This week in our Meet the Squids series, we’re talking to Paul Teall, General Manager of the Content Group. In addition to his management duties, Paul also has a secondary job title at TurboSquid: commissioner of the office’s cutthroat Fantasy Football league.
What do you do with your time outside of work?
I’m relatively new to New Orleans, so I still love exploring the city with my family. There’s so much to do here – we’re all still thrilled to be discovering new things about the city.
I’ve had a couple of jobs in the video game industry, and I’ve got a side project centered around that – gamejobhunter.com: It’s a site that’s focused on helping people get a job making games.
What does your day at TurboSquid typically entail?
Working with the CheckMate team to help expand our certification efforts! The team is working incredibly hard to make sure that our quality of our catalog continues to rise. I’m also working on a few more very cool projects, but it’s a little too early to discuss those yet.
Do you have a favorite thing about working here?
I love the people that work at TS – we’ve got a really fun and talented team. Being in downtown New Orleans is also great. We’ve got a lot of cool restaurants and bars nearby, which keeps things interesting.
What else do you get to do at TS HQ?
One of my unofficial job duties is acting as the TurboSquid Fantasy Football league commissioner. Our league has gotten pretty intense over the years – we’re up to 16 teams, and the competition is ruthless. I get to publicly shame people that forget to set their rosters, which is always fun.
Is there anyone in the office who’s doing particularly well this season? Now is an acceptable time to praise them, or throw some shade.
Ted Sedberry is actually 9-0.
How much does everyone hate him right now?
Probably a lot.
Ed. note:Without shaming anyone too hard (I’m super nice like that), we also talked about the highs and lows of the league, with Paul citing the “fall from grace, for our Super Bowl champ of two years ago.” So I had to ask…
Is there a Loser Bowl trophy?
They get $50 and a year of living with the shame of a Loser Bowl “championship.”
Before we go, tell us about your favorite model in the TurboSquid catalog:
If you’ve made a call to our Support Desk, it’s very possible that you are already familiar with Member Services Agent, Jordan Cressy. In this issue of Meet the Squids, Jordan shares her thoughts on talking to customers, and shares her dream of talking to animals.
First of all, what do you do when you’re away from the Support Desk?
I like to overestimate my ability to DIY. My house is littered with half-finished projects and art supplies. I really like music. I sing and play a little piano. I also love to write… I like to write children’s stories.
I have a corgi named Raleigh. I am a little obsessed with corgis. My corgi has a lobster outfit, ‘nough said.
What does a work day look like for you?
I answer questions. Well, I try to answer questions. I am the liaison between questions and answers (fancy).
I answer chats, phone calls, and tickets from our customers. Generally, if one of our members tries to contact us, there is a one in five chance (sometimes one in three) it will be me! I do my best to help our members get the information they need. I want to help!
Another big part of my job is to hunt down fraud, like Buffy. That’s what she was doing, right?
What’s your favorite thing about working at TurboSquid?
I am just a 3D girl in an 8 bit world: a Super Mario World! (otherwise known as the Member Support desks) My other favorite things about TurboSquid include: Endless Hot Tea, and the soda fountain (this is less important to me, but my friends are so jealous!).
Mostly, I get to learn about some really awesome stuff with some great people! Because what is cooler than 3D?
Pretty much nothing! What’s it like working with TurboSquid customers?
It is really nice when we have customers who appreciate what we do. Most of our customers leave feedback, but it is always really great when customer sends us a message of thanks. We also have a couple of characters who we all know by name. It’s funny because we are really a very small group, so most of our customers know us and we know them. That said, I am sorry that I sometimes don’t remember names… But if you come in to chat or call and say “Hey! I am the guy with the Elephant model in Maya” I’ll totally remember you!
It takes a certain type of person to understand the needs of both our 3D artists and our customers who work in the arts industry. Support Agent, Logan Dixon, fits that bill with a trained artist’s eye and a naturally helpful disposition. This week, we’re delighted to present our interview with Logan, who tells us about his strangest support moment, as well as his encounter with a stranger from the spirit world.
Ok, Logan, spill it! What’s the strangest support call you’ve ever received?
