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Back in the mid 1980s, my favorite television show was MacGyver. There was something about the Richard Dean Anderson character – and no, it wasn’t his mullet. MacGyver was a secret government agent with an encyclopedic knowledge who solved complex problems by making things out of everyday objects. His weapons of choice for fighting bad guys? A Swiss Army Knife and duct tape. I loved the guy!
Little did I know I would meet the real life MacGyver.
In 1991, I joined Aidex as a sales rep. A quiet, unassuming guy named Jeff Carr started at the same time I did as a technician. It didn’t take long for Jeff to reveal his MacGyver-like talents. And no, he didn’t have a mullet.
Have you ever known someone who can fix anything? Jeff Carr is one of those guys. He seemed to know everything about the educational technology we represented. Back then, long before the Internet and smart phones, educational technology was complicated. Few teachers, let alone sales reps, understood how it all worked.
Then there was Jeff. He had a knack for figuring things out and could troubleshoot anything. When you’re selling technology of any kind, you want a guy like Jeff to have your back! We became close colleagues and friends.
Fast forward 25 years and Jeff and I are still together at Aidex, me as president and him as our chief service engineer. As the educational technology we represent has grown even more complex and now includes software and/or cloud-based curricula, Jeff and his MacGyver-like skills remain among the best in the business.
Jeff oversees all of our learning system installations at K-12 schools, technical colleges, universities, medical schools, and other customer sites across six states. We sometimes joke that he covers more ground than the U.S. Postal System and is more reliable!
There’s something – I should say many things – about Jeff that our education customers love. He comes into their schools and labs with a very unassuming manner. He listens to what they want – put that simulator here, learning lab over there – and he sets it up and gets it running. He also trains the teachers and instructors on how to use their new technology.
If someone has a question or something isn’t working correctly, Jeff’s on it. He is just so damn nice and so knowledgeable, people are immediately comfortable asking questions and trying out their new technology. That’s really important given the sophistication of many of our learning systems.
Our customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from Jeff. The manufacturers we represent also appreciate Jeff. Amatrol designs, develops, and manufactures technical learning systems, interactive eLearning, hands-on simulators, and more to train the global workforce for diverse industries that include manufacturing, oil and gas, packaging, green energy, and mechanical maintenance. When it comes to educational technology, Amatrol is one of the best in the world. We sell a lot of their products.
And Jeff makes it all work like a charm.
I recently spoke with Jason Everett, one of Amatrol’s regional sales managers. Jason’s responsible for 15 U.S. states and Canada. The guy’s an engineer and been in manufacturing for more than 20 years. He knows Amatrol’s technology and the industry. According to Jason, Jeff is one of the top three technicians in the world for Amatrol. Here’s what he told me:
“Jeff doesn’t just understand our products, he often knows them better than we do. He also understands the software, something not common to all technicians. Schools like him because he’s very supportive and goes beyond the call of duty to get their Amatrol systems installed.”
Jason says Jeff’s is a valuable brand ambassador for Amatrol. “Jeff can go into a school with an older Amatrol lab, evaluate it, and tell the school exactly what they need to upgrade it to current teach standards. He’s not selling; he’s informing. Schools really appreciate his approach and that they don’t have to start over with an entirely new system,” Jason added.
There is not much I can add to Amatrol’s assessment of Jeff’s talents. I do know that he loves origami and he’d rather tinker in his garage than do most anything else. He recently built his dog a ball-throwing toy the dog can enjoy without Jeff’s help. He just sticks the ball in the machine and shoots the ball halfway across the yard! As cool as it is, the dog still follows Jeff everywhere with its ball in its mouth. Did I mention Jeff prefers cats?
If you’re an Aidex customer and have had the pleasure of working with Jeff, we’d love to hear about your experience. Email me and if we use your story in our blog, we’ll send you a small gift of appreciation.