An ATM rock star

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An ATM rock star

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MVP Financial Equipment Corp. recently hired a rock star. And by that, we mean an actual rock star.

Mark Smith, director of business development at MVP, started singing when he was 14 years old and realized he had a bit of a talent for it. In fact, he had enough of a talent for it that he landed in a small band in Mississippi by the time he was 15.

However, it was not until he was 21 that Smith joined the band Change to Eden and began to see real success.

"This was back in the '80s when most of the groups out there were cover bands," Smith said. "We decided we wanted to write our own music and it worked out for us. We would play some covers, but mostly original stuff."

Mark Smith performing with Change to Eden
The band expanded their touring circuit beyond Mississippi and into Alabama — eventually playing gigs as far north as Indianapolis and as far west as Colorado Springs.

Which makes for some interesting stories.

"Well, there was this one time … ," Smith trailed off, laughing. "No, I shouldn't talk about that. We did blow up a couple of vehicles, though."

They even flipped a camper van once. Fortunately, the shell popped off as the vehicle rolled and the whole group came tumbling out safely.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. During the 11 years that Change to Eden spent touring, the band:

  • Was groomed for a record deal (which they ultimately turned down).
  • Competed with bands such as R.E.M. and Better Than Ezra.
  • Created a fan base and reputation that endures to this day.

After more than a decade on the road, however, some of the band members were ready to try other things. The group ramped down their touring to provide time for other pursuits.

Smith entered the "regular" work force, joining a financial sales organization in a high-pressure environment that focused on call volumes and closed deals. Eventually, he landed a position in the ATM world with Triton.

"I am thankful to the powers that be that Triton saw something worthwhile in me," Smith said. "While an understanding of ATM technology and benefits came naturally to me, sales did not. The mentorship and training I received at Triton was essential to growing the sales and business development knowledge I needed to be successful."

While he did cut his hair and don a necktie, Smith did not abandon his band or his music. And while Change to Eden doesn't tour these days, the group has been recording new songs in a studio they built in a spare bedroom of Smith's Atlanta home.

The resulting album, their seventh, was released in May and is available on iTunes. The group also has videos posted on YouTube.

"We've realized that a big part of quality and life balance is to continue to do things that you loved as a kid," Smith said. "For the band it was music. After a decade of living separately all over the country, it has been fun to be able to come back. The album we just put out may be the best album we have ever done."

In ATMs as in music, Mark Smith has discovered that success is about finding the right people and then working creatively with them to solve problems.

As business development director at MVP, he is certain that he will continue to marry the creative and the professional ... with a little bit of the rock star on the side.

Topics: Associations / Conferences

Companies: ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), Triton

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