07 Jul 2021, General, SFC Academy
We’ve all had the misfortune of sitting in a room listening to a speaker drone on about a topic they’re clearly disinterested in. But some of us know the magic of witnessing a subject matter expert who’s passionate about their subject — and even more passionate about sharing it with others. The latter description is what it’s like to hear Mark Phillips speak. Mark has merged his practical experience as a tradesperson with his background as a technical instructor, bringing all of that knowledge to SFC Academy sessions and his role as SFC Energy Application Specialist.
“When I started, a big initiative was teaching our customers how to use our products.” Mark took that mandate and ran with it, drawing on his technical expertise and his background as a SAIT instructor to help bring SFC’s SCADA School to fruition.
Since joining the SFC team five years ago, Mark has been a part of the evolution of education and training initiatives. As a self-proclaimed “nerd,” Mark’s interest in technology transcends the workplace. “I’ve always been drawn to computers and technology. And understanding computer technology in day-to-day life, I find sometimes people come to me…because I’m passionate about how things work and about improving the technology,” he says.
Mark’s success goes beyond technical knowledge. He’s the type of application specialist who’ll pick up the phone on a Saturday morning to help a client through a technical issue. It’s gratifying to see the same faces return for his SFC Academy training courses year after year, he says. “At the end of the day, when people leave and they thank me and say how much they’ve learned — I really enjoy that.”
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark was thinking up innovative ways to deliver his SFC Academy sessions remotely, via YouTube. “The big challenge has been getting in front of the customers when they’re available…If it’s -40 or -50 one day in the field and they can’t work…They can refer to these YouTube videos in the shop that day.”
Mark’s ability to connect with customers is partially due to the common ground he shares with the customers he serves. “I’m not just an application specialist who’s trying to sell widgets,” he says. “I worked in the field and I understand the problems these guys face because I’m an electrician and an instrument mechanic by trade. I’ve been in their shoes.”