ZAG’s focus on providing agribusinesses with the best possible managed IT services and consulting is more than 20 years in the making. The market is based on building relationships, understanding the unique challenges that agribusinesses have, and remaining proactive and agile through increasing risks to an organization’s bottom line. But most of all: It’s about protecting the food supply chain.
That’s what ZAG Business Strategist Dave McCary views as his biggest focus at ZAG.
Dave has more than 15 years of experience creating and fostering relationships with agribusinesses across the Western United States through ongoing IT consulting and managed services. With significant expertise in guiding clients through the transition from IT as a cost center to IT as a competitive advantage, Dave sees his role as that of a broker, introducing clients to the high levels of customer service and support that ZAG offers.
Here’s a look at Dave’s history and how he got his start in the tech world:
When did you get started in the industry?
In 2004, I got a job at AT&T working in their warehouse for their business-to-business sales team. This was when they became Cingular Wireless, and then AT&T again. After that experience, I knew I didn’t want to work for a large, publicly-traded company again. But this experience led me to an interview with another managed services provider, which helped kick off my career in IT.
Why did you decide to join ZAG?
Working for an MSP, I specialized in growing the relationships between our company and agribusinesses, and I loved the work I did to help protect the nation’s food supply. When I was ready to move on, I spent a year hunting all over the United States to find the best IT company for produce companies. I had a long list of criteria to make the move: They needed to be experienced in the industry, to have worked with produce companies of different sizes, strong ethical standards, a mission to empower the client, to nurture long-term relationships, and be run by people who cared about the success of their employees and clients as much as the company’s success. ZAG was the only company that checked all those boxes.
What are the responsibilities you have in your role at ZAG?
I’ve spent 15 years working in the produce industry, which is a unique niche market. My job is to bring the relationships I’ve made over the years and the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my career and broker the meeting with produce companies to introduce them to the level of service that ZAG brings to the table.
What are some of the biggest challenges that agribusinesses have right now?
In the realm of IT, the challenge is shifting the business culturally from IT from being seen as a cost center to that of a competitive advantage. Technology can truly make a difference in how profitable and resilient produce companies are in the long run.
What do you enjoy most about this industry?
What I’ve enjoyed the most are the people – people who work in family owned, multi-generational companies, there’s a realness there that you don’t get when you walk into a traditional corporate environment. Another part about working in produce that I really enjoy: No one is building a statue of me when I’m dead, I want what I do to matter. Every day I get to work in the industry, I get to be a part of feeding the world. And that’s a purpose I can get behind.
Share a piece of professional advice that you’ve received that stands out.
My favorite piece of advice came from my first sales training, a Dale Carnegie course. The instructor, a salesman in his late 50s, said, “I never need a company to sign a deal with me. If they don’t sign, someone else will; I’m just going to give them the opportunity.” It took me many years to get to a place where I felt that embedded in me. It’s my approach to every meeting. I don’t need them to buy something; I’m there to help however I can.
And for some more personal questions.
Do you have any hobbies or interests you’d like to share?
I’m a lifelong keyboard player and played in bands through my 30s. I even moved to Nashville for a while. When my kids are older, I fully intend to join a Dad Band.
Do you have any pets?
Three dogs and a cat: A Boston terrier named Bean, who loves to attack her toy dragon and snores loudly; a pit bull named Eva who likes to snuggle and snack; and Kai, who loves to wrestle with Bean and is super independent. Itty Bitty Kitty is the queen of the house.
What is the last good book you read or movie you watched?
I just finished Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, which was great fun. Now I’m reading American Gods.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
I would say, “Have as much fun as you possibly can and keep staying focused on love and laughter; it works out really well for you.”