Dan talks about the Altitude team and his leadership philosophy.
Daniel Ostrower, CEO
Strategist + Marketing Lead
Sailaja loves to learn and tell stories. She spent several years collecting degrees from local universities and engaging in consumer anthropology. She’s served a lot of roles here at Altitude, from Operations Manager, Social Media Maven, to now a Strategist and Marketing Lead.
As a Strategist, she brings in her love of learning, intersectional theory, and passion for post-it notes and color coding. She loves hearing from people, understanding their problems, and transforming those problems into human-centered solutions.
As a Marketing Lead, she helps tell the stories of Altitude. She loves thinking creatively about sharing the innovative work the team does and making sure that anyone who will listen understands the power of Human Centered Design.
When she’s not Strategizing or Marketing, she can be found in and around the Somerville area hanging out with her two kids and husband, helping to change the face of early childhood education, and creating books for her children’s library.
Before settling outside Boston, Aaron led industrial design programs in Silicon Valley for clients including Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and many medical technology startups. At Altitude, Aaron enjoys working across a range of industries within a multidisciplinary group, balancing form and performance to create iconic, user-centered product experiences. He is detail-oriented with a skill set geared toward making complex systems intuitive and beautiful. He has a passion for shaping how new technologies are perceived, whether making robots more approachable, or lifestyle medical products desirable.
In his free time, Aaron enjoys ice skating with his daughter, reading classic science fiction, and fine tuning his pour over technique.
Alex developed his passion for user-centered design early in life, watching on as his architect mother translated her clients’ ideas into their dream homes. His father’s technical aptitude, together with a New England practicality, led him to engineering. Fortunate to serve multiple roles at Altitude — mechanical engineer, facilitator, strategist — Alex’s drive comes from the people and the process rather than the project or product.
Outside of Altitude, you’ll find Alex redesigning an abandoned building, piloting a ’66 v-tail bonanza, or having dinner with his 98-year-old grandfather on Tuesdays.
Founder & Chairman
Growing up, Brian earned the nickname “TQ,” which stood for “Twenty Questions.” To this day, he refuses to accept the status quo and voraciously seeks the not-obvious solution to challenging problems. It’s this innate curiosity that inspired him to start Altitude. What drives Brian: connecting with people. He builds fruitful relationships upon the foundation of integrity and respect. Creating an atmosphere of trust and inspiration, Brian has made Altitude into a special place, where people are supported, encouraged to continually learn, and of course, ask lots of questions.
You could describe Brian as a gregarious thrill seeker, who looks for new challenges and people to engage. He embraces social responsibility and the practice of leaving something better than he found it.
A former therapist with a master’s degree in social work, Cortney has honed an empathy-driven approach to human-centered design that builds trust and gains access. Showing a talent for connecting with people from an early age, she has spent the last 10 years in management consulting addressing systematic challenges and helping companies manage their people through large-scale organizational changes. At Altitude, Cortney is able to blend her talent for understanding people with her desire to build system solutions that provide greater reach and impact.
Cortney is an avid explorer of the world — seeking to understand the lives of people foreign to her own. She is a lover of skiing and hiking. She is happy anywhere on a beach. But her happiest moments are when she is connecting with her two children.
Describing Chris’s professional background as diverse would be selling it short—he has done everything from selling sausages to all of Red Sox Nation to teaching pre-school. But his myriad professional experiences and relationships have all shaped his ability to connect with people in a meaningful way that cannot be taught in any classroom. With a natural understanding of people, a knack for storytelling, and classical industrial design training, Chris can synthesize insights from clients and consumers in order to efficiently envision solutions to meet their needs.
Some folks might describe Chris as a polite old soul. His father calls him a “necessary challenge.” His mother just calls him an “ah’tist.”
Debra left the world of marketing to attend art school, where she pursued her passion for art and design. Now in a profession that partners right brain creatives and left brain business minds, Debra is a master of extracting and interpreting individual needs, assimilating them into outcomes that are as compelling as they are intelligent. She uses her business experience to connect with her clients and their challenges and ground her emotive brand work in business strategy. She is an intuitive thinker, who brings emotional intelligence and an empathetic approach to visual design and brand thinking.
Debra is an accomplished sculptor, nature enthusiast, sometimes yogi, and people person, who loves to laugh.
Evan is a natural problem solver who is driven by the wide variety of challenges the design industry presents. Evan was first drawn to the world of design while studying Industrial Design at Virginia Tech, where he was immersed in a culture of creative and visual people who were dedicated to doing what they love. Evan is a long time member of the Altitude team, who loves taking full advantage of the diversity of talents in the office — from the technical skills to the storytelling — in the various projects he has led over the years.
