Venture for America fellows join Amatis team
Rana Mohamed and Nick Theoret join the Detroit team in sales and support roles
This month, the Amatis Detroit team welcomed two Venture for America fellows to the team.
Rana Mohamed is a fresh graduate of Penn State in May this year, with one bachelor’s degree in Global and International Studies and another in International Politics. She found her way to the Detroit team of Amatis Controls, seeking a company with a strong social mission and a role ambiguous enough for her to make a direct impact.
Nick Theoret left Western Michigan University in 2016 with a bachelor’s in engineering and a passion for entrepreneurship and technical products. Prior to Amatis, Nick has worked in sales, manufacturing, engineering and founder roles at the likes of Rockwell Automation and American Axle Manufacturing.
Why did you choose Amatis?
Rana: So many reasons! Everything I desired for both professional and personal development, I found at Amatis – a team that values, challenges, and supports you, an industry that merged my values of sustainability and innovation, and a role that was ambiguous and would let me create my own path.
Nick: I love the Internet of Things space and I was also looking for a technical sales role I could really sink my digital teeth into.
What did you do this summer to prepare?
Rana: As a Venture for America 2019 fellow, I spent a month at training camp in Detroit learning about the ins and outs of running a startup from prototyping sessions with IDEO to competing in weekly team challenges around designing and pitching a product. Also, I read How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie which is a must-read for anyone working in customer relations.
Nick: Previous to my role at Amatis, I was a technical sales rep in the manufacturing controls space, which helped build a sales background for technical products. I also sold Cutco knives in high school. It was this Cutco sales experience that truly struck me and got me interested in sales, even though I graduated as an engineer. Lastly, the summer prior to starting, I was going through the Venture For America training camp which taught me how to operate in a small startup type of environment, which is similar to being on the Amatis team.
What do you like about Detroit?
Rana: The community – people in Detroit are always looking for ways to help each other grow, as you are always one person away from knowing everyone in the city. This allows you to build your network, gain professional and personal development, and understand your impact.
Nick: I love the city, the history, and the future potential that Detroit has to offer. This city is the root of modern manufacturing, and you can feel it. Not only do we have the capability of creating anything here, but we are also surrounded by an enormous pool of knowledge in manufacturing. And coming from a manufacturing family background, there is nothing that excites me more than the smell of quenched steel in the morning.
Describe your role, in your own words:
Rana: Customer Advocacy – as the Customer Service Lead my role is to be reactive with customer inquiries and proactive by strategizing ways to enhance the customer experience.
Nick: My mission is to generate top-line revenue for Amatis by building relationships and generating sales in the southeast Michigan area and beyond.
What are your career aspirations?
Rana: For the next few years, my career is focused on soaking in everything from learning about the IoT industry – it is the way of the future – to figuring out my value in a role that is human-centered. After that, as a venturer, I am going to continue searching for ways to help other organizations scale, so I’ll be sticking around the startup scene for a while.
Nick: My career aspirations are to build and develop Amatis Controls into a stable, cash flow positive company, and then down the line, start my own IoT based company out of Detroit.
What impact do you hope to have on Amatis?
Rana: With IoT or other tech-focused companies, it’s easy to lose track of the human element. I hope to be able to ensure that now and long after I am gone, Amatis prioritizes people above all else, and that our customers never question it.
Nick: My goal is to get Amatis Controls to a point where our brand is generating customers for us.
What are you up to when you’re not working?
Rana: Spending quality time with other VFA fellows as we discover the Motor City – checking out new restaurants, attending community events, and hanging out in Eastern Market.
Nick: In my free time, I’m playing guitar or prototyping different IoT ideas. Don’t tell anybody this, but every blue moon, you might catch me at a metal or punk concert.
What did you learn in your first week?
Rana: The biggest thing I learned was about how to communicate and work with a remote team – different time zones are no joke.
Nick: The Amatis Controls mesh network design that is used by our components. It’s amazing how the complex algorithms used can be so seamless for an installer and provide one hell-of-a simple user experience.