This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Didi Marquez, who works at NetMotion’s headquarters in Seattle. Didi handles Facilities, R&D procurement, event planning and special projects. She affectionately calls her role “cat wrangling.”
Having been with NetMotion since 2009, Didi has seen massive growth at the company. But despite the changes, Didi says she enjoys her role because it allows her to interact with people from every department.
She likes the fact that she doesn’t work in a silo, but since she has her hands in so many pots, it can be challenging to prioritize what to do first. Didi also jokingly says that the most difficult part of her job is trying to get people to pick up after themselves in the kitchen.
In ‘normal’ years, Didi helps plan things like NetMotion’s summer picnics and holiday parties, and manages all of the celebrations for the R&D team when products are released. She also coordinates the logistics for all of the annual Sales Kick-Off meetings and President’s Club trips.
Twice in the past 10 years NetMotion has held its SKO in Austin, Texas. It’s one of Didi’s favorite locations because the team gets to enjoy fun activities like a night out to watch an 80s cover band The Spazmatics, going out for a games night, and even incorporating community service into our events. Everyone has a great time there.
Business as usual, just different
There’s no denying that it’s been a crazy few months for employees. For Didi, the shift to working from home has been very positive. Even with two boys (12 and 14) at home every day, being old enough to do schoolwork independently has been a silver lining.
Her older son, Logan, was able to do his homework through Google Classroom, so she describes it as a fairly easy transition. For her younger son, Quinn, who was in 5thgrade, it was a little more difficult because he first had to learn how to use Google Classroom and figure out where to look for homework assignments.
Didi and her husband, Todd, have been sharing an office in their basement since March, when everyone started working from home. Initially, she wasn’t sure how it would work out, but now says that she likes the arrangement. Todd is from Hawaii, so they listen to Hawaiian music on the radio while they work, and get to take breaks together throughout the day. The only minor gripe is when they both occasionally have a call at the same time.
Mom and coach
Outside work, Didi jokes that all of her time is spent with her boys, often working on one of their biggest hobbies, robotics. Logan, her oldest son, started competing with VEX IQ robotics as an after-school program when he was in 5th grade. In that first year, his team qualified for the state championship and were just one point away from qualifying for the world championships. The following year, her younger son, Quinn, joined as well. Both teams qualified for state, and Quinn’s team won the Elementary School Excellence Award, which qualified them for the world competition.
After the robotics coach moved to another school, Didi and some of the other parents took over the coaching role in 2018. This time, Quinn’s team won the STEM Research Video award, and went on to win the STEM Research Award at the world championship. In the 2019 season, both boys’ teams qualified for worlds, but the event this year was cancelled due to you-know-what.
The NetMotion connection
When Didi and the other parents took over as coaches, they also had to host tournaments for the local robotics events in Washington. This required monitors, LCD projectors, iPads, and laptop to run the tournament manager software.
NetMotion had a lot of this equipment already, and since they were about to be replaced, the company donated it to the group. Meanwhile, a couple of NetMotion employees also got involved. Laurie Woolworth volunteered to judge the middle school STEM research videos, and Logan’s team interviewed NetMotion’s very own data scientist, Tridib Dutta to learn how “Robotics, Machine Learning, and AI can Improve Weather Forecasting.”
What many people may not know about Didi is her very competitive nature (although anyone at NetMotion who’s seen her go all-out to win the best Halloween costume knows!!!). So, when she’s not busy with her boys’ school activities like robotics, soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross country, musicals and piano lessons, she can be found attending big events like the Emerald City Comic Con, Geek Girl Con, and Comic-Con in San Diego.
That competitive streak started at a young age. After graduating college, she took up fencing and figure skating, but decided to give up fencing because she didn’t have time to do both sports well.
She says that was a good choice because she ultimately became Adult Gold Ladies National Champion at the 2000 US Figure Skating Association championships. She stopped skating after getting married but started entering triathlons after her first son was born.
And we’ve only just scratched the surface. Didi, thank you for wrangling all of us cats. We couldn’t do it without you!