Vix Employee Spotlight – Nick Halden, Head of Solutions Americas
13 October 2022, USA
Next up in Vix’s Employee Spotlight series is Nick Halden, Head of Solutions Americas.
Nick is a passionate and motivated professional with 14 years of experience at Vix. From solution design and quality assurance, to operational deployment and management of complex transit fare payment systems, he is a natural leader who excels in project delivery, technology processes, and security.
Read on to learn more about Nick.
How long have you been with Vix?
I started as a contractor to Vix (ERG Transit Systems) in Aug-2008 working on our original EFC project with UTA in Salt Lake City.
How did you get your start here at Vix?
The solution architect on the UTA project at the time (Matt Smith) is a personal friend, and he encouraged me to apply for an open Quality Assurance role. I had no QA experience outside of a bit of computer programming in college. I was told later that I didn’t give the best interview, but that they decided to give me an opportunity to prove myself.
Tell us about your current role.
I’m currently working as part of a small, dedicated sales team in North America focused on winning our next Pulse customers in North America. We just presented to UTA for their new integrated EFC system, and if we win I’ll go back to my roots there to work as the Lead Engineer on that project.
What would you say drives you?
I am increasingly opposed to single occupancy vehicle (SOV) travel, especially in big cities where traffic increases as the population grows. There is simply no more efficient way to reduce traffic and move individuals to a more sustainable solution than mass transit.
What is your favorite thing about working in transit?
I love that our solutions support transit agencies in providing this integral service to riders, and I love being able to point to our solutions and say, albeit only in a small way, “I helped build that!”
How do you envision the future of transit payments?
I’m eternally optimistic that we can enable better, more convenient contactless solutions that are equitable and inclusive for unbanked and cash-preferred customers and also reduce the need for agencies to collect cash on buses. With 40% of DART riders still paying cash despite great (Vix) GoPass Tap and EMV support as well as the Unwire GoPass app, I don’t think we’ve quite figured out how to thread that needle.
What does success look like for Vix in your view?
I would love to see us become better able to consistently deliver Pulse at scale on the timelines that we commit to our customers. I don’t think our competitors do this any better than we do, but all the more reason why we should be particularly incentivized to continue to improve at this. I am thrilled that we are driving hard to launch Pulse in Edmonton and Phoenix in the next couple of months, and I hope to delight our next Pulse customer with an even faster delivery timeline.
What are some of the changes you have seen here at Vix since you started?
I’ve been glad to see the recent uplift in our CSAT scores, pointing to improvements in our ability to operate our systems and meet our contractual SLAs. We have certainly had periods of strong operations capability in the past, but I’m a big believer that customer service should always be a key focus area where we strive to be more proactive.
What’s something that has surprised you about your chosen career path?
I was initially excited to join because I thought the technology was really cool: complex distributed systems including remotely managed devices, innovative payment methods, and multiple back office integrations. I can’t say I would have predicted to be at Vix over a decade later, but I love working with our customers and delivering solutions with real value to agencies and riders alike.
What book or TV show currently has you hooked?
Book: I recently finished the Broken Earth trilogy (N.K. Jemisin) which was great
TV show: Sandman. I love the original graphic novels and thought the adaptation for TV was pretty great.
Movie: if you haven’t seen Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, drop everything and check it out.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Buy low, sell high: humorous (I think) advice from my High School English teacher on the eve of our graduation. If only it were that easy…
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time with my three year old daughter or biking all over the greater Seattle region.