve their problems, I also added to my ever-growing lexicon of association businesses process knowledge. After doing it for so many years, I am well equipped to talk through just about any technical or website-related business need that my clients have.

With the right plan, the tech comes easy.

Whether it’s figuring out the best way to process online membership applications, building a new website to support an upcoming conference, customizing and enhancing your systems to better fit your business, or creating something totally new and unique – you need an experienced partner who can plan the solution end to end and then implement the plan on-time and on-budget. My talents and past experience working for associations and non-profits combined with the one-two punch of high quality coding and thoughtful planning makes me the ideal resource to help achieve your goals.

Let’s meet and talk about how we can exceed your expectations, dazzle your stakeholders, and further your mission.