In her almost 20 years at Hexagon, Mike Lane has traveled to about 50 countries to train customers, students, and employees on Hexagon software.
Along the way, she’s survived “countless cancelled and missed flights and trains, lost luggage, and rental car disasters.” But those inconveniences were minor compared to accidentally getting off a plane in the wrong country.
Lane was flying to Zambia, then to Italy, and finally to Sweden. “My itinerary was about 4 pages long, with so many layovers of planes, trains, and automobiles that I got mixed up on the fourth layover and got off a plane I was supposed to stay on to my final destination,” she said. “Imagine my surprise when I got through customs, but my bag was not at baggage claim, because it was on the plane that had just taken off, without me.”
She spent the day in Malawi, escorted by the head of Ethiopian Airlines. But she still arrived on time to teach her training course in Zambia, and she actually has fond memories of the experience. “It saved the company money as the hotel in Malawi was actually less expensive,” she said. “I got an extra stamp in my passport, and I have one heck of a story.”
History at Hexagon
Lane’s ability to turn problems into positives has served her well in her multiple roles at Hexagon, which have included quality assurance, customer education, pre-sales, support, and training. Her assignments have been based on three different continents — North America, Australia, and Europe — but now she’s back in the U.S. as the Global Education and Inside Sales Manager.
Among her duties are product management, organizing grants, curating and distributing curriculum, implementing partnerships to diversify Hexagon’s education customer base, and giving technical, hands-on training workshops. Jason Sims, Chief Commercial Officer of Hexagon’s Geospatial division, says that Lane is especially effective at teaching — which is fitting for an education manager.
“As a trainer, she quickly understood each individual in her classroom’s needs — and as she also developed the material, could quickly customize the experience to meet the attendee’s desired outcome,” Sims said. “Her time as a support manager allowed her to truly understand customer pain points, and work with the development teams to ensure a good outcome.”
But she’s also excellent at building relationships, he said, whether it means spending time with professors and students, attending education conferences, or mentoring her team. And if that’s not enough, Lane also manages to fit guest lecturing at universities into her schedule, which means — of course — even more travel.
Stories from the Road
Lane struggled to name a single favorite travel experience, but she said Capetown is high on her list of places to visit. “It has mountains and beautiful views, the coast, wineries… it is really amazing.”
One of her wildest trips, though, was a 6-week journey through Zagreb, Madrid, Brisbane, Ghent, Cambridge, and Moscow. Her purse and European identity card were stolen during the second week, so the Russian consulate in Brussels denied her Visa to go to Moscow.
As a result, 15 other people had to cancel their flights until Lane could make it to Russia, which happened 6 weeks later — but nearly didn’t when Lane’s flight was cancelled. “I was supposed to be in Moscow to teach Monday morning, and I was stuck in Brussels with no flight on Sunday afternoon,” she said. “They gave us two choices. One, to go the following day, same time. Not an option. Two, go to Amsterdam 3 hours away and fly out on the red-eye.”
Not a red-eye flight, though. The transportation to Belgium was a chartered bus, which broke down on the side of the road in the Netherlands around 6 p.m. Lane and the roughly 40 other travelers on the bus carried their luggage through a field to a second bus, which did make it to the airport.
Lane’s flight was supposed to leave at midnight, but it was delayed an hour. “I finally arrived to Moscow at about 5 a.m., was picked up and taken to a hotel, and had to teach photogrammetry — with a translator — to 15 people Monday starting at 9 a.m.,” Lane said.
But she recounts the ordeal with a smile, and a good attitude is just one of her many admirable qualities, according to Sims. “Her attention to details, follow-through on plans, and ability to quickly understand and connect with individuals has propelled her to success within this organization,” he said. “Hexagon is more successful because of her.”
When Lane has had free time in the past, she’s spent it “visiting as many countries as possible.” These days, she enjoys doing yoga and hiking. She lives in Colorado with her husband and a coterie of animals including a dog named Roxanne, a female cat called Hank, and backyard chickens (all named after female country singers). They plan to expand their “farm” soon.
But don’t expect her to give up visiting all corners of the globe. Lane won Hexagon’s 2018 Sales Outstanding Performance Award, but that’s not what drives her. “I think the greatest achievement is traveling and teaching in so many countries to so many people around the world,” she said. “The people and adventures are way more important to me than the award that sits on my desk.”