Welcome back to Beyond the Data! This month, we’re featuring US-based employee Santana Mariscal. Learn more about Santana’s role as a Director of Solutions Engineering at phData, what he likes to do for fun, and what he enjoys most about his work.
Tell us your name, where you’re from, and a little about you.
My name is Santana Mariscal and I was born in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. My family moved to the US when I was just 2 years old so while I have a strong cultural heritage to Mexico, I was raised in the United States and consider it home. I grew up on the east side of Houston which is very blue-collar and closely tied to the oil and gas industry. I stayed in Houston for college and attended the University of Houston where I graduated with an MIS degree.
I met my wife (Carolina) while we were both in college. She is from San Antonio but attended college in Houston, TX. We married shortly after graduation and our wedding was in Mission San Jose, one of the oldest missions in San Antonio. We have two wonderful children, Benjamin who is currently a freshman in high school, and Rebecca who is a 4th grader. The children keep us busy with their extracurricular activities. Benjamin is in boy scouts and on the high school swim team and Rebecca is also in swimming and does Tap, Jazz, and Theater dance.
What does Director of Solutions Engineering mean? What do you actually do on any given day?
Director of Solutions Engineering means I have the opportunity to help enable and grow our phData Technical Presales (Solutions Engineering) practice. So the Solutions Engineer team partners very closely with phData Account Executives and work with customers who have complex Data, Machine Learning, and Analytics problems. We use our experience and knowledge to create a solution and plan that will enable customers to solve their IT and Business problems.
I enjoy working directly with customers. I am in a player/coach role where I can still interact with customers and our broader phData team. I enjoy my role because it allows me to take what I learn from our customers and technology partners and help align phData service offerings to meet customers’ needs.
What's one aspect of your job that you absolutely love telling others about?
I love telling others about the many opportunities phData provides for employees to get to know each other. Our great People Operations team works hard to ensure that we have many opportunities to socialize and get to know each other. Twice a week we have recurring phData Coffee Break meetings with great topics that help us get to know others. We also have “donut be strangers” which is an app that randomly matches two employees together monthly, allowing employees to connect with other employees they may not meet during regular work interactions.
What ultimately convinced you to join phData?
The people I met during my interview process made the difference for me. They took their time to answer my questions and asked great questions to get to know me. I could tell they were taking the time to ensure I was a cultural fit for phData. Also, I was fortunate to get to meet with some of the founders to understand the vision for what phData is building. Being a part of helping build something along with a great team made the difference for me.
What does your typical work from home day look like? Walk us through your routine.
I wake up early to drink some coffee and watch the morning news. This is a habit leftover from the days I had to drive to an office and would watch it to see the weather and traffic conditions. At 7 a.m., I will head to my work desk which is in my guest bedroom. It is far away from the kitchen and living room and the quietest place in the house.
Meetings usually start around 9 a.m., so I am usually able to get in a solid 2 hours of work before meetings start. The rest of the day is taken up with internal and customer meetings. Between meetings, I will be collaborating with colleagues via Slack and checking action items off my list. Depending on the day, I log off between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. The great thing about working from home is no commute time so I can have family time as soon as I am done with work.
What is one dish/food that you cannot live without?
One food I cannot live without would be a warm home-cooked meal. While I enjoy going out to eat, for me, nothing compares to a good home-cooked meal. For my family, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and everyone pitches in.
Outside of work, what's your life like? What do you do for fun?
I enjoy camping, hiking, traveling, golf, and working on my 1968 Mustang. Most of my favorite travels are those where I can get away from the city and be outdoors. My family and I have visited many National Parks including, Yosemite, Olympic, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Mount Rainier, and Haleakala. Since I work in technology and am constantly online, I find that most of my hobbies are those that help me disconnect and slow down.
Where would you like to go for your next vacation?
I’d like to take a road trip around Utah and visit National Parks. I’ve heard great things and the photos I’ve seen look breathtaking.
Want to work with Santana?
We’re hiring! Check out our job board to see our current openings.