DrupalCon Takeaways - Justin Rhodes

An Interview with Justin Rhodes | Freelance Sitebuilder and Project Manager

Oh! Hey there, my name is Piyush Jain and as a new staff member at the Drupal Association I wanted to learn what the community likes so much about DrupalCon. Community is what cements Drupal as a leading technology world over, and many community members meet at DrupalCon year after year to learn, share experiences, and bond. So I reached out to a few community members to find out about their experiences. This is the sixth conversation in my series. If you haven’t been to a DrupalCon, here is a little more about our events.


This week, I spoke with Justin Rhodes (TheJustinRhodes). Justin has been part of the Drupal community for four years, and has attended four DrupalCons.

Piyush: Tell us about your first or best DrupalCon.

Justin: DrupalCon New Orleans was my most memorable DrupalCon. Not only was the location enjoyable but I truly felt like I was a part of the community and able to contribute. I was able to help organize the first North American Project Management track. This gave me a huge feeling of confidence and pride in my ability to support the Drupal Community without being a technical asset pushing code.

Piyush: What was your favorite food this DrupalCon?

Justin: This past DrupalCon in Baltimore I enjoyed many meals off the reservation. About a half mile from the conference center there was a small market. Inside this market there was a place called Faidley’s Seafood with the best crabcakes I’ve ever had.


Piyush: What has your experience been like with the Drupal Community at DrupalCons?

Justin: DrupalCon is like a big family reunion. It’s a chance to see my extended family from all over the world. I enjoy learning and growing along with other driven people who bring their experiences to DrupalCon to share openly. This is the type of community that I really enjoy.


Piyush: Share with us your most memorable moment/ conversation at a DrupalCon?

Justin: DrupalCon after hours is always filled with catching up and networking. I’d have to say that finding places to talk with influential and excited Drupalers during the organized after parties is a lot of fun. It’s hard to choose just one moment, but the Drupal Trivia night was quite a lot of fun!


Piyush: How has DrupalCon given you an edge at work?

Justin: DrupalCon and smaller Drupal events have made my career what it is today. Without the friendships and connections I've made while diving head first into Drupal by attending these events, I would not have been able to learn and grow into the business person I am today.


Piyush: Tell us about a time you were able to incorporate your learning from DrupalCon.

Justin: I’ve learned a lot about Agile project management from DrupalCon sessions and videos from the past. I built a project management career off of those teachings and then began speaking about Agile philosophies at smaller events around the US.


Piyush: How has DrupalCon helped grow your business?

Justin: Instead of reinventing the wheel, DrupalCon allows me to hear the successes and failures of the people in my same role around the world. This gives me a huge opportunity to find mentorship and catharsis amongst my peers.


Piyush: What do you see yourself gaining out of future DrupalCons?

Justin: I believe that I will continue to learn and grow through more DrupalCons. Networking is also a huge point of going to events like this, in order to find more clients and forge more strategic partnerships with like minded entities that value great Drupal work.

Piyush: How has DrupalCon helped you develop and evolve your team and your peers?

Justin: DrupalCon has always been a great team building opportunity as well as an educational experience. I’ve had a lot of really good mind-meld sessions with co-workers and as a company we’ve always walked away from DrupalCon with a renewed sense of pride and dedication.


Piyush: Why do you think is DrupalCon important for the Drupal Community?

Justin: It is important for the Drupal Community to come together in a face-to-face format instead of being completely digital. The amount of interactions that we have at a DrupalCon with people that we would have never met is the key to success for any member of a community.