Benjamin A. Zvan
ben at zvan dot net

An experienced IT professional and DevOps advocate and leader striving for continuous improvement. Always on the lookout for automation opportunities. Consistently designated Thought Leader by my peers both within and outside my working groups. Consistently the preferred contact point in operations. Able to rapidly assimilate and apply new information and skills. Works for long-term improvement over short-term gains.


Senior Engineering Manager - Target Corporation - 2022—present

Support two high-performing devops teams in building and maintaining enterprise products for the Target Digital experiencs for Target Guests

  • Reduced cost to run critical guest-facing service during peak retail season by 30% year over year
  • Rapidly deliver new capabilities and compliance features

Senior Platform Engineer - Target Corporation - 2017—2021
Lead Platform Engineer - Target Corporation - 2021—2022

Enable development engineers to deploy code rapidly and reliably to production. Deliver JSON files to the internet at 100s of thousands of transactions per second to support Digital experience for Target Guests.

  • Design and build scalable, resilient page cache using kubernetes and containerized varnish in sharded configuration
  • Reduce lead time from commit to deploy by 95% from 3 hours to 8 minutes, enabling rapid feature deployment and reducing the mean time to recovery.
  • Eliminate the need to manually submit change request forms for production releases, reducing time wasted by technical people performing administrative tasks.
  • Reduce the need for manual validation/smoke testing, speeding time to production, reducing human error and enabling continuous delivery to production.
  • Maintain rapidly scalable, high-capacity, easily managed Kubernetes microservice environment.
  • Mentor others to help them acheive their business and career goals

Senior System Administrator - Capella University - 2012—2017
System Administrator - Capella University - 2011—2012

Bring new and standard industry practices into the organization. Lead team of system administrators in managing change and maintenance of enterprise web applications. Architect solution delivery process, concentrating on stability, sustainability, and scalability.

  • Introduce DevOps culture, practice, and tools to Capella University, and drive continuing shift to DevOps.
  • Increase stability, decrease risk from releases, and improve lead time by standardizing and automating deployment and maintenance of Enterprise Java applications and servers.
  • Automate unit, browser, code quality, and security testing to accelerate and standardize build and deployment.
  • Share best practices at industry conferences and events; bring back new information and techniques to improve operations.
  • Streamline continuous delivery by identifying and implementing modern industry tools.
  • Took initiative to temporarily lead middleware operations team when I recognized management was over-committed and unavailable.
  • Member of Agile Community of Practice (CoP), and Agile Database Management task force. Founding member of innovation/hackathon project, Automation CoP, Java CoP, and DevOps Oversight Subcommittee of The Architectural Review Board.

Software Administrator - University of Minnesota - 2006—2011

Support and maintain the University's enterprise web applications, particularly the student-facing websites, including registration, course catalog, and other high-profile applications. Architect installation and maintenance plans for new and existing applications.

  • Standardized and modernized architecture and deployment methods, improving reliability and ease of maintenance of the University’s Java web applications. Included implementing Tomcat Manager and Deployer tasks for scripted deployment and standardizing directory structure across systems to improve consistency and maintainability among environments.
  • Rapidly studied and deployed new, commercial software. Improved repeatability of procedures by creating documentation and improving error reporting in scripts used for automation.
  • Provided direction for monitoring team to improve the performance and acceptance of automated monitoring.
  • Daily responsibilities included migrating new code, updating software and configurations, environment maintenance, and troubleshooting problems.

Self Employed - Zvan.net/Ben Zvan Photography - 1992—Present

Self-employed in a variety of consulting and contract work. Operate a small web hosting service. Provide server-side scripting, site construction, maintenance and design.


Systems: Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris
Software: Ratpack, Kubernetes, Docker, Apache, Tomcat, OpenSSL, JBoss, postgreSQL, Neo4j
Tools: Spinnaker, Drone, Thoughtworks GoCD, JUnit, Spock, Sonar, Nexus, Puppet
Languages: Bash, Go, Groovy, PHP, Python, Ruby, SQL, Cypher, Java, Javascript, C, Perl
Methodologies: DevOps, Agile, Infrastructure as Code, Immutable Systems

Education and Certifications

Two years of Engineering Physics at the University of Minnesota
BlackBoard Certified Administrator - October 2014
Red Hat Certified Technician (RHEL 4) - February 2007

Professional Training
Neo4j Administration - July 2015
Java Performance and Tuning - May 2015
Oracle Unbreakable Linux Administration - June 2012
BEA WebLogic Server 9/10: Administration - October 2008
Microsoft IIS 6 Administration - September 2008
Tomcat 6.0 Administration - January 2008

Selected Presentations

DevOpsDays Minneapolis, July 2016 - DevOps in The Enterprise
DevOpsUMN, February 2017 - The DevOps Oversight Subcommittee of The Architecture Review Board
Velocity San Jose, July 2017 - WTF is A Graph Database


Photography, computing, technology, social justice, gaming, motorcycling, bicycling, travel