If there is a task requiring meticulous attention to detail, you can bet that Dan Lee wants to be involved. He began his career in content production and design for the video game industry at Gas Powered Games.
“Early on in my career, I developed a love for complex spreadsheets and intricate production schedules—basically all of the stuff that most people don’t like, especially in the gaming industry,” he said. “But, I loved it and still do.”
After his first position, Dan went on to become a Designer for Xbox Live, a division of Redmond based software giant, Microsoft. In that position he had an opportunity to work with designers, engineers and artists to create entertaining experiences for people. Dan went on to become a Producer with a local startup, working with a team of creatives to build digital art assets for a broad clientele of local game development studios. After a few years, he decided to take the leap into digital curriculum where he landed at Apex Learning.
“As much as I enjoyed the gaming industry and providing interesting, fun experiences for people, now I have theopportunity to make a real impact on the way students learn, and I’m proud and honored to do this work,” he said.
Throughout his career, Dan has held various production management and design roles while working in game development for both PC and console. When he joined Apex Learning, he realized how much building digital curriculum has in common with video game development from a production standpoint.
“Game development is tremendously collaborative, and several departments play key roles in realizing a single and cohesive vision,” he said. “From engineering to art and design, you have many moving parts, so naturally, communication and planning are critical to aligning these efforts for every product and every milestone. The production team also serves as the liaison between different departments and bridges the gaps to map out important initiatives.”
“At Apex, there's an almost identical framework to how we build Courses and Tutorials,” he said. “We rely on strong communication, expert planning, and solid processes to structure team-wide efforts and wrangle large bodies of content. Since this is exactly what I was doing in my previous roles, it allowed me to hit the ground running when I joined Apex nearly six years ago.”
At Apex Learning, Dan is a Senior Producer and has led the production of nearly every Career & Technical Education (CTE) course as well as the new suite of Technology Courses. This means he builds the project schedules, manages budgets, defines the workflow processes, leads team meetings, oversees vendors, aggregates and reports performance data and certifies all completed production tasks.
“We're always working at a fast pace, so directing traffic is critical to the project execution,” he said. “As much as possible, I also try to jump in and support production tasks. I think it's important to join the effort in building our Courses, which helps to bring solidarity within production and build a stronger team.”
Outside of work, Dan and his wife have their hands full with three kids—ranging from a teen, a tween, and a toddler—making life an adventure in his house. On the weekends, when his time is more abundant, he enjoys spending his time cooking in the kitchen.
“Cooking is something I've always found therapeutic, but part of the appeal also connects back to my professional life,” he said. “Cooking is planning, organization, time management, concurrent processes, adapting on the fly, quality assurance, and most importantly, something I do for others. But, I also love that it’s organic and creative. I really enjoy tackling difficult projects that involve meticulous processes and bringing everything together cohesively in the end to make people happy. I also try to involve my kids as much as possible, highlighting some of the important lessons that can be learned from what we do in the kitchen and how that can be applied to school, work and life.”