Rock Star of the Month (February 2017) – Kirk Mortensen

February 09, 2017

As we gather momentum, speeding past January and rocketing into February, spring seems to be just around the corner. The days are getting longer again. Pitchers and catchers will soon be reporting to spring training. And, snowstorms in the Northeast notwithstanding, the weather is turning milder. Against this backdrop, many of our JCA staff have been working tirelessly to deliver the excellent services, products, and support for which JCA is known. In recognition of someone who has put in this type of effort, this month’s JCA Rock Star goes to one of our team who has, indeed, been burning the candle at both ends. The February 2017 JCA Rock Star award goes to Kirk Mortensen!

While Kirk is responsible for a number of products, the biggest thing on Kirk’s plate is the Arts Engine Platform (AEP), a platform for data extraction and reporting developed in partnership with Baker Richards and The Audience Agency. But, unlike other “products,” the AEP is actually a platform on which other products (apps) are installed. This means that the AEP product manager must not only manage today’s application needs for the platform, he has to anticipate the requirements of future applications. In some ways, this is analogous to building a house with extra plumbing and electric circuits and locating them exactly where you would need them, not knowing where you’re going to add on to your house when your long lost relatives move in 20 years from now.

The AEP is the vital core and foundation upon which more and more “apps” are being developed (or contemplated). To define and scope these endeavors, Kirk actively works with our Product team, JCA Arts Marketing, and other current and potential partners. Discussions of other potential AEP applications often require Kirk’s participation in meetings, as well as his development of preliminary specifications and estimates. All this is in addition to the apps that are currently live:

  • The Audience Agency’s Audience Finder, with about 230 organizations extracting data into the AEP
  • Baker Richards’ and JCA’s Segmentation Engine, which has more than 20 clients
  • The Pricing Engine, another joint app developed with Baker Richards

But perhaps Kirk’s most impressive feat was his extraordinary effort to take one for the team. Steven Roth, Steve Jacobson, and Kirk were scheduled for a 10 AM project kick-off meeting in Boston. As Kirk lives in Lynchburg, VA, the nearest airport with a morning flight to Boston was Richmond, which had a 6:49 AM departure. Not so bad, right? However, it’s a 2.5-hour drive from Lynchburg to the Richmond airport. So, to ensure that he wasn’t late for his flight, Kirk woke up at 2:30 AM and then drove to Richmond! And then, to top it all off, Kirk flew back to Richmond and drove back to Lynchburg that same night—which had technically turned into the next morning!

Kirk, you are truly a Rock Star!