An Interview with Avanti’s Presales Team Lead
Where were you born?
I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and lived there for the first 26 years of my life.
My family is actually small. My wife, Jeanie, works in the outdoor industry. My son, Zach is now living in Brooklyn, New York and is working as a product designer. We have three dogs in the family, all Shiba-Inus. Two living with us in Atlanta and one with my son in Brooklyn.
What did you study?
I went to school for graphic design, which turned into more of a production focus as I would try to make my designs more print ready and less theoretical. This was how I started in the print industry.
Where did you work before Avanti?
I have been involved in print production since the late 1980s when I moved from a design firm to a mid-sized commercial printer in Minneapolis. I worked for them for several years. They were very technology-driven and were looking to ride the technology wave into Electronic Prepress, Scanning and CTP. I helped them through the implementation process of transitioning into these technologies along with managing scheduling and production.
After a while I took a job offer from Heidelberg to work with their software technologies group in the US. That came along with a move from Minnesota to Atlanta. During my 14 years with them, I did everyting from customer support and internal training to being a part of the product management team for their software solutions.
When did you start at Avanti and why?
After many years, around 2010, it became clear that, as opposed to presses and production solutions, business software had to have a deeper level of flexibility to allow for that package to be able to conform to local business rules. I had decided to get involved with a company who wrote their software with that focus in mind. I came to Avanti as an implementation specialist. I wanted to get involved with the customers, and there are not many places within an organization where you get an immediate understanding of how a solution will perform than working with the customers to stand up the software within their organization.
How has your role changed over the years?
As time went on, my focus has evolved. I became the Senior Implementation Specialist, working with the team to standardize practices and was then asked to work on what was to become the Avanti Slingshot project. As a part of this, I worked with our early pilot implementations as well as providing specifications for functionality when required. As part of this, I moved out of Professional Services and now serve as a technical resource for our sales team and partners, I primarily work to provide training to the sales and technical teams, along with helping to demonstrate and producing video content, and generally helping within Avanti wherever I can.
What influenced you to get into this business?
Honestly I cannot say that I planned this. It has been the most interesting accidental career I can think of. It is a long way from advertising and graphic design, but I’ve been having a great time. Print itself is an incredibly involved and diverse industry. I really enjoy meeting new customers and seeing the niches that they have carved out for themselves. With the changes that are going on today, with diversification into Marketing Services and the like, I have ended up working with agencies again, which would have been unusual not too long ago.
What books are you reading?
I am currently reading:
1. Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss
2. The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle
3. The Rise of Superman – Steven Kotler
4. Barking Up the Wrong Tree – Eric Barker
5. Scientific Queen Rearing – G.M. Doolittle
Last movie you saw
The latest movie that I have seen is Ghostbusters (the 2016 version, not the 1984 release).
My music tastes are pretty diverse. I grew up on Creedence Clearwater Revival, America, The Doors and Three Dog Night. I still love these bands, but now I listen to a lot of blues, and I also have a fair amount of British punk and roots rock in my library.
What do you do in your spare time/hobbies
My wife and I run an apiary of about 25 bee hives that will be expanding over the next few years. This is something that is completely analog. There is no computer interface, just you and the bees. I sell honey, wax and bees to local customers as well as help run a couple of local bee clubs. As a part of this, I work with farmers looking to start a pollination program for their crops as well as people who just want to have hives in their yard, but do not have the time or are simply too intimidated to manage the bees.