b'149But Christopher was also attracted to Argo for an-other reason: better than most, the company seemed to understand him. Christopher has Aspergers syndrome, a form of autism, and he speaks openly about the impor-tance of recognizing and respecting neurological differ-ences as any other human trait. From the beginning, managers at Argo worked with Christopher to understand what he needed to succeed, from a three-monitor setup to a flexible work schedule with extra time to develop systems that eliminate all po-tential creativity blockers. In essence, Christopher says, the company has given him the freedom to code the way I like to code.In addition to his work for the cloud platform team, Christopher regularly educates colleagues about autism From as far backas he can remember, Christo- spectrum disorders. He gave a presentation about autism pher Pitstick knew hed end up working with scienceat a Global All-Hands meeting, and he serves as a liaison and technology. to the local neurodiverse community. He has been a vocal Growing up outside of Dayton, Ohio, he told peopleadvocate for Argos partnership with Jewish Family and he wanted to be a physicist before he even knew whatCommunity Services (JFCS) in Pittsburgh to help neu-that was. His favorite childhood stuffed animal was a rab- rodivergent people find work. Through this partnership, bit named Albert, after Einstein. His mother was a com- JFCSconnectsArgowithprescreenedneurodivergent puter programmer for the U.S. Air Force and his fatherjob candidates and offers training for Argo managers on was a teacher who studied aerospace engineering. Whencreating more inclusive hiring, supervision, and manage-he was eight, Christopher drew up plans for the ultimatement practices. In addition, JFCS offers specialized train-impossible invention: a perpetual motion machine. ing, book clubs, and office hours focused on discussing Everything accelerated when Christopher was in fifthneurodiversity-relatedtopicssoArgocancontinueto grade. Because of his fathers job, his family was luckybuild awareness and create a more welcoming environ-enough to own a Commodore 64, one of the first homement for all employees. computers. Thats when Christopher switched from play- Reflecting on this work, Christopher says he is hon-ing games to programming them. Within weeks, he hadored to raise awareness about developmental differences writtenaprograminMicrosoftQuickBasictomodelthat are present in roughly 1 out of every 54 individualsStar Fleet Battles, a Star Trek simulation game. The rulean enormous, and historically increasing, number of peo-book was nearly 2,000 pages thick, and for a fifth grader,ple who have been misunderstood for too long. Neuro-that was a lot, he remembers, noting that he still has thediverse people suffer a lot from the lack of understanding original program on a hard drive today. My program wasin our culture, he says. I hope to make an impact, both 1,000 lines of spaghetti code that crashed all the time, butin helping build technologies to save us from ourselves, it could at least play a few turns. and in making us more inclusive and more understand-He was hooked. Years later, at the University of Day- ing as a society.ton, Christopher majored in computer science and com-puter engineering. After stints at other technology com-panies,helandedatArgoasasoftwaredevelopment engineer in 2019.What drew him to Argo is the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles, the notion that making roads safer saves lives. I loved cars as a kidand still do!but the idea that something I liked so much could be so danger-ous really concerned me, he says. Here, we have the power to change that and really make a difference, and that makes me proud of what I do.THE AMBASSADORFullBook_Mar24.indb 149 4/25/21 6:45 PM'