Interview with Raul Rovira about working remotely

This Week’s featured Remote Worker is Raul Rovira, Project Manager at Cantilever👋, living in Anchorage, Alaska ❄ (USA). This is how he makes remote work, work for him.

Raul, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷. I’ve always been fascinated by technologies since an early age. I did a lot of programing in Basic with a TRS-80 Radio Shack computer 💻. I also spend a lot of time outdoors as a Boy Scout ⚜ and making it to Eagle Scut.

After graduating🎓 with a degree in Spanish 🇪� I commission in the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. My cravings for travel ✈ were exceeded. Even in combat locations I found interesting aspect about the language, culture, and history. I had a non-traditional military career path serving in many roles & functions like; tank platoon leader, warehouse manager, movement officer, contracting, operations officer x3, company commander, human resources director, medical rehabilitative services, logistics officer x4, and diplomatic officer. Biggest highlight was working as a diplomatic officer at the US Embassy in Cairo Egypt during the 2013 revolution as the executive to the 2-Star general assigned to the embassy.

Thanks to the Army I spent 10 years living and working 💼 in 8 countries; South Korea 🇰🇷, Hungary 🇭🇺, Bosnia-Herzegovina 🇧🇦, Germany 🇩🇪, Iraq 🇮🇶, Italy 🇮🇹, Afghanistan 🇦🇫, Egypt 🇪🇬.

I retired🎖 at the rank of Major in 2016 taking advantage of the early retirement program. After 9 months in an 8–5 finance job👔 I had to make a change. I created my own limited liability company as a way to outsource my skills experience and education to companies in need of a short term or long-term project manager. At the beginning I did whatever came my way. Relocation consulting helping over 30 international families coming to the US and Alaska for the first time. #ProjectManagement for two specialized digital construction 👷 companies. First for #DIRTT and later for #FALKbuilt. I even taught salsa🕺💃 to a client that had 3 weeks to learn before attending her son’s weeding in Columbia.

The economy 💰 in Alaska has challenges which prompted me to adjust my focus to remote companies. In 2019 I attended every conference and networking event I could get my hands on about #RemoteWork. I also took remote courses with Workplaceless and Remote-how. It was at a Workplaceless event that I met Ty Fujimura, the founder of Cantilever.
In a conversation about project management, it led to a test project in August 2019. I became a team member of Cantilever in January 2020!

Can you tell us more about your job?

Cantilever is a website design and development consultancy that is A 100% remote. We build websites with care. We aim to provide “Digital Hospitality” during every step of building a website and/or during our monthly support. As the Project Manager and organizer for new builds, I deal with the non-technical part of the project. Examples; client relations, scheduling and running internal & external meetings, tracking and reporting on the schedule and budget, task assignments and organization of the work.

I always work with one senior developer or as we call it “Artisan”. The artisan is the tech and coding ninja who builds the site and helps in the creative direction during the user experience (UX) and visual design phases. Our team approach helps balance the workload between tech and non-tech tasks.

Do you have a dedicated space to work?

Since May 2020 I have my own work space. It makes a world of a difference for me and my family when I have to work. And for them when they are doing school or entertainment 🎬 🎼 so they don’t bother me.

What does your typical workday look like?

I’m usually up around 6:30am🕡. I make French press coffee☕ to get the day going. From 7am to 12pm I am taking care of my Cantilever work & meetings. I always schedule a 30-minute break to make breakfast and hang out with my wife. Then I make more coffee .

During COVID-19, I’ve been working in the afternoon under contract for the Anchorage Emergency Operations Center (EOC). For 11 months I helped build and run the PPE warehouse. Currently I am the Deputy Logistics Chief. I take great pride and honor to help the community.

In the late afternoons, 3 times per week, my son and I attend Pacific Rim Athletics. We do parkour, hand balancing🤸‍, aerial silks, aerial hoops, bar and ring routines. I am in the best shape of my life at the age of 45 thanks to Pacific Rim Athletics.

What tools do you use to stay productive?

At work we use Basecamp as our task management tool and Notion for our documentation. At work I also use GitLab, Harvest, and Zoom.

Personally, I use a mix of other tools like Evernote, Trello and Buffer.

What is your current workspace setup?

🏠 I work from home. The room is about 12 feet by 12 feet with a closet. I sit facing the door and the window is to my right. I have two 20-inch monitors and a webcam. Very important is to have space for my notebook and coffee.

Your favorite unplugged activity?

Because this is Alaska, it is very easy to go outside and unplug. In the winter we go cabin camping, ice skating, cross country skiing, and fat biking, and snow shoeing. In the summer we go canoeing, biking, hiking, some fishing and a mix of tent camping and cabin camping. For 2021 my wife and I are spending at least 1 night per month at a different cabin somewhere in Alaska.

What do you like most about working remotely?

I have a better work-life balance. I get the work done when I am most productive and without sacrificing family and wellness.

Next time I go to Europe 🇪🇺 to visit the family I can still work from there. No need to take 4 weeks of vacation.

It is nice not to commute 🚗 during the rush hours when I go to Anchorage. The roads in Alaska can be crazy slippery at times.

Thank you Raul! 💪🏽💪🏻💪🏿💪


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