Paul Jackson Hurst, Aries from Rantoul, Illinois, has love for a number of things: Beluga caviar. Productivity. His dogs: Lucky, a miniature pinscher, and Gibbs, a chiweenie named after NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. The California Club at Jason’s Deli. Classical music, such as Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Also, a little alternative metal: Tool and A Perfect Circle.

At Forte, Paul is a Technical Support Representative II. That means he supports developers and provides integration services. He’s responsible for pointing eager developers in the right direction, arming them with the right tools. He troubleshoots code, sometimes actually running theirs.

But Paul isn’t limited around here. He says he tends to bounce around, doing whatever he can to help Forte. For example, he often gets a first look at a lot of our products. He got to work with the mobile app long before its release, providing feedback and troubleshooting. Besides identifying bugs and verifying fixes in terminal software, he also frequently loads terminals and tests them out before they are sent to merchants.

Paul sees his position in the interstice of an important piece of the payments industry: the developers. “I act as a facilitator between the internal and external developers, helping them identify and reconcile issues.” In this way, Paul functions not only as a bridge for communication between the two, but also as a means of reconciliation. He doesn’t just pass the problems back and forth – he actually helps solve them.

This is perfect for him. “I really, really love problem solving,” he admits. “And it’s incredibly rewarding to help people fix things, to help answer their questions. Most people are open and willing to my suggestions because they’re already at a loss. It’s an honor to be able to step in and try to help steer them back to a solution.”

When Paul started working at Forte, he had no previous knowledge of the payments industry. He didn’t know much about the financial sector at all, in fact. But numbers were never far from him (unlike the isolating distance they have for this writer).

Paul received his degree in math and went on to pursue graduate school in the same subject. As is pretty typical for grad students, he began to slowly discover that he was becoming incredibly poor. The thought of Cup-O-Noodles and thrift store button-downs for the foreseeable future was not exactly kindling his motivation.

So he quit school and got a job working at Dell. He worked there for ten years both in Tech Support and as a Data Analyst, but left after he was in a non-work-related accident. After leaving Dell, he worked briefly at State Farm Insurance as a temp. He didn’t really enjoy it, so he started looking around. He saw the position open at Forte and applied. He already knew about programming and tech support, so despite the fact he wasn’t familiar with payments, he knew he could land on his feet.

And land on his feet, he did. He sees the future of payments as very bright and is particularly excited about developments happening within Forte.

A few of the areas he sees promise? Mobile processing and payments are a big one. Also, there’s a market for the Check 21 system, based on the law that allows for the processing of a substitute check created from a truncated, original check. “There’s room to expand our services for even more real-time check solutions,” says Paul. “This is an industry with endless potential for growth.”

It’s not only the industry that keeps Paul excited. Working for a company like Forte is something that he’s proud to be a part of. He’s been here for almost three years now and can’t wait to see what happens next. “Forte is not only a great company to work for, it’s exciting to think about what the future holds,” he says. “And I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.”

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