WEX Marketing Analyst Barry Barker is passionate about data and uncovering the stories that numbers can tell. His path to this passion was somewhat unintentional. After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in business, he took a job with an international automotive parts manufacturer located in Tulsa. Barry worked with the sales team, looking at sales data and performance metrics to help identify opportunities.
“When I started my career in 2005, big data was just coming into fruition,” notes Barry. “Being able to look at these huge data sets and find the trends and stories behind the numbers really captured my interest. All of that raw data can just look like noise at first. I like to dig in, plug away at it and try to make sense of the noise.”
Once on the data analytics career path, Barry didn’t look back. After 10 years honing his skills in Tulsa, he decided it was time to return to New England and hoped to find a job in his home state of Maine. The work he’d done in the automotive industry had put WEX on his radar, and when he started seriously looking for his next career opportunity, he knew WEX was where he wanted to be.
Barry Makes the Move to WEX
The interview process for his role as marketing analyst was memorable for Barry and telling of his eventual experience as a WEXer. He initially had some phone interviews and worked with one of our HR reps who he remembers as “the most thoughtful person I’ve ever talked to in HR.” She would send him follow-up emails throughout the entire process, and Barry says that even though he wasn’t an employee, it felt like she was actually working for him.
Barry made the trip to our South Portland headquarters from Tulsa for in-person meetings, and was struck by the company vibe as soon as he came through the front door. “From a visual branding perspective, it felt like a hip, cool company with all the big, bold colors and the giant WEX sign that greets you,” he observed. That initial impression was strengthened as he went on to meet his future manager and team.
“In addition to meeting the woman who would be my immediate manager, I sat with two members of the team who walked me through what they do on a daily basis,” remembers Barry. “I’d never been to an interview like that before – having the chance to meet informally with potential colleagues. It really felt like they were also making sure that this was the job that I wanted.”
Since joining the company 2.5 years ago, Barry has been part of a growing data analytics team that supports the marketing and sales functions for our North American Fleet business. In that role, he works on a variety of projects, from identifying opportunities to improve the customer experience and increase business with existing partners to finding and qualifying leads for the sales team. One of his recent projects involves data analysis of results for close to 1 million mail pieces sent out to current and prospective customers – a real example of cutting through the “noise” of big data to find the story.
Barry notes that his work as an analyst isn’t all about looking at numbers and seeing patterns. A firm understanding of the business can be equally important to an accurate and reliable interpretation. He observes that the data can guide you toward the answers, with industry knowledge helping to explain data trends or anomalies that otherwise could be misconstrued. With more than 13 years in the automotive industry, Barry has a solid knowledge base to draw on and he says his WEX manager is always available to provide additional market insight.
One of the things Barry loves about WEX culture is the focus on innovation. Recently, his team was tasked with delivering new reporting tools that go beyond the standard excel bar graphs and pie charts. Using new technology, his team now delivers live data charts where the user can click on objects to drill down for more information. With these new tools, he says they can give partners either a 30,000-foot-view or an up-close look at their data analysis all in one presentation.
If you’re interested in hearing more from Barry about his passion for numbers and his experience at WEX, take a look at his video profile.