Salsa announces a CTO
Salsa is thrilled to announce the appointment of Stuart Rowlands into our newly created role of Chief Technology Officer.
Salsarian since 28 July 2018
CTO since 4 September 2019
‘Welcome’ to our new CTO
We’d like to officially welcome Stuart to his new role as CTO. Stuart’s actually been working with Salsa for about a year now, providing strategic and implementation advice, knowledge, and skills to the business and our projects. However, he’s now transitioning into the CTO role.
“I’m really looking forward to my new role as CTO, especially helping to direct the forward-thinking and technically interesting opportunities that are coming up. I’ll be focusing on building foundations that we can re-use and benefit from, as well as building tools that will be re-used by others in the Drupal community.”
In addition to the innovative tech opportunities, Stuart will also be helping to drive standardisation in-house, increase efficiencies, act as a mentor for staff, expand the technologies we’re using, and make sure all Salsa team members are up to date with cutting-edge technology. “It’s important that everyone in our development team is across all emerging technologies because this ensures they’re equipped to choose the best possible solution to the problem rather than just a solution,” Stuart said.
Why a CTO?
Salsa has expanded significantly in the past couple of years and we’ve evolved. While we were once a traditional Drupal agency we have, and still are, moving beyond that. As Director and Founder Alfred Deeb said: “If we don’t continue to innovate, we’ll stagnate.” Part of our shift over the past few years has been refining our vision, which is to help governments and enterprises be more open, more connected and more consolidated. “We needed a strong CTO who could continue to drive innovation and that challenges that status-quo,” Alfred said.
“Someone who’s a strong technical visionary and can identify where technology is heading, how technology is solving problems in interesting ways and how we can bring that technology to our customers to help them and thus realise our vision."
"As a company that’s always been based on engineering rigour, we also needed a technical leader. My focus as CEO has its responsibilities, however as an engineer myself with a history and love for technical delivery I highly appreciate the need for a strong technical leader. And so, for Salsa to maintain that technical engineering rigour we needed someone who’s hands-on the tools and at the forefront of development and emerging tech."
"Having worked with Stuart for a year and been continually impressed by this technical skills and knowledge, I knew without a doubt he was the right person to technically lead Salsa into the next phase of our journey.”
Stuart was born in Wales but moved to New Zealand with his family when he was only four years old. He completed his Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Waikato in NZ and then moved to Australia.
Stuart has 20 years’ experience across a multitude of web technologies, frameworks, tools and libraries. As well as being the founder and director of multiple tech companies during his career, he also worked full-time as a Senior Technical Architect at Acquia, and was also full time for nine years at the University of Queensland as a Senior Systems Programmer. Stuart’s been running his own companies since high school(!), including tech companies, so most of his experience comes from working on projects that his companies have completed. Stuart is currently involved in tech company Firecannon and Madcore Sportswear.
Stuart’s roles in the past have tended to be project based, moving after he completed each project to “the most interesting thing available at the time.” During his time at Acquia he’d been working with GovCMS from the ground up, helping to drive the project and solving some of the early challenges. He had a soft spot for GovCMS. When Alfred approached Stuart about six months after he’d finished up at Acquia, Alfred talked about how Salsa was planning to revolutionise GovCMS. (This was soon after we’d won the contract to build the second-generation GovCMS.)
“I was attracted to the innovation,” Stuart said. “It was incredibly ambitious and challenging, and that excited me. Salsa was migrating around 100 sites in a matter of months. In fact, it sounded pretty crazy at the time!”
In terms of signing up for the CTO role, Stuart is looking forward to the challenge and innovation that will be involved in the role. He’s also enjoyed his first year working at Salsa. “I love the people and the atmosphere of the company. Salsa is very focused on making sure everyone has the right experience with Salsa and it’s got the right balance of fun and challenging work. Everything about the working environment makes it a great place to be. The foray into new and exciting technologies shows that Salsa is broadening its own horizons and doing more interesting things. It’s at the forefront of delivering on some pretty big things in the near future.”
Stuart lives in Brisbane with his wife and two young boys. Welcome, Stuart! View Stuart's Salsa profile