Meet Heidi McDonnell: New Product Marketing Manager at RouteSmart

Hailing from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Heidi McDonnell takes the reins as our new product marketing manager helping to create a buzz about the innovative and revolutionary new products and services RouteSmart continues to roll out to its clients.

Heidi McDonnell

The Minnesota-native most recently worked as a product marketing manager for and OmniTracs and brings her diverse skill set to our growing organization with many years of experience as a product marketing manager in the logistics and transportation sector. She holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas – Opus College of Business in Minneapolis, Minn. Heidi began at RouteSmart in April.

One of the main objectives Heidi will be focusing on is the rollout of RouteSmart Online for the waste and recycling industry. Heidi will be working to align our sales, marketing, and product management teams to make sure we are ready to debut new products and features to our clients and partners. You may have already seen Heidi at Waste Expo, and she’s expected to attend several other conferences and tradeshows this year. Make sure to say hi if you see her!

Outside of the “office,” Heidi enjoys hiking in Minnesota’s state parks, traveling, and playing chauffeur for her kids and attending all their sporting events.

We took a few moments to sit down with Heidi and learn more about her background and goals for her role at RouteSmart.

Q. What is the most memorable thing you’ve learned in your years as a product marketing manager working in the transportation and logistics industry?

A. I have always had respect for over the road drivers, working in the industry during Covid brought more attention to the men and women who were responsible for making sure our stores had food and hospitals got the medicine and supplies they needed.

My role as a product marketing manager really taught me more about empathy. I learned what those men and women sacrificed to be on the road. Some didn’t get to see their families at night, they missed their kids’ baseball games or an anniversary dinner with their spouse.

I care about our customers; I do want to help make their lives better. If there is something our company provides that can help them in any way, I want to show them that and help where we can.

Q. How will RouteSmart Online be a game changer in the waste and recycling industry?

RouteSmart Online has a streamlined and simplified workflow that will help increase the speed of someone being able to jump in and get to work, saving time to focus on the things that matter, running their business. RouteSmart Online allows specific functionality, like map printing and moving of containers, tasks can be delegated to people in the company with local operational knowledge instead of having to rely on the route planning staff, who may be at a remote location, to do all of the work and data cleansing.

The game changer with RouteSmart Online is that fact that smaller haulers with 1, 5, 10, 15 trucks will be able to access sophisticated routing software. With RouteSmart Online everyone, no matter the size of their fleet, will be able to have unlimited use, assign user permissions, and update their routes on a daily basis.

The game changer with RouteSmart Online is that fact that smaller haulers with 1, 5, 10, 15 trucks will be able to access sophisticated routing software. With RouteSmart Online everyone, no matter the size of their fleet, will be able to have unlimited use, assign user permissions, and update their routes on a daily basis.

Q. How do you plan to leverage your attendance at conferences and tradeshows to generate buzz and drive the adoption of RouteSmart’s products and services?

The best thing I can do is meet and talk to as many customers and prospective customers as I can. The more I can learn from them about how they operate, the better I connect the dots of how we can help support them. Also, being able to show people our products so they can start to visualize how it will work in their operations is so valuable.

I also have a secret weapon, our sales and product teams. The knowledge and dedication they have to improve our products and support our customers is beyond what I have seen in past companies. They are authentic, trustworthy, and truly want to build solid relationships.

Q: In your opinion, what sets RouteSmart apart from its competitors in terms of product innovation and customer value? How do you plan to highlight these differentiators in your marketing efforts?

I believe it is the people. I haven’t worked for a company where there are so many people that have been there for 15 + years. RouteSmart has earned a reputation for being an honest and trustworthy company that creates sophisticated routing products. There is so much knowledge and dedication to the routing discipline and the industries we serve that I feel so grateful they chose me to join them.

I love being in marketing, to be able to reach out to people and share the great work we are doing is exciting. The best way to highlight the great work happening at RouteSmart is to share it in a variety of ways. Sharing news of new products and capabilities at tradeshows and conferences is a great way to connect to a lot of people. But not everyone attends shows so we need to be able to connect with people where they are, that could be via email, social media, or our website. Customer stories are also a great way to highlight not only the work of RouteSmart but that of our customers. Our customers are doing some really cool things, I think it is important to highlight those accomplishments.

Q: If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be and why?

My superpower would be teleporting. How cool would it be to pack for vacation, snap your fingers and be wherever you want in an instant? No more driving to and waiting at the airport and then flying to your destination. You get there faster and get to spend more time having fun.

Heidi, second from left, with her family at Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Mo.

Q: What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever tried and actually enjoyed?

I tried a lot of new food when I travelled to Australia, some of the most memorable and delicious were camel, shark, crocodile, and kangaroo. It took me a while to take my first bite of kangaroo, I felt like I shouldn’t be eating it. I had just seen one hopping along the side of the road earlier that day. Kangaroo in Australia are like deer in Minnesota, they are all over the place and people eat them. Just hard to wrap my head around that at first.

Q: If you could travel back in time and have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I would have dinner with Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. I think he would be fun to grab a beer and have dinner. I imagine us laughing and talking about our families and being thankful for what we have, for how lucky we are. I would love to talk to him about his zoo and conservation. I think the Earth has so many amazing plants and animals and would love to talk to him about how we can all do our part to help protect them and their ecosystems.  

Q. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring three items with you, what would they be and why?

Depends what kind of island I am on. Am I somewhere warm like the Caribbean or cold like off the coast of Iceland? If I had my choice, I’d rather be someplace warm. I love the ocean and could sit and stare at the water for hours.  Which I would have plenty of time to do if I were stranded on a deserted island. The three items I would bring are water for drinking, a lighter so I could make a fire to keep warm and have light at night and a blanket. A blanket may sound like an odd one, but I could use it to provide shade from the sun, cover up with it if I get cold or lay on it to relax and stare at the water. 

Q: How many layers of clothing do you have to wear to survive a Minnesota winter?

The more the better! For those of us that were born in MN, you don’t know any better. Once it starts getting cold you start to layer up. If you plan to be outside and it’s -10 you better have on a warm coat, snowpants, boots, mittens, scarf, and a hat. You have to embrace the cold and get out and enjoy it, there are so many things to do in Minnesota in the winter. You can go snowboarding, skiing, snow shoeing, ice fishing, sledding, ice skating or go to an ice bar and grab a drink with friends.

Heidi, at left, with family at Yellowstone National Park.

Q: What’s the best way to stay warm during a Minnesota winter: a cozy fireplace or a nice, hot Juicy Lucy?

I do love a good Juicy Lucy but there is nothing better than being home at night when it is snowing outside and building a fire in the fireplace. I love the smell of the wood burning and hearing the wood crackle. My favorite spot to sit is right in front of the fireplace on the floor to feel the warmth of the fire.

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