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Alumni in Focus: Mark Harrington

MyCar company founder Mark Harrington is this month’s Alumni in Focus. Mark is also a financial advisor who has worked on international billion dollar projects. MyCar is South Australia’s first and only zero-emission chauffeur service, supporting the City Council’s ambition to make Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city.

myCar.green, provides eco-friendly transport to get around Adelaide. Electric cars can be booked fast for fixed fares to work, the airport, for tours and special events.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy equestrian sports, travelling and following current affairs.

Favourite place to eat when in Adelaide?
Adelaide certainly punches above its weight when it comes to eating out. My favourite dining spots are on Leigh and Peel streets.

If I could go back to my University days I would …
Go on an overseas exchange as part of my Commerce degree. Studying abroad is a chance to have a different educational experience where you immerse yourself to better understand other people, traditions and culture.
Studying abroad happened later in my career. I experienced the University of Cambridge as part of The Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme. I also obtained my Corporate Finance Qualification from The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Most prized possession
My grandfather’s watch, which he inherited from his grandfather.
My grandfather started the family tradition of providing a personalised chauffeur service with horse-drawn carriages in the Adelaide Hills. As well as weddings and carriage rides, he took great pride in transporting the royal family on their visits and the Governor at the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival.

I can’t get enough of
Nature!

Something that makes you smile …
Different perspectives on the world, which make me reflect on my own experiences. Being able to travel makes me happy and live more ‘in the moment’.

Something you are grateful for …
My family and upbringing. My family have always encouraged me to aim high and they’ve supported my ambitions. I’m thankful for what I have in life.

If I could pursue a different career it would be …
IT, if I had grown up in California. I’m curious to learn about and adopt new technology, like autonomous driving. We’re already running Teslas in auto pilot mode (with back-up drivers of course) and launching a new mobile app. These new technologies enable drivers to become your ‘affordable personal concierge on wheels’ so the experience feels like being in your own fancy car, only better.

The most valuable lesson I have learned …
Life is not a race. Founding a start-up is a like a marathon. It takes time. I’m proud that myCar.green will soon celebrate its first birthday!

I cannot get through the day without …
Coffee.

Three words your closest friends would use to describe you
Extrovert, talented, driven (or perhaps Big, Friendly, Giant)

Your definition of success …
is having friends and family whom you can trust.

My mother taught me …
to be compassionate and empathetic. She’s the greatest teacher and shows me how I can help others.

Your career path in two sentences or less
It began with the Electricity Trust of South Australia privatisation and I then worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, in Sydney and internationally. I spent a decade working in finance and leading iconic infrastructure projects, which involved living in 10 different cities (including Stockholm, San Francisco and London), and I’m now a Principal at Deloitte.

Biggest career highlight
Building a project finance business from scratch, including advising on the first public-private partnership in California under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – the Presidio Parkway.

2018 is the year that I …
Started working on Australia’s largest public transport infrastructure project, Sydney Metro. It’s a future automated rapid transit system that will bring a London Underground-type of service to Sydney.

How I relax
I spend time with family and friends in the Adelaide Hills.

When I get home the first thing I do is
When I arrive home from travelling, I make time for horse riding in the Adelaide Hills. While in Sydney for work, I enjoy the Bondi to Coogee walk.

The biggest risk I have taken
Choosing to be a start-up founder and being responsible for SA’s zero-emission chauffer car service, myCar.green. As the founder, your reputation, savings and ego are on the line which is why it’s a risk. But it’s one worth taking. myCar.green is rewarding. I’ve personally had to embrace challenges, seek new opportunities and focus on mission-critical tasks so that our team delivers the best possible experience to passengers.

A misconception about you
That my height is indicative of my personality … I really am a big, friendly giant!

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