Scuba Diving Biologist Turned Marketer | Meet Matt O’Donnell, Inbound Specialist


Outside of work Matt is most likely to be spending his time in the great outdoors. He has always enjoyed fishing, hiking, skiing, and seeking out live music of any genre, as long as it is outside.

What brought you to Launch?

I was considering making a career move to marketing and came across Launch when looking for job openings in Rochester. I saw the types of industries and companies that we work with and thought it would be a perfect transition from my current experience in engineering-driven organizations.

Immediately after leaving my interview I knew I wanted to work here. Witnessing the collaborative working environment in action at Launch Team made me excited to start working with the experienced team members and get a change of pace from my previous position on the clean room floor.

What is something interesting about background/where are you from?

I come from the “Stereotypical Suburbs” of Syracuse, New York. I had a huge and close family, eating Sunday dinners together every week. I was always raised with the idea that family is #1.

What about your interest in biology and the sciences? What influenced this?

My 10th grade biology teacher inspired me to pursue the subject. I have loved animals and nature all my life, but it was this teacher who really showed me that my passion for animals could be a field of study and eventually turn into a career.

What are some of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role?

The challenges and rewarding parts of my job are really one in the same. The marketing side of things is mostly new to me, having never worked in an agency, so getting comfortable in my role and understanding what all our clients do has been a learning curve. I’m happy that I now work with people who have been in marketing for a long time, giving me the opportunity to learn new things every day.

I spend a lot of my time writing technical content and blogs. Remembering that I am writing from a client’s perspective rather than my own is one of the harder things to get accustomed to, but I’m getting there.

What is it like moving from the engineering side of the industries we serve to the marketing/business side of things? Anything you weren’t expecting?

It might be too early to tell as I have only worked on a few projects so far, but I had very few expectations, because I didn’t really know what to expect in my day-to-day. The transition from hands-on work and troubleshooting with engineers to working collaboratively in an office setting has been a big change. At Launch I get to talk to more people in a professional setting, and rather than talking to other engineers in the clean room about one product, I get to speak with multiple business owners of various products. I am looking forward to having more professional conversations with clients about growing their business and collaborating with them to help them achieve their goals.

How has your experience working with engineers affected your role at Launch?

With my experience in engineering processes and product development, I have a good understanding of how to communicate effectively with engineers. Engineers and scientists want direct and to-the-point answers without extra ‘fluff’, and I have learned over the years how to deliver that effectively. I am especially excited about talking to our clients because they are passionate about what they do, and the passion is contagious. Their high-level of care and passion for the business will inspire me to put my all into helping solve their business challenges.

What did you want to be when you were younger? Does that translate into anything you do today?

I really wanted to be a marine biologist. Sharks are my favorite animals. I ended up studying general biology instead to understand the broader topic. However, I didn’t give up on my passion for marine biology. I got a scuba certification a few years back, and went scuba diving in Mexico. I haven’t been since, but I would like to soon! There’s nothing like being weightless deep under water with marine life all around you.

What project are you most excited about?

I’m really excited to see the Launch Team website project completed (we’re currently working on updating our site). I like that it’s a project everyone can participate in—I like hearing input from everyone in the office and seeing what that turns into. I am also excited about working on some new client projects.

Although you have expertise in your area, we are always learning new things and keeping up to date. What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned recently?

I have been doing a lot of SEO research, and I have learned so much about website rankings and Google’s algorithm. It helps to understand this process when developing content for clients and ourselves.

Favorite hobbies?

Fishing, skiing, spending time on the lake, and  just being outside as much as possible. I have been running a lot lately to train for a race. I’m racing in the Boiler Maker, a 15k. The run is certainly difficult, but it helps to know that there is an unlimited beer party where the race ends at the Saranac brewery.

What brings out your inner geek?

Only the greatest show ever: Game of Thrones (though the final season was a bit disappointing) I have never been into a movie or show like I have with GoT. I’m also a crazy sports fan. I follow almost all sports, almost all seasons. I like the Redskins, Syracuse basketball, the Mets, and Canadians for Hockey.

Want to meet more of Launch Team? See the rest of our Meet the Team posts here!