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Meet Submittable: Interview with J.R. Plate, Business Development


In this continuation of our Meet Submittable series, we chat with J.R. Plate in Business Development

J.R. Plate

J.R. Plate, our business development pro

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up outside of Chicago with my parents and two older sisters. I was one of those freaky kids who had crazy allergies, both food and environmental. Thank goodness I outgrew those, because not being able to eat or go outside for the first 12 years of my life was kind of a drag. By 13, I was a pretty typical kid. I loved playing sports and wanted to grow up to be a professional soccer player.

I came to The University of Montana and was certain I was going to execute my master plan of obtaining a master’s degree and PhD so I could live the plush life of academia. We all know how that story turned out. These days I enjoy the startup/entrepreneurial world. There’s something satisfying about helping to build something cool alongside great people.

How did you come to work at Submittable?

When I moved back to Missoula for the second time, I was introduced to Submittable by a college friend. After doing some research on Submittable, and after a few run-ins with Michael (our CEO), I knew I wanted to work here. I basically hounded him for three months until he offered to give me a shot at sales.

How long have you lived in Montana? What brought you here?

This is my second go-round in Missoula. I originally moved here in 1995 to pursue my undergrad. After I graduated, I began a 12-year walkabout chasing jobs for a variety of startup companies. This journey took me to places like Portland, ME, Miami, and ultimately back home to Chicago. I returned to Missoula for a vacation in the summer of 2012 to visit some good friends. I announced before I left to go home that I would return to Missoula within a year. The second day after I returned to Chicago I found out the company I was working for was laying off my entire division. Long story short, I moved back to Missoula a month later and started over. This was one of the best decisions of my life.

What’s your favorite place to visit in Montana?

If I revealed this spot it would be a crime. Lately, I just like to hike peaks that I haven’t hiked before to see if my legs and lungs can still handle some abuse. My favorite peak that I’ve hiked in the recent past is Trapper Peak in the Bitterroot Range.

J.R. Plate rock climbing

J.R. rock climbing near Alberton, MT

Hey no fair! Is this a place to swim? Can you at least tell us why this secret place is so special?
I’ll share this: it’s a hot spring in Idaho which is fairly well known but not travelled to often because of a fairly long hike in.

Favorite websites?

MashableFast CompanyGreentech Media and The Food Network (for recipes).

Any books you’re reading or have recently read that you’d like to recommend?

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. It’s the story of Patagonia [the clothing company] and my opinion is that anyone who’s an entrepreneur should absolutely read this. Not to mention Yvon is pretty much the baddest of all badasses.

Do you have any projects coming up that you’re excited to work on?

Not sure if this is considered a project, but I’m heading to Mexico in January to go surfing and I’m working to get back into “water shape” so I don’t embarrass myself.

I would definitely consider this a project.  Surfing is hard!  What’s your workout regimen?

I’ll spend two months trail running and doing other cardio as well as weight training. Then I’ll spend the final three months logging hours in the swimming pool and working on breath control underwater.

What tips have you learned from Yvon Chouinard?

Best world domination tip from Yvon is to stick to your guns and do what you know is right.

Sasha Bell