Where did you grow up?
I was born in Dallas, TX (Go Cowboys!). I grew up in Belleville, IL, a medium-size town just east of St. Louis, MO. I moved to Walnut Ridge, AR, in 1979 to start high school. My father was originally from Walnut Ridge.
Where did you go to school?
I attended primary school and Jr. High in Belleville, IL, and high school at WRHS (Walnut Ridge High School). I graduated from ASU with a BS in Business Administration.
Brag about your family.
My wife has endured me for nearly 34 years. She has always been one of my biggest supporters and never afraid to tell me when I’m wrong, even when I’m not. She often amazes me at the things she can do! We have one daughter who is the Director of International Programs at ASU. It’s a big job for someone as young as she is. I’m very proud of her!
My mother always taught me through her actions that family is important. I am blessed to be close to my brother and sister and their families, as well as my dad.
What do you do for fun?
I love to play golf. I do a little hunting and enjoy being on the lake.
What was your first job?
My first “real” job was a summer job when I was 16 at a fiberglass factory that made camper shells for pickup trucks. It was hot, hard work, and I learned words and phrases I had never heard before.
What is your dream job?
General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys— somebody has to get them back on track.
What is something very few people know about you?
I worked in a flower shop from 11th grade through college graduation. I started out delivering flowers and cleaning buckets. After several years I became a pretty decent flower designer and actually competed in the state design competition.
What quote/motto do you live by?
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Tell us your Optus story. When did you start and what position? Have you moved positions/jobs?
I joined Optus in August 2005 as Vice President of Technical Operations. I was responsible for all of service and for IT. At that time, we had 5 remote offices, and my first big objective was to consolidate service and dispatch to a central team in Jonesboro.
In July 2007, I became Chief Operations Officer with expanded responsibility for the Plant, Purchasing, HR, and Accounting.
What is your official job title?
Chief Operations Officer (COO)
What SHOULD your job title be?
Chief Problem Solver
Describe your day-to-day job.
My day consists of a lot of meetings. Many of them are internal with my direct reports to stay engaged with the daily operations and be able to help where needed. I attend many meetings related to cross-department initiatives as well as several customer and vendor meetings.
I spend time analyzing data to help make better decisions—everything from customer sales history, product sales, financial data, and trends to assisting with project costing. I also spend time discussing progress towards our objectives, issues, and roadblocks as well as what needs to be done to overcome or resolve them.
What is one thing that Optus does better than any other employer you have had in the past?
I believe Optus cares more about and listens to their employees more than anywhere else I have worked. It shows up in a lot of small ways as well as some pretty big ones.
Tell us about one learning or growth opportunity you have had while working at Optus.
I have worked in technology for many years, going back to 1995. My exposure to telephony was pretty minimal when I joined Optus. Learning about telephony and applications was a challenge and a real learning experience. After 15 ½ years, I learn something new every day it seems.
What do you like most about working at Optus?
I enjoy the feeling of getting to make a difference, both for employees and customers.
Have you received recognition from Optus on a job well done? If so, what was the recognition?
I am proud to have received the Lighthouse Award in 2007 and 2012. But honestly, I get some of the most self-satisfaction helping others to solve problems and getting a simple thank you.
We like to say, Optus is like a family. Who at Optus is like family to you and why?
Having worked with Mark for over 15 years and building the relationship that we have, I think of him as my OLDER brother. I think that is largely because we have been through so much over these past years as the company has evolved. There are many more that I think of like family because there is so much caring about each other here.