Employee spotlight: Mario Valentić

Employee spotlight: Mario Valentić

Officially, he is a Data Center Reliability Technician; unofficially, he is a chef specialized in traditional Slavonian dishes - read more about Mario Valentić, one of the oldest (by tenure!) members of our data center team in Sweden.

Reading Time10 min

Apart from our office team in Osijek, Barrage also has a team in Sweden - not everyone knows there are around 40 people diligently tending to our data centers. We proudly present one of them, Mario Valentić, who has been with us for four years. Take a look at how it is to live and work at -30°C.

Guide us through your history with Barrage - how did you first hear about the company and why did you decide to join?

I first heard about the Barrage company from a friend who was already working at Barrage at the time. Since I wasn't really satisfied with my current job and he talked about opportunities this company offers, it didn't take long for me to get interested into trying to become a member of this team. 

So in 2018, I was invited to an interview and I have been working here ever since.

What is your team like? How do you function now it’s grown in number? 

My team is great. I really enjoy working with them. We all get along, talk about assignments and solve the problems together which is very important. The team consists of men with different characters, traits and abilities that allow us to function as a whole. 

Now when we have grown in number, it's a bit more challenging but I noticed that although we don't know each other that well, at work we function as well as before, It's all about good organization and management.

Building a data center - done!

Building a data center - done!

What drew you to the Data Center Reliability Technician position? Have you always worked in such roles?

I was attracted to this position by the variety of tasks. I have never had the opportunity to show my creativity in solving problems before.

Every day at work is different, I rarely do the same things for two days in a row: one day I work with electricity, the next day I play around with the network, and then it’s time to reorganize the hardware because of electricity consumption and space. 

I’m also the shift leader which means I have to make sure that the colleagues are familiar with the tasks and that everything is done properly and on time. In addition to that, I have to communicate with clients from time to time.

Another interesting aspect of this position is the life here in Sweden - besides the very low temperatures (up to -35°C), it can be tricky to get used to the fact that we have six months of day and six months of night. When you add working in shifts to this, it’s super easy to lose track of time. After some time, you are no longer certain whether it’s morning or night and some colleagues felt it more than others. But on the plus side, you can have a barbecue at midnight while it’s day outside! 

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I would be a professional fisherman and record my own fishing shows.

What is the best career lesson you have learned so far? 

The best career lesson I have learned so far is the one from my father when I started my first job: always do your best!

Before working at Barrage, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

The most unusual job I have ever had was a controller in public transportation. The job wasn’t physically demanding but it was psychologically because people don’t like to be caught red handed. I’ve been in a number of unpleasant situations even though I tried for most of the misdemeanors to pass without a fine. Also, the morning shift used to start at 4 AM which was also very demanding. 

How do you balance your career at Barrage and friends & family?

Thanks to a modern technology it is not hard to stay in touch with friends and family while working far away from home although technology cannot replace live contact.

If you could switch your job with anyone else within Barrage for a day, whose job would you want?

If you could switch my job with anyone else within Barrage for a day, I would choose somebody from the frontend team. I was always interested in frontend development and I have some experience but I always worked solo, never as a part of a team.

What is your personal philosophy?

My personal philosophy is: don't think too much about what could have been or should be, just deal with problems as they come. In most situations in life so far, this proved to be a good motto.

What are your top three life highlights (things that happened which influenced your life the most)?

My top three life highlights are: joining the army at the age of 18, becoming a husband at 26 and becoming a father for the first time (out of three) at 28.

What do you like to do on your days off, both when you are in Sweden and at home?

On my days off at home, I like to play board games with my wife and friends and go on trips with my family. As for the days off in Sweden, I like to cook and exercise and hang out with the rest of the team. We usually eat together, play cards, watch sports, and go to team buildings - although, now that we grew in number, we have less of those.

Team building in 2020

Team building in 2020

What is your hidden talent?

My hidden talent was cooking but now in Sweden it's not so hidden anymore. I enjoy making traditional Slavonian dishes such as fiš, čobanac, sarma, grah, barbecue and the guys I work with like them the most. Since these dishes are traditional, we have to bring a lot of ingredients from Croatia - homemade ground pepper, pig fat, homemade smoked bacon, carp (since we can’t get any here at in Sweden).

BBQ preparations

BBQ preparations

What's your favorite line from a movie, show, or a book?

“Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you gonna get.” This one is from Forrest Gump.

What’s the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

The best place I have travelled to is Iceland because of it's indescribable beauty of nature. I went there in 2020 on business with a colleague and I have an anecdote to share: I spoke English at every place we visited so of course, when I had a question for a cashier, I asked it in English, only to get a response in fluent Croatian. She recognized the crest of our football club on my sweat suit.

Black sand beach in Vik, Iceland

Black sand beach in Vik, Iceland

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would like to learn how to sail a ship. I absolutely adore the sea and the idea of sailing a ship sounds very exciting.

Do you have an “office” nickname? What is it?

Yes, I have an office nickname, it's Deda (Grandpa). I got that nickname when I first went to Sweden since I was the oldest one there at that time and the nickname kind of stuck.

How did you earn your first pocket money? 

I earned my first pocket money as a child by selling some comic books out of my collection.

What is the last joke you recall?

A man bought two dogs. He named them One and Two. One escaped, he has two left. (My son told me that one last time I was at home.)

What is one thing you will never do again?

I think I would never wear an earring again.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

If I won the lottery, I would first pay off the house loan.

Meet the rest of the team!

We love having people like Mario in our collective. Driven individuals are the ones that build the motivational culture we nurture at Barrage.

If you would like to be a part of that culture and get to know the rest of our team, check out our open positions.