Christopher Young has always loved tech, but couldn’t find opportunities in his early career that fulfilled his goal of helping people. The first time he felt like he was making a positive impact was when he worked at DaVita HealthCare Partners and launched a proprietary electronic medical records system.
Now, Young has joined wearable safety device company ROAR as its new CTO as of last week, which he said “[connects his] very strong internal passion of helping people, doing that through tech, doing that through data and internally and externally doing that through collaboration.” The company’s AlwaysOn workplace panic button aims to ensure safety for healthcare, hospitality and other workers.
Before joining ROAR, Young worked at the data analytics company Qlik where he gained experience with sales, product marketing planning, research and development (R&D), etc.
He knew he wanted to stay in tech in a product or R&D role at a smaller company, and he said he liked how unique ROAR’s technology is, specifically because it runs on its own and it works even in spaces where there isn’t wi-fi or there’s a “dead zone.”
“I really liked ROAR instantly. One, what they did, it spoke to me … workforce safety, and just safety in general of vulnerable people,” he said. “Second, the other piece was just the tech. I liked their architectural design. I did some market research, I saw that they were different in the way that they build their tech than a lot of other companies. And I also felt like there was a really good opportunity within this space to introduce some new value through tech.”
Young said he is looking forward to connecting with current and potential customers in this role and truly understanding what they need from ROAR’s product. He said he also wants to connect with the product users, such as nurses or front desk workers.
“[I’m] just trying to understand how they use and interact with the device to make sure that we’re building the tech in a way that is most valuable for them,” he said.
The company recently pivoted to focusing on hospitality and healthcare rather than selling to individuals. Young said the company’s growth has been strong and specifically ROAR has had a good start to the year with hitting Q1 goals.
“From a marketing perspective, the idea to pivot was definitely a really good solution that we took advantage of,” he said.
In his new role, Young said he wants to exceed all the company’s revenue goals and he also wants to actively think about ways to implement diversity initiatives and make sure everyone at the company feels respected. He also tied back to his career-long goal of wanting to do work that helps people.
“We have a huge emphasis on how many people we’re helping each day, how many workers we are actually keeping safe,” he said. “And so making sure that we are always keeping that in the back of our minds in terms of why we’re here and what we’re doing, I think is extremely crucial.”Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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