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We're Skylight!

Our mission is to make government work in a digital world.

Illustration of a laptop with various govtech and civictech stickers on the back of it.

Our story

Skylight was launched in June of 2017. We're currently made up of 16 people and one ferret. A lot of us originally worked for civic-oriented groups such as 18F, the U.S. Digital Service, and the Presidential Innovation Fellows. Now, as part of Skylight, we're working hard to cultivate an incredible team and culture.

What brings us together is a passion for creating better outcomes for the public through great government digital services. We're basically impact junkies. But we're also engineers, developers, designers, product managers, consultants, writers, speakers, inventors, roboticists, gamers, authors, veterans, entrepreneurs, parents, and more. Such a diverse team always gives us a unique perspective on things.

Our headquarters is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but we're a distributed and remote-friendly team. A lot of our client work originates from Washington DC.

Certified HUBZone

We're certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) company. This special SBA designation means we're committed to revitalizing local communities through job creation. In turn, we're granted privileged access to federal government contract opportunities, including up to $4M per contract award.

To maintain our HUBZone status, 35% of our employees must be located in one of the nearly 20,000 HUBZone areas across the country. Of that 35%, the greatest number of people must be concentrated in our "principal office" location, which is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The remaining percentage of people are free to live in whatever HUBZone locale they prefer.

Meet the team

Chris Cairns

Digital Transformer

Chris served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, and co-founded 18F and the Technology Transformation Service, both housed within the General Services Administration. He specializes in digital leadership and transformation, digital procurement, and product development and management. Chris lives in Florida.

Victor Zapanta

UX Designer

Victor co-founded the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's design+tech team, and served as a member of 18F. His design leadership spans multiple high-profile projects, including,,, and He specializes in design leadership, service design, user experience design, and design research. Victor resides in New York.

Kin Lane

API Architect

Kin served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, and is a world-recognized expert in APIs. Since 2010, he has written over 3,000 articles and spoken at over 50 events on API-related topics. Kin also specializes in software engineering, microservices, data science and engineering, cloud computing, and enterprise software. He lives in California.

Shashank Khandelwal

Digital Transformer

Shashank is a former member of 18F, where he held multiple leadership positions, including Director of He's also a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau design+tech fellow. Shashank specializes in digital leadership and transformation, digital procurement, software engineering, and cloud computing. He lives in Maryland.

Josh Dorothy

DevOps Engineer

Josh is a former member of the U.S. Digital Service, with a passion for building both great platforms and great products. He specializes in DevOps engineering, cloud computing, and user-focused software development. Josh resides in Virginia.

Lesley Evans

UX Researcher

Lesley is a UX researcher, with a passion for creating delightful user experiences. She specializes in a variety of qualitative and quantitative research techniques, including user interviews, user modeling, usability testing, prototyping, and more. Lesley lives in Colorado.

Robert Read

Full Stack Engineer

Robert served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow and co-founded 18F. He's been programming since he was 13 years old, and holds a PhD in computer science. Robert builds robots, among other things, for public good. He specializes in software engineering, data science and engineering, engineering management, and agile practices. Robert lives in Texas.

Nick Bristow

Full Stack Engineer

Nick is a former member of 18F, with a passion for creating products that are accessible and meet the needs of all users. He specializes in accessibility, software engineering, frontend development, and cloud computing. Nick resides in Virginia.

Sean Johnson

Full Stack Engineer

Sean's built and exited two tech startups, one of which was bought by IBM. He's been programming since he was six years old, and specializes in software engineering, product management, and cloud computing. Sean lives in North Carolina.

Aera Hoffman

UX Researcher

Aera formerly served as a UX researcher for the University of Maryland. She's passionate about creating positive change through great user experiences, and specializes in user research and information architecture. Aera lives in Maryland.

Geoff Mulligan

IoT Architect

Geoff served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, and has developed standards that power the internet, including IPv6 and 6LoWPAN. He specializes in Internet of Things, distributed and embedded systems engineering, networking technologies, and privacy and security. Geoff resides in Colorado.

Andrew Wagner

Software Engineer

Andrew is a polyglot software engineer, with a passion for delivering technical excellence. He's worked in the govtech space his entire career, and specializes in software engineering, DevOps, microservices, APIs, and cloud computing. Andrew lives in Virginia.

Tom Black

Full Stack Engineer

Tom is a former Presidential Innovation Fellow and member of 18F. His product and technical leadership spans multiple high-profile projects, including the GI Bill Comparison Tool and He specializes in software engineering, product management, and identity management. Tom lives in Oregon.

Jay Danielian

Software Engineer

Jay is a polyglot software engineer, with a passion for tackling tough technical challenges. He specializes in software engineering, APIs, microservices, distributed search and analytics, and cloud computing. Jay resides in Maryland.

Brandon Mader

Data Scientist

Brandon is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College, where he earned a double major in Math and Computer Science. He's passionate about making a positive difference through data science, engineering, and analytics. Brandon lives in Ohio.

Always at your service

If you have a question for us, or would just like to get in touch, drop us a message at [email protected]. If you'd like to inquire about hiring us for a job, fill out this short form. If you're interested in joining our team, send us your information. If you'd like to explore forming a partnership to pursue government opportunities, let's talk business.

We love to share our thoughts on technology, design, procurement, business, culture, and more with the world. You can read up on the our latest thinking at our company blog.

You can also follow along on Twitter @skylight_hq.

Feel free to reach out directly to one of our leaders — Chris Cairns or Robert Read.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about us.