Chad Hahn '98 -- Just Good Business
Developing better software solutions with an often-overlooked work force is the foundation for this alumnus’ approach to social enterprise.
By Donna Parker
Chad Hahn, who received a degree in business administration and computer science from Trinity in 1998, is co-founder of Square One Solutions, a company that provides strategy, branding, and software development to corporations. Chad handles the business end of things, bringing in new clients and making projects happen, but his dedication to social enterprise really makes it interesting.
"The same things I enjoyed back at Trinity-networking with people, making friends, and becoming a good conversationalist are the foundation for bringing in new business" explains Chad. "Authenticity is the basis for any relationship development. Whether I'm talking to a neighbor or meeting with a potential client in a high-powered setting, it is all about making that personal connection."
It's that personal approach that led Chad to start a unique job training program for people with Asperger's and high-functioning disabilities. Because this group often misses social cues, interacting in a work environment is a special challenge for them and their co-workers.
"Their common traits include a love of repetitive tasks, extreme loyalty, and sharp mental focus, and this group is often overlooked in the software industry. But this is exactly what makes them great software testers," explains Chad.
"Testing is critical in the software industry but often offshored as a 'red-headed stepchild,' and we're simply bringing together companies that have the need and a growing population that can do the work."
"It's still pretty early in the pilot phase, but there are a handful of our clients involved and, at some point, we will have a very demonstrable training program. The company has constructed a separate area that caters to their needs, including quiet rooms and healthy food in the refrigerator. We eliminate as many challenges for them as we can, and so far the value proposition is very encouraging."
Chad's wife, Shannon, is a social worker for the developmentally disabled and it was Chad's meeting with one of her clients, Max, who is on the spectrum, that spurred his vision. When Chad asked Max his birth date and he responded by telling him the day of the week he was born on, Chad began to think about this social enterprise he calls Mindspark. He spoke about his solution at the iRise Visualize Conference in 2012. (please see link below)
"You know, Trinity taught me to learn how to learn, which has been invaluable in the real world. Also, the social aspect in the fraternities comprised half my education!" laughs Chad.
"Classes I took under Professor Maurice Eggen, department of computer science, who was quirky, happy-go-lucky, and extremely effective and prepared me for what I'm doing now.
Chad loves music, having spent many nights in college enjoying jazz at The Landing. If time and money weren't issues, he'd likely be in the music production business. But, for now, between work and three young children (Caden, 3; Cooper 2 and Cohen, 4-months-old) Chad is one busy guy, although never too busy to notice the perks of fatherhood.
"The best part about being a dad is walking through the door and getting that unfiltered, unbridled love. It's the little things like that that make all this hard work worth it."
You may email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
iRise Visualize Link