From hoops to high-tech

The chance to study and play college basketball brought Vesteinn Sveinsson all the way from Iceland to Marshalltown in 2009. The chance to work at a job on the cutting edge of technology has brought him back to Marshalltown after getting a four-year degree.

Sveinsson played hoops at Marshalltown Community College under fellow Iceland native Brynjar Brynjarsson from 2009 to 2011. The 6-foot-5 forward then moved on to play at Ashford University in Clinton and received degrees in computer science and math in 2013.

After graduating, Sveinsson was able to land a job at the Marshalltown technology company Mechdyne last June and it has been a perfect fit for him.

“This came up and I thought it was a great opportunity,” Sveinsson said.

On the job, he helps stage audio/visual systems for businesses, many of which are at the cutting edge of 3D and virtual reality technology. The man who simply goes by “V” around work said he likes the culture and trailblazing effort at Mechdyne.

“We are in the forefront of this technology,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s very friendly but also very goal-driven and focused. Everybody is going in the same direction.”

His Mechdyne work has sent him around the world. He just got back from setting up a system for a company in Paris.

“I like seeing new places and getting to do things I thought I’d never get the chance to do,” Sveinsson said.

Sveinsson said playing collegiate basketball and taking on projects in the working world can be similar. He said in both realms it takes that extra drive to be successful.

“You have to be in that moment where you want to give up but you don’t,” Sveinsson said. “That kind of goes with everything in life.”

Chad Kickbush, director of operations at Mechdyne, said they are proud to have Sveinsson as part of the team.

“The leadership and teamwork skills he learned playing basketball in Iceland and at MCC have been a tremendous asset in his approach to his career,” Kickbush said.

Kickbush said Sveinsson’s international experience lends itself well to this job.

“His first project was with one of our strategic customers located in Paris,” Kickbush said. “His international background and ability to speak multiple languages was a tremendous asset on the project and allowed him to be very comfortable in a foreign country.

Sveinsson returns to Iceland about once a year to see family but also has another “family” in Marshalltown – thanks his continued relationship with Coach Brynjarsson.

“His family is my family here in the states,” Sveinsson said. “All of his kids consider me their uncle.”

Brynjarsson knew Sveinsson’s high school coach from their time in Iceland, but Sveinsson and his MCC coach did not know each other before he came to Marshalltown. Brynjarsson said he noticed that Sveinsson had a bright business mind at MCC and is not surprised at the success for a person he calls a “very good friend.”

“He put the time and effort into his academics and was a great student at MCC and a great student at Ashford,” Brynjarsson said.

Sveinsson grew up in a town of 6,000 people in Iceland, so the small town