Life at Fionta

Featured Fíontan: Meet Jesse Firestone

Jesse Firestone

We’re lucky to have had you on board for two years now! How’d you learn of Fíonta?

I was referred to Fíonta by Drupal Grandmaster and all-around cool colleague Lisa Godare. I fell for the casual-but-motivated and familial environment, and the rest is history!

What was your work life, pre-Fíonta?

I’ve been an open-source nerd for basically my whole adult life, specializing in Drupal for the last decade or so. But I spent a lot of time as a jack-of-all-trades, ranging all the way from giant data sets on the back end to helping plan and implement interfaces on the design end. The common thread is that almost my whole career has been for nonprofits and government organizations because I love seeing my work make a difference to real people. (Editor’s note: preach!)

If you had to choose, what’s your favorite element of Drupal, or the Drupal community?

My favorite, albeit abstract, characteristic of Drupal is how it empowers me to solve problems creatively. I can look at a client’s need and come up with the right solution for them depending on their size, expertise, and budget – without coloring outside the lines, so to speak. And I feel like the Drupal community has my back.

What’s one project that you’ve been a part of that has been particularly meaningful to you here at Fíonta and why?

I love working with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities because their mission is important, and I learn so much just from being around their site a lot. Education is really special to me, so any of our clients who prioritize education and education policy are close to my heart. And a shout out to the Greater Than AIDS project, who must be some of the nicest people on the planet.

Which Fíonta core value(s) strike home for you and why?

I think you could say “do what’s right, even when hard” and “always be improving” were part of my life philosophy even before I came to Fíonta, so it has to be those. In my other desk-free life, they’re necessary parts of my psyche. I love doing difficult things, and I’m a total dopamine addict. I like working on the other 3, though!

Do you have any professional goals for the coming year?

I just hosted my first webinar and enjoyed it! I’d like to do more “public” speaking and someday in the safer future, start presenting at conferences. I’m also perennially studying to finish my last Acquia certifications.

What’s non-work Jesse into?

I’m a serious practitioner of bouldering, a discipline of rock climbing that’s more gymnastic and athletic. You stay close to the ground but don’t use ropes or gear. It’s taken me all over the US and the world, taught me patience and grit, and given me a community and a guiding philosophy. I have a pretty cool dog. I’m a mediocre woodworker.

Coffee or tea?

Both. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” (Editor’s note: such a great quote that it inspired said editor to seek out the attribution. Thank you, Oscar Wilde, for sage advice.)

Hotel or tent?


Spicy or mild?

It’s spicy when I order, mild, about halfway through the meal.

Night owl or early bird?

Definitely early bird

Preferred nut butter?

JEM Cashew Cardamom Almond Butter, and if that’s not the most bon vivant answer to that question you’ve ever gotten, then I’ll eat a whole jar of Skippy. (Editor’s note: Speechless and thus, noteless.)