Xpan Family Spotlight

Family Day is a holiday given to reflect on the importance of bonding with our families and the connections we share. Today, we are sharing the story of Jason Hansen and Ella Bucin, a father and daughter who have grown as a family and within their careers at Xpan. Together they have a combined 8+ years of developing and growing our learning solutions, while maintaining a strong bond.

Jason Hansen, Ella Bucin and Lucas all visit Xpan Interactive.

Jason Hansen, VP of Products and Ella Bucin, Multimedia Developer

Early Family Life

Jason Hansen & Ella Bucin sharing lunch at Xpan as a family.
Jason Hansen and Ella Bucin

Bonds are forged even stronger through challenges but can also bring new possibilities. For Jason, the time he raised Ella as a single parent was a defining moment in their father-daughter connection.

“Life wasn’t always easy when it was just Ella and I, but we had a lot of fun together living a simple life in our little basement suite at the time. I have fond memories of Ella’s bedtime routine, coaching her soccer team, going swimming every weekend, and bi-annual trips to my parents’ place on Vancouver Island. Ella was such a sweet, loving, easy child and really made parenting her a pleasure,” shares Jason.

Jason is not the only one with fond memories of their time together. Ella recalls a moment where she remembers her dad going the extra mile to see each other after time apart for a soccer tournament.

“When I was 17, I left Canada for a month to travel to Thailand and Australia. When I returned, I immediately had a soccer tournament and was not able to see my dad. My dad ended up driving out after the tournament ended to come pick me up, (the tournament was outside Calgary) and I remember running to give him a big hug after not seeing him for over a month! He also brought my dog Maddie!” says Ella.

Ella and Jason cherish the time they had when it was just the two of them. Little did they know, their family was about to grow even bigger in 2008 when Jason began dating his work crush Lena, also a single parent. Jason shares “Lena and Kiana eventually moved into our townhouse with us, which was the start of our new life. We had Kaelyn together in 2012 to top off our amazing, blended family.”

The early beginnings of Jason and Ella’s growing connection were about to expand in a brighter direction when they joined Xpan.

Working Together at Xpan

Jason Hansen, Ella Bucin and Lucas all visit Xpan Interactive.
Jason, Ella, and Lucas visit Xpan Headquarters

As chance would have it, Jason and Ella were both introduced to Xpan at Ella’s minor soccer BBQ gathering.

“I used to play soccer with Ron’s daughter, Piper. That’s where my dad met (Xpan Founder and President) Ron (Thiele), and had I not switched soccer clubs and joined Piper’s team, my dad might have never met Ron!” shares Ella.

“I was already thinking that I needed a change, when by chance I met Ron at the final gathering of our daughters’ minor soccer careers. It was the end of season BBQ and I got talking to Ron and René (Thiele). We discovered that we had mutual friends and Ron told me about his growing company. There was a Project Manager opening in the coming months, so we decided to have lunch to discuss if there was a fit. Ron’s ambition, demeanor, and kindness instantly resonated with me. A few months later in Nov 2017, an offer was on the table and I took it!” says Jason.

Ella’s inspiration for Multimedia development came from when she visited her dad at Xpan headquarters to see what the team does.

“I really loved getting to see the creative side of the job, getting to design, and bring ideas to life really caught my attention,” says Ella. “ After spending time with the devs and becoming more interested in the job, I decided to apply to Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)’s New Media Production and Design program. At the end of the summer in 2019 I received an acceptance letter and enrolled that fall. I worked part time with Xpan in school and eventually completed a practicum with the company at the end of my second year.”

Both Ella and Jason during their time at Xpan found enjoyment in their work and time spent together.

“I love collaborating with the Project Managers and Instructional Designers, and it’s great being able to bounce ideas off each other to create works of art(Graphics, videos, e-learning courses).” beamed Ella. “Most of our daily tasks don’t overlap, as we work in different departments, but it is really nice to be able to talk with my dad more often. Since I moved out and prior to Lucas being born, we only connect once a week or so.”

Jason says “I mostly enjoy the people that I get to work with on a daily basis. We have a great leadership team who supports each other and incredibly caring and empathetic owners in Ron and Rene. Everyone at Xpan cares about the work they do and believe in each other. I’m especially proud of my team on the software side who continually rise to the challenge and produce amazing features in our applications. Working in software can be very challenging, but I couldn’t imagine taking on those challenges with anyone else.

“I never imagined that one of my kids would be at the same company as me, but it was meant to be. When I first saw Ella in a virtual town hall meeting, there was a tear in my eye, no doubt about it.” Jason exclaimed. “I enjoy having her around during our Xpan events and it sure makes it easy to show off my cute grandson, Lucas!”

Future Ahead

Grandpa Jason and Lucas hard at work at Xpan.
Grandpa Jason and Future Xpaner Lucas - Hard at work at Xpan

As Jason and Ella’s family grows to now include the next generation with Lucas joining in October 2022, we asked mom and grandpa about what advice they would share about becoming a future Xpaner.

Loving mother Ella shares encouraging words “Should he choose to pursue a career within digital knowledge, I would encourage him to attend SAITs New Media Production and Design program, as the program has a lot of diversity for learning different jobs that Xpan offers (web development, multimedia development, instructional design, etc).”

Grandpa Jason invites Lucas to explore the “Many different opportunities at Xpan with more being added as we expand our divisions into new cutting-edge technologies such as Experiential Reality. Knowing that I’ve already had one of my kids join the company and be successful, I would have no reservations encouraging Lucas to explore opportunities at Xpan.”

With lots of future opportunities for Lucas, Jason and Ella also encouraged others to raise and grow their families at Xpan.

“Xpan strives to maintain a culture that respects work/life balance. While roles and projects can be very demanding at times, family always comes first. Xpan’s ‘work from anywhere’ policy gives Xpaners the freedom to work from home or the office, which provides amazing flexibility to deal with child/school/life issues that can be difficult if working from the office was mandatory.” says Jason.

Ella echoes Jason’s encouraging words by stating “Definitely do it if you are considering starting a family! Xpan has been an amazing support system, and it’s been so fun introducing Lucas to everyone at the previous town hall!”

Jason echoed perfectly just how grateful we are to have them both part of our Xpan team for the years ahead.

“Xpan’s future is so bright! I’m so grateful for the opportunities that Xpan has presented to me. To also see Ella excelling in her role and now starting a family of her own, I couldn’t be a more proud father.” says Jason.


Interested in starting the next chapter of your growth with our Xpan team?

Visit our careers page to find the right role for you.