Michael Van Houten

Web Developer

“When I sometimes speak to students at Calvin College (my alma mater) about “what you can do with an English major,” my answer to them is… ANYTHING. And when people ask me what I do at Navigate, my response is similar—a little of EVERYTHING. My official title is Web Developer, but the actual work I do spans a variety of disciplines, including coding, design, writing and editing. I love this aspect of my job because I get to incorporate many of the things I’ve learned throughout my career in web, marketing, communications, and publishing. 

“Everyone who knows me knows that the biggest passion of my life (apart from coding and design) is music. My parents got me started with piano lessons at age 5 (Thanks, Mom and Dad!), but I truly ‘discovered’ music when I first heard a Beatles ’45 at age 6. Since then, I’ve played drums, guitar, and bass in a host of rock-n-roll bands, led music in two churches, sung in a number of choral groups, and composed a wide variety of original songs and instrumental music. Fun fact: While living in New York City in the mid-90s, I got to play (twice) with my band at the legendary CBGB. Look it up if you’ve never heard of it.”

Fun Facts

Name: Michael Van Houten

Position: Web Developer

Family or background: I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but “grew up” when I moved to New York City in 1994.

Education: I graduated from Calvin College in 1993 with a degree in English. It have served I pretty good.

What’s your favorite movie quote? “Leave the guns…take the cannoli.” (The Godfather)

What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had? In high school I worked for an electric sign company. The job itself wasn’t unusual, but I witnessed some interesting things like parking lot shootouts and father/son fisticuffs.

Who is your alter ego? Ringo Starr

What are three things you enjoy doing in your spare time? Spending time with my kids, having long talks with friends, playing the drums loudly

Favorite beverage? Any variety of coffee that doesn’t involve hazelnut

Worst movie of all time? Avatar: The Last Airbender

Favorite book? Catcher in the Rye

Favorite spot you’ve travelled to? Queenstown, New Zealand

Toilet paper over or under? Whatever… just don’t leave me an empty roll!