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February Meet A Leader: Mark Dirks, Beacon Technologies

Describe your day job. I get to be the head coach of a very talented team of creative, technical and business professionals that enjoy working together to help other businesses successfully utilize web technology.  After working 15 years with big corporations, I am part of a team that gets to see the direct impact and value of our work on a daily basis.  It really doesn’t get any better than that for the last 22 years.

What’s going well for you and your team despite the challenges of the past year?  We are fortunate to be working in an industry, with customers, that require technology even more during the pandemic.  However, as a small business owner, it’s very tough, sad really, for me to see the struggle that some businesses are experiencing. 

I know first-hand how hard it is to start, run and maintain a company even without the recent challenges.  For Beacon, our customers are either colleges/universities around the country, multi-family property management companies or local Triad small businesses.  Although our Higher Ed customers are making significant adjustments due to COVID, fortunately, website design and online marketing are still critical for recruiting and communication.  Digital marketing for apartment complexes has continued to be vital as research and “visits” have become more virtual and also as people work more virtually, more are moving to new locations.

And out Beacon IT Services Team (“BITS”) has been extremely busy as our local customers re-work their technical infrastructure to support their customers and their work-from-home staff during the pandemic.  I was so, so proud of my team over the last year for many things – how my digital marketing team consulted so closely with our customers to not panic and continue to effectively leverage the web for their businesses, how my IT Services Team quickly pivoted to configure and get equipment to help all of our BITS customers adjust their businesses (requiring some on-site work) and how Beacon’s “team” culture shined to get us through everything.  It really is all about the people – the team.

What values are most important to you as a leader? I’ve always loved sports, as a player, a fan and a coach.  Business and sports are similar in that both require teamwork for success.  I’m the coach and the team looks to me for a winning game plan, which is primarily strategy, but also in terms of organization. 

Every player has a role and responsibilities for the team to succeed.  Some are superstars in key positions.  Some are in supporting roles, but they all must count on each other for the team to succeed.  To be a good coach, I must know my team – their strengths and weaknesses, who needs extra coaching and how each is motivated. I firmly believe success breeds success and I have found that members of a team respond better to praise when they know their position is important and contributes to the overall success.  

I left AT&T in 1998 to be closer to the results of my work, the gratification of seeing customers succeed from my team’s work.  That’s what we want – to see that others value what we do, and benefit from it.  So I focus on teamwork, or a “team culture”, which inherently requires mutual trust, hard work, good communication, valuing the collection of skills everyone brings, a winning game plan, work/life balance and strong relationships.  That’s how a small IT company wins, in my opinion.

Is there a cause important to you?  United Way of Greater Greensboro (esp Hospice), but also Weaving Hope, which I started a few years ago to build preschools in Nkuzuzu, Rwanda, a very rural community outside of Kigali.  Rwandan children that go to school (which are few) are nourished with both food and an education.  Check out

What are you reading or listening to? 

    • Radical Candor:  Be a Kick-ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott (I have all my managers read this)
    • Solve For Happy:  Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat
    • Moonwalking with Einstein:  The Art & Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer 

What are your top 3 ‘Most Used Apps’? FitBit, Yahoo Sports/Scores, Samsung Music  - I keep it simple and avoid getting lost in my phone. 

Favorite place to be in North Carolina.  Kure Beach or sitting at a Wake Forest game of any kind. 

Why invest time with NC TECH?  After 22 years running a small business, NC TECH is by far the best way to connect with other technical professionals across our big state – from the coast to the mountains.  Everyone is so busy and trying to manage their time efficiently. 

NC TECH allows you to learn from others and focus on what’s most important to you personally and/or your business… networking, recruiting, strategic planning, partnering, leadership growth, sharing ideas, learning from legitimate NC and national experts… and, yes, having a little fun too.


Interested in submitting a piece for the NC TECH blog?

Visit our Marketing Toolkit page for a submission form. Questions? Contact Rachel Kennedy.