{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

A Congress.gov Interview with Fred Simonton, Information Technology Specialist

This week’s interview is with Fred Simonton, an information technology specialist in the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

fred-simonton-in-custodia-legis-interviewDescribe your background.

Born in Vermont, I grew up in Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York, surrounded by and participating in the arts with a decided preference for music and drawing. In my college years I aimed to broaden my understanding of the world beginning with the business program at SUNY Albany. After taking two years off to play reggae music and teach skiing around the Lake Tahoe area, I completed a BSBA in Ski Resort Management at Sierra Nevada College on the north shore of the lake. The emergence of the internet as a business conduit proved a natural fit for immersive problem solving, strategy, and design.

How would you describe your job to other people?

As a graphic/experience designer I thrive on the mix of left and right brain approaches to solving novel challenges. I create detailed documentation defining the look and behavior of web interfaces based on research and collaboration with a diverse team of subject matter experts, legislative professionals, and content curators. Photoshop and Illustrator are much more than tools, they’ve become extensions of my thought processes — but it is still hard to beat a pencil and paper when chasing down ideas.

What is your role in the development of Congress.gov?

My initial participation was the animation and audio engineering of the Legislative Process scripts written by Valerie Heitshusen. Over the last two years I have worked closely with many people across the Library of Congress to produce an Advanced Legislation Search form that continues to evolve. In the meantime, I have taken a lead role in unifying the design and user interface across Congress.gov.

What is your favorite feature of Congress.gov?

The Advanced Legislation Search sure makes an impression. The sheer magnitude of challenges we faced in producing it leaves me chuckling now that I have some distance from this experience. Our research became morbidly amusing when we realized we were probably integrating some of the most challenging interface peculiarities we’ll ever see. There were just no precedents to refer to as we confronted the singular complexity of the data in the U.S. legislative process.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the legislative process while working on Congress.gov?

I was somewhat surprised by how integral the Library’s Congressional Research Service is to the legislative process and the effectiveness of its participants. I feel like many of our citizens do not realize what it takes to navigate such an immense process.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

Other than some fishing trips to Canada in the 80s, I had never traveled outside the U.S. until I met my wife. She put a passport in my hand, and in the 7 years since we met, we’ve traveled to three continents, eaten lots of amazing food, and explored the hidden gems of cities and islands around the world, from Bangkok and Seoul to Buenos Aires and Barcelona. Exploring so many different cultures and locales has had a huge impact on my design, empathy, and focus.

An Interview with Carla Davis-Castro, Librarian

Today’s interview is with Carla Davis-Castro.  Carla is a librarian who has been working on our Indigenous Law Portal. Describe your background. I am a Salvadoran American from North Carolina who loves living in DC. In the year and a half I have been at the Library of Congress, I have moved from the Congressional Research Service to […]

An Interview with Irma Gabriadze, Professional Fellow

Today’s interview is with Irma Gabriadze, a professional fellow working with Ruth on research related to the laws of the Republic of Georgia and other jurisdictions. Describe your background I am a lawyer currently employed by the Ministry of Justice of Georgia (MoJ). I have been serving as the MoJ head of the Legal Research and […]

An Interview with Abdalrahman Alangari, Foreign Law Intern

Describe your background. I was born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I attended elementary, middle, and high school there. In 2008, I graduated from Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Islamic law. What is your academic/professional history? After graduating from college in 2008, I was nominated […]

An Interview with Molly O’Casey, Foreign Law Intern

Today’s interview is with Molly O’Casey, a foreign law intern working with Nicolas Boring on research related to the laws of France and other French-speaking jurisdictions and with Clare Feikert-Ahalt on research related to the United Kingdom and a number of Commonwealth jurisdictions. Molly has recently graduated from a dual law degree (civil law/common law) […]

An Interview with Sahar Saqib, Foreign Law Intern

Today’s interview is with Sahar Saqib, a foreign law intern. Sahar, who recently earned her Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University Law School, is currently working with Tariq Ahmad on research related to the laws of South Asian countries. Describe your background I was born in Islamabad, Pakistan, […]