19 Apr 2023
  • Website Development

From Miami to Gatineau: A Project Manager's Adventure

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By Tyrone Showers
Co-Founder Taliferro


In 2007, I was a bright-eyed Accenture project manager overseeing Microsoft's Commerce Server development. My mission: to manage the Cactus Commerce development team based in the frosty city of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. This wild adventure had me jet-setting from the sun-soaked beaches of Miami to the icy tundras of Canada every week, and it was nothing short of a hilarious rollercoaster ride.

Sun, Surf, and Software Development

Life in Miami was like living in a postcard: turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and warm, salty air. But my tropical paradise was about to be disrupted by my weekly commute to a land where snowdrifts and poutine reigned supreme. The contrast between the two climates was like something out of a sitcom, but I was determined to make it work. After all, it's not every day you get to manage a team of developers while just coming from the beach.

The Land of Cactus Commerce and Maple Syrup

My first trip to Gatineau was an eye-opener. The moment I stepped off the plane, I was greeted by an icy blast that had me questioning my life choices. However, I soon learned that the city had more to offer than just frigid temperatures. It was home to Cactus Commerce, the team responsible for developing Microsoft's Commerce Server. I quickly discovered that the Canadian tech scene was as vibrant as the hues of their maple leaves in autumn.

As I adjusted to my new routine of swapping sandals for snow boots, I found my weekly treks across the border a source of endless amusement. One particular incident comes to mind: Upon arriving in Gatineau, I was informed that a crucial meeting had been scheduled for that very morning. I rushed to the office, realizing I had forgotten to pack underwear! Let's say I felt a little chilly all week.

Juggling Timelines and Time Zones

Managing a development team from afar was challenging, but the weekly trips to Gatineau allowed me to establish a strong rapport with the Cactus Commerce team. My days were filled with conference calls, project updates, and a perpetual balancing act between two time zones. However, I quickly learned nothing could phase me after surviving a snowstorm without underwear.

The camaraderie among the team members made the work enjoyable, and our shared love for all things tech kept us motivated. During my visits, we bonded over our favorite programming languages, debated the merits of various e-commerce platforms, and indulged in copious amounts of poutine.

The Accenture Migration and the Rise of Ascentium Commerce Server

In 2011, Ascentium purchased Cactus Commerce and the Microsoft Commerce Server business, rebranding the software to Ascentium Commerce Server. The team development team was very talented, and I'm sure it adapted to the changes quickly. By this time, I was long gone.

During my time, I mastered the art of packing for both climates. The team's shared experiences, challenges, and successes had transformed us into a tight-knit group, one that was ready to tackle whatever the future held.

Lessons Learned and Unforgettable Memories

Looking back on my time as a project manager for Microsoft's Commerce Server, I can't help but chuckle at the absurdity of my weekly commutes from Miami to Gatineau. However, I also recognize the immense value of the experience. My challenges taught me to be adaptable, and resourceful and always keep underwear in my suitcase.

I treasure the friendships I forged with my team members in Gatineau to this day, and I'm forever grateful for the unique experiences we shared. From freezing with no underwear to poutine-fueled brainstorming sessions, working with the Cactus Commerce team left me with a treasure trove of hilarious stories and priceless memories.


As an Accenture project manager for Microsoft's Commerce Server in 2007, I embarked on a wild adventure that took me from the balmy beaches of Miami to the snowy landscapes of Gatineau, Canada. The journey was filled with laughter, challenges, and unforgettable experiences while managing a dedicated and talented team of developers. It shows that sometimes, the most unlikely situations can lead to the most rewarding and memorable adventures.

Ultimately, I learned it's not about the destination but the journey and the people you share it with. And if you can survive a snowstorm with no underwear, you can handle almost anything life throws your way.

Tyrone Showers