Meet the Executive: Erik Vogt

Where Tech Meets Nature, You Get Erik

Life of Erik – One with Nature

Outdoor adventurer on the weekend, AI technology guru during the week–that’s Erik Vogt. Surrounded by woods and beaches in the Chesapeake Bay, a love for the open air and nature has influenced him throughout his life.  His childhood claim to fame is the epic sand sculptures he built during the summer months. As he grew up, he decided to travel across the US and tried his hand in construction, renovating an apartment in Seattle and building homes in Montana and Colorado. He currently lives in a vintage A-frame style house that he and his wife renovated together. When asked what makes his place truly unique, he mentions the wildlife that visit, including turkeys, deer, woodpeckers, and the occasional black bear. Erik has one son and a goal to hike a new trail every weekend. There won’t be a shortage of trails anytime soon as he’s got the next decade worth of trails covered.

Career Background

As someone who loves to learn, Erik has studied a multitude of topics. It started with a year abroad in Norway and a degree in Psychology, followed by studying mechanical engineering and geography with a focus on remote sensing and GIS. Later in life, Erik obtained his MBA and a master’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Leadership. His current topic of study is a Customer Experience Certificate Program. Through all of the subjects Erik studied, his favorite experience, by far, was a Sea Semester program where he spent 6 weeks on a 125’ Staysail Schooner in the Caribbean.

At the young age of 15, he earned his first paycheck as a lifeguard, grateful that his primary function was to tell kids to stop running. Before settling in to the official start of  what would become his career, Erik spent a year in Japan teaching English. Getting English SQL servers to display Chinese characters correctly is what launched his career in localization.  From there, Erik moved into management and has been focused on localization ever since. He’s dabbled with all of the greats (tech greats that is) and worked for the likes of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. A large focus has been on managing teams to develop systemic workflows and optimize translation, testing, transcription, and software work in 20+ languages.

Erik’s first introduction to AI was with training and evaluating machine learning translation solutions. When asked what type of leader he is, his answer was a forward-focused servant leader who is strongly influenced by situational leadership. This style means that a person switches between being more or less directive depending on the needs of the staff.

One of his greatest career achievements to date is being able to build a global program (nearly from scratch) to $800k/month in under a year.

Erik + Appen

Erik has only been with Appen for a short time, but his impact has been felt throughout the organization. He’s been hard at work laying a strong foundation for the future. His vision is to create a harmony amongst the various programs and systems that we use to allow for faster, more accurate performance indicators.

Regarding Appen, Erik has expressed that our ADAP platform has been a leading innovator in data labeling to support the AI lifecycle. He’s impressed that we’ve been able to connect myriad specialists and individual contributors to jobs they are best suited for and, in turn, get the results we’re looking for.

Thoughts on the Future

According to Erik, the future is bright. We live in a world that is only 10 years into the smartphone revolution and though AI is just starting to become mainstream, it’s already making practical applications a bit easier. As far as the future is concerned, he acknowledged that we’re in the midst of one of the safest and most prosperous times in all of history. He foresees the world becoming increasingly connected to each other, allowing people to share ideas and be heard. He also believes the amount of people living in extreme poverty conditions will decrease as the world becomes further connected. And, of course, there will be plenty more drones flying around in the future.

We’re thrilled to have you as our VP of Enterprise Solutions, Erik Vogt, and we know you’ll help us take our mission of making AI data better to the next level.

Interested in learning more about Appen’s leadership team? Read the rest of our Meet the Executive Series

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