Every once in a while I get to write a blog post smiling the whole time. This is one of them, because I’m updating our community on the addition of three incredibly talented individuals to the Ushahidi core team.

Since last year we’ve worked on more external projects. In order to keep some sanity within the platform team, we’re adjusting ourselves to have a team that focuses on external projects, ensuring that our contract work doesn’t throw off the timing of the milestones for Ushahidi and SwiftRiver. To that end, there have been some new additions to the team, here they are:

Nathaniel Manning (@NatPManning)

There has been an increasing need for us to have someone dedicated to dealing with organizations who want to contract the Ushahidi team for a special deployment. “Nat” joined us in January to help solve this problem. Besides dealing with the value added services work, Nat is also responsible for working with me (Erik) on finding ways to partner with other platforms and extend the use of Ushahidi’s functionality, data and community. He’s based in San Francisco, and always ready for a conversation.

Robbie MacKay (@RJMacKay)

Our first Kiwi, Robbie has been a long-time volunteer coder and deployer in the community. He’s been very active with the Standby Task Force, and has been delving into Ushahidi ever since the earthquake in New Zealand a year ago. Robbie’s job is to work primarily on external projects, directly with clients, where he’s had a lot of experience in the past. Robbie also is keen to collaborate with the wider Ushahidi software developer community. He’s been with us in Kenya for the last week, and we can tell that we’re going to enjoy having yet another funny accent in the house.

Jepchumba (@DigitalAfrican)

Famous for her the design community she has created at African Digital Art, Jepchumba joins us part-time to help with the demanding amount of design work that is needed. To be honest, we’ve been on a campaign to suck Jepchumba into the Ushahidi vortex for quite some time, so we’re all quite excited to have someone of her calibre joining Brandon on the design front. Jepchumba is going to be helping out with alternate forms of data visualization on the Ushahidi platform, as well as helping get the design community more involved in deployments around the world.