Josh Christie ‘02 currently serves as Vice President of Engineering for ChannelAdvisor, a global software company headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C. that provides cloud-based e-commerce solutions for retailers and manufacturers to manage and optimize their sales across online channels such as Amazon. He recently received a 2015 Triangle Business Journal 40 Under 40 Leadership Award. These awards recognize outstanding professionals under the age of 40 for their contributions to their organizations and to the community.
Christie, who earned undergraduate degrees in computer science and computer engineering, interned with ChannelAdvisor during the summer of 2002. Then upon graduation, he landed a job as a software design engineer at Microsoft. Christie credits NC State connections with linking him to individuals at both ChannelAdvisor and Microsoft.
“The Park Scholarship opened a lot of doors for me at NC State. Professor J.J. Brickley of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department sought me out because I was one of a few Park Scholars in his department and, oddly enough, started a chain of events that can be traced all the way to my current position at ChannelAdvisor,” Christie said. “He guided me toward Dr. Tom Miller’s fantastic Engineering Entrepreneurs Program, which helped develop the technical and leadership skills I use every day. Through that program, I also met Scot Wingo and Brian Harry, who hired me at ChannelAdvisor and Microsoft, respectively.”
Wingo, the Executive Chairman and Founder of ChannelAdvisor, recruited Christie back to his company in 2006. Since then Christie has steadily assumed more responsibility. He now leads the global engineering organization responsible for ChannelAdvisor’s highly scalable software as a service (SaaS) platform. In this role, he works with partners, customers, and product management to solve complex e-commerce challenges.
In his 40 Under 40 interview with the Triangle Business Journal, Christie said his most significant professional obstacle has been the challenges inherent in transitioning from a technical role to the realm of management. When Park Scholarships asked him to offer advice on how to make this shift effectively, Christie said, “Whether you’re in a technical or management role, the key is to focus on what matters to the business. It’s easy to focus on process or technical details, but you’ve got to keep the success of the product and, ultimately, the company in view to be successful. I think this mindset also helps the transition from a technical role to a management role because while your day to day activities might gradually change, you’re still shooting for a consistent goal.”
Like many young professionals, Christie, a father of four and an avid runner, is constantly striving to balance a demanding career with family responsibilities and personal hobbies.
“I try to keep in mind how each of these pursuits can complement each other,” he said of his balancing act. “Running over lunch a few days a week is my best time to think through difficult work or family challenges, for example. And sometimes a frustrating problem at work can wear me down, but coaching my son’s soccer team afterward can provide a sense of accomplishment on those days.”
Christie – who, incidentally, lists juggling among his lesser-known skills – had plenty of practice managing his varied interests during his college years. During his time at NC State, he reconnected with an organization with which he had worked on church mission trips as a high school student, and spent the better part of three summers serving under-resourced communities in Mexico. There, he led groups of volunteers from U.S. universities and churches in constructing concrete block homes for families in need. He made lifelong friends with a few other volunteers, and cites these summers of service as some of the best experiences of his life.
“The Park Scholarship allowed me to focus my summers on activities with more lasting impact on my life than just trying to make money to pay for college,” Christie said.
Christie, who has remained connected with the Park Scholarships program by serving on its Selection Committee for several years, also said his fellow Park Scholars helped him make the most of his time at NC State.
“At Finalist Weekend, Tommy Vitolo ‘00 told me that I had to join the Student Wolfpack Club,” he said. “I did, and that became a highlight of my time at NC State. I had a great time attending all kinds of sporting events from wrestling to swimming to soccer, cheered hard for the Wolfpack, and I don’t believe I missed a single football or basketball game in four years.”