Our Team

Justin Porter
Founder & Chief Solutions Architect

Justin is the Founder of Text Connects and is certified as a Shopify Development Expert. His interest in computers began in high school when he founded the company to serve a hungry market of small businesses with less than ten employees and a list of computer issues.

Today, 22 years later, Justin has been involved in the building, deployment or replatforming of more than 100 e-commerce sites for startups and recognized brands, as well as custom application development and systems integration for more than 60 organizations, from “mom and pop” to enterprise-level. 

He graduated from Daniel Webster College with a degree in Aviation Flight Operations. His studies led him to appreciate the importance of safety and risk mitigation that carryover in his work today. It also earned him what amounts to a second major in computer science, courtesy of his computer-science-major roommates.

As a Pilot-in-Command, Second-in-Command, and flight instructor, Justin has nearly 10,000 hours in the cockpits of single-engine, multi-engine, and turbojet aircraft. 

 

Operations Team

 

Madison (Maddie) Trott
Project Manager

Maddie “raced” into Text Connects in August 2020 to support our team in managing the dozens of individual projects we are working on at any one time. 

As a committed chef and baker, Maddie knows how to follow the proper steps in managing any project, as well as when to confidently modify a “recipe.” 

Certified as an Administrative Assistant, she knows how to manage her time and priorities well. She is also skilled, as many well-trained Admins are, in “managing up.” A prized skill on our very busy team.

She truly did earn her spot at the company by racing. When not in the office or snuggling her eccentric Shih Tzu and Siamese you’ll find Maddie at the track fabricating and welding Street Stock racing car frames with her NASCAR-driver boyfriend. 

On any project with Maddie our motto is “do not mess with a woman holding a hot welding torch!”

 

 

Kristen Bennett
Administrative & Human Resources Assistant

Kristen joined Text Connects in 2017 after a career managing medical offices. She is “client-facing” with a smile and helps our clients with data entry and production for their e-commerce stores.

An organizational wizard, it’s Kristen that polishes our reputation for keeping projects (and our people!) buttoned-down. An accomplished master-multitasker, she also runs point on billing and invoicing.

Kristen will tell you she loves her “small town country life” in Eastern Connecticut where she was born and raised, graduating from Woodstock Academy. Married and a mother of two “boys” (grown men, really), Kristen is devoted to one particular aspect of life in her small town, NASCAR short track racing.

Weekend nights will find her at local races with her eyes on a certain Chevy Monte Carlo. Behind the wheel is her championship-winning son Zack with her other son, Cameron, a crew member specializing in a race car’s soul, tires. Both are part of the family’s ZR Motorsports team.

Maybe it’s watching the “bump ‘n banging” of short track racing (imagine three-dozen-plus cars trying to pass each other on a half-mile oval!) that enables her to keep her eyes on so many spinning plates at Text Connects. Whatever it is, she loves the work and the team, as well as traveling to client offices, all while managing those spinning plates.

 

 

Debbie Dillis
Content Editor

In late 2020, Debbie joined the fast-growing team at Text Connects and was immediately thrown into the deep end of our Shopify pool. A superb writer, she applies her skill to everything from “tags” (maybe not writing, but oh so important!) to product descriptions and other vital information for client websites.

Before joining Text Connects she was a project manager for a pharma company working with Clinical Trials teams. Planning meetings for as many as 5,000 doctors and their staff means that controlling chaos is her “side hustle” for us.

Debbie’s Super Power is her ability to overcome serious phobias. She conquered her fear of spiders (arachnophobia) by staring a tarantula down in a pet store. Today, one of her roommates is Rosie, a Rose Hair tarantula (one of 70). Fear conquered!

Besides a son headed to culinary school, her life is full of volunteering for two dog rescues and feeding her zoo, err, menagerie that includes the tarantulas, a parrot (she’s trying to teach naughty words), as well as a dog (one), snakes (25), lizards (four different species), and cats (two). At last check.

When not tending to her widespread menagerie or in her Wrangler Jeep with the roof and doors off, you’ll probably find Debbie in the kitchen where it is safe to say she’ll be cooking something with pineapple in it. Part of her longing for the tropics.

 

 

Stormin’ Norman Desch
Front-End Engineer

Okay, we’ve got to say this upfront. There is nothing storming about Stormin’ Norman Desch.

Norman joined Text Connects in March of 2022 as a front-end engineer. He’s charged with making the user experience (UX) fun, look awesome, and feel intuitive, graceful and, in general, just great. Unless you have lived in a remote cabin the last ten years, you know that UX can mean the difference between success and failure of an app or online store.

Favorite programming language? Javascript. How did he learn to code? Self taught, and like others on our growing team, he is a puzzle solver who sees the end result well before he’s put every piece together.

Kind of makes sense then that his furbaby, Renly, is a bit of a puzzle. A mix breed of (Louisiana) Catahoula Leopard Dog and the rarer Blue Nose Pitbull. AKA a Blue Pitahoula. [Love that name!]

Norman is another of our remote staff and lives in the Hudson Valley area of New York. And folks, he loves it and ain’t leaving.

His biggest phobia, heights. Acrophobia. Well, it was. Until he ziplined 1,000 feet (please note, that’s the height of a hundred-story building) above the Chang Mai Rainforest in Thailand. Phobia extinguished.

 

 

Ethan Tuttle
Front-End Developer

Ethan joined Text Connects in March of 2022. On arrival, we were going to nickname him “Tuttle from Tulsa,” his birthplace, but withdrew that when we learned his nickname for many years has been “Turtle.” Done. We can’t beat that.

Tasked with the design, creation, and modification of Shopify stores, Ethan is a kind of puzzle master and loves the daily challenges of the pieces and parts he gets to work with as a front-end developer.

He learned to code in C++ in high school, took college courses in computer science and has since adopted C# as his favorite language. He says it’s less “strict.” than C++. [Editor’s note: What evs!]

Ethan migrated to Sacramento, the Gold Rush capital of the world, at an early age and works remotely for Text Connects from there.

There indeed might be a “turtlish” quality to Ethan. He freely shares that he is a hiker, a devoted gamer, and has been working on his own games steadily for more than five years (he says the games he has created map his own growth as a developer)..

Still, you might have to coax him out of his “shell” to find out that he once ran a small team at Google developing a tool for sales agents involved with Google Nest.

The pair of Google Glass he keeps in his home office? He earned those.

 

 

Tristan Frazier
Entry Level Web Developer

Tristan joined us as a Web Development Intern in March 2022. By June she was promoted to Entry Level Web Developer. What does that mean? Daily she gets to digitally “dirty” her hands with Shopify Theme updates and Shopify App development.

Shopify Themes are the head and heart of your Shopify website. As an Intern she tended to shadow more experienced developers on our team, now they shadow her to help her grow as a developer.

Self-taught in HTML and CSS, she became so keen to learn more she completed MIT’s Professional Certificate in Coding, a full-stack development course.

Married to her high school sweetheart, a “Coastie” or Coast Guardsman, he (really, “they”) are now on their eighth and final duty station.

With all that moving, you might be surprised at how she loves to spend her free time. Camping. With a 23-foot travel trailer named RV-D2 (editor’s note: nerd!), two 6'1" teenage boys (when they agree to go), and a Toy Poodle called Bean.

Bean is described by Tristan as “high maintenance” and “chill.” Hmm.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” We’re thinking Tristan must have first-rate intelligence. “High maintenance” and “chill”???

She is a proud member of the “50 under 40” club. That is, she has visited all 50 states before she turned 40. [Note to HR: can we say she is still under 40?]