Life Outside of STACK: Justin Couchot, UX Manager

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Career Questions

Tell us your job title, how long you’ve been at STACK, and briefly describe a typical day at work for you.

I’ve been with STACK for nearly two years now working as the UX Manager. My job is basically making sure that all of our STACK apps are easy to use and beautiful.  

What do you love about your job that would surprise most people? 

Not a surprise, but I love the team and the people I work with. They’re consistently excellent at their job, very friendly, and have so many interesting hobbies and interests outside of work that I love learning about.  

What is the best piece of career advice you ever received? 

Don’t have an ego. At art school they would publicly hang all our pieces on the wall in order from best to worst, so you learn to detach yourself from your work pretty quickly if you want to stay sane. 

Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories related to work (and safe for work)?

I interviewed for STACK after spending a few weeks backpacking in rural Maine and Vermont. I had long curly hair and a decently large beard, which I shaved right before starting. I know there was a second or two of hesitation with my boss right out of the gate if I was the same man who interviewed. 

Fun Questions!

We know you’re great – hey, that’s why you work at STACK! Tell us about the great things (in detail) you do outside of work. Hobbies, interests, secret lives…

If I’m not working, I’m usually pretty far away from a screen. I spend a lot of time restoring my old house and older barn, working in my garden, splitting wood, cooking (preferably over the fire), or tending to my bees and other various projects around the house. In the winter months I do a lot of woodworking (I’m building a Dutch-style cheese press right now), leatherworking, (especially for axes and garden tools), and cooking. My friends call my interests very “old-timey.”  

I also love to travel and spend a lot of time in my car with three bikes and a kayak strapped on top, hitting as many National and State Parks as I can. I think I was in 13 National Parks just last year.  

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What’s your favorite local spot and why (restaurant, bar, music venue, whatever you want to share about your hood!)?  
I adore the Little Miami River area. I live right off the bike trail, so I’ll hop on near Loveland and head north into town to my favorite record store, Plaid Room Records, grab a bite to eat or hit Narrow Path Brewing or Cartridge Brewing. If I’m headed south there’s a great little restaurant that always has live music called Miamiville Trailyard, and if you keep going south from there you’ll hit Little Miami Brewing (also accessible by Kayak!) and Fifty West Brewing Company. All in, it’s a fun little bike trail and if you feel like biking 40 miles in a day you can easily hit all these spots. 

What song have you completely memorized? Will you sing it for us? What about playing it on an instrument? How about a little dance instead? 

Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf. It’s an eight-and-a-half-minute duet and I will absolutely sing both parts. Only over the jukebox though, I’m not a karaoke man.

What makes you truly happy? 

Being outside or making things with my hands. Bonus points if what I’m making is for friends/family/other people. Every Spring I do an 80 quart low country boil where I’m just cooking for a large group and hanging out with people and it’s one of my favorite things to do.

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If your life was a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack? 

I am a Man of Constant Sorrow – The Soggy Bottom Boys 

Hog of the Forsaken – Michael Hurley 

Rocky Mountain High – John Denver 

Deadcrush – Alt J 

Ecstasy of Gold – Ennio Morricone 

Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) – Looking Glass 

Desperados Under the Eaves – Warren Devon 

Come a Little Bit Closer – Jay and the Americans 

Jimmy – Moriarty 

Stay With Me – Lorraine Ellison 

They’re Hanging Me Tonight – Marty Robbins

If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be?   
I used to run a summer camp in Virginia and my camp name was “Hawkeye.” Not because I like the superhero, but actually because I love both Last of the Mohicans and MASH. Fun fact: Hawkeye Pierce’s nickname in MASH also came from Last of the Mohicans.

What causes are you passionate about?

I love anything that has to do with the outdoors. I try to volunteer with local trailbuilding groups whenever I can, to build and maintain trails around Cincinnati or wherever I’m spending time biking and hiking. 

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What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I’m not sure if I’d call it courageous, maybe more ignorant or just stupid. I was camping on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, and during a thunderstorm we were climbing to the tallest point on the island. I saw a wild bison and decided to go up and touch it. Honestly it’s probably amazing that I’m not dead. It was mating season. Did you know that bison can jump 10 feet vertically and can run 35 miles per hour? That’s 56 kph for my friends in Canada.  

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