As many of you may know, Mark Cray was recently appointed to CEO of Applied Global Technologies after working for the company for 16 years. Mark’s position prior to the promotion was Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, but his experience extends to our operations, engineering, and client services departments as well. Mark has seen AGT grow into the established, multi-million dollar company it is today, and he has been a key factor in its cumulative success over the years. We would like to take this opportunity to tell you more about our CEO, so here is a quick Q&A with Mark on his time here as well as his life apart from his career.
Q: What was your first job at AGT?
A: My first title was VTC Support & Sales. We were pretty much still in start-up mode then with only a handful of employees, so everyone had to wear many hats and you just had to find a way to get things done.
Q: Your past roles have included everything from sales to engineering to marketing. What are one or two key lessons from those roles that you expect to draw on leading AGT?
A: Always put the customer first and do whatever it takes to get the job done. That’s the number one thing you can do to build a successful and healthy business. Secondly, if you have talented people with a great work ethic, point them in a direction to do what they love and then step back and give them all the room they need to do great things.
Q: Tell us how and why you got into this industry?
A: My background in the Navy was in Nuclear Power and Electrical Systems. I wasn’t overly excited about staying in that field and was really looking to be in a more exciting and dynamic industry. Fortunately, I knew one of the founders of AGT and interviewed with him several months before I left the Navy. He could only offer me a starting salary at about half the pay I could have gotten to stay in my industry, but I really believed in what the founders of AGT were doing and the opportunities this small start-up business offered me. So, I took a job at half the pay, with an unestablished start-up, in an immature niche industry. Sounds like a crazy idea when you look back at it, but sometimes you’ve just got to follow your gut and take a chance.
Q: Share a few personal and business achievements with us.
A: Certainly my appointment to CEO by the Board of Directors after putting in 16 years of hard work and sacrifice would have to top the list. Beyond that, I’m probably most proud of the work I’ve done to build our Managed & Cloud Services, which account for over half of our company revenue. I was asked in 2003 by our CEO to hand over the reins of our VAR/Integration business to go build a managed video services practice. At the time, we had two managed services clients and no business practice built. Within seven years, we had built a thriving, profitable business with nearly 20 managed services clients. In that rapid growth period we were a two-time Inc. 500 honoree and received a Frost & Sullivan Market Share award. It was quite an accomplishment for the entire team.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at AGT?
A: My favorite part about working at AGT has always been the work environment. No matter how much we’ve grown, AGT has always stuck to its roots and taken care of its people. It’s a very fast-paced, dynamic, challenging work environment that rewards the people who work the hardest and accomplish the most. So, when you work for a company filled with great people, just about anything is possible.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A: Anything that keeps me active, such as working out, racquetball, running or jet skiing.
Q: What is your favorite sports team?
A: In my family, we’re all pretty diehard Florida State Seminole fans. I had the great fortune to attend the National Championship game with my boys this year and it was an experience of a lifetime.