Andy Potanin

Introducing Andy

Andy Potanin

Andy is a tech entrepreneur who bridges the gap between business strategy and technical innovation. His expertise in web development, deployment, and DevOps has been honed by a career committed to excellence and early adoption of transformative technologies.

From the heart of Durham, USA, Andy has contributed to the tech community since becoming a Toptal member. His skills reflect a dedication to pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

Durham, United States

Member Since February 9, 2018

  • WordPress Themes & Plugins
  • RESTful Web Services
  • Unix/Linux Virtualization
Connect with Andy

Core Technologies


Containerization & Virtualization


Server-Side JavaScript Runtime


Themes & Plugins Development

Areas of Expertise

Business Strategy

Innovative Growth & Development

Team Leadership

Mentorship & Team Building

DevOps Practices

Efficiency & Automation Solutions

Professional Journey

Senior DevOps Engineer

Blackboard | 2018 - Present

Andy has played a pivotal role in transforming Blackboard's deployment infrastructure, introducing automation and scalability to their operations.

  • Containerization: Automated Dockerized microservice deployments to Azure Service Fabric.
  • Deployment Automation: Utilized Octopus Deploy for microservice updates and infrastructure management.
  • High Availability: Engineered multi-region service deployments for enhanced reliability.
  • Script Modularization: Created reusable deployment scripts and modules.
  • Azure Resource Management: Provisioned and managed Key Vaults, CosmosDB, ServiceBus, EventHub, among other resources.
Andy Potanin at Work

Work Experience

Senior Technical Manager at Usability Dynamics

From 2014 to 2017, Andy served as the Senior Technical Manager at Usability Dynamics. His key responsibilities and achievements include:

  • Migrated 140 client applications from single-node deployments to containerized horizontally scalable clusters on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • Engineered various deployment strategies on AWS, GCE, and Azure.
  • Trained team members on stateless application development patterns and continuous integration (CI) patterns.
  • Gained a great deal of experience with Docker while building a proprietary Docker-based hosting platform.
  • Implemented container-based continuous deployment (CD) and development and workflow principles.

Technologies: NGINX, HAProxy, RabbitMQ, CircleCI, Elasticsearch, CoreOS, Docker, Node.js, Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Technical Leadership, Kubernetes, Redis, Load Balancers

Work Experience

Andy's career showcases a legacy of tech leadership, innovation, and strategic development.

Learn More

Andy's Journey

In 2006, Andy Potanin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, immersing himself into the data and cyber operations realm. He earned the Warrior Award and a Meritorious Promotion after graduating from data school. Recognized by his peers and superiors for his character, leadership, and academic abilities, he served as a networking engineer in the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion and was later promoted to Data Chief, where he oversaw data operations of critical importance. Concurrently, while enlisted, Potanin was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and worked with Navy Seals on critical peace and stability missions. During this time, he also pursued a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology Management & Security at Campbell University, merging his practical military experience with theoretical knowledge.

Following an honorable discharge from the Marines in 2010, he transitioned into the civilian tech sector, joining Northrop Grumman as a defense contractor, where he gained substantial experience in logistics and supply chain management.

At Northrop Grumman, Potanin led the major project of developing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This system included significant modules like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), helpdesk, and asset management. The project was a significant success and was adopted by the US Marine Corps Logistics Command.

In 2011, leveraging his military, academic, and professional experiences to create Usability Dynamics which evolved into UDX – a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB). Initially focused on user interfaces and human interaction with business systems, UDX expanded into Ukraine in 2012. Over the following decade, the company achieved significant regional growth until the invasion of Ukraine by Russia brought an unfortunate halt to progression.

A significant milestone was their collaboration with Lockheed Martin on programs like SBIR and STTR. In 2018 UDX was contracted by Blackboard to lead cloud-native DevOps on Mobile Credential for Apple Pay. The project's success led Transact Campus to assign UDX all of its cloud automation duties.

As a seasoned veteran in cloud automation managing large-scale projects for over a decade at Transact Campus as Senior Manager of Cloud Automation. Recognizing the value of continuous learning Andy enrolled in an executive MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler gaining invaluable business strategy insights.

These insights have equipped Andy with a deeper understanding of business strategies which he now utilizes to steer UDX toward a sustainable future. Beyond managing UDX and Transact Campus Andy advocates for transitioning military veterans into the tech industry.

Andy's journey - from serving as a Marine to founding a thriving tech company - reflects his resilience and commitment to innovation. His mission continues as he strives to push boundaries within the tech industry.

Tech Deep Dive

Understanding Kubernetes Reconciliation Loop

An in-depth exploration of Kubernetes' reconciliation loop, its role in cluster state management, and how it maintains desired state for deployments.

Mike Bruns

Cloud Innovation

Embracing Cloud-Native Strategies for Business Growth

Discover how adopting cloud-native technologies can drive innovation, agility, and competitive advantage for businesses in the digital age.

Eric Sopp

Innovation & Tech

Pioneering Innovative Tech Solutions in a Dynamic Market

An analysis of how innovative technologies are shaping the future of industries and how businesses can leverage them for sustainable success.

Dmitry Smirnov