At Punch Through, we encourage everyone to proudly be themselves and want you to know the people behind the work that we’re so proud of. That’s why we launched our “Meet the Team” series, where we introduce you to one of our team members each month.
Meet Ben Nierengarten, a project manager at Punch Through, whose responsibilities are many but ultimately makes sure our projects move forward as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. In his freetime, you can often find Ben playing hockey, mountain climbing, practicing mixed martial arts, or taking part in anything, really, that keeps the body moving. He also loves to travel. There’s just something about getting “lost” in a new city and country that’s appealing.
What were you doing before working at Punch Through?
Prior to Punch Through, I was working at a health tech startup. I’d been there for about 4 ½ years, bouncing around in a few different positions until I ended up PMing a fairly large project for our health and wellness employer rewards portal. The program we launched provides greater accessibility for people in need of health-related resources and services in the areas of physical health, mental health, and so on.
What is your favorite thing about Punch Through culture?
Many companies talk about how great their cultures are, but they often seem like nothing more than lip service. I’ve always been skeptical when I hear a team or company put such a strong emphasis on its culture. Is what you’re saying actually true? At Punch Through, they not only emphasize culture externally but prioritize it internally. This place is very much “rising tides raise all ships.” So, that’s probably my favorite thing about the culture here. It’s an actual priority.
Tell me a story about your most memorable moment while working at Punch Through
The most memorable moment while working at Punch Through would have to be my first company trip, which, I know, is the most memorable moment for a lot of people working here. I’d only been working at the company for a couple months before the trip, and although I’d heard stories, I didn’t know what to expect. Nor did I really know people all that well yet. But to suddenly be thrust into an environment where people are able to unwind and get to know one another in between sessions that discussed the trajectory of the company, it wasn’t just memorable but really eye-opening to me about how this place ticks on both a professional and personal level. It definitely left quite an impression – a good one, of course.
What cool or rewarding things do you get to do on a regular basis?
Just having a handful of projects to work on is rewarding in and of itself. Working here has also given me a chance to get involved in the business development process and hear about the products that all these companies are trying to build and bring to market. It’s fascinating to me, and the amount of learning involved in the full project process from top to bottom has truly been invaluable.
What is the most valuable part of your work to you on a personal level?
On a personal level, the most valuable part would have to be the work I get to be a part of. Being based in the Twin Cities, we’re in close proximity to a lot of medtech companies. So, the majority of projects that come through the doors will inevitably be health-related in some way. It feels much different than the Silicon Valley dream: build something, scale it up enough to sell it to a bigger company, and get out with a pretty good payday. In comparison, there’s a great deal more purpose behind the products we work on. Those devices will help people live better lives, and being involved in that is a valuable experience for me on a personal level.
What is different about Punch Through versus other places you have worked?
At a lot of larger companies, it seems like people are nothing more than cogs in a machine, or a number in a siloed department. There’s almost this energy ingrained in the place where each person should be in competition with their colleagues with an overemphasis on performance metrics. You get none of those things at Punch Through. The leadership team has worked hard to foster a healthy environment where people can grow professionally and personally. It’s super easy to communicate with your coworkers, learn from one another, and get the support you might need. The company has also been able to develop an expertise in-house that’s well-regarded in the industry, so other companies seek us out to work on projects. The impact we create feels very special.
Interested in Joining Our Team?
To meet more of the Punch Through Team, read these interviews:
Meet the Team – Karel Kalthoff – Firmware/Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Louis Barrett – Engineering Intern, Summer 2019
Meet the Team – Erin Moore – Hiring Coordinator and Office Manager
Meet the Team – Alec Letourneau – Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Andy Lee – Senior Embedded Engineer
Meet the Team – Amanda Nguyen – Embedded Engineer
Meet the Team – Gretchen Walker – Mobile Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Charlie Kellerman – Hardware Engineer
Meet the Team – Chee Yi Ong – Senior Mobile Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Henry Anfang – Embedded Engineer
Meet the Team – Ryan Kornetzke – Embedded Engineer
Meet the Team – Julian Hays – Mobile Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Tyler Cadman – Senior Embedded Engineer
Meet the Team – Bret Hassler – Principal Firmware Engineer
Meet the Team – Emily Hinderaker – Marketing Specialist
Meet the Team – Ashish Derhgawen – Mobile Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Elaine Skaare – Project Manager
Meet the Team – Tia Hannes – Associate Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Matt Dunham – Principal Systems & RF/Hardware Engineer
Meet the Team – Matt Kruger – Senior Embedded Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Tyler Grunenwald – Firmware/Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Alex Bourdage – Associate Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Tina Hanly – Admin Assistant
Meet the Team – Mike Waddick – President
Meet the Team – Matt Rengo – Executive Vice President
Meet the Team – Jason Sheard – VP of Engineering
Meet the Team – Michael Twohy – Mobile Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Andrew Shannon – Firmware Engineer
Meet the Team – Ty Gasiorowski – Mobile Software Engineer
About the Blog Series…
Great culture builds great products. Some of the ways culture is expressed at Punch Through are through authenticity, autonomy, and experience. The individuals at Punch Through not only build great products, but they are the culture. The individual team members aren’t defined by their past or title. They’re encouraged to be true to themselves, learn from each other, and grow professionally and personally.
It’s essential to get to know the people behind the projects and to understand how culture plays a vital role in everything we do. To help get inside the heads of the genius behind the brand, we’re launching a “Meet the Team” blog post series. Each post will feature one of our talented team members where you can get to know them on a bit more personal level, and see how their contributions make Punch Through what it is today.