If you work at your business long enough, you’ll probably have the good fortune to meet someone who truly reinforces your love for what you do.
I met Mark Valenziano in Minneapolis last fall, while attending a conference.
He’s a very passionate speaker and he’s very good at it. He’s also blind, having lost his vision as a teenager. Recently, he sold his business to concentrate on motivational speaking. I can say, without hesitation, that here at MoboTrex, we’ve benefited from his decision.
Mark told his story of how he lost his vision and how he’s overcome this loss in his life. After his presentation, I asked if he had ever used the type of audible pedestrian signals (APS) that MoboTrex installs at signalized intersections.
These audible units had saved his life many times.
His face lit up. He said these audible units had saved his life many times. They’ve helped him feel more free and independent, as he doesn’t have to have someone with him all the time when he’s in a neighborhood that employs these units. He was quite excited to talk about them and understand the technology – where they come from and where they’re headed – because he’d like every intersection to have them.
I was able to secure Mark as a keynote speaker for a user group recently and he helped create an experience for MoboTrex customers.
At the conference, he set up a crosswalk that included an audible pedestrian unit. You could hear the “beep, beep, beep” that is the guide to help you find the button and push it. The unit talks to you and sends a message that you’re going to cross the street, and which direction you’re headed. On the other side of the intersection, there’s a beeping button. That’s your target to walk toward.
Participants wore safety glasses that had been scratched up with sandpaper inside and out. You could tell if it was light or dark out, and that’s about it. It really helped us understand what it’s like to be visually impaired. It was a powerful experience and gave us all a different perspective.
Most of our customers are in the traffic control business and deal with broken traffic signals or new construction. They might deal with a list of equipment to install or fix. So, to actually experience what it’s like to be visually impaired and why we’re implementing these units, was an important experience for all of us. And it’s always good to know how you help people.
We’re proud to install these units from Polara, which is the leading APS manufacturer. They really are pioneers – everybody has copied them. These units are being implemented all over the country. But there are still many large communities that have yet to install any.
It’s on the horizon. There’s an agency working toward mandating APS units be installed on all new and modified intersections.
We come to work and solve problems, and it’s really powerful for most people to be able to personalize their efforts.
Mark’s presentation really spoke to why we do what we do. We come to work and solve problems, and it’s really powerful for most people to be able to personalize their efforts. We’re proud to make intersections safer and work better for Mark and others with visual impairments.
Mark discussed how scary it is at an intersection that doesn’t have one of these units – with nothing to guide you. His presentation and the exercise really convinced us. It’s a message of both safety and independence.
Mark has an interesting way to deal with the uncertainty that blindness has created in his life. He visualizes success. He calls it his “inner movie.” So, he wrote his own script. That’s the motivational part of his speech that has inspired us and virtually anyone who hears him speak.
After participating in our visual impairment exercise, our customers and employees talked a lot about the experience. They told me I hit a home run by securing Mark as a speaker.
After Mark slugged it out of the park, I agree.
Learn more about Mark at http://markvalenziano.com/
-Joel Wright, President & CEO, MoboTrex