Since joining the AOL Technology team over two and half years ago, Andreas Turanski has worked on a variety of different projects – both big and small. But one he's particularly passionate about is creating a tightly-knit engineering culture in New York City that reflects the startup/small company background he came from and embodies a similar experience that already exists in AOL's Dulles campus.

"I wanted to help AOL NYC Engineers from my teams and other teams to get to know each other as a social group and as resources," said Andreas. "I floated the idea to engineers and engineering leaders in a bunch of these teams and virtually everyone liked the idea so I made it one of my missions to kick-off a NYC AOL Engineering mixer. I also talked with the head of the Cultural Ambassador Program that I'm involved with about funding the events." How'd he do? We'll come back to that in a minute.

In his "day" job, Andreas is a Senior Tech Director who works on AOL's Entertainment verticals and sites like Moviefone, AOL Music, Winamp, and AOL HD / AOL ON. Collaborating with the General Managers, Product Managers, and designers of the sites, Andreas and his four engineering teams work to build the best experiences for our users that will make an impact. This includes rebuilding the backend of sites to deliver a more flexible structure to pull in the best, least expensive data providers, a recent win accomplished with the new backend for the AOL Music site and Winamp.

When working on a project, Andreas' main priorities are to create reusable systems with a great and consistent user experience. "We're always trying to make a systems that can be reused by other teams in ways that we don't even envision while making sure we get them delivered quickly. This is often done by having an API (application programming interface) that defines how to access the service that our other groups can use. This makes code more maintainable, so if one thing changes in the background, the front end doesn't have to change. For instance, we're going to re-use the backend that we just built for AOL Music and Winamp as the backend for Moviefone after some enhancements."

An avid cyclist and vegan, Andreas spends much of his time outside of AOL doing non-profit work around causes that promote civil rights and animal protection. Raised in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, Andreas continues to be surprised by the new things he discovers exploring his ever-changing hometown, but it's his son who brings him the most inspiration. "I am continually proud of my son, as I watch and help him grow and develop as an amazing person."

At one point in his AOL career, Andreas ran the AOL Social, Community, & Identity engineering team where they built the current commenting platform and AOL Share. Using his knowledge of the needs from the site side helped inform what was built on the platform side. Andreas continues to dabble in community engagement with his team as they test different programs on their sites like enhancing how we let Moviefone users make events to see specific movies to share with their social circles.

And the mixers? What started out as a gathering of 15 engineers and tech staff has now multiplied into a large community where sharing knowledge while socializing thrives, but Andreas does not plan to stop there. "We'll need to continue working on this and make it a steady part of the NYC AOL Engineering social fabric. Next is to get more teams involved, after which I promised I'd do a shot at the mixer!"

(AOLers, including Chief Technology Officer Curtis Brown (far right), attend a mixer.)