Grateful Hearts and Open Arms: Thanksgiving 2021

In this season of Thanksgiving, our team is taking the time to reflect on the things we are grateful for, and looking ahead to the upcoming year, ready to embrace what lies ahead.  As such, we’ve asked each member of our team to tell us what they’re grateful for from the past year. Read on to see how they answered.


Brad Griffith

I’m still every bit as thankful this year as I was last year for my amazing support system. My contact with people other than my wife and daughters has been quite minimal this year while waiting for vaccines to be approved for kids. We’re finally there! I’m so thankful now for modern medicine and the careful balance between safety and speed to market for these COVID vaccines. We’re blessed to live in a country with virtually limitless access to healthcare, though I’m aware that privilege isn’t evenly shared even within our country across demographics.

This year I’ve come to appreciate how full a life I can live–despite working and socializing remotely–by leveraging readily-accessible technology. Even compared with my childhood, the advances in computers, televisions, phones, and cars put us in a new world of possibilities for interaction. Medical technologies including telemedicine, at-home diagnostic testing, and personal medical devices enable care from home that rivals office visits. I can watch new release movies as quickly–and more comfortably–than going to a movie theater. And video on demand services give me access to educational and entertaining content anywhere, anytime. My family celebrates holidays via Amazon Echo, Zoom, and Google Meet, and we enjoy playing euchre together online.

I sometimes forget that I may be missing out on something more I would get from an in-person interaction. But I remind myself that I’m also missing out on exposure to cold and flu germs and viruses. We’ll get back to some in-person activities soon. Much of my life will never be the same as it was pre-pandemic. And many of those lasting changes are welcome in my life.

I am so thankful for my team and our clients who all enable us to do great impactful work. We have amazing clients who are changing the world, and we’re blessed with the opportunity to play a role in their success. Thank you for trusting us as your technology innovation partner! And thank you to my dedicated team for trusting me with your career. It’s a privilege to work beside you.


Paul Tela

I’m thankful for the support that I receive from my family and friends. I am so fortunate to have my wife Katie and her boundless belief in me. It has been a year full of learning opportunities and growth, and I am thankful for the experiences. I’m blessed to be a part of a great company and work with such a great team. I’m excited to see what the coming year brings!


Taylor Cochran

This year I’m thankful for the chance to bring our daughter into the world. I’m especially grateful for my husband, family, friends, midwife, nurses and doctors who supported us along the way and helped with our little miracle. I am very thankful for the opportunity to take some time away from work responsibilities to focus on my own healing and nurturing my family. I’m hyper focused on this part of my own world right now but am also grateful for the opportunities and events in my life that have all, in some way, led to this. 


Lorraine Shill

I’m thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones. Health is Wealth! I’m also thankful for our home in Arizona, my new friends and community, and that I can live here most of the year. I’m very thankful for my job, that I am able to work remotely, and for my wonderful team mates. I love the work I do and feel proud to be a part of the Buckeye Interactive team. I’m thankful for our three amazing daughters and the wonderful men each chose to share their lives with. I’m thankful for my two grandsons: James is one and my absolute love, baby boy Garcia is still being built. And I love him so much already! I pray that all continues to go well with our daughter’s pregnancy and delivery. I feel thankful and I feel blessed!


Melanie Muscolo

As I reflect on 2021 I certainly feel so lucky that I have so many things to be thankful for. Most importantly, I am thankful for another year where all my family, friends, and co-workers are healthy! I’m beyond grateful for the love and support they give me each and everyday as well. I’m thankful for a job that puts the needs of its employees first and allows us to have the opportunity to make such an impact on our clients and their communities. I am thankful for my boyfriend, Lucas, who makes me laugh and feel so loved everyday. And of course, you know I couldn’t forget a certain little boy who came into my life this year, who’s taught me so much, makes me feel so loved, and is always making me laugh: my new puppy Hank! 


Tony Todoroff

The past year has given me a lot to be thankful for. While the landscape of the world is still uncertain and, at times, scary because of the pandemic, I’ve been able to find ways to stay connected with loved ones and gain back a little bit of normalcy. I’m eternally grateful for my supportive, loving wife Stephanie and everything she does for me and our lives together. I am also immensely grateful for my pup Marty, who does more for my mental health and happiness than anything ever has. I’m beyond thankful for the beautiful house we purchased this year, and making it into our home has been one of the most happy and fulfilling experiences of my life.


Scott Brady

This has been an eventful year — I got engaged to my amazing fiancée, Caitlyn! I’m so thankful for her support and love, and I can’t wait to marry her later this year! I’m also thankful for my family and just how close we are and how much we care for each other. This year especially, I’ve seen God work in so many incredible ways in my life and in the lives of those around me. I’m so thankful for my church family and the encouragement that they bring. Sometimes life moves so quickly and it’s easy to focus on the negative. But it’s so refreshing to take a step back during this time of the year and focus on what we can be thankful for!


Sarah Spriggs

This year especially, there has been so much to be thankful for in my life. I am thankful for the opportunity to have received a COVID vaccine earlier this year in hopes that life will be back to normal, or whatever the new normal will be soon. I’m extremely grateful for my health and the recent opportunity I had to relocate to Austin, TX because of being able to work remotely. I am thankful for my boyfriend’s neverending support in all that I do. And I’m thankful for  my two pups who constantly keep me on my toes. I’m also thankful to be working at Buckeye Interactive, where I have always been well-supported and have been able to grow tremendously as an engineer.


