Name: Mark Peterson
Company Name: Shen Milsom & Wilke
What advice can you offer to someone who is interested in a career in your industry?
I recommend working in three different capacities in order to become fully rounded: client, installer and consultant. By performing in these different capacities one can begin to fully appreciate the different perspectives of the people we interact with on a daily basis, and it makes us more effective at communicating during critical encounters. Additionally, one should learn to how to code, such as Python, and get as much IT network experience as possible. Programming and IT networking are critical to success in almost any technical engineering role today.
What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?
I used to make super-8 movies, particularly stop-animation which is a time-consuming process of moving an object, snapping a frame, and moving the object again. It would take several hours just to get a few minutes of film. Reflecting back, visualizing the final outcome of a scene while filming only a few frames at time became significant to how I approach challenges today where it may take considerable time just to make slight progress and the value of sticking with process while also trying to see the big picture.
Who or what do you attribute to your success?
Working inside large enterprise organizations, navigating through red tape and thinking like an owner has had a tremendous impact on my success as a consultant. These organizations have very high performance standards. Understanding projects from the perspective of our client helps tremendously in terms of relating to their concerns and establishing trust. Matching levels of responsiveness that are considered typical for teams working inside the organization and aligning our efforts with their priorities are examples of perspective that I contribute to our technology consulting practice.
If you have a mentor, who is it and how have they influenced your personal & professional growth?
About ten years ago, a new manager took over the audiovisual department for a large financial services company, where I was the head of engineering. This manager had an information technology background and provided excellent suggestions on how to communicate effectively on large number of active projects. For example, identifying the status of projects with RAG (red, amber and green) is common approach that the IT teams use to report status to leadership. Additionally, this manager introduced processes for tracking software development, such as current production, beta and future versioning that were very applicable for managing firmware upgrades to audio visual technologies. Applying these IT strategies became critical to my professional growth as the audiovisual practices started reporting directly into information technology management and I was already comfortable communicating and tracking progress using IT methodologies.