Rob Hagen gives "The Most Interesting Man in the World" a run for his money. In this employee spotlight, he speaks about his passions in music and how that translates into the job he does with 75F today. You wouldn’t think music would relate to operations, but it’ll surprise you. Read on to get to know our Operations Specialist extraordinaire!
What wakes you up in the morning?
“My alarm clock”, everyone is very literal about this question. So, I gave him another chance to be poetic. He said, “The sun.”
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
"As an Operations Specialist, you wear a lot of different hats. I’m managing our data warehouse, physical product, physical warehouses, firing up the soldering iron and electrical bits, as well. There are many challenges everyday, especially at a startup. I enjoy solving problems. It doesn’t have to be specific task but, anytime there’s something in our way, I enjoy tackling that and solving the obstacle."
What’s unique about your role?
"It’s the fact that I get to do something different every day. Fulfilling product for customers and making them happy, tracking down issues with our supply chain, or opening up a product and figuring out what’s wrong on the circuit board. It’s all solving problems but it’s always different."
What’s exciting about 75F?
"The fast pace environment, but what’s really cool here is that we have a lot of fun with it. Sort of the work hard, play hard culture. It’s a good and exciting balance."
What is your personal life goal or dream?
He jokes, “Peace, love and understanding. If it were to manifest itself in a physical way, the saying “work hard, play hard” is a part of it. I want to work really hard while I’m young, and then I can retire and do the things I love."
What are your hobbies?
“I live, sleep, eat, and breath music when I’m not at 75F and that has been true for 20-25 years and that probably won’t change. Oh, and I also like to camp.”
Some of Rob’s interests outside of work involve cooking and playing instruments, such as the drums and piano. He works as a producer and recording engineer. He has worked on several projects and some of which have gotten really big. He has worked with amazing talents locally and nationally. He says, “I love making my own, but I love helping people achieve their music ideas.”
We know Rob is musically talented but, what is he creating?
"I’ve worked on everything from country records to rock 'n’ roll and hip hop. I grew up listening to Mo-Town, jazz, and The Beatles. I like to do Rock 'n’ Roll or Indie Rock. I’ve also played in jazz and jazz/hip hop bands."
I also asked Rob to name drop any musicians or talent we may know. He humbly mentions that he worked with artists and speakers from Lizzo and Bon Iver to Grammy Award winning opera singer Sylvia McNair and President Obama. One of his favorites was doing sound for Minniejean Brown as a keynote speaker. If you’re not familiar with Minniejean Brown, in 1957, she was one of the members of the 'Little Rock Nine' – a group of nine African American students who integrated Little Rock Central High School.
He went on to explain that when you’ve been in the industry long enough, you get to meet amazing people and do some interesting things.
As he recollected his experiences to me, I can agree that he has met many interesting people, and I’m slightly jealous.
Check out some of Rob's music. The first track of this album also features our Remote Support Lead, Matt Mulheran.
Is there anything we can expect from you in the future?
“Greatness. Expect greatness. As far as 75F, you can expect a lot more business intelligence and data analytics. I really like working with numbers so this is really fun stuff that is coming in the near future.”
Through my interview with Rob, I noticed he has a very pronounced duality in interest. I knew Rob had a very heavy music background and to be an Operations Specialist seemed to be a huge jump. I see music as a very creative, emotionally driven art form and if I were to see music, I’d relate it to colors. This is when I learned that Rob has a degree in physics and music. He says the two topics actually mesh really well together.
Weird concept, right?
He goes on to explain that music has patterns, just like the ones you’d see in math. There’s a lot of complex organization to a simple folk song. Physics, business, and technology don’t seem to be creative outlets, but Rob finds his creative expression in these fields. Creativity isn’t just creating content that is categorized as art but it’s thinking out of the box. Rob mirrored this by stating “I think there’s a clean crossover from the creative side in music… to numbers or data. And I think the structure in data you find in music too.”
What's next for 75F?
"I would hope success and think everyone is focused on success. Not in terms of numbers but in terms of changing our planet and helping save our planet. I hope we continue to be a part of the big change in carbon emissions and carbon capture, so changing that going forward is probably one of the biggest things we could do as a company. And I think we’re in a good position to do that."