Matthew Gardner

I’m thankful for my wonderful family, coworkers, and friends, who are all extremely supportive of me in all the things I do. Even the little things, like helping me clear away all the baked goods I’ve made, and the bigger ones, like checking in on me when I’m not feeling well. It’s nice to have a support system to fall back on, and I appreciate all of you!


Oscar Aguilar

This year I am thankful for new beginnings. After a very rough year in 2020, 2021 has been full of blessings. I have found a new family in Buckeye Interactive and do work that is fulfilling and helpful for my career. I finally graduated with my Bachelor’s after seven long years of part-time study. And last but certainly not least, my wife and I purchased our first home after years of saving and planning.

Although this year has come with its own set of challenges, it has truly felt like this has been the year where all of my hard work has paid off. While me and my wife are certainly not done growing, it feels great to see that you truly can get what you desire if you’re willing to work hard for it. But overall, I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given, my health, a united and healthy family, and the opportunity to work with wonderful individuals that are kind-hearted and want to make a difference in the world.


Rachel McManus

2021 was a bit of a crazy year on my end. My life consisted of a military move due to my husband being active duty, fixing up our new house, and a new job here with Buckeye. We also watched our son grow from an infant into a full-fledged toddler. However, in the midst of all the craziness, life really is beautiful.

I’m thankful for my husband and son, for their love, and for those sweet, fun moments with them. I’m also thankful for my dog, Moony. He’s occasionally loud and obnoxious during meetings, but he’s a fantastic furry companion and coworker. I am incredibly thankful for my family’s health and safety. I’m grateful for the challenges we’ve been able to overcome as we settle into our new environment and new normal. They’ve pushed us to grow and to focus on what’s really important in life. And each day, this place feels a little more like home. It wouldn’t be that way without the love and support we have for each other. I’m thankful for this position here at Buckeye, and for new friends.

But mostly, I’m just grateful for this life in general, for all its ups and downs, its opportunities for growth, learning, loving, and being.


Ben Schwinghammer

I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given this year. My beautiful wife and I got married this October. We were also lucky enough to be able to buy a house together this August. Not to mention I was able to join the wonderful team here at Buckeye Interactive early this summer. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to maintain and grow relationships with friends and family even though I live states away from many of them now.


Madeline Rooney

Wow, what a year. I am thankful for the many opportunities and shared moments I’ve had in the past twelve months. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree from Bowling Green State University and started my first job here at Buckeye Interactive. I’ve grown closer with my church family. I attended just about all of the Muskingum Men’s soccer games. I enjoyed many game nights with my dear friends. Plus, I got a few extra cat snuggles. With the current state of our world, I am thankful for the health and wellness of my friends and family. I feel blessed to have had a year filled with growth and reflection and look forward to another year.


Karan Joshi

It seems like this year went by in a snap. Looking back on all the events of the year, I’m really thankful for my health, the opportunities I’ve had this year, my loved ones, and my friends. Because of the pandemic I was really able to step back and do a lot of internal searching of who I am and figuring out what I want out of my life and career. It really forced us to slow down and reflect on what drives us and who we really are. I think as I go into 2022, more of that will continue. I hope to accomplish more of my goals. In 2022, I’m starting my MBA and will continue to grow my tech skills, and hope to continue thriving. 


Stacy McGrath

As I reflect back on the past year, I am grateful first and foremost that my close family, friends, and loved ones have all stayed safe and healthy through the pandemic. While it’s easy to dwell on what we’ve lost and missed over the past year and a half, being forced to slow down helped us reflect on what matters most. This allowed us to be more intentional about how we return to a “normal” lifestyle. I’m thankful for my support system. And I’m especially grateful that I’m married to my best friend, whose support and encouragement helped make a career pivot into software engineering possible. Learning, growing, and developing new skills has been challenging and energizing. And I’m so thankful for the opportunity to join the Buckeye Interactive team!


Forlefac Fontem

This year has been very eventful and fruitful. I’m thankful that my friends, family and I haven’t had any severe illnesses due to COVID and we have all been able to stay afloat during this tough time. I’m currently wrapping up my senior year in college. I reflect back on the memories I’ve had throughout college and I realize that I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have the support system that I have now.

I’ve learned so much over the past few years. I’ve had a lot of memorable experiences that have impacted my life in a lot of different ways. I’m thankful for my college experiences and the life lessons that I’ve learned. There were times where I couldn’t complete a homework assignment on time, I was struggling in class, I couldn’t find an internship, and many other tough moments. But the people that I met along my college journey helped me get through these challenges.

I’m also thankful for an internship with Buckeye Interactive. I’ve only been here for a short time so far, but I’ve had the chance to meet the entire team and learn about the projects and tools BI uses to create software solutions. I’m very impressed with the organization as a whole and the work atmosphere that exists here.


Mehul Rao

This year, I am thankful for my family, my friends, and the opportunity I have been given to intern at Buckeye Interactive. I’m thankful that none of my family members have been severely affected by COVID. As I finish high school, I’m grateful for their support and guidance. I’ve enjoyed working with everyone on the BI team and I have learned a lot over the past few months. I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this wonderful team.

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