Life at Audi is just as much about the cars as it is about the people who see the job through. From the C-suite to product managers to the customer experience team and more, in our series, "Inside Audi of America," get to know the people behind the metal.
Today, meet Sales Training Senior Specialist, Steven Marks.
How do you explain your job at a dinner party?
Good question – I’ve been working on this description for some time! It depends a lot on the party I'm attending. Simply because, if I actually explain my job, what I do, and who I work for, some people become so interested that it can turn into a rather lengthy conversation, sometimes taking over the dinner party. Most recently, I explained what I do with something as simple as “training,” just to keep the party going. When I'm up for those longer conversations though, I tell people I am responsible for all sales training content development and curriculum design related to product, technology, and customer experience for Audi dealers throughout the country. The conversation usually continues with additional questions about a new product that is about to launch, or a friend of a friend that had a…wait, am I taking over the party again?
What are you passionate about right now at work?
I'm deeply passionate about helping our dealers get excited and learn more about what's coming—a shift for not only the brand, but also the automotive industry. My specific passion project right now is getting our dealers ready for our first all-electric vehicle – the Audi e-tron. I've already started to collaborate with other departments within the organization to use content related to educating dealers on the EV market and EV consumer backstory. I've also been working with our vendor partner to develop and create web-based training content specific to the upcoming launch of the Audi e-tron.
What about outside of work?
Since I'm new to the area – I relocated to the Herndon office from south Florida earlier this year – I'm taking advantage of exploring everything that the D.C. area has to offer, which is a lot more than I thought. I just purchased a new bicycle, and really enjoy riding it around the great paths and trails the area is known for. I commute from Arlington and I have a short-term goal to ride my bike to work one day soon.
What’s your favorite memory that involves an automobile?
I have so many memories that involve an automobile, but if I think back to my early years, a fond memory that comes to mind actually involves several automobiles, at the auto show in Miami Beach. I started going to this show when I was seven years old, and I have to admit, I haven’t missed one show since (except last year when it was cancelled because of Hurricane Irma). I’ve not only never missed a show, but also had the opportunity to represent and manage the Audi display at the show for a number of years.
Who’s your personal hero?
My mother. Growing up, she was a single mother that raised two boys and provided unconditional love, passion and support for us. At the time, she was an airport station manager for a Bahamian commuter airline out of Fort Lauderdale and her dedication to hard work inspired me to become the man I am today.
What’s the last show you binge-watched?
I don’t watch much TV, but I can watch movies back to back, for hours! Depending on my mood, I can watch anything from comedy to action all in one sitting! The last movie binge I went on included: "Bad Boys II," "American Beauty," and "Scary Movie 2."
What did you listen to on your drive to work this morning?
This morning, I was in a radio show type of mood, so I tuned in to Z100, for the "Z100 Morning Show." I’ve been listening to them for years. There's always an interesting topic of discussion going on, with plenty of laughs that helps get my day started right. Today’s call in discussion was about working at Disney World, and how it’s not so magical.
What was your first job?
My first job was at a Publix Supermarket, as a bagger, always providing a premium experience, with a choice of paper or plastic. I’d have to say the best part of the job was being able to go outside and talk to the customers about their cars. I would carry people’s groceries out to the car for them as part of my job. The company had a strict “no tip” policy, but I was always more than happy to provide tips back to the customers about their cars!
Why did you decide to become a part of the sales training team and why do it at Audi?
I love training, and feel a sense of pride when people learn from me. To have the chance to be instrumental in helping create that experience for our dealers is an absolute privilege, and with our upcoming product launches, I couldn’t have asked for a better time than now to be a part of the team.
What's one of the most memorable projects you've worked on in your role for Audi?
This is a hard one. But, probably one of the most memorable projects would be a launch event in January 2012, for the 2013 A4 allroad—I think it was called “allroad revival.” The event was held in Park City, Utah where Audi invited current and previous VIP allroad owners out to this absolutely stunning hotel for a test drive through rugged back roads – the views were unbelievable. I got to meet skier Lindsey Vonn during a test-drive interview, AND the Foo Fighters were staying at the hotel and checked out the allroad too.
What one word best describes you?
Passionate. I try to include passion in everything I do, particularly in this industry, with this brand.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in south Florida, in Coral Springs. A suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs is about 10 miles from the beach. And yes, I miss the beach.
Which talent would you most like to have?
My parents always pushed me to take piano lessons when I was kid. I really didn’t like it then. I was a kid – I wanted to go out and ride my bike, and play with the neighborhood kids. Soon after I started piano lessons, I stopped. My mom said I would always regret it, and she was right! I really wish I could play the piano, and admire those who have the talent to do so. I guess it's never too late to start up again…
What's something about you that would surprise people?
Something about me that often surprises people is my travels. I absolutely love to travel, and I have now been to 47 states, and probably a few hundred different cities throughout the United States. The only states I haven't been to are: Montana, Oregon and Alaska. I’m currently working on my international travels coverage strategy, but have been to more than 10 different countries, already.