Heroes You Love to Know: Josh
Support Hero Josh Lawson is our resident rock star. He leads a double (really, triple) life working for SmugMug, being a musician and acting as agent at our print labs. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s hear the man himself. You’ve probably met him if you’ve ever written to our help desk with an order problem, uploading issue, or pretty much anything else.
Spotlight on Josh
What’s your hiring story?
After college I started working for Kodak/Qualex doing tech support for one-hour photo machines, Kodak Picture Makers, and Kodak C-41 and RA-4 chemical process control. In 2005, my girlfriend decided to go to graduate school out in Santa Cruz, so we packed up and headed west from North Carolina to California.
I ended up working customer service for Bay Photo for the years we were there. In 2009 we decided to move back east, but I kept working remotely for Bay Photo part-time, just a few hours a week.
That winter, Bay asked me if I’d like to work the WPPI trade show with them. An all expenses paid trip to Vegas for a (mostly) unemployed guy? I jumped on it. And I’m so glad I did.
I met a bunch of Smuggers there at a party. Larry from Bay Photo put in a good word for me, and Andy asked me if I was interested in being a hero. It sounded like an awesome job description! I started ringing Andy’s phone off the hook.
About a month later I got an interview and the rest is history.
How does music fit into your life?
During my stint in Santa Cruz, I decided to try a career change and did a trade program for luthiery (stringed instrument repair and construction). While I was working with Bay Photo I also landed a job at the Santa Cruz Guitar Company, building guitars.
Now I play drums for Wild Order and you’d have to pry my Korg MS-20 analog synthesizer out of my cold, dead hands.
Most Smuggers collect cameras and glass. I collect vintage drum machines and synthesizers, and that’s one of my faves. A beaut from 1978. It does sounds from hard techno to smooth 70′s fusion jazz to bizarre drones. Lots of knobs to twiddle, and endless sonic possibilities.
We affectionately call you the SmugMug Lab Rat. Why’s that?
I’m a great lab contact because I know first hand how a lab operates from the inside, how each product is physically created, and I know how to spot a potential issue when I run across one. I collect feedback from all the heroes (and thus our customers) and relay it to the labs so that we can keep the quality of our work top notch. I have phone meetings with each lab every week, and email various people at both labs daily in management, operations, and customer service.
I also do things like keep the flow of orders transmitting between both the labs. And lord knows that’s no small task, as there are thousands of orders sent to the labs every day. Communicating with the lab IT people, sometimes hacking up a bit of XML to get an order to process, repairing corrupt jpgs, etc. I keep a close eye on my order babies to make sure they get to the lab and process quickly. I keep track of orders that are late and do things like upgrade shipping when something is lagging behind.
Sometimes I feel like the Wizard or Oz pulling levers behind a curtain to keep the order machine well-oiled and finely tuned.
Shout one tip from the rooftops to SmugMuggers!
Proof & Retouch: USE IT! We make it easy to place orders, but it’s *always* helpful for Pros to review their clients’ orders before they’re sent to print.
Customers may not always crop their photos properly, so reviewing orders before they print is something I recommend to all Pros. An ounce of prevention….
Check out these features Josh mentioned: