Software developer Q&A

Beyond Expectations: How Jo navigates the challenges of top-tier clients with innovative solutions

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Headshot of Jo Wannenburg

Jo Wannenburg

Meet Jo: with his wealth of experience and knack for technical leadership, he is a real asset to the Mainfreight team at Sandfield.

Jo was the recipient of Sandfield’s Good Sort Award in 2022, which is a reflection of the consistent value he has added to our team, from technical guidance to helping in the recruitment space and of course, bringing his sense of humour along to every meeting. 

While Jo has been across countless successful projects with Mainfreight over the years, for him, it’s the little things that give him pride in his work.

Building software in the supply chain space means that we get to see tiny signs of our success all around us, and for Jo and the Mainfreight team, it's the iconic trucks making the rounds across the country. 

“Every time I drive by one of the big blue trucks, I think back and realise, “I am part of what made that happen! So for me, I don’t just have one proud moment, but continue to feel proud of my achievements every day." 

From the technical side, Jo brings the same question to every project he works on: how do we build a solution today, that can stand the test of time? Jo works consistently to ‘future-proof’ the solutions we provide for Mainfreight.

“Some of the solutions I’ve been privileged to work on started their life cycles years before I joined Sandfield, and we are still actively extending them.

There is no need to rewrite these solutions, and they continue adding more value to Mainfreight each time we add another feature."

Coming from a background as a dev, stepping into technical leadership was a challenge that Jo has taken in stride. It was initially overwhelming to navigate massive projects with tight deadlines, but Jo has mastered the art; now juggling high-stakes projects with hundreds of moving parts. The key piece of advice he shares for any up-and-coming tech leads is to speak up when things become too much to handle.

“Talk to someone on the team about where you’re at, and remember that you don’t need to carry the whole load - sharing makes the tasks much easier."

Jo has grown not only in technical project management but has also worked closely with our soft skills coach, Roseann Gedye of Roseann's Principles over the years.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have Roseann as a guide to refine me into someone I would not recognise all these years ago. I am also very fortunate to have a great mentor who I can look up to, that allows me to grow my soft skills continuously.

It allows me to walk into meetings with Mainfreight with confidence and walk out of the room with the answers I was looking for. It also allows me to build positive relationships with my team and transfer my knowledge to them”.

Jo has also recently completed the Dare to Lead course, which explores vulnerability in leadership and how it can allow for closer connection with the team. 

Now, Jo’s focus is on training up the next generation of leaders at Sandfield. This year, his attention has shifted a little from technical implementation to the future of the team.

“I will concentrate on paving the road for the team and plan out how we achieve more of the big ticket items on our roadmaps."

Matthew Keith, Director at Sandfield says:

“Jo joined us 15 years ago after working at DPS for a few years. Although experienced, he soon found there was lots to learn! But learn he did, very quickly, and it wasn’t long before he was leading the MIMS team.

Jo is highly intelligent and very reliable and this has garnered great respect from Mainfreight and our team alike. Mainfreight rely on him as if he were in their team. He has also mentored many of our team over the years who have all benefited from his vast knowledge.

His blunt yappie sense of humour gets him into trouble now and then! But his heart is always in the right place and he is a very caring person. And don’t get him started on the MCU (Marvel) timeline unless you have plenty of spare time!”

Balancing the ongoing Mainfreight projects with taking the time to look ahead and grow the team is a massive job, but Jo is a champion at juggling priorities.

“There are days where I need to be at work until the job is done. I believe this is part of what we are here for, if there is something to do, get it done!

I am also a big believer in balance though, and make sure I get time for myself. It might sometimes be just working from home to beat traffic, or taking a day off every few months. I always prioritise what is most important for me, and make sure I stick to it”.

Jo’s consistent commitment isn’t just visible in his work life - he also makes sure to spend time with his family and his dogs. 

At the moment, Jo’s ‘passion project’ is his involvement in the softball community. He has helped to coach 3 teams in the past year, and is out on the fields every Saturday to practise and enjoy the outdoors.

“I always have a smile on my face when I am on the softball fields, and wouldn’t have it any other way."

Jo brings his game face to everything he does and we are so privileged to have him on the Sandfield team. We look forward to seeing his leadership continue to grow and contribute to our future endeavours with Mainfreight!