Mark Smith credits an early IT help desk job with teaching him the skills he uses most as Haneke’s Director of Development.
“Some of my greatest strengths came from that help desk experience,” says Mark. “I always did deskside support, and with that, I gained skills on how to talk to people about technology in a way that’s understandable and not just word salad.”
The job taught Mark another skill he’s used throughout his career—troubleshooting. An IT help desk job is almost all troubleshooting, and having a background that is rooted in being able to dissect a problem and find a solution has proved to be invaluable to Mark.
Working at an IT help desk, there aren’t many opportunities to be creative or to make things. But each summer Mark found himself with 300 student laptops to wipe and set up for the upcoming school year, and Mark used this as an opportunity to get innovative.
“I built this system where we could plug in an ethernet cord to all of them, hit a button, and it would run the process itself,” says Mark. “The thing I enjoyed most in that career was really close to software development.”
Seeking a technology profession that was less reactive and more creative, Mark enrolled in a three-month intensive coding boot camp.
“We had a demo day where we did a capstone project and showed it off, and the Director of Development from Haneke, at the time, was there,” says Mark.
Mark had developed a system that would allow hotel guests to set the thermostat temperature of their room before they checked in. It was enough to attract the current director’s attention; he set up a meeting with Mark and hired him afterward.
Mark started as a production rails developer, then became a lead server developer, and most recently, Haneke’s Director of Development.
Since joining Haneke, Smith has had several opportunities to be creative and to encourage creativity in his team.One of the things he enjoys about his job at Haneke is the variety of projects that come down the pipeline. Each is an opportunity to learn a new industry, like steel production.
Smith’s favorite Haneke project is ongoing with Gerdau Steel—the leading global steel producer’s North American headquarters are in Tampa.
Haneke developed an app that lets Gerdau’s drivers check in, directs them around the mill, and tells them where to go.
“It’s a huge safety improvement, with drivers not having to get out of their trucks,” says Mark. “It’s been really cool to see that go. We started with a single mill in Georgia [about four or five years ago], and it’s going to be expanding to all of their mills in North America, including Canada.”
Seeing these successes and getting to share them with his team is what Mark enjoys most about his role as Director of Development.
“Helping others solve their problems and assisting in keeping things moving forward to ensure we’re successful– that’s really the core of it for me,” says Mark.
In spotlighting Mark Smith, we highlight relentless problem-solving, a passion for learning, and an unwavering team-centric approach. From his start as Rails Developer at Haneke Design, Mark has transcended expectations, evolving into an indispensable pillar of our team, embodying the very things that drive Haneke Design forward—a commitment to innovation and excellence.