By Natalie Brader
Fairfield CoLab Business Administration Intern
Tai Ward believes in mixing business with pleasure. That’s why he founded his company, Big Game Software, in 2006. And it’s why he enjoys being part of the CoLab community.
Big Game Software was born out of Tai’s love of sports and a desire to work for himself. He had written software in high school and college and wanted to become an entrepreneur, so it made sense to build a business around fantasy sports.
“I worked for other people, and it wasn’t as fulfilling,” he said. Big Game Software has been profitable for the past 10 years, and Tai now enjoys increased workplace happiness, thanks to the Fairfield CoLab.
As president of the Fairfield CoLab, Tai spends a lot of time in the space. He shares an office with fellow CoLab member Marla Brader, who is the Events Planner for 1st Friday Art Walk, and he’s a regular presence at member breakfasts, happy hours, and volunteer workdays. He was an integral part of getting the CoLab off the ground, and he’s a consistently friendly face around the space.
Before becoming involved with the CoLab, Tai spent four years working out of his basement as a remote Software Engineer for bswift, a large technology company that serves the healthcare industry, which he is still employed with, in addition to still owning Big Game Software. He has admitted that it would get lonely working on his own all day at home. In the CoLab, he has plenty of people to chat with and opportunities to exchange ideas.
“My efficiency has not changed since I’ve been here, but my happiness definitely has,” he said. The community aspect is hugely appealing to Tai. “The CoLab is a great mixing pot of viewpoints,” he said. “Even if I don’t share all of the same interests with the people around me, you can find something to share.”
He also believes that the CoLab’s nonprofit status inspires people to pitch in on projects around the space, furthering the connection between members. He’s even turned CoLab initiatives into a family affair, inviting his daughters Elliott and Delaney to get involved. Tai asked them both to create ads for the CoLab while he was cooking dinner. Elliott drew a picture of her sister eating popcorn at the grand opening, and Delaney depicted her dad and CoLab administrator Joshua Laraby working in offices next to one another. Elliott also dreamed up the CoLab’s mascot, a rainbow Pegasus, which will soon have a place of honor at the front desk.
Tai’s personality and community mentality are an excellent part of the CoLab that all the members really enjoy.
Natalie Brader is the Fairfield CoLab’s first intern. She started her internship in late March of 2016 and will continue through August 2016. Natalie has an interest in business administration, marketing, event planning and community development. She is currently a sophomore at Fairfield High School and actively participates in high school cheerleading, dance and drill, majorette, choir and is also taking college credit courses along with her core curriculum . Natalie has an eagerness to learn and grow as an up and coming young professional