My career started from as early as I could remember. My childhood was filled with drawing, erecta sets, video games and insane Lego mania. I credit Legos for my strong ability to understand 3D space, organization and the desire to solve functional, structural and aesthetic problems. When all this play needed to transform to something real, I fortunately had 4 incredible high school educators to provide direction, support and encouragement. Mr. Lopez, art and software hook up, Mr. Miller, programming, Mr. Rehm, technology, and finally, Mr. Mascolo, graphics and photography.

All this support armed with my 33mhz computer, I was well on my way. Inspired by the Pixar’s first Toy Story movie, I decided to focus on art and computer graphics. I attended New York Institute of Technology where the head of the art department Mr. Voci immediately recognized my skills and offered me a job as teachers assistant in all the computer graphics classes. This was perfect for me as I already had some experience teaching 3rd through 6th graders how to use computers over eight weeks as a high school senior project. Little did I know how much these experiences were building my ability to have patience, to mentor and communicate.

The summer of my sophomore year, I got an internship at a small start-up using a new 3D projection/scanning technique to be used for selling articles of clothing online. As a Jr in college, I started professionally freelancing with two agencies in Montclair NJ, Frederick & Froberg and UP Design. Gaining some real world experience was eye opening and exciting. My first big project was for a 3D animated intro to the 1999 MLB All-Star game… and later for 2000 as well.

I was hooked. I built up a good network of relationships and continued to freelance for about 1 1/2 years after graduation. Mostly design/branding, 3D, motion graphics and Flash animation.

I was never really interested in the dull and boring web, but Flash was starting to take off and that is when I found an opportunity to join a very small e-detailing company called Dot Com Advisors (Group DCA). They had one Art Director and a small team of back-end engineers. I was able to bring motion, interactivity, storytelling and eventually, some serious front-end coding to their products. I quickly realized that in order for anything amazing to happen, it had to be coded. With True Basic and Pascal coding experience from high school and being surrounded by talented software engineers, I was in a very fortunate position to broaden my skills and fall in love with code. Every year the company quadrupled and we grew for 10 years. As the head of the Studio, I gained priceless experience across every corner of our business.

  • Responsible for all front end development / training
  • Engineered the front end structure of Group DCA’s proprietary development platform DIAGRAM
  • Manage animators & programmers to develop easy to use highly engaging responsive interactive experiences
  • Design, storyboard, animate and program complex HTML5/Flash experiences and motion graphics
  • Collaborated with client services to manage project scope and solutions
  • Utilize jQuery and PhoneGap to create mobile applications & Adobe’s AIR to iOS packager
  • Solved production, creative and functional challenges though the development of motion graphics, code, 3D, video, audio, and software
  • Bridge communication between designers, executives and software developers
  • Assisted the Business Development team with content creation and content management utilizing Google Drive’s cloud solutions.
  • Create, record, edit and compress audio & video

With the emergence of the iPhone in 2007 and new HTML technology, downsizing and later being acquired by PDI Inc. I spent the next 7 years in full blown HTML CSS JS front-end development. Thankfully, my years of experience with AS2 and AS3 made Javascript a breeze to pick up, softening the blow of the complete shift in technologies. I was quickly able to recreate a lot of the same fundamentals and tools to continue to efficiently create highly animated engaging experiences that can now run on mobile devices! It wasn’t easy, but I know the process getting there was necessary.

Fast forward now to 2015 and we are acquired again by Haymarket Media / PRI Healthcare Solutions. Seemed like a great fit. They were new to Digital, had a small offshore dev team and needed experts to guide them. At PRI I was

  • Involved in all the digital projects.
  • I would consult early on and help provide clarity on the campaign by implementing a new project brief system and drawing visual schematics to get everyone on the same page.
  • Throughout the entire project I would consult the with art, overseas dev team, editorial and client services team to facilitate communication, strategy, solve problems and QA the end results.
  • I also was part of the marketing/analytics team where I consulted with the analytics team, updated reports and optimized (pragmatically and visually) automated google sheet dashboards to fulfill the needs of the stakeholders.
  • I also consulted with the email marketing team and helped them solve all kinds of HTML issues.
  • I designed, planned and ran large complex web based survey campaigns.
  • Created several full blown video projects, motion graphics projects and microsite projects.
  • In addition, I was the official Google Platform trainer, and unofficial in office general tech support guy.

I really enjoyed the variety of the work day, learning new things and being able to help so many people. But, I missed development. On nights and weekends, I always fiddled around with new technologies and keeping up with advancements in major platforms. Long story short, 8000 lines of code later, I created a virtual reality real estate marketing platform I called GanderVR. Meanwhile, PRI had a very bad year and I was part of a 25 person layoff. First summer off since high school. Felt great!

So, now here I am. 20 years of experience in the digital environment, trying to figure out where and what I should do next. I went on a few interviews, but nothing felt right, until I found this really fun young development team at a company called Sentient who was part of W2O Group, now Real Chemistry. They were very impressed with my experience and portfolio and I decided to take the job! almost 4 years in and I’m responsible for:

  • HTML, SCSS, JS, PHP responsive interactive website development
  • WordPress development
  • React development
  • SVG animations and scroll driven experiences
  • Specialty media solutions
  • Design / UX consultant & creation
  • Mentoring and coaching across Dev and Design.
  • Laravel Template optimization
  • Image asset optimization & training

At the beginning of the pandemic, I was moved to the product team because of my knowledge of React. I worked under some of the most experienced engineers and built out some amazing web applications using:

  • React
  • Material UI / AntD
  • Storybook
  • Nivo Charts / High Charts

During the trying times of the presidential election and the pandemic, I started a passion project during nights and weekends. I wanted to create a place where people can talk face to face. So I built a site from the ground up called Wioit. I used React and Material UI and Firebase. I plan to launch it fall of 2021. Check it out.

UPDATE: Twitter launched Spaces, pretty much the same idea as Wioit 🙁

In September of 2021, I took the opportunity to work for a former boss, Kim LaRocca at New York Public Radio. Here I will join a very talented small team to help build and support all the products under NYPR. I’m so excited to have finally left the pharma agency life and work in a creative industry. I will be learning and using:

  • Vue.js
  • Nuxt
  • Storybook
  • PrimeVue
  • CapacitorJS

I learn something new everyday and love being surrounded by such talented people.

With unmeasurable appreciation, I thank all the people throughout my life and career who have taken the time to help me learn and grow. I will forever pay it forward as this journey continues. Thanks for reading.

-Thomas Bono