Smart City Spotlight: Mark Haley 16th Anniversary Interview

Smart City Networks’ President, Mark Haley, is celebrating his 16th anniversary with our company this month. With Smart City also hitting a significant milestone in 2024, we sat down with Mark to hear his thoughts on Smart City’s past, present, and future! Check out our full interview below. Mark Haley, this is your spotlight!

Hi Mark! Congratulations on your 16-year anniversary with Smart City! That’s quite an accomplishment. How do you feel you have evolved as a leader over these years in terms of managing the company and guiding our team?

M: Yes, I’ve had to. Change or die! Seriously, I believe I’ve evolved in that I am delegating more effectively and providing my team with opportunities to take on bigger and more complex projects.  It’s all about nurturing growth and preparing them for the next steps in their careers.

Along those lines, Smart City is also celebrating a significant milestone, marking 40 years in business in 2024. As you reflect on your personal growth, what are your thoughts on our company’s growth over these four decades?

M: I think Smart City’s growth over the past 40 years really is a story of evolution while embracing change. We started as a phone company and then evolved into a wired technology supplier. Soon, the wires started going away, and we began offering venue-wide wireless services. Now, we install cellular Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). 

During this time, the demand for high-quality customer service has grown in tandem with the need for increased bandwidth. Our technicians and customer service representatives now spend more time than ever engaging with customers, explaining the complex solutions required on the tradeshow floor. We’ve truly become the place where ‘Hospitality meets Technology!’

We’ve had an eventful year so far in 2024. We’ve recently won significant contracts and extensions in Phoenix, Anaheim, and DC. Can you elaborate on the importance of these contracts for our company’s expansion and development?

M: I believe that being successful in these public bids is confirmation of our business model and our people development programs. Compared to our competition, our focus on business and marketing processes specific to our customer base is second to none. On top of that, the recent development of our Career Advancement Training (CAT) program ensures consistent, high-quality services from Miami Beach to Seattle to Honolulu.  Customers know that when Smart City is providing the services, it’s going to work flawlessly from move-in to move-out.

With the recent contracts and technology upgrades, what are your goals and visions for the company over the next five to ten years? How do you think Smart City at 50 years is going to look compared to Smart City at 40 years?

M: In our industry, anticipating even five years ahead is challenging due to the frequent evolution of new Wireless standards. Fortunately, we have talented engineers who design our wireless infrastructure and solutions to seamlessly transition between standards while remaining cost-efficient for upgrades as new standards emerge. Our business model is tailored to each venue, providing the “right” technology for every event and ensuring solid financial returns.

Last year, I asked you about your leadership style, and you said, “I think to be successful, leaders need to be positive and honest. I try to share as much info with our folks so that they understand the challenges we face and the facts involved.  My philosophy is to “control what you can control”. No sense in adding unnecessary drama to the daily grind.  Stay focused, deal with the facts and attack with a positive approach.” I’m curious, has your mindset changed at all in that regard? Is there anything that you think differently about this year compared to last year?

M: Not really. I don’t believe in a ‘flavor of the month’ management style, and I think our company culture reflects this philosophy. For the past 16 years at Smart City, and even before my time, we’ve relied on the same Daily Basics and Business Principles. This consistency creates an environment that our team members appreciate, providing them with clear direction for making decisions every day.

Thank you for your time! When I do these Spotlights with our team members, I end with asking them this: What’s something fun that most people don’t know about you?

M: Maybe not “fun”, but I do try to engage in some form of guided meditation each day.  It usually deals with a focus on dealing with stress or anxiety combined with some breathing sessions. It has certainly helped me sleep better at night. Namaste!! 

Thank you to Mark Haley for the interview! For more Smart City Spotlights, check out our blog!

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