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2018: A Year in Review

2018 in review

I can’t believe it’s almost 2019. What happened to this year!? I’m not sure what happened to it, but I do know what happened during it. Here’s a look back at our 2018 top 10.

10. Technically Iowa Podcast

The Technology Association of Iowa launched their Technically Iowa podcast featuring Iowa women technology leaders and entrepreneurs. I was honored to be guest number three of the inaugural season and to be featured among such a prestigious group of women. You can listen to that episode here on SoundCloud. Be sure to check out the rest of the interviews, too. You’re sure to learn something!

technically iowa kate

9. 11th Anniversary

Last year was a big year with our 10th anniversary, which means in April 2018, we hit the 11-year mark in business. We’re continually humbled by the support and encouragement of family, friends, clients, team members, and the entire Iowa technology and business community. Here’s to 11 more! 

8. Strong Iowa Associations

This year, we invested a lot in our involvement in Iowa associations, namely the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI), and the Iowa Lean Consortium (ILC). We’ve been involved in these organizations for many years, but really stepped up our engagement this year by:

  • Joining the ABI Advisory Council
  • Speaking at the ILC fall conference
  • Continuing my involvement on the TAI board

Our involvement with these great organizations allow us to contribute to important conversations and give back to the business and technology communities in Iowa. It’s really empowering to see these strong industry associations doing amazing things for our state and we look forward to staying involved and active.

7. Far Reads Book Club

In 2018, we read two really good books in our Far Reads book club: The Happiness Advantage and Radical Candor. Both were focused on softer skills that help our team work better together and find more fulfillment at work and in life. We’re gearing up to pick our first book of 2019, so stay tuned for our recap in the next few months.

6. Volunteering at the Salvation Army

For National Volunteer Month in April, we spent our monthly Fun Day volunteering at the local Salvation Army. We helped serve the Daily Meal Program and organize the freezer (brr!). Plus, we got to wear some very cool hair nets. Serving lunch was a small way for us to help our local community and Make a Difference, which is, of course, Far Reach Core Value #1.

5. TAI Catalysts

I was sincerely honored this fall to be featured among an innovative group of women recognized by the Technology Association of Iowa in their Catalysts series of conversations. It was so inspiring to read the stories of other women forging their path in technology, and to be included among them is one of the highlights of my career. These amazing women show just how bright the future of technology in Iowa is and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to read about them and be inspired yourself.  

4. Product Launches

As always, we spent the year helping a lot of clients maintain and enhance their systems. And we helped other clients launch brand new custom software platforms. Here are some examples of our work.

Leading Edge Fundraising – We’re all familiar with school fundraisers—the ones that sell cookie dough, snacks, popcorn, and all sorts of other goodies. Whether you’ve helped a student sell and fulfill orders, or you’ve just purchased something, you know the process involves lots of paper and lots of manually keeping track of things. Leading Edge Fundraising has decided to disrupt the status quo and is now using Launch, a custom online system developed for them by Far Reach so students can use technology to raise more money and see live fundraising stats. We’re excited to work the progressive team at Leading Edge and look forward to helping them build out their vision for the product in the years to come.

Construction Safety Specialists, Inc. & Master Builders of Iowa had a problem. They had a lot of data that would be valuable to their members, but no good way to analyze and share it. Not only that, but their construction site inspection process was painfully laborious. We worked with their staff and their members to fully understand the problem before creating a new web-based, customizable workflow tool to process inspections much more efficiently, while still meeting the unique needs of their members. The tool offers additional value through reporting features that give members real insight into their data to facilitate decision-making.

Performance Bodies – The Cedar Falls-based race car body and parts supplier just launched a new online shopping experience. Working closely with the Performance Bodies team, which provided the site’s design, our team developed the frontend e-commerce site using that design, and integrated it with the company’s backend database. This tight integration allows staff to manage thousands of products with multiple variations of each in one place. As a result, inventory, pricing, and order management is now seamless for both Performance Bodies and their customers.

Peterson Genetics, Inc. is a leading provider to the soybean seed trade in the U.S. They identified the need to help their account executives analyze and evaluate different products in order to recommend the cream of the crop (pardon the pun!) to their customers. To help them do this, we built a custom software application that uses maps, graphs, and charts to distill very complex data down into easily digestible information for their users.

The Iowa Clinic – We all know how much fun finding the right doctor, scheduling appointments, and communicating with the doctor’s office can be. Well, this year we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to make that easier for some lucky patients of The Iowa Clinic. Working in partnership with our good friends at Spinutech, we developed a mobile app for The Iowa Clinic that allows new and existing patients to schedule an appointment, find the nearest location, ask a question, and more. 

Wartburg Uknight Day 2018 - For the fourth year, we helped Wartburg College with its crowdfunding website for UKnight Day, its annual day of giving. The site keeps Wartburg alumni engaged with social sharing opportunities and friendly competition between donors. It was super rewarding for us to watch as they exceeded their fundraising goals handily and to witness the excitement of the more than 1,600 alumni participants.

This is just sampling of the work we did this year, and we’re thankful to these and all our clients for trusting us to help them solve their problems and capture new opportunities.

3. New Addition to the Team: Samantha Zobel

It’s always exciting when we get to add to our Far Reach team. This year, we brought on Sam Zobel. Sam was our quality assurance (QA) intern while she was in college at UNI, and we were lucky enough to have her join us full-time as a product owner after her graduation in May. You can read more about Sam in her People Behind the Project profile.

Samantha Zobel

2. Babies! - Ivy & Zikari

For a fairly small team, we had a high ratio of babies to team members this year. We were blessed to have Ivy and Zikari join the Far Reach family.

Ivy Jean was born to Kelly and Brandon Kimmich in January 2018.


Zikari Jamar was born to Natalie and Jamar Thompson in June 2018.


1. The Far Reach Vision

Earlier this year we internally launched our new company vision, and later sent it out into the world for all to read. You can see my recap of what the vision is and how we got there. I’m excited to see where it continues to take us in 2019.

BONUS! New Far Reach Shirts

While it didn’t make the top 10 list, it’s still a pretty important milestone. We got new t-shirts! And when we wear them out into the world, we continually get compliments (and questions) about them.


As I reflect on the year as it wraps up, I’m reminded of just how much I have to be grateful for. Cheers to a fabulous 2019!