Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our ongoing employee spotlight. Today, we talk to McCain McMurray, who serves as a field success engineer on the customer success team. He’s based out of our Denver, Colorado, office.
What do you do at Propeller?
I’m a member of the customer success team, where I focus on two things: training and support.
At the end of the day, I help people solve problems. I help them understand our software and solve the issues that motivated them to buy Propeller in the first place. Then I help them troubleshoot and resolve problems they might encounter when they’re using drones in the field or software in the cloud.
From the day that someone picks the Propeller Platform, I’m there as a resource from initial training to their entire experience using Propeller on the job.
What’s your career background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Duke, which got me into geographic information systems (GIS). I did some traveling afterward undergrad and ended up doing a master’s degree focused on remote sensing down in Australia, at the University of Queensland. I learned that from that degree that I really liked being in the field, and got interested in drones as a result. So, pretty much since grad school, since 2013, I’ve been working with drones.
Where did you grow up?
My childhood was split between the San Francisco Bay area and Washington, DC. First half in California, and second half in DC—so I’m bicoastal. Now, happy to be right in the middle of those two, in Colorado.
Before working at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?
For part of summer, I worked on a boat in Alaska. It was mostly moving people and materials from the mainland out to a construction site on an island. But it was pretty hard to beat seeing whales, and otters, and the Alaskan coastline everyday. The guy I worked for also took me hunting and fishing, which was a highlight for sure.
What’s your favorite Propeller memory?
I’m still fairly new at the company, but one of my first customers had some end-of-month stockpile reporting that he needed to finish right away. I was able to help him resolve those issues—found a technical solution that got him the numbers he needed. I remember he called me “bro,” and it was a rewarding feeling—that he was so excited he let down his guard. There was a good sense of camaraderie.
Any talents, secret superpowers, or fun facts about yourself to share?
I’m exceptionally talented at getting lost while leading friends on trips in the backcountry. I usually refuse to backtrack and get the group stuck in dense vegetation or on the side of a cliff face. So, I catch a lot of flak for that—especially since I studied maps!
If you could be any piece of worksite equipment, what would you be and why?
I had some experience flying drones at an open-pit mine. There, they were driving around these 300-ton trucks that could fit four school buses in the truck bed. Seeing them really made me feel like a little kid again, and I’ve always wanted to drive one. So I’d pick that.
Given the chance to invite any person, living or dead to dinner, who would you pick and why?
John Muir, the mountaineer and explorer. I’ve read some of his books, and his perspective on public lands and the wild experiences he had when the country was a lot more raw . . . I think he’d be a really interesting person to talk to.
Do you have an office nickname? If so, what is it and how did you get it?
Pretty much anything with “McMc” or “MacMac.” When your name’s McCain McMurray, it lends itself to people easily making up nicknames.
If you could do any job on a worksite for just one day, which would you choose?
I’ve love to be a surveyor in the traditional sense, with a base and rover, on an open-pit mine. Being in the drone industry for a couple of years now, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of them. I respect what they do. Being able to dig into the nitty gritty of their perspective, seeing what they do that makes them successful would be really valuable. And open-pit mines are just fascinating. There’s a tremendous about of daily change; there’s explosives, cyanide, and 300-ton haul trucks. They’re also often located in remote areas, which is appealing to me.