The latest from GO2
What the office is up to, looking into and blogging about.
Employee-Owner Spotlight: Amy Bernhardt

As an employee-owned agency, what moves one of us moves us all. So each month, we’re turning the spotlight on one of our many awesome owners to find out more about the unique personalities that shape GO2.

This month, Senior Production Artist Amy Bernhardt sheds some light on her love of lighthouses, fresh veggies, dystopian rebellions and more!

What are you most passionate about at work?

I love translating big ideas into workable, accessible components.

The large projects that have complicated technical requirements and moving pieces to bring together are often the most rewarding. There is a lot of problem solving and skill that goes into setting up a document that everyone can easily work with and in coordinating the smooth production of the finished product. People from different departments need to be able to contribute to the jobs I work on and they count on me to provide them the framework to do it. I am always trying to find ways to work smarter.

What are you most passionate about outside of work?

I have a passion for landscape photography, especially involving lighthouses. I love that they are a bit old-fashioned and a little romantic. They remind me of a time before GPS when sailing the seas meant depending on these beacons and their operators to guide you safely home. Also, since they are located on coastlines, lighthouse hunting is an amazing way to explore and photograph some of the most beautiful places in the world.

Gardening is big part of what I do outside of work. I have my pepper plants started already this year! It’s a great way to get fresh produce that tastes better than anything you can buy in the grocery store and it’s a fun challenge to see what I can grow successfully. Gardening is something I learned from my mom, so we like to try and grow new things together. Last year we did sweet potatoes, which may not be something you would usually think about growing in a northeastern Ohio garden, but they turned about great.

I really enjoy traveling and would love to have the opportunity to do it more. I end up traveling around the U.S. a lot to visit my siblings. I have a sister in Milwaukee, a brother who will soon be moving from California to New York and another brother in Boston. As long as they keep moving to interesting places, I’ll keep visiting! My recent vacation to Dublin, Ireland, has been my favorite trip so far. The people were so nice, the pub food was great and seeing a city that was founded over 1,000 years ago really helped me put our own history into perspective. They also have a much better cider culture than we do. There were so many hard ciders available everywhere; I actually didn’t see much fruit juice that wasn’t fermented.

What are some favorites you’d like to share?

TV show: The BBC’s Sherlock

Movies: The Hunt for Red October, A League of Their Own

I really appreciate shows and movies with clever dialogue. My family has a habit of conducting entire conversations in movie quotes and thankfully, Sherlock and The Hunt for Red October give me a lot of witty one-liners to work with.

Books: The Hunger Games, Harry Potter

Young Adult genre books are fun and work well on a lot of levels. The plots can be complex — dealing with issues you don’t get in mainstream bestsellers — while not taking themselves too seriously or being preachy. For example, The Hunger Games had some really interesting questions to ask about rebellions and what happens to the figurehead of a rebellion once it’s over. Though they may have an important message to deliver, good storytelling always comes first.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The first female professional baseball player (until I realized you needed hand/eye coordination to play baseball) or an astronaut.

What would you like to be famous for?

Landscape photography (particularly lighthouses) or writing novels.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?

I am going to be running my first 5K at a Harry Potter-themed event in Kent this July.

Employee-Owner Spotlight: Alec Stringer

As an employee-owned agency, what moves one of us moves us all. So each month, we’re turning the spotlight on one of our many awesome owners to find out more about the unique personalities that shape GO2.

This month, we sit down with Front End Developer Alec Stringer to talk about visiting The Shire, eating grasshoppers and ushering in the technological singularity.

What are you most passionate about at work?

My favorite thing to do at work is problem solving. For me, that can be anything from writing a bit of weird code that makes a website work to solving problems in our corporate culture through our culture improvement committee, GO2 DNA. There is something satisfying about being presented with a challenge that doesn’t have an obvious answer and then working for a solution. “Here’s where we need to be. Here are the resources you have. Figure it out.” It forces you to think creatively and sometimes to learn an entirely new skill.

The projects I work on often aren’t as straightforward as they might seem, so I get to solve plenty of problems. Even something simple like an email is not really. It can take a lot of testing, trial and error to make that happen.

My second-favorite thing is getting everyone on board with silly names. We’re following up on our Comcast internal communication project, Nucleus. I’m going for “2cleus.”

What are you most passionate about outside of work?

I am a foodie. In fact, food is one of my favorite things to eat. I think there’s so much more to eating a good meal than sustenance — why just have lunch when you can have a culinary adventure? You can be experimental with unique flavor combinations, share a new experience with someone or get a taste of another culture. Also, we all eat about 76,650 meals in a lifetime, so I figure it might as well be fun.

