Technology is at the heart of what we do, and driving product functionality and innovation are what scores of talented WEXers like application architect Phil Jenkins are doing on a daily basis. Working from our WEXHealth Edina office outside of Minneapolis, Phil has spent the last 10 years with the company that eventually became WEXHealth after a 2014 acquisition. With that kind of longevity, he has a wealth of technical expertise on our healthcare platform.
Phil started his technology career in college working for an Internet service provider. After graduating with a B.S. in Computer Informational Science (CIS), he went on to Unisys, where he spent five years doing IT and development work. That background made him a perfect candidate for recruitment by Lighthouse 1 – the company that would eventually become WEXHealth.
Building Our Healthcare Platform
Joining the company as a developer, Phil was the first full-time employee working on the Health Savings Account (HSA) product. He became lead developer for that team three years later, and stayed in that role until he became a member of the enterprise architecture team as an application architect in 2016. In this role, Phil is involved in a variety of projects and initiatives to support WEXHealth and our partners.
“As an application architect, I have a broader focus than just our Health Savings Account product – providing guidance to our development teams and helping coordinate between the development teams and IT as needed. And because I worked on the HSA platform for nine years, I also occasionally get pulled in as a subject matter expert to talk with our partners about the platform,” says Phil of his current role.
At a more granular level, Phil works with his team and senior developers from other teams on standards and guidance, with a focus on beefing up overall technical documentation. His group is also looking at improvements in build and unit testing capabilities to improve reliability of the product. And as needed, Phil provides analysis and evaluation of different technologies for possible integration into the platform.
Phil says it’s never boring on the job, and he likes the fact that he gets exposure to a lot of different technologies and business sectors. Because WEXHealth works with partners from banks to healthcare providers to bring the platform to life, developers get a more holistic picture than typically found in other companies.
Beyond the HSA platform, WEXHealth technology teams support a number of other plan types, including flexible savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts, as well as card processing. Overall, Phil says that technology is focused on performance and security for our healthcare applications, as well as extensibility of products.
What skills does someone need to be an application architect? Phil counsels that, in addition to being a good developer, data modeling, experience with object-oriented programming, and exposure to common design patterns are essential for the job.
Behind the Scenes at WEXHealth
The Edina office where Phil works has approximately 150 WEXers – with a mix of customer service, operations, IT, configuration management, and some executives. WEXHealth also has offices in Fargo, St. Louis, Omaha, and Conn., with other application architects located in three of these locations. Phil notes that all of his counterparts have different focuses, and their roles are somewhat dual-purpose. “We have our application architect focus, and we also act as enterprise architecture representatives for our individual locations,” he says.
What’s it like working at WEXHealth? According to Phil, it’s professional but laid back. He observes that people are good to work with and if there’s a problem, no one plays the blame game. Rather, everyone gets together and focuses on what the problem is and what needs to be done to address it. He especially appreciates the open atmosphere at WEXHealth, and likes the fact that “anyone can talk to anyone about anything.”
As for what it’s like living and working in Minnesota, Phil has just one word – COLD!