I once got a call from a guy who purchased a model of a big Viagra bottle, who was asking me about where to put his shipping information and if it was really discreet shipping. I ended up having to tell him we don’t sell real physical Viagra that he can use, and I refunded him.
What do you like most about working at TS?
My favorite thing about working at TurboSquid would have to be the excitement of being a part of something profound… and I mean that in more ways than one.
For instance, I get to communicate with and help art departments from major companies and organizations, assisting them with their orders for upcoming projects. That’s a very rewarding experience, even if I play a small part.
To be honest, I think I just really enjoy helping people. I suppose that’s why I am a Support Agent.
Our Support Agents are known to be quite busy. What do you do when you’re not at Squid HQ?
I am a traditional 2D artist, and you can often find me in my studio working away at my latest painting or drawing. Perhaps some day I will step into the realm of 3D but for now I will stick to my brushes.
Feel free to check out my website (that is in need of an update): logandixon.com
I think one of my more rewarding pieces was “Becoming of Medusa” which features my sister as the model for Medusa. It’s a fairly large drawing that took me at least a month to complete. I find re-visiting classic stories and changing them to fit the message you would like to convey
Word around the cereal bar is that you have quite a fascination with the supernatural. Any close encounters with the paranormal?
Yes, in fact, during my summer abroad in Sorrento, Italy, I had a ghostly visitation nearly every other night. I am completely serious when I tell you that a ghost crawled into bed with me and would stroke my arm and speak into my ear. Then, some mornings, others on the trip experienced cold hands grabbing their feet. My last day there, I woke up one night and saw the spirit move to my roommate’s bed. After a couple of minutes he jumped out of his sound sleep, swinging, saying, “Get off of me!” and he stormed out the hotel and spent the rest of the night out on the terrace.
Do you have a favorite 3D work from the TurboSquid catalog?
I originally saw this statue in Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli in Naples, Italy, during a summer abroad, studying painting. This model by Clay Master brought back that memory I had of realizing the whimsical nature of this statue.
This week, we’re taking a few minutes to talk to Dade Orgeron, TurboSquid’s Creative Director. A Southern man at heart, Dade has traveled much of the US, landing in New York City, and then back again to Louisiana. On his triumphant return, Dade comes to our New Orleans headquarters bearing much knowledge, and a recipe for genuine down-home Louisiana white beans.
You’re originally from Louisiana, right? How did you end up working in New York City?
I was born in Baton Rouge, grew up in Galliano, Louisiana, on Bayou Lafourche, and moved here to NOLA in 10th grade. It was the perfect balance of life in Cajun country as a child and the awesomeness of New Orleans during the 80’s as a teenager.
Because of my career path, I realized that I would inevitably need to end up in either LA (Los Angeles) or NYC. Having done quite a bit of work in LA, I knew that NYC would probably be a better fit for me. I wasn’t looking for a new job (I was quite happy in Seattle) but when a New York agency contacted me to be their new Creative Director, I decided to take the offer and made the move across the country to try things on the East Coast.
What’s been the most striking difference between life in New York and life in New Orleans?
Everything. Every place I’ve lived has been so different from the rest. People’s attitudes, geography, food, music, weather, lifestyles… It’s all unique in some way.
Rumor has it that you used to make your own Cajun and Creole food, out of special Louisiana ingredients, while you were living out of state. How did you pull that off, and what did you cook?
It’s funny, you can find some things all over the country like Andouille Sausage and Tasso… but it’s never quite right. Then, when you start talking about Boudin, Cracklins, Rillettes, and Hog’s Head Cheese, forget about it. Even the shrimp is usually different, not-so-tasty freshwater varieties. After years of struggling to recreate my grandmother’s recipes, I decided to start creating my own ingredients from what I could find locally. So, curing and smoking became a huge hobby for me. And if there was something I couldn’t replicate (such as shrimp, crabs, and crawfish), I would order them from a grocer in Lafayette.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share with us?
One of my all time favorites is also one of the easiest (as long as you don’t have to pickle your own pork), white beans and rice:
White Beans and Rice
1 pound Navy beans (I like Camellia brand)
1 pound pickled pork (I like Richards brand) chopped into small cubes
1 medium onion chopped
2 bunches green onions chopped (white parts separated from green tops)
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 bay leaf
salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
6 – 8 quarts water
6 cups of cooked long grain rice
Pepper vinegar on the table (I like Trappey’s brand)
Rinse the beans, discarding any brown ones. Place the beans in a pot and cover them with an index finger’s length of water. Bring to a low boil and continue boiling for 1 hour.After the beans have been going for 45 mins… place the pickled pork in a large dutch oven with a little bit of cooking oil (I love enameled cast iron for this), and bring up to a medium high heat. The goal here isn’t to brown the pork… you just want it to release its water and have it evaporate.
Once the liquid has evaporated, stir in the onions, green onions (white parts only), garlic, and bay leaf, and cook on medium heat until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Now add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (be careful… you can always add more later) and continue cooking for 1 minute to let the flavors absorb.
Now rinse the beans that were boiling in the other pot under hot water, drain, and add to the pot of pork and onions. Stir to combine and cover with an index finger’s length of water. Bring to a low boil and continue cooking, slightly uncovered, for 2 – 3 hours (depending on how creamy you like your beans). Be sure to stir from time to time.
Once done… grab a deep bowl, drop in a pile of cooked rice, cover the rice with a few heaping ladles of beans, squirt a few dashes of pepper vinegar on top, along with a few green onion tops, to your liking.
As the Creative Director at TurboSquid, what does an average day at work look like?
Lots of creative reviews, so, tons of Skype conversations and email chains. Along with that, there’s recruiting new talent, training and mentoring internal and external artists to expand their capabilities, and strategizing new processes and procedures to maintain the highest quality content. And did I mention meetings?
What’s your favorite thing about working at TS?
The people, without a doubt.
We hear you’re hiring! What are you looking for, and what does it take to work with the Content Group at TS?
Yes, we are. The content group is growing rapidly and we are constantly looking for artists to join the team. Because our focus is mostly on photo-real content, we are looking for exceptionally talented 3D artists that have strong skills in modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering, with an exceptional eye for detail.
In case you haven’t already heard, today, the 26th of June, is System Administrator Appreciation Day! To celebrate in style, we sat down and had a chat with our very own Junior Systems Administrator, Michael “Radar” Raeder! Read on to find out just what a day at Turbosquid is like for someone in his position and a bit about his exciting, globetrotting, experiences as a life-long musician!
First of all, is there a story behind your nickname “Radar”or did you just adopt it because it sounds so similar to your last name?
Well, yeah, a little bit of both. It started out based on my last name, and then I took it as a handle in high school when I ran a pirate radio station out of my Pinto station wagon. We would set up and broadcast a couple hours a day out of a park in LA. People would leave song requests for us in a locker.
Do you have a favorite memory from your DJ days?
Yeah, someone kept requesting to hear speed metal, so we would just play Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” on 45 or 78 rpm every time.
As our Junior System Administrator, what do you do on an average day?
I set up servers, add users, and secure everything to keep the bad guys out. I write programs to automate things, write programs to amuse myself, and if something is not working, I make it work. There’s really no typical day.
In addition to working as a Sys Admin, we hear that you’ve had quite the career as a musician. Care to tell us a bit?
I have a lot of great memories. I’ve played literally thousands of shows since I was 9 years old. I’ve mostly played guitar in rock bands, but I also occasionally play accordion, slide guitar and have even played percussion for zydeco groups.
What’s your fondest memory from performing or touring?
Probably the most memorable one was when I was playing with a Cajun band in Quebec City, at an outdoor music festival. This was during the time when Quebec wanted to separate from Canada. We had one song on our set list called “Reveille,” which means “Awaken”. The translation to the beginning of the lyrics is something like “arise, arise, men of Acadiana, raise your guns against the English”.
The singer really wanted to do this, and I told him it was a bad idea. Sure enough, we do the song, and a riot breaks out. There are literally between five and seven thousand people going nuts, tearing things up. The police came on stage, told us to grab whatever we could, and forced us onto a bus . So, I carried two guitars, a couple of pedals, and got in. As we were exiting the fairground, the fence over on this one side fell over, and all these rioters came directly for our bus and proceeded to rock the vehicle back and forth. Then, from the other side, riot police started shooting tear gas and dispersing the mob. We were able to eventually get back to our hotel and berated the singer the whole ride over.
Word around the water-cooler is that you are a bit of a Russophile. What sparked this interest?
I got to visit East Germany when I was really young. Just seeing the artwork, propaganda, and uniforms– they had a certain aesthetic that really caught my eye. If I see anything reasonably priced, I tend to buy it. I have a belt with the East German logo, for example. I also love the absurdities of the Soviet Union, how they tell a factory, “You have to produce 16,000 pairs of shoes,” and they would follow it to the letter… they would make 32,000 left foot shoes, all of which would be the same size.
Titanic Sushi Boat by artist markflorquin
Do you have a favorite model on TS?
I do. I’d have to say artist markflorquin’s Titanic Sushi Boat 3D model. I was just really hungry and craving some sushi. Unfortunately, I didn’t get sushi.
I really like that I get to play around with all these different technologies. Some days, I’m really into coding, other days, I love just taking something apart and trying to fix it; at other times I want to just try something I’ve never worked with before. I would really like to try Autodesk 3ds Max. It just looks fun to play with.
Whether making our daily lives easier or on stage, this Junior System Administrator really does ROCK! Be sure to hug your Sys Admin today or simply say “thanks” for keeping your business up and running everyday. Let us know in the comments if you did anything special for SysAdmin Day this year.
On Friday, June 19th, our TurboSquid HQ was transformed from an everyday office space into a 9-hole mini golf course for the exalted TAO (that’s TurboSquid Accounting Office Invitational). Each department was asked to build their own mini golf holes, which sprawled across the entire open layout of the Squid Tank. There were trophies and awards to go around for the best players and best hole constructors. And in typical New Orleans fashion, the event was catered with snacks, wine, and beer for all of the (of age!) Squids to enjoy.
Here’s a tour of the course in action:
For this year’s competition, our Development Team went all out in providing up-to-the-minute stats with score cards and an electronic score board, which helped determine the winners, and set the tone for the professionalism of TAO 2013:
Dev Team’s amazing live scoreboard, complete with requisite Caddyshack video
Dale Clemens, of TurboSquid QA, won one of the prized Hole-In-One awards on Dev Team’s wicked complicated beanbag trap. As a seasoned mini golfer from TAO 2012, he said, “This year’s competition was a lot more fun. Many of the holes were not as elaborate or decorated, but they were better suited for putt-putt and making sure everyone went through them in a timely manner. All in all, the whole event appeared more thought out.”
QA’s Cthulu shrine was voted as “Best Hole” by TAO participants. Below, TurboSquid CEO, Matt Wisdom, takes aim at Cthulu himself.
Eric Arvidson, CFO of TurboSquid, who was one of the many people credited with making the event run smoothly, said, “The holes [this year] were more complex and artistic, and I think they were more fun to play. I actually wanted to review the numbers, but I would say that we had at least 20 more [participants] this year than last.”
And there was certainly a high level of artistry this year, especially in the Support Agents’ hole, a recreation of the Rainbow Road in the Mario Kart games.
When asked how much love went into the hand-painted, sprawling hole, Support Head Christell Gause admits, “It took about a week, in between support requests. One of the agents did illustrations at home.” She added, “There’s little time between support requests, but some stayed late to get them done.”
As with all the departments, the hard work really paid off. Says Christell, “It helps build teamwork on two levels. When you’re building your hole, you get to collaborate with co-workers in your department to create something that will be challenging yet fun in the end. When you’re actually golfing, you get to interact and strategize with people you don’t necessarily see every day.”
TAO 2013 Winners:
Best Hole: QA Department, hole #2, Cthulu
Most Challenging Hole: Development, hole #3, The A-Hole
What will this year’s winner’s do with their awards?
Dale Clemens, a winner of a Hole In One title: It’s currently making my desk seem infinitely more classy.
Sam Stites, member of Shanks-a-lot, 2nd place team: I keep the award under my computer so that I feel close to it.
Eric Arvidson, 1st place individual, 3rd place team, and Hole In One: Currently, they are in my office and I will probably leave them there so that I can be more popular at work. …Or, I am not sure where I would put them at home.
Wear ’em proud, guys. Congratulations to all of our winners, a huge thank-you to everyone who made this event possible, and squid hugs all around for everyone who participated.