Our world-class tech talent Recognizing world-class tech talent

ExpressVPN’s chief engineer and the creator of our innovative Lightway protocol, Pete Membrey, was recently named a ‘Distinguished Contributor’ by the IEEE Computer Society, a global professional organization dedicated to promoting information, inspiration, and collaboration in computer science and engineering. Below, he shares his thoughts on the honor.

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the IEEE Computer Society created the Distinguished Contributor Recognition Program. The goal of the program is to recognize the contribution members have made both to the society and to the profession as a whole. In the awards’ inaugural year, 66 members who submitted their portfolios for assessment were granted the award. I'm honored to be among them.

Making an impact on a global scale

As an engineer, there's nothing better than knowing that something you created has had a positive impact on the world. Lightway started off as a simple sketch on a piece of paper. Now, literally millions of people use it every day to help keep themselves safe online. For me, it's simply mind blowing that something I came up with could have impacted so many people.

Lightway Q&A: Deep dive with its creator

Lightway is of course a testament to the culture of ExpressVPN that allowed for its creation, and the team of people that made it a reality—but very few of the people who benefit from our hard work will ever know our names. And that's okay. We don't do it for the recognition, we do it for the thrill of the chase, to push our limits, and of course for the simple joy of seeing whether something can actually be done.

Making work visible

Still, everyone likes a bit of recognition now and then, and the way we work at ExpressVPN ensures that everyone's contribution is visible. It's a core part of our culture and a part that we've carefully cultivated since the beginning. It really shows in the way we celebrate our successes together. For example, we threw a company-wide party to celebrate Lightway’s launch, and gave out minted coins and mission patches for team members who were involved in building Lightway.

Now, as awesome as that sounds (and it really is awesome), being recognized by the one of the largest and most respected professional societies in the world is something else altogether!

At ExpressVPN, everyone is into privacy so everyone gets the value of something like Lightway. That's kinda expected. But my colleagues at the IEEE Computer Society have extremely diverse backgrounds and interests.

Although they might not be particularly familiar with VPN technology or the challenges we face in operating (an admittedly world class) VPN platform, they, too, were able to see the value of Lightway's contribution and for me, that makes the award extra special.

Ping zhu illustration for changing locations.

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