While we are all here now, I thought it would be interesting to share the roads we took to get where we are today. To be fair I will go first.
I worked various factories as a laborer until I hit my 30's and decided I wanted more from life. I enrolled in online university for Computer Information Science while working for Johnsonville Sausage and later on Ariens while taking the online classes after shifts to make my way through.
Fast forward to 35 and I graduated and took my first contract job with Compu-Com doing Point of Sale system integration on a 6 month project. From there I found what was to be a 2 month contract with Pitney Bowes as a Postal rate change technical support call center agent. I was hired on permanently 3 months later and my journey with Pitney Bowes began.
In the last 5 years I was a chat agent, handled escalated work before finally moving onto our system conversion project team. In February of this year I accepted my position as a Business Analyst and Administrator. Initially my primary focus was on call center but that has since expanded into being a part of our Field Service Business team as well.
Firstly, great to see a fellow 'PB'er" on the community! (well i am an ex PB'er) and congratulations on your new role!
I left school and went to college studying TV and radio theory (well that was flawed logic; who gets their TV and radio repaired now??) and after working in a department store after college, i sold a guy a washing machine and got chatting to him and it turns out he ran a small company selling and installing Canon copiers. I did two years with them and then joined Océ (a Dutch manufacturer of copiers/printers - now owned by Canon) as a service engineer for 7 really enjoyable years working on equipment up to 100 copies/prints per minute. I applied for a supervisors job and then ran gradually bigger service teams and then set up their operations in Ireland for 2 years. Eventually i left and joined Pitney Bowes as UK Service Director (a really big break for me) and eventually got promoted to VP of European service with 1,000 people and a $200 million budget. I feel blessed that field service has given me such a rewarding career.
One of my highlights in PB was writing the successful business case to get ServiceMax implemented in Europe and now seeing it being implemented globally, means my initial hunch that we had to get an integrated customer management tool in place was very much a good one!!
Field service is a tremendously rewarding career, the fact that a lot of the time you are your own boss, out on the open road and solving customers problems is, for me, the thing i miss most.
Good initiative, let me go next. After my technical (Electronics) study I joined Kodak as a Field Service Engineer for there (newly introduced) Ektaprint Copier-Duplicators. After 13 weeks of training (yes, that was a luxury in those days) I started servicing the first trial placements. To keep a long story short, I became Senior Technician, Specialist, Trainer (even had a 3 month assignment in Australia training their first Field Engineers), Regional Service Manager, Benelux/Nordic Technical Support Manager and when they changed to Oracle (by the way, Kodak had by then sold their Office Imaging division to a dealer organisation called Danka), was asked to see if I could create some reporting (as there was nothing and that is hard to run a Service Business). After a couple of years as Service Analyst creating reports, I got a chance to become Oracle Key User at the International Dealer division where I had a much broader role. Became more or less a Business Admin. Danka was bought by Ricoh and renamed Infotec. After a year or two Infotec was merged with Ricoh and NashuaTec and the dealer business was split up over the various countries, division closed. After a while I joined Coca-Cola as a Regional Service Manager and soon we implemented Salesforce with ServiceMax. My reporting experience became useful again, and I was asked to help building Service Reporting and Dashboards. l'histoire se répète, the role became broader and broader (like a Business Admin) and today I am Manager Business Process Tools & Collaboration, making sure the European countries using Salesforce / ServiceMax get the most out of it and use it in the most optimal way. So again, I do what I love and I love what I do.
Being on the Customer Success side of things, my path was a bit different. I've spent the majority of my career focused on catastrophe response, crisis management, and Customer Success which in an odd way all seem to blend together! Whether handling catastrophe response or working with customers who have purchased software the common thread for me has always been developing strong relationships and advocating for my customers while creating an amazing experience with the product in question. While working for an educational software company as a Director of Customer Success for strategic accounts, one of my former colleagues called me up to talk about the great little company she was working for - ServiceMax! A few weeks later I was on board and my Field Service journey began! I've been fortunate to do many ride alongs and spend time with folks using the software as well as with the IT and Business teams/leaders running the project. Working with a variety of customers from the beverage industry to printing to health care/med device has provided me a great foundation. I look forward to the adventure each day brings!
I completed my undergraduate studies at UVa in 2004 and joined Varian's Charlottesville office as a temporary stop to collect some funds for law school. It turns out I took to the work quickly and became manager of the Operations department soon thereafter, and going into significant debt for that law degree seemed less appealing! As a smaller division within the larger company we were often last in line for system implementations and enhancements, which led to a lot of bootstrapping solutions with help from technical folks pitying our position. As a result I became a bit of a business systems/process resource locally and eventually more broadly within the company. I earned my MBA in 2009 and then moved to a management position in the global service business. There I oversaw an international contracts team, and drove a number of SAP SD and FICO projects, while representing the division in a larger Salesforce implementation. Over the course of that effort I did a lot of self-learning on Salesforce, including multiple SFDC and SVMX certifications, and became a trusted resource within the larger Varian organization. At the conclusion of an SAP integration project for our division's service business, I was asked to move to lead a couple of tracks in completing the aforementioned SFDC and SVMX introduction. Since that time we've been working towards stabilization and further enhancements. My background has led me to an odd, but ultimately beneficial, set of experiences where I've been involved in every facet of the business process from quote to cash, and taken part in the underlying systems maintenance/improvements along the way!
Thank you for the contribution Nick. It's funny how you think life will lead in one direction and a path will open along the way that you hadn't thought of but would ultimately be a better fit for you.