Peter Karman

Peter Karman


I have over two decades of experience solving technical problems within non-profit, for-profit and government organizations. I have been responsible for all aspects of development, from designing and building software systems to managing teams and budgets.

My chief technical interests include security and privacy, identity management, APIs, geospatial presentation, data analysis and design, scaling highly reliable systems, and information retrieval. I have hired and led engineering teams, rescued broken systems at 2 a.m. and counseled C-suite executives making strategic decisions.

I specialize in making complex technical subjects lucid to non-technical people.

I actively seek opportunities for mission-oriented work using and promoting open source software.

Based in Kansas, I have decades of remote work experience with distributed teams across multiple timezones. My co-workers and employers most often comment on the high quality and pace of my efforts.


Software Engineer - Gridium
June 2022 - present
Full-stack engineer. Python, EmberJS.
Senior Software Engineer - Truss
September 2018 - May 2022
Consulting engineer. Projects included:
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs Appeals Processing a project started under the United States Digital Service. I started as an individual software engineer and was asked to assume technical leadership when USDS exited the project. The Caseflow product enables the Appeals Moderization Act and improves processing time for Veteran benefits. I successfully led the engineering team through the rollout of the product, contract recompete process, and transition to contractor-led product development. Mentored other engineers, served as SME to VA stakeholders, implemented production support team. In addition to leading the team, I helped bring site reliability, testing and performance improvements, and implemented such key features as asynchronous job processing, data reporting, and single sign on.
  • Discovery, inventory, and risk analysis of digital systems for the State of Kansas Executive Branch Information Technology organization. We interviewed dozens of agency CIOs and other technical leaders to surface and describe all the digital systems in use at the state level.
  • Designed and built a search solution for the Joint Genome Institute at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I was chiefly responsible for the Elasticsearch and Django APIs.
  • Lead engineer on a pilot project with US Department of Labor to transform Unemployment Benefit experience for claimants. Designed security and privacy architecture, Django/React application, lead engineering team discovery and implementation.
Project Manager - PRX
August 2017 - August 2018
Technical team project manager at PRX. Champion for sane workloads, estimation, Agile methodologies, productive meetings, blameless retrospectives.
Innovation Specialist - 18F
August 2015 - August 2017
Software engineer for the General Services Administration's Technology Transformation Service division within the US federal government. As a member of 18F I was an advocate for agile best practices in support of improving procurement and implementation of digital services for the American public. Key projects included:
  • - technical strategist for discovery project around improving usability of FOIA request process. One of four authors of the 18F discovery report that defined the DOJ's approach to the site.
  • - identity management as a service for multiple federal agencies. I was chiefly responsible for identity verification via third-party service integration; SAML library improvements; self-service dashboard for agency integrators; encryption and privacy protections. Collaborated with NIST and DHS on an encryption model to safeguard user personal data, and presented that model across government to federal privacy officers. Contributed numerous upstream improvements to Ruby libraries.
  • E-manifest - fully functioning prototype for the EPA E-manifest program.
  • C2 - approval workflow system that improved efficiency with the GSA purchase card protocol.
  • Contributed optimizations to the Elasticsearch components of College Scorecard. My Elasticsearch work was written up as an 18F blog post and an open source gem.
  • Helped with the transition to the new FEC website.
  • Served as technical representative on numerous evaluations for potential partner agency projects.
  • Participated in internal working groups to improve documentation, testing, coding review and standards, and project workflow facilitation.
Principal Engineer - Pop Up Archive
September 2014 - August 2015
Lead engineer for a start-up in the audio and search space, later acquired by Apple. Customers included major public media companies (NPR, BBC, CBC), universities and radio stations. Brought software development industry best practices (testing, QA, documentation, code review) to a new team. Supported and enhanced Ruby on Rails application and backend systems. Designed and built APIs in consultation with customers and business stakeholders. Developed new features for usage accounting and billing, async queuing optimization and stability, scaling and redundancy. Built API clients in Ruby, Python and PHP.
June 2009 - September 2014

Progressive series of roles while at APM|MPR:

  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Technical Architect for the Public Insight Network (PIN)
  • Lead Developer and Architect for the Software Applications group
  • Director of Software Engineering, managing a team of software engineers, web developers and designers
  • Senior Digital Architect, research and development for Digital Division, guiding APM involvement with Public Media Platform, audio search, information architecture

Designed and built the PIN platform, particularly API and search architecture; regional and national programming and infrastructure; data modeling and analysis; hardware provisioning, resource allocation; code review. Mentoring and training of other engineers. Build and deployment automation, infrastructure tools, design specifications.

When senior leaders in the company wanted someone with technical expertise to explain the impact of a decision, I was the person they invited to the meeting. I guided multiple multi-year, multi-million dollar projects to successul conclusions.

Unix Systems Programmer - Minnesota Supercomputing Institute
August 2007 - May 2009

Software and tools developer at the University of Minnesota, primarily in Perl. Authored several CPAN modules, including projects related to content management, LDAP/Active Directory management, Subversion hosting, process accounting, database design and general system administration optimizations for large scale systems.

The new accounting system allowed the Institute leadership to better rationalize multi-million dollar hardware purchases. The self-service account management system removed a major maintenance burden from the PhD research associates, freeing them to assist in actual research rather than changing user passwords.

Senior Web Developer - Atomic Learning
January 2006 - August 2007
Lead web developer for education company. Wrote coding standards; integration with partner and vendor APIs; led successful geographically-distributed team. Authored several CPAN modules. Architected new content management system, resulting in money and time saved.
Software Engineer - Cray Inc
January 2001 - September 2005
Information architect for technical documentation group. Architect and lead developer for CrayDoc, an open source documentation server. CrayDoc replaced a proprietary purchased solution and saved the company $60k US annually. Architect and support for a XML-based documentation system, including web application development, source control, RDBMS, content creation and publishing tools, website design and maintenance, interface design, build automation, scripting, testing, quality assurance, integration with legacy systems, and system administration in a multi-platform environment.
Chief Geek - peknet
1998 - present
Consultant to nonprofits on such topics as website design, database design, network cabling and configuration, system integration, hardware purchasing, and administration. Hosted several domain names. Webmaster for local farm coop. Designed several database management systems, spam-filtering system, custom scripting and e-mail programs. Helped build helping tens of thousands Kansans register and vote by mail.
Field Technician - First Tech Computer
November 1998 - June 2000
Supported all aspects of software, hardware and network integration. Responsible for diagnosing and performing Apple warranty repair work, system troubleshooting, sales consultation, telephone and on-site customer support, Windows NT and Macintosh help desk.


  • Modern Perl
  • C/C++
  • PHP
  • Ruby (Rails)
  • Python (Flask, Django)
  • JavaScript (React, Angular, YUI, ExtJS, jQuery)
  • SQL (PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle)


  • Cloud services (AWS, Linode)
  • Containers (Docker, Kubernetes)
  • Linux (Redhat, SUSE, Ubuntu)
  • UNIX (Mac OS X, Solaris, IRIX, FreeBSD)
  • Apache Lucy, Apache Lucene, Xapian, Elasticsearch
  • Apache HTTPD, nginx


  • Cogent communication
  • Agile project management
  • Digital audio
  • Writing for technical and non-technical audiences
  • Teaching, presenting
  • Team leader

Honors and Activities

Open source projects: Presentations: Honors:



Upon request