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Team of Auto/Mate Developers Wins Hackathon

Did you know that Albany, NY, is one of the best cities in the U.S. to find a job in technology?* We’re surrounded by tech geeks here, which is why we’re super proud that a team of Auto/Mate developers won the very first Hack Tech Valley hackathon!

For you non-techies out there, a hackathon is a 24-hour competition designed to put programming skills to the ultimate test. This year’s hackathon was hosted by Transfinder, a global logistics software company located in Schenectady, NY.

One of our software developers got wind of the crazy event via email, and soon recruited four other developers to the cause. Auto/Mate’s team of five competed against 15 other teams in the hackathon that was held at Schenectady County Community College from February 10-11.

Teams were tasked with developing an application that would improve the efficiency of the Schenectady Sanitation System. They were given GPS data for the fleet of garbage trucks along with instructions to solve one or more of these five challenges:

Auto/Mate’s team of five decided to tackle the first three challenges and burned the midnight oil to develop an application by the noon deadline on Sunday. At first, they weren’t sure what to call it. In the tradition of Auto/Mate product development they toyed with the name “Garbage/Mate.”

Ultimately, our team trashed that name and settled on “Trashfinder,” a word that pays subtle homage to Transfinder, the host of the event.

The Trashfinder app allows people to look up when the garbage truck will arrive at their address, so they know what time to put the trash out. The app also allows people to request large item pickups, so the garbage trucks don’t have to roam the streets looking for large items on the curb.

Additionally, the app allows city officials to identify duplicate stops on multiple routes and see service requests and the garbage fleet displayed in real time on Google Maps.

When the Hackathon ended, Auto/Mate’s team presented “Trashfinder” to a panel of judges. Much to their delight, the application was named “Overall Winner” of the hackathon.

“Our application was chosen because they really liked our user interface (UI) and we made our app very user friendly, geared toward the city officials and the community,” said Tom Haley, software development manager and one of the five team members. “Compared to other applications, our solution was pretty polished and every feature worked perfectly during the presentation, which was one of the criteria for a higher rating.”

The Auto/Mate team claimed the hackathon’s grand prize of $3,000, which they split between the five members. Most of the guys plan to use the extra money for home improvements.

“I am so proud of our developers for winning the first-ever Hack Tech Valley. Auto/Mate was proud to be a sponsor and the Transfinder team did a great job of organizing and managing the event,” said David Druzynski, Auto/Mate’s human resources director. “This was a fun opportunity to bring the local development community together, both professionals and students, to network and showcase some of the amazing technical talent that we have right here in the Capital Region.”

*U.S. News & World Report

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