Mark Smith, Director of Business Development for 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 that he became part of a small band in Mississippi by the time he was 15. However, it was not until he was 21 that Mark became a part of “Change to Eden” and began to see real success.
“This was back in the 80’s when most of the groups out there were cover bands,” said Smith. “We decided we wanted to write our own music and it worked out for us. We would play some covers but mostly original stuff.”
The band grew their tour circuit out of Mississippi and into Alabama – eventually stretching as far north as Indianapolis and west to Colorado Springs. Which surely makes for some interesting stories.
“Well, there was this one time…,” Smith trails off, laughing. “No, I shouldn’t talk about that. We did blow up a couple of vehicles, though.”
Turns out they flipped a camper van once. Fortunately, the shell popped off as it rolled and the whole group came tumbling out safely. But that is merely the tip of the iceberg. In the 11 years “Change to Eden” toured, the band:
- Was groomed for a record deal. (Which they eventually turned down)
- Competed with bands like “R.E.M.” and “Better Than Ezra.”
- Created a fan-base and reputation that still carries weight today.
After 11 years on the road, though, some of the band members wanted to try other things. So, the group ramped down their tour circuit to provide time for other pursuits. Mark entered the “regular” work force – starting with a financial sales organization in a high-pressure environment 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,” said Smith. “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 might have cut off the hair and thrown on a tie, Mark hasn’t abandoned his band, or his music. While they don’t tour, “Change to Eden” has been in the recording studio the group built in a spare bedroom of Mark’s Atlanta home. The resulting album, their seventh, was released this past May and is available on iTunes. New videos are available 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. For the band it was music,” said Smith. “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 and in music, Mark Smith has discovered that it is all about finding the right people and being creative to solve problems. As a business development director at MVP, he is certain he will continue to marry the creative and the professional…with a little bit of the Rock Star on the side.
Help ATMIA celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ATM and the 20th anniversary of the association by sharing your stories. Contact Sharon Lane, ATMIA Global Director of Member Services, at +001-605-271-7371.