About Us

Our mission

To work alongside visionary clients and colleagues, crafting software that makes a positive impact.

To lift up the communities that we live in, the environment that surrounds them, and the individuals within them.

To provide opportunities for the curious to discover the joy of creating elegant, useful software.

To lead the way on sustainable, responsible business, and share with others how it can be done.

To provide a place to do the best possible work, while leading the best possible life, with those you love both inside and outside of work.

Our Team

Scott Woods, CEO

Scott founded West Arete in 2005. He’s been programming and writing software for most of his life. His passion is to build a company that makes custom software development predictable and profitable for our clients while providing the best work environment anywhere.

Natalie Simonson, Director of Outreach

Natalie oversees our outreach efforts, which involve making impactful community contributions that connect us with future employees, clients, investors, and allies. As a member of the leadership team, she helps to set strategies for the company. She is a certified facilitator in human-centric design. She earned her degree in Computer Engineering and has an MBA.

Chet Swalina, Director of Operations

Chet oversees the development process and development operations at West Arete. As a member of the leadership team, he helps to set strategies for the company. He is a certified Product Owner and Certified ScrumMaster, and frequently serves in those roles for our clients. His goal is to guide projects so that they deliver the greatest possible value to clients for the available budget. His background is in high-performance scientific computing.


Netta Caligari, Community Lead

Netta has always been passionate about connecting with people, and prides herself on a work ethic focused on growth and communication. In her professional and personal life, Netta strongly believes that any community can thrive when driven by creative and motivated people with a common purpose in a supportive environment. With more than a decade of experience, Netta’s main focus is advocating for clients and telling their stories through West Arete. At the start of her career journey, Netta received a B.A. in Journalism from California State University, Chico.

Jen Donahue, Project Facilitator

Jen’s focus is on cultivating the relationships between our team and our clients by empathetically connecting business needs with West Arete’s development expertise. Through problem discovery, creative collaboration, and clear communication, she seeks to foster common understanding throughout a project.

Eric Durante, Software Developer

Eric’s focus is on back-end development. He helps to write the behind-the-scenes software that drives the websites and applications that we build. Eric is driven to craft well-tested code that can remain flexible throughout its lifespan.

Liz Munsterteiger, Creative Lead

Liz’s focus is on creatively telling the stories of our clients, our projects, our people, and our brand. Using a combination of right and left-brained thinking, she seeks new growth opportunities and creatively solves problems. With a background in print media and a dedication to sustainability and equality, Liz works with the Outreach team to further West Arete’s mission to impact the world positively.

Rich Nash, Senior Project Strategist

Rich’s focus is on identifying strategies to create optimal solutions for our clients. He has over 40 years of experience bringing ideas into reality in a variety of fields as medical devices, online education, assistive technologies, circuit boards, and the Internet of Things. Drawing on both the breadth and depth of his experience, Rich helps guide our project teams and stakeholders through the project in a way that maximizes the value created.

Mark Quezada, Software Developer

Mark is a serial entrepreneur with over two decades of technical experience. He has launched and grown several startups over the past ten years, the most recent of which raised over $3m in venture funding from blue-chip silicon valley investors and was a top 15 grossing lifestyle app in the Apple App Store. Prior to that he built and grew a technology consultancy with clients such as Hawaiian Airlines, Guess Kids, Gucci, Volkswagen, Lexus, Chivas Regal, Dave Chappelle, AdamsMorioka, Zag, TrueCar, Revver, LonelyGirl15, Five for Fighting, and 42Entertainment before being recruited as a founding engineer at eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar’s Civil Beat, an SPJ award-winning news service.

Ryan Schenk, Software Developer

Ryan’s focus is on back-end development. Ryan has an array of stellar skills in scientific computing and big data and he adds extensive experience in data visualization and interface design. Ryan specializes in solving complex programming questions using innovative yet solid code design.

Lisa Swalina, Finance Manager

Lisa has over 25 years of experience in general accounting processes at engineering firms. Detail-oriented and conscientious by nature, her goal is to ensure that West Arete’s finances are tracked accurately and continue to run smoothly.

Sabbaticals

West Arete’s most mind-blowing benefit is a mandatory one-month sabbatical for every employee, every year. Yes, this is in addition to vacation. Yes, every person must take one. No, you can’t check your work email; we shut off all of your accounts when you leave.

Why do we do this? Because it’s easily one of the most impactful things that we can do for our employees’ lives. Because we each come back incredibly refreshed and motivated. Because it’s actually incredibly powerful for streamlining operations and validating responsibilities.

[Watch Scott’s TEDx talk on sabbaticals]

Our History

West Arete was founded in 2005 in State College, PA as a custom software development company for research groups and academic institutions. Our small initial team drew upon their background in high-performance computing, data, and scalability to solve worthy research problems with custom software.

Even in these early days, we gravitated towards worthy causes. Our early projects advocated for social good by advocating for living wages around the country, by studying how to improve iron absorption in women with anemia, and by examining how speech naturally develops in bilingual children.

We also committed from day one to sustainable business practices. We were one of the first 100 companies to join 1% for the Planet. This commitment to donate 1% of our annual sales (not profit) to environmental nonprofit organizations was no small feat for an early stage company that often wouldn’t have any excess cash to spare. Yet when we see the impact that those many tens of thousands of dollars have made, we have never doubted that it was the right thing to do. Our business simply adapted to the commitment, rather than the other way around.

Over the years as our company grew and matured, we deepened our commitments to social and environmental good by becoming a certified B Corporation and a Silver Bike Friendly Business. We became more involved in our local community by spearheading several technical and entrepreneurial efforts. And we introduced radical employee benefits such as fully-paid, $0 deductible health insurance for each employee’s entire family, and mandatory one-month sabbaticals every year, for every employee.

We eventually broadened our target market to serve other industries, and not just academia. But we narrowed our focus to serve the organizations that are doing good in the world, namely nonprofit organizations, foundations, and purpose-driven companies. We feel that life is too short and precious for us to spend our time and talents developing software that does anything but make the world a better place.

We are proud of our company’s history and the continuity and accomplishments that have come from it. But we have ambitious plans for West Arete’s future. There is so much more to do.

Join Forces

If you’d like to be part of the West Arete team, we’d love to hear from you.

[Click here to view all open positions.]

If there are no currently open positions, we welcome you to join our Top Talent list.

As we grow, we’re on the lookout for the few, special people who will help us take our company to the next level. Even if we don’t have an opportunity now, we might have one in the future. Join our talent list to be notified when we have a new opportunity.

[Join the West Arete Top Talent list.]

We can’t wait to meet you.

Let’s Connect

The first step is often a zero-pressure phone call to answer questions and explore whether we both feel that there could be a fit.