Employer Highlight: United Shore

United Shore Mortgage Lender

United Shore Mortgage LenderUnited Shore has become an influential part of our Grand Circus Employer Network and family.  Throughout the years, our partnership with United Shore has grown and evolved, and we’ve loved watching so many of our grads start flourishing careers there. In fact, an amazing 60+ Grand Circus graduates have started their careers in tech with the United Shore team. Each cohort, that number continues to increase!

In 2018, our partnership reached a new level of impact when United Shore sponsored one of our C# . NET bootcamps, guaranteeing interviews to all graduates of their bootcamp. Because of their high need for tech talent and consistent hiring of our grads, the growing mortgage lender was ready to get more involved in the process to recruit and train new software developers. Nearly 60% of that C# cohort was immediately hired by United Shore, and they even selected some Java graduates to join their growing team.

Beyond their tremendous involvement with us, there is more that makes United Shore an amazing partner for Grand Circus.  A culture that is unparalleled by most and phenomenal training program truly sets United Shore apart from similar companies.  

Learn More About United Shore and Their Commitment to Growing Great Tech Talent:

The Start of our Our Partnership

In 2016, United Shore hired their first GC grad, Sam Ableson, a graduate of our Java bootcamp. Coming from a background in retail, Sam was hired as a Junior Developer almost immediately after completing the GC program. Following the graduation of our next cohort, United Shore hired six more graduates, empowering the start of a great partnership. We’re proud to see Sam continues working hard at United Shore and growing his career.

Since then, United Shore has supported our community in many ways. From curriculum advisement, hosting info sessions for students to allowing our alums come back to Grand Circus and share their story, the United Shore team is always helpful in creative collaborations to ensure our students are ready to work in tech. Our coding bootcamp staff works with multiple departments at the lender as we all strive towards the common goal of producing the best tech talent in Michigan. United Shore has been able to hire and train from both of our Java and C# .NET bootcamps as a part of their DevX program.


One of many reasons we love about United Shore is the culture that they work hard to maintain. Their teams are focused on creating a healthy work environment even before making hiring decisions. New hires must be technically strong, excited to continue learning and aligned with the company’s internal culture.

“Even from day one, United Shore had made us new devs feel important and proud of our work. We have pride to be a part of the team,” Grand Circus Alum Sam Mazzola explained. “We are constantly told how much we impact the company and feel appreciated for our work.”

In 2018, United Shore heavily invested to elevate their internal culture – spending $45 million to renovate a 600,000-square foot building in Pontiac. These renovations created an inspiring work environment, filled with fun details like game rooms, fancy coffee machines, a fitness center and even an outdoor sand volleyball court. $17.3 million went directly to these amenities. The goal – to ensure employee retention and avoid burnout.

One of United Shore’s 6 Pillars, “Fun and Friendship” is apparent in their company outings and efforts to help employees be happy outside of the workplace.  Their “10 Years to Live a Dream” program is a perfect example of their commitment to their employees. Once an employee reaches 10 years at United Shore, they are given two weeks of additional paid time off and $2,500 to live any dream they want.

Grand Circus and United Shore both strive to create environments where students and staff are excited and inspired to come into work each day.  This excitement turns into high performance in the classroom and office. We’re proud to have such a strong partner who consistently hires GC grads and actively invests in their staff, professional development and work environment.

Internal Training

DevX is a training program for incoming developers at United Shore that teaches fundamentals, what it means to work at United Shore and includes a ton of hands-on experience.  Grand Circus alums have had great experiences is in the DevX program and have joined many different teams at United Shore after graduation from the program. We believe DevX works for so many of our alums because you get to have a cohort similar to that at Grand Circus, of like minded individuals in a similar environment.  

Sam Mazzola posing against blue pillar
Sam Mazzola went from working in digital marketing to growing a successful career as a Software Developer I at United Shore.

“The training program at Shore is unsurpassed. This is crucial for someone like myself who doesn’t come directly from a tech role,” explained Sam Mazzola, who previously worked as a digital marketer. “Like Grand Circus, I’m excited to come to work every day and learn the ways of Shore, and how to be a better developer…One of United Shores 6 Pillars is “Our People”; from providing the most in depth training program I’ve ever received, mentors, and continuous feedback on every process, I truly feel that the company believes in my success and contribution to the company.”  

DevX is a landing spot for passionate, motivated people. It provides additional training in a cohort-based group, ensuring incoming developers are comfortable working with the code that they will use daily on the team.  Continuous Improvement is another of the company’s 6 Pillars, allowing employees to feel like they are cared for at the individual level. Employees feel engaged in the process of professional development and don’t feel like a number, something incredibly special about United Shore. The team even won the honor of ‘Top 125 Training Organizations in the World (#9)’ by Training Magazine!

“The best part of United Shore is everyone here really wants you to grow. Whether you want to stay a developer or move to data services, like I did…there are so many opportunities,” explained Milliza-Mae Malabanan, a recruiter turned Database Developer at United Shore. “That’s one of the great things about working at United Shore, you aren’t hired to do just one job. They want to put you in a position where you’ll access at it and best the best at it.”

Community Dedication

United Shore’s people first attitude goes beyond the office. When the company moved from Troy to their renovated Pontiac location, it was eligible for $1.9 million in tax incentives from the Oakland County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

The CEO’s reaction to the generous incentive? “We feel it’s better for the city to give that money to schools, children or other causes that need the money more than we do,” United Shore’s president and CEO, Mat Ishbia, explained at the new building’s ribbon cutting.

This type of leadership alongside various in-house volunteer programs empower staffers to give back, as well. The company hosts a “Pay it Forward” program, allowing staff members to earn points and then use those points to make donations to one of nearly 50 organizations. Additionally, United Shore provides additional paid time off to staffers who want to volunteer throughout their community.

With all the great work happening at United Shore, we celebrate each and every time they hire a new GC grad. They’re a great partner within our Employer Network, and we can’t wait to see what this partnership accomplishes next!

Meet a few of our alum that are proud Grand Circus graduates and current United Shore team members: Milliza-Mae Malabanan, Jasmine Hollis and Samantha Mazzola.