Founded in 2016, AlignedWorks is three decades in the making.
Gerry Hartis, Co-founder
The AlignedWorks’ vision for aligning the full value of people with full value solutions to social, economic and environmental problems originated with co-founder Gerry Hartis when he worked with outdoor adventure teams in the 1980s as an educator. Gerry asked each member of the team to affirm that they would give the full value of their commitment, knowledge, skills, and effort to the other members of the team as they jointly negotiated the rigors of the deep wilderness.
As Gerry began a business career in the 1990s, he drew on that experience, recognizing that building enterprise teams required the full value of each member. He also began to realize that business could be a calling and a force for good in the world. Not only should businesses profitably deliver one form of value, they should profitably deliver full value: social, environmental, and economic value. Business team members should deliver full value to their enterprise, and the enterprise itself should deliver full value to its customers and their communities.
Through bringing these ideas to the table together, the idea of full value enterprise was realized.
Leif Uptegrove was initially drawn into AlignedWorks by David Vadar through work at the Messiah College Collaboratory for Strategic Parnterships & Applied Research. At the Collaboratory, he gets to interact with undergraduates who are developing real solutions to real problems for real clients, such as World Vision, Cure International, The Halo Trust, and many more. One of the challenges of delivering a solution to a specific client is there is no easy way of making the solution readily available on a global basis. This is where AlignedWorks came in. Leif is working with several teams to see if some of these solutions can be made in volume in commercially viable ventures.
Leif graduated from Messiah College (met he met his wife), and then spent two years in the mental health field and before deciding he was not built for it. Leif went back to school for Computer Science and spent the next 30 years in computer engineering, more specifically with data communications equipment suppliers. For the past 10+ years, he has provided outsourced IT services to small business located near where he lives.
Leith's interests and discretionary time are spent at his local church in service projects; meeting with non-profit organizations to encourage and consult; reviewing three different Collaboratory teams; and reading and and watching movies (but not TV). He also has a 5″ Celestron telescope, but it has collected some dust as the best viewing nights are in the winter, and, in his words, he is "getting to be more like our old cat".
Part of the AlignedWorks experience involves some self-discovery and evaluation. Through that, Leif has seen clearly how one of his motivators is a deep faith in God, underpinning the urgency he feels for doing humanitarian efforts and for helping others. He believes that while in its early days, AlignedWorks has tremendous potential for doing good.
David Vadar, Co-founder
Meanwhile, co-founder Dr. David Vader joined the fledgling engineering faculty at Messiah College. Motivated by a desire to live out his Christian faith, David actively sought to understand what it meant to make the most of his life and profession in service to the pressing needs of our world. He began to notice worthy causes that could benefit from the time and talent of the professionals he had worked with every day in his earlier career at IBM’s Advanced Thermal Laboratory but were unlikely to access help through the marketplace.
Looking for a solution, David helped found the Collaboratory at Messiah College, a center for service and scholarship that enables students, educators, and volunteer professionals to apply academic knowledge and live out Christian faith through imaginative, hands-on problem solving, meeting needs brought by mission, relief, and development organizations and social-impact for-profit businesses. As he ran the Collaboratory, David recognized the academic and not-for-profit context of the Collaboratory made it challenging for the resulting innovations to break free from dependence on charitable giving to scale and reach more communities of need.