Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our new, ongoing employee spotlight series. Today, we talk to Kevin Smith, who serves as sales engineer on the sales team. He’s based remotely in Geelong, Australia.
What do you do at Propeller?
I’m a sales engineer, so I look after demos of our platform and the technical side of things for the sales team. I also do a fair bit of technical support and onboarding of customers as well.
I sort of cover two areas, which are customer success and sales, but I also work very closely with the visualizer team, as well, with some of the development around the features. Probably 50/50 sales and customer success. I’m more of an industry expert so when we’re talking to customers about out what they are doing on onsite, I can fill in the gaps and tell the team what’s going on.
What’s your career background?
Pretty diverse, I have mining and surveying degrees, so I’ve done mine surveying as well as being a mine engineer. I worked for four and a half years in gold mines over in Perth, Australia. So I did a fair bit of everything mining. Then worked in Perth and surveyed ono large subdivisions and roads, including highways. I then went back to the mines, this time mining lithium in Western Australia’s southwest.
Then I came over to Melbourne and got a position doing cadastral survey work, which was completely boring. Hated it, so I made a switch to selling survey gear with Leica. I worked for the local Leica dealer there—actually sales—and set up the machine control division for Victoria. After more than four years of that, I got a job with Caterpillar, where I helped set up the technology division for the dealer, which got me involved with landfills, quarries, a bit of mining, and civil contractors. Basically, that’s where I got all my background in waste management, because I sold them GPS systems.
That brings us to Propeller, who really loved my wide background in the heavy civil and resources industries. What sold me on Propeller is that, all the stuff I used to do when I was surveying, that would have taken me about four days, now with a drone, it’s about two hours.
Before working at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?
The most interesting would probably be when I was blast engineer on a mine, blowing up stuff. That was pretty good! But before any of that, working in a coal mine that was pretty cool. That was in the UK, just outside of Birmingham, Cannock. That was my first mining job.
Where are you from? Where have you lived?
I have lived everywhere. I’m originally from Liverpool, in the UK and spent five years down in Cornwall, before coming over to Australia—Perth and then sunny Geelong. I’ve been here over for 14 years in Geelong, and six years in Perth.
What’s your favorite Propeller win?
Probably signing up six sites at Boral in Victoria to manage their stockpiles. With the easy to use tools we have it is giving them accurate stockpile data like they have never had before.
If you could be any piece of worksite equipment, what would you be and why?
Probably a CAT D11, it’s the biggest, meanest looking dozer going around. It’s huge and it can flatten anything in its path. It’s pretty cool!
If you could attend any professional sports game, what would it be and why?
The European Cup Final, watching Liverpool. I’m a Liverpool supporter and I stayed up until 3:00am in the morning the other night watching them.
Do you have an office nickname? What is it?
Depends who’s saying it. So normally it’s “Smithy” from our co-founder Rory, but it depends whatever he decides to call me that day. So yeah, probably Smithy.
If you could do any job at the worksite for just one day, which would you choose?
The grader driver, just for a day. I’ve got my grader ticket so I’m legally allowed to drive a grader but never used my ticket to actually grade a road apart from when testing machine control.
Any fun facts or talents to share?
I was sixth in the country for pole vault in the UK when I was under 18. I broke my wrist when I was 18 doing it, so the career was over, done and dusted. I had pins in my wrist.
If I hadn’t broken it, I think I’d be doing something different today. Because when I was at uni, part of my degree was doing law, mining law, and I was in plaster from the accident at the time. I was encouraged to sue about the injury, and I won. It gave me the opportunity to pay off all of my university debt and move to Australia.