Outside of the office, Evan can be found hard at work on a different kind of design, primarily building couch forts and Lego towers with his little girl.
For Joon, tapping a deep sympathy for the consumer has the power to turn an ordinary object into an extraordinary product. Joon has been a Buddhist temple monk, youth soccer player, break-dancer, frozen tuna courier, and even a member of the Korean army. These diverse — and occasionally extreme — experiences have helped him develop a better understanding of people and empathy with a wide spectrum of end users. Field research is Joon’s favorite part of any project — even if it means grooming rambunctious dogs to create new designs for a clipper.
You could describe Joon as a great Korean chef, who likes to cook everything from Korean style egg rolls to spicy seafood stew, and share his creations with friends.
Kenneth has been a first-time mom, a jet-engine mechanic, and a park ranger. Well, not really. But he empathizes with them. Kenneth is driven to deeply know what people value — and what they desire — in order to create products and services that resonate with them. Being a designer helps him envision new solutions, but having an unofficial anthropology and business degree makes sure they hit the mark.
You could describe Kenneth as a gear geek, armchair psychologist, and adventure-riding enthusiast in search of the perfect road.
A one time student of architecture and a lifelong visual artist, Lee is a Mechanical Engineer with an strong appreciation for the importance of design. This valuation extends not just to the interiors and exteriors of each product he’s worked on or admired, but to the creation process itself. With a professional background in aerospace in Los Angeles, start-ups in San Francisco, and product development in Minneapolis and Boston, his style is to use an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s perspective to solve challenging design problems from both sides.
Lee spends much of his leisure time keeping up with his two boys. He enjoys building legos or drawing with them at the dinner table, and joining them on the soccer field or hockey rink as their coach. They’re on their own for singing and dancing, however.
Director, UX Design
A self-defined creative realist, Philip has a passion for making things beautiful yet functional and intuitive. After studying Industrial Design in the UK, Philip joined Altitude, eventually leading the Industrial Design Group, where he got to hone his left and right brain sensibilities. Feeling the lure of digital and seeing the opportunity to further expand his passion for design thinking and human-centered design, Philip moved into the field of user interface and user experience design. He now lends his critical thinking and creative eye in leading Altitude’s UX group.
You could describe Philip as a consumer of all things tech, a tea addict, fiend for his wife’s homemade kimbap, and co-art director for all of his son’s embarrassing photo sessions at home.
Tom is quick to admit that his innate interest in the world of experience design has emerged from a life-long personal and professional journey, rather than a well-defined master plan. An interdisciplinary designer at heart, he’s a true believer in Altitude’s focus on improving our clients’ business through a deepened understanding of people. Tom feels his goal at Altitude is to establish an environment where people are supported in their development, challenged in the definition of their role, and encouraged to take risks.
You could describe Tom as a wannabe Mainer, who oversees a small flotilla of lake craft and enjoys freshly shaken martinis on the dock at his camp in the deep woods.
Nathaneal blends his passion for design, innovation, and technology to create interactive and visual experiences for digital products. To make an impact on organizations and businesses in meaningful ways, Nathaneal believes these experiences must be orchestrated to delight, captivate, and engage. He has an affinity for experimenting with new technologies, prototyping early in the process, challenging design status quos, and broadening his understanding of the problem.
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a multi-racial family, Nathaneal’s skillset and perspective is rooted in his hybrid cultural background. Exposed to many cultures, Nathanael has developed a deep sense of empathy and curiosity about the world he lives in, a trait that has become an indispensable advantage in his problem-solving and creative processes.
At the age of 21, Marco began traveling the world as a merchant marine, where he became one of the most tech savvy geeks on board the ship. He mentored crewmembers on the knowledge of technology, software, and systems engineering. With a passion for tech solidified, Marco eventually jumped ship to pursue IT. At Altitude, he manages all aspects of the IT infrastructure, enabling the creative forces of the designers and engineers through his technical support.
When not fixing Internet connections or rebooting the server, Marco loves cooking portuguese food, spending time with his family and being a one man comedy show for anybody who’ll watch the act.
Jon finds inspiration wherever he looks, from details in nature and science fiction to cruise ship assemblies and food truck interiors. He is passionate about the fusion of science, technology, culture and its interaction with people. Whether it is experimenting with new materials and methods, or fast paced sketching and prototyping, Jon comes at problems looking for opportunities that put users first.
As a champion of breakfast foods, both in cooking and eating them, Jon gets up early on weekends to tackle both. He loves exploring Boston’s museums, and running the city’s historic streets.