All you need to do to understand what drives Mark Woody, SmartDrive Strategic Customer Success Manager, is to ask him a question. Any question! His passion, enthusiasm and exuberance are palpable. No matter how you describe it, Mark is in it to win it and “good enough is never good enough.”
Mark’s passion is never clearer than when he’s talking about safety, which is why he loves working at SmartDrive. And it’s exactly why his customers love working with him. We sat down with Mark (virtually) to learn about what drives his passion and how this carries over to his work with fleets and drivers on a daily basis.
SmartDrive: Mark, please tell us about yourself.
Mark Woody: I come from a long lineage of community-oriented service providers in the military, law enforcement, fire department, EMS, and utility industry. My father was a San Francisco policeman and my godfather worked his way up the ranks to police chief and mayor of San Francisco. Although, I’m retired from the military and fire service, I still teach at public safety academies and for community organizations. I am married to my junior high school sweetheart; we have seven children, one adopted child, three grandchildren and three Siberian Huskies (who might as well be infants). Our family are outdoor fanatics – being as comfortable on the open ocean as we are at a high altitude in the mountains, or in the heat of the desert. Family gatherings are always interesting as my sister is a union truck driver and my sister-in-law is a union shop steward at a Chevron refinery.
SD: How did you get into trucking?
Mark: I took an untraditional route via the public safety and emergency management community. Having responded to catastrophic collisions as a firefighter, I gained a unique perspective one cannot imagine unless you have cut a person out of a crashed vehicle or comforted a child who just lost their parents in a collision. When the opportunity presented itself at SmartDrive, I was ecstatic for the chance to proactively assist the trucking industry and professional driving community to better protect themselves and the motoring public through my unique lens as a former first responder.
SD: What do you love about the trucking industry?
Mark: The dictionary defines ‘Hero’ as one who displays courage and self-sacrifice for the greater good. While it’s said frequently, I firmly believe professional drivers are truly ‘Heroes.’ The trucking Industry is dynamic, and our professional drivers are the salt of the earth. I love working with drivers tractor-side (in their office) to hear their risks and challenges first-hand and collaboratively solve them through positive training and coaching via the SmartDrive Fleet Safety Program. Being allowed to aid the ‘Heroes’ of the trucking industry so they can come home to their families safely every night is a privilege and honor I don’t take lightly.
SD: How long have you been with SmartDrive and what is your role?
Mark: I have been with SmartDrive for nearly eight years, starting as a Strategic Engagement Manager (SEM) – engineering and implementing custom fleet safety programs. I then led an SEM Team, followed by a position as a Regional Account Manager. Recently, I transitioned to Customer Success as a Strategic Customer Success Manager to focus on developing internal and external training strategies to help our customers navigate the change management process and maximize the capabilities of their SmartDrive Video Safety Program.
SD: What do you like about SmartDrive, your job and your customers?
Mark: I enjoy SmartDrive’s process of learning our customers’ business. Becoming intimate with a customer’s operation allows me to fully comprehend their safety culture and the challenges their fleet and drivers face on the road. Subsequently, this allows us to engineer a scalable safety solution to identify and mitigate risk – ultimately protecting our customers’ drivers, fleet and brand. My job satisfaction comes from training drivers and safety managers to leverage the SmartDrive Program to its fullest potential. But I don’t stop there. I truly enjoy reviewing post-implementation statistical data, as that’s when our customers see a clear return on investment as a result of collision frequency rate reduction, insurance premium savings and driver exonerations from a false claim.
SD: What do you see as the biggest challenges to today’s fleets?
Mark: There are a myriad of challenges impacting the transportation industry today. As a safety professional, I am biased. One of the significant challenges is that fleet safety programs and driver safety development are often perceived as a ‘cost center.’ Fortunately, SmartDrive solves this challenge through a variety of fleet safety program offerings, capabilities and solution approaches – all statistically proven to reduce collisions and liability exposure, while protecting the lives of our professional drivers and the motoring public. Thus, a well-engineered and sustained fleet safety program can actually be a ‘profit center.’
SD: What inspires you?
Mark: My LinkedIn header pretty much sums up my inspiration in a sentence: “Motivated by assisting others and excelling by leveraging my passion and experience in leadership, training, change management and organizational development in complex high-risk organizations.” I am inspired by helping others meet or exceed their potential. Training and mentoring others, particularly in the transportation industry, motivates me to help others visualize and achieve their goals.
SD: If you could tell a customer one thing today, what would it be?
Mark: Regarding fleet safety, the one thing I would say is, “Do what you always did – get what you always got.” Albert Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If a fleet is challenged by risk, collisions, equipment damage or litigation, yet doesn’t look for a way to address the challenge, it could find itself in a tough spot. Nuclear verdicts have absolutely shown the trucking industry just that. Fortunately, SmartDrive has recruited, equipped and enabled a cadre of outstanding transportation safety professionals. These field professionals are out there every day helping fleets flip that trend and become more profitable by proactively addressing challenges through training, coaching, change management and organizational development.
SD: What would 10-year-old Mark think about today’s Mark?
Mark: 10-year-old Mark may be a bit disappointed, as he really, really wanted to be an astronaut. But I believe he would smile at today’s Mark for the level of success he’s achieved. His dedication in empowering others to grow, to achieve and to exceed their potential has brought him great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment – particularly his commitment to help protect professional drivers and our vital transportation network.
SD: If you could, what would you tell 10-year old Mark to prepare him for Mark today?
Mark: “Hold on to your butt… It’s gonna be a wild ride!” When I joined the military at 17, I had no idea how fast and furious this life was going to be. I’d tell Mark to be a sponge and soak up every opportunity to learn and excel. Never be satisfied with ‘good enough’ because it isn’t. And never be afraid to fail (Fail = First Attempt in Learning).
SD: What’s one thing you did in your life that prepared you for what you’re doing today?
Mark: For my entire adult life, I have been leading people in dynamic, high-risk occupational hazards in austere conditions. Whether in a uniform or in the private sector, I am fortunate to have been escorted down this path by a variety of wise and patient mentors who inspired me to succeed. The “one thing” I did to prepare myself for what I do today is to always be a willing participant in “learning to lead,” being eyes-wide-open and accepting of opportunities to improve. Change can be difficult, but having a plan and working that plan will guarantee results.
SD: Lastly, Mark, what brings you joy?
Mark: My children all serve our communities in a variety of uniforms, roles and research. My true joy is watching them (and now my grandchildren) grow and flourish as active participants in helping others. They are all remarkable in their own individual ways, and each continues to embrace my Dad’s philosophy of “If you’re not part of your community, you are not part of a community.” Linda and I are truly blessed.
Like SmartDrive, Mark is focused on making the world a safer (and better) place. His customers couldn’t ask for a better partner; his passion is infectious and inspires his colleagues, customers and community every day.