Meet the team: Introducing Mark Smethurst

Meet Mark, our Fieldwork Operations Manager. Mark describes his role as being "responsible for field work, the CATI unit and occasional minor miracles"!

How long have you worked at Swift?

Mark: Over 18 years, in 2 separate stints

How did you get into a job in market research in the first place?

Mark: My first 'proper' job was as an administrative assistant in the Field Department at Swift Research. At the time I had very little knowledge of market research or that a career could be carved out within the industry. I was just appreciative of a job, whatever it was doing!

It wasn't until I left Swift Research (and the country) that I started to think about a career and my long-term options. Upon returning from my travels I was offered the opportunity to return to Swift as a Project Coordinator. I jumped at the chance and haven't looked back... although there's a small part of me that wishes I was still away travelling.

What do you love most about your job?

Mark: Problem solving. It's rare that a project will pan out exactly as planned. There's regularly some form of unforeseen circumstance or issue that crops up to test you; last minute client requests to accommodate, handling a delay in fieldwork, managing resources to accommodate a 'fast turn-around' ad-hoc test... the list is endless! However, it's finding the solutions to manage these challenges in order to still reach our goals and attain the results required which really makes the job that little bit more interesting.

What can you see on your desk right now?

Mark: Other than my phone, keyboard, screen and mouse, not a lot. We operate a clear desk policy as an important security and privacy control measure but it's also easier to keep a clear head if your desk and work area is clear and organised.

What should Swift be most proud of in your eyes?

Mark: Swift should be most proud of the team we have and the way we work. We have experienced and knowledgeable individuals in all areas of the business who are willing, capable and dedicated to achieving the best results for our clients. Our culture and values truly embody this; we're passionate about what we do, proactive in making things happen and dedicated to the partnerships we create.

What do you have to do tomorrow?

Mark: I'm not in work tomorrow, I'm off to Portugal for a long weekend to visit a friend who has set up a forest school over there.

What are you having for your lunch today?

Mark: Nothing because today is a 'fasting day'. There have been several studies over the past few years which suggest that intermittent fasting results in a number of health benefits. If it's good enough for Dr Michael Mosely then it's good enough for me! I'll no doubt make up for it tomorrow though...

What's the most memorable project you've worked on at Swift?

Mark: Over the years I have been involved in many different types of projects. My wife is amazed by the variety of projects we work on and especially the varying types of products we test - ranging from fabric conditioner to incontinence pads. However, nothing quite prepared her for the occasion when I informed her that we were conducting a condom taste test and an in-home usage test of vaginal tightening cream. Insight is undeniably sought after for everything!