This month, as companies across the country celebrate customer support, we’re highlighting what sets our support team apart and introducing you to some of the smiling faces on the other end of the lines.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Mike Vidal, senior systems engineer, who’s been with Sonic Foundry since 1999.

Q: What do you like best about working at Sonic Foundry?

A: I really like the fact that our product is designed to facilitate communication in a wide variety of ways. Our products help people to learn and grow.

Q: What was your background prior to joining Sonic Foundry?
A: I was in broadcast for 12 years, behind the scenes. I held cameras and microphones, operated lights, did video editing and worked in the field. I covered a number of stories – shuttle launches -- everything you could imagine.

Mike graphic2Q: What sets our customer support team apart?
A: Our customer support team has a wide breadth of knowledge that you’re not going to find anywhere else. We know so many different aspects of the video industry, from servers and mics to cameras to video encoding to video streaming.

Q: What makes our customers unique?
A: They’re so diverse. I talk to people that run the gamut – from Nobel Prize winners to people that run small businesses. I don’t think a lot of other companies get to talk to so many different people with such a variety of missions – from young college students who are interning all the way to CEOs.

Q: When you’re not working, where can we find you?
A: When I’m not working, I’m pretty busy and have a number of hobbies. I’m a beekeeper on the side. I love going in my boat.

I’m into making things. I’m active in the local maker community here in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m learning how to do woodturning to make musical instruments, specifically flutes. I play flute very badly, but my fiancé is a flautist, so she’s going to help me. We’re going to start a small business on the side.

Q: What are you currently watching?
A: When I left broadcasting I had surrounded myself with television so much that I thought I would give it a break, and that break has continued. I don’t watch a lot of TV. I watch some YouTube videos and documentaries about machining. YouTube is a very interesting subculture. People are posting videos on YouTube, and they make a living that way. I find it very fascinating.

Q: What are you currently reading?
A: I just finished a book called American Luthier: Carleen Hutchins-The Art and Science of the Violin. She was a violin maker, and I found her story very inspiring because she did a lot of innovative things with her technical knowledge and combined it with artistic woodworking skills to really innovate in the violin-making field.

Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: Currently, Wonder Woman. I also always like Citizen Kane, the Godfather series and Star Wars.

Q: What’s a little known fact about you?
A: I’ve built a wooden 17-foot-long dory boat. And I play slide guitar.

Read about Steve Davis, lead hosting administrator, here
Read about Adam Snow, community manager, here.
Read about Justin Norman, customer experience manager, here.
Read about Ted Hoch, technical services manager, here