Thursday, April 28, 2011

OHventurer Of The Week: Aaron Plaat

The OHventurer of the Week is a recurring feature where we highlight true OHventurers from across Ohio. They have awesome jobs that take them all over Ohio (and beyond) and feed their thirst for adventure in their off-hours. Adventure never stops for the folks featured in this series.

Our OHventurer of the Week this week is Aaron Plaat.

Hometown: Columbus, OH
Current Town: Columbus, OH
Twitter: @aaronplaat
Occupation: Web Developer

When one thinks of a day in the life of the average web developer, computer screens, cubicles and stuffy conference rooms might come to mind. But Aaron Plaat is not your average web developer. You'd more than likely find this recent Ohio State graduate working hard at trendy coffee shops like Cup O Joe at the Lennox or convincing a client to meet at a local hookah bar, like Gypsy Cafe in the Short North. One look at his most recent project, a business consulting venture called Triple Skinny, and one can see that Aaron has a sharp eye for sleek design and a lot of heart for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Recently, Aaron built a website for the Ohio Penitentiary, which operated in Columbus from 1834-1983 where Nationwide Arena currently sits. "I've always been fascinated by the Penitentiary and decided to collect a few photos and information and put them online," he said. He also has a personal website where he blogs (and vlogs) about good reads (Atlas Shrugged being his favorite), products (a self-proclaimed Dyson nut), and past projects. One of these past projects, pictured below, required that Aaron climb and assemble a 105 foot tower for Duvall Wireless in Lockbourne!

But Aaron knows when to step away from technology and enjoy the world around him. His favorite outdoor experience is heading to Highbanks Park in Lewis Center where he's spent hours reading, thinking and enjoying the quiet. The key, he says, is shutting down anything electronic that might beep or disturb him. Another favorite is Griggs Reservoir on the Scioto River. Aaron said he goes here to hike, or to sit by the dam and nap, noting that there are large concrete reinforcements that "make surprisingly good pillows." And for a little nostalgia, Aaron will sometimes head to Mirror Lake on Ohio State University's campus to watch the ducks or relax.

However, Aaron does more than just relax in the great outdoors. Just a few years ago, he surprised his younger brother Mark by taking him skydiving for his birthday. He said it was one of the best experiences of his life. "You only have a few seconds to be scared, which is right before you scoot off the ledge of the airplane," he said. "Looking down, you wonder why you're doing this...and then you push off and fall. Pure bliss follows." Aaron also fills his need for adrenaline through lifting weights (pictured below) heavily four times a week, and training in martial arts each week.

To fuel up after burning all of those calories, Plaat's restaurant of choice is Thurman Cafe in Columbus' German Village. "Every time I go there, I question whether or or not it will be my last meal," he said in reference to how notoriously gigantic the burgers are. He said he and his friend have at one time housed two burgers each in one sitting! He hopes his next venture is The Dagwood Challenge at the Ohio Deli. Sounds a lot like Man Versus Food!

Being self-employed as a web developer and business consultant has provided Plaat with a multitude of adventures and he hopes to one day own his own company in the technology/design field. Whether or not he ultimately stays in Ohio, he believes it is a wonderful place to grow up, raise a family go to school and prepare for the next step in life.

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