Of course, being a foodie means I spend some time cooking. One of my favorite kinds of dishes to prepare is taking something that is generally considered a luxury food and making it more accessible. Like crème brûlée. That’s a dish that’s easy to make with just a few simple, cheap ingredients. But, it’s got a fancy presentation and a French name, so restaurants can charge 10 bucks for a few bites. I like to learn how to make that kind of thing for myself and let other people know that they can, too.

I also really enjoy traveling. I’m trying to catch up to Pete, but so far I’ve only been to two continents. I especially love visiting places with rugged natural beauty and friendly, welcoming people. That’s why my dream vacation would be a visit to Iceland. That’s also why I have a trip to New Zealand planned for the beginning of next year. During that vacation, the cruise ship will make a stop at The Shire so we can see one of the most iconic locations from the Lord of the Rings movies and, hopefully, spot some wild Hobbits.

What are some favorites you’d like to share?

My entertainment favorites are in continual flux, but there is one that has remained constant: The West Wing. It has been my favorite TV show since 1999. It’s well written, well acted, funny and educational. It also allows me to believe in an alternate universe where our government is run by people who genuinely want to make our country a better place.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My recollections in order from earliest to latest: horse, He-Man, teenager, paleontologist, archaeologist, astrologer, astrophysicist, environmental scientist (this is when I realized you have to know math to do science), CIA agent, diplomat, special effects technician, computer animator. I currently want to be Batman when I grow up.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

Chapulines in Oaxaca, Mexico. The taste is nothing fancy, but the crunch is what reminds you that you’re eating grasshoppers. Blech.

What would you like to be famous for?

I don’t want to be famous for anything; that sounds terrible. I would want to do something that contributes to humankind, but I wouldn’t want to be famous for it. I’d rather be the power behind the throne. I might like to promote a global agenda of tolerance or help the world’s homeless. I would definitely like to be involved with the advancement of a scientific revolution like practical long-term space travel or bringing about a transhuman or technological singularity.

Is there something people might be surprised to know about you?

Yes.

Employee-Owner Spotlight: Pete Rubin

As an employee-owned agency, what moves one of us moves us all. So each month, we’re turning the spotlight on one of our many awesome owners to find out more about the unique personalities that shape GO2.

This month, we’ll get to know one of the people who started it all — co-founder, managing partner and intrepid adventurer Pete Rubin.

What are you most passionate about at work?

This one is a piece of cake. The people, the culture and the finances — in that order.

Seeing our employees develop their careers and helping them succeed is the reason I come to work every day. We have a talented, passionate team and I see the potential and believe in every one of them. The second priority for me is creating a positive environment that allows that success to happen. This has to be a place where people feel valued, supported and inspired to do great work. Last are the finances. From the beginning, it has never been our goal to maximize profit at all cost. We look for a reasonable return on our investment to keep us going and to continue growing. Money isn’t my primary passion, but I have to make sure our company is financially healthy, or those other goals wouldn’t be possible.

What are you most passionate about outside of work?

I love to travel. Experiencing culture, people and perspectives from around the world is always an amazing adventure. I especially love to get out and experience nature. Whether it’s skiing, diving or going on a safari, it’s rewarding to be a part of environments that are both beautiful and challenging. I wouldn’t call myself an adrenaline junkie, I just like to keep moving and to never be bored.

Spending time with family and close friends is also very important to me. Not that I ever sit still, but I love to take them to a game, a show or to just hang out.

One more thing I’d say is a passion of mine is animal conservation. I believe we have an obligation to preserve the natural world and the incredible creatures that inhabit it.

What are some favorites you’d like to share?

Movies: Miracle, the movie about the U.S. hockey team that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Also action movies like Rocky, Rambo and anything with Clint Eastwood.

TV: House of Cards, any good political or police dramas.

Musician: Eric Clapton. I think I’ve seen him perform live in every decade since the ‘70s!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My mother always tells me that when I was little, I wanted to grow up to be a tractor. Also, as a Jewish kid growing up in New York, I was obligated to want to be a doctor and probably a lawyer. When I went off to college, I had no idea what I wanted to be; I just wanted to get a degree in anything where you didn’t have to learn a language. I think I learned more Swahili while preparing for a trip to Africa than I did Spanish in college.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

I ate guinea pig in Peru; it’s actually not uncommon there. I had something called black chicken in China that was very strange. Black feathers, black skin, black meat, even black bones. I’ve eaten lionfish, rattlesnake and even some chocolate-covered grasshopper — that one was right here at the Cleveland Metroparks.

What would you like to be famous for?

You know, I’ve actually never thought about this. I think I’d like to be famous for animal conservation efforts. Maybe doing work to preserve gorillas and other major primates.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?

I think people would be surprised to know I love Star Trek. I am a fan of the Original Series mostly, but I also love everything that came after, except Deep Space 9. Did you know Spock’s “live long and prosper” hand gesture is a symbol from ancient Jewish history? It was something Leonard Nimoy, who was a Jew, remembered from an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service he attended as a child.