About SWaits

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Hi, I’m Stephen Waits. Many know me as swaits. You can find my cryptographic identity here, including public keys, and my signature profile. If you want to hire me, consider jumping straight to my résumé page.

I like computers. I liked them since my age was in the single-digits when I discovered programming on the TI-99/4A, and later on the Timex Sinclair 1000 and Coleco Adam, which ran CP/M as well as ColecoVision games. My first Intel PC was an IBM PS/2 Model 25.

I had a blast exploring, learning, and hacking away in my child and teenage years, definitely at the expense of a social life. I’ve been on a path of tinkering and discovery since then.

Lifelong Learning Journey

I taught myself BASIC and Logo as an 8-year-old, followed by Turbo Pascal in Borland’s heyday, and then C. Mostly because I wanted to write BBS and wardialing software. Whatever works, right?

I studied 🧑🏼‍✈️ ✈️ Aeronautical Science in college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, AZ Campus. I was passionate about aviation. But I was also passionate about programming and computer science (CS). I tried taking some CS courses at ERAU, but let’s just say it wasn’t a good fit for me.

I learned everything I know about CS on my own through on-the-job learning and deliberate studying. I did this because it’s fun. I’m lucky people also eventually paid me to do it. That continues to this day, and I plan to keep it that way until my time is up!

Professional Life

  title Where I've Worked
  dateFormat MM-YYYY
  axisFormat %b, %Y
  ERAU IT    :04-1994, 04-1996
  Stormfront Sutdios :04-1996, 03-2000
  PlayStation        :03-2000, 03-2015
  LeaseLabs          :03-2015, 08-2016
  Amazon             :09-2016, 11-2021
  Zwift              :12-2021, 05-2022
  Amazon             :06-2022, 01-2024

After a stint in my college IT department, I started my career in 🎮 game development at Stormfront Studios in 1996. I learned a ton, shipped games, and four years later I landed at the Sony PlayStation, San Diego Studio in 2000. I stayed there 15 years. FIFTEEN! Shipped a bunch of games and learned a ton more.

Games I worked on …

At Stormfront Studios:

At PlayStation:

Post-Games Career

After 19 years in the industry I decided to try something new. I did some soul-searching and career experimentation as an executive at LeaseLabs before joining Amazon as a Principal Engineer (PE) in 2016. I’ve been there since, minus a strange adventure where I left to work at Zwift for six months and then promptly ran back to Amazon.

  title Teams I've supported as a Principal Engineer at Amazon
  dateFormat MM-YYYY
  axisFormat %b, %Y
  Grocery                  :09-2016, 02-2019
  Fashion                  :02-2019, 11-2021
  Ops and Robotics         :06-2022, 01-2024

At Amazon, I’ve worked as the sole PE for organizations with 500+ software engineers, providing technical leadership to many individuals and teams on everything from low-level tactical to the most strategic programs. I worked on the grocery team first, then on the apparel team. Today I’m working on large-scale simulation systems in the fulfillment, logistics, operations, and robotics domain.

Personal Life

I was born an Army brat at the ☣️ Dugway Proving Grounds in Dugway, UT some years after the 😳 🐑 Dugway sheep incident.

I’ve since lived in New Orleans, LA, LaPlace, LA, Humble, TX, Prescott, AZ, Novato, CA, San Diego, CA. I presently live in the beautiful 🏔 Wasatch Mountains of Draper, UT.

  title Places I've Lived
  dateFormat MM-YYYY
  axisFormat %b, %Y
  Dugway, UT               :03-1972,
  New Orleans, LA          :01-1973,
  La Place, LA             :01-1974, 01-1980
  Humble, TX               :01-1980, 09-1990
  Prescott, AZ             :09-1990, 04-1996
  Novato, CA               :04-1996, 03-2000
  San Diego, CA            :03-2000, 04-2021
  Draper, UT               :04-2021, 01-2024

I like 🚴🏼‍♂️ bicycles, 🚶🏼‍♂️ hiking, off-trail 🎒 backpacking, ⛷ alpine skiing, ⛺️ camping & 🚐 vanlife, 🏝 travel, 🍜 great food, 📷 photography, and doing everything I can with my 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 family and our 🐾 dogs.