ecuador andes mountains ShipStation user shipping software

Software Engineer Finds Source of Inspiration in the Andes

December 12, 2017


At ShipStation, our mission is to make sellers exceptionally efficient wherever they sell or however they ship. This story is a snapshot of one of the many user encounters that fuel our culture.

Sometimes when you least expect it, a personal encounter will reaffirm you that you’re making a difference in the world. That happened to our Senior Software Engineer at ShipStation, Rich D’Alfonso, when he left the United States over the Thanksgiving holiday to take what he calls a “digital detox.” The encounter he had really enlightened his perspective on what he’s doing here at ShipStation.

Rich set out on a hiking adventure to take some needed time-off during the late November holiday. This wasn’t any ordinary hike. After two whole days of climbing up the Andes mountains, he made it to a place he was sure he could get away from technology for a bit. “I was in the tiny town of Chugchilán, Ecuador, at an eco-lodge with only two other guests,” Rich says.

A Source of Inspiration

At the eco-lodge, Rich sat down for dinner in a small room with only a couple tables. He was chatting with the couple near him and they asked Rich what he did for a living. He told them that he works for ShipStation. He heard the clank of silverware behind him and turned around to see a family with five boys sitting at a table across the room. “Did you say ShipStation?” the mom asked with a smile. Rich says when he started talking about his job at ShipStation, “their excitement went through the roof.”

Darren and Lora Irwin introduced themselves and their five boys. They explained that they were the founders of The Succulent Source, an ecommerce store that specializes in succulents for weddings and gifts. In addition, they use ShipStation as their shipping software of choice to get their packages delivered to their customers. “ShipStation and all of its functions and tools truly allowed us to take our shipping and organization to extremely high new heights!”

Then, they told Rich that their favorite ShipStation feature is order tags, which made him really excited. He said he’s currently making the tagging feature faster right now, so it was great to hear it was so important to them in their daily workflow. They said, “Honestly, your product played an instrumental role in helping our business grow into an extremely successful ecommerce business.”

Supermom and Small Business Owner

With a family of five boys and a full-time ecommerce business, Rich says that Lora was a supermom, alongside Darren. He could sense their love and sincerity for family, a genuine passion for what they did, and their excitement to meet someone behind the scenes at ShipStation. “We appreciate your company and look forward to growing with you guys as you grow with us!” they told him.

Rich D’Alfonso

A Passion For Efficiency

Ecuador was the last place Rich thought he’d be reminded of work. He says “To see firsthand how we help businesses and families was very inspiring!” The experience of meeting a real family that relies on ShipStation to run their business reaffirmed his passion to help small business owners be efficient. Rich continues to make our shipping software better each day so that families like the Irwins can continue to “live the life they want to live.”

Interested in joining our team? Check out the ShipStation careers page.