It’s not unusual to leave a company for greener pastures only to return later. But to do it twice may seem a tad out of the ordinary. But not for Diego Mejia. He not only performed that feat but worked for Tesla in between.
Mejia’s twofers hark back to his entrée into the gambling industry. After graduating from Universidad de San Buenaventura in his native Colombia with a bachelor of applied science, electrical and electronics engineering in 2006, he obtained a position with JCM Global as an international service technician. JCM had a commercial distribution agreement with TransAct Technologies.
“Because of the relationship between the two companies, I learned about TransAct products,” he says.
When the commercial agreement ended, TransAct offered Mejia a job.
“I was more involved with global markets, including Europe, Asia, and the local U.S. market,” he says, “but I also took care of Latin America. This exposure gave me the experience of managing multiple accounts. I was able to interact directly with high-end customers.”
Mejia’s role gravitated from a technical one to a commercial one, assisting product sales at TransAct. When a position opened up in sales at JCM, he returned. “This made total sense since I knew the industry, I knew the product, I knew the work culture, I knew the customers. It was an excellent opportunity to prove myself in sales,” he says.
He broke a sales record for his region and was able to make the top three in sales for two consecutive years. Then came Covid-19. The lockdown crimped Mejia from—as he put it—having fun performing his job. “It was time to try, once again, something completely different in a different industry.”
Enter Tesla, where he was hired as a business analyst for the energy commercial team. This was a very challenging and compromising job, he says. He oversaw data analysis of different systems such as contract executions, project management and reporting.
“But deep inside, I was missing the industry, and most importantly, the contact with customers. I realized that is what motivated me the most,” says Mejia, who unwinds on a motorcycle. (“A couple of hours on the bike can take the stress off and provide such tranquility and freedom.”)
TransAct brought Mejia back into the fold. His technical background and approach with customers led him to assist in trainings, presentations and expos. “I also collaborate with engineering, with firmware development. The data analysis role I performed at Tesla allows me to automate reports, and present data to end users. With the experience that I acquired supporting global markets, I can assist customers around the world with sales or technical requests.”
Mejia tries to learn from everybody in his circle, taking a little bit from peers, customers and partners. But two stand out. “Tracey Winslow, my current boss, is someone I admire based on her dedication, passion, knowledge and vast experience.”
Another mentor is Lou Kelly, vice president of sales at TransAct. He has been an example of an exceptional salesperson, always caring, Mejia says. “Lou has charm, and I admire that about him. He is also a wise person, resourceful, responsive, not only towards customers and partners, but coworkers too.”
The pandemic, Mejia says, helped transform the gaming industry. Casinos realize they need more than slot machines in their venues.
“I think the business is changing in a positive direction,” he says. “Casinos are now looking to become entertainment centers, always offering something captivating. We are now seeing more interest in different ways to utilize digital channels, to bring casinos to patrons. Online gaming will be even greater in the next 10 years. Sports betting is also worth mentioning. This is a tremendous source of revenue, especially now that jurisdictional approvals have been issued to many more states.”
For up-and-coming product developers, Mejia recommends they listen to those… in the field. Designing and maintaining something useful and reliable is the most important thing you can do, he says. “When engineers use market feedback and are humble enough to work based on that, and not only based on their own way of thinking, superior products can be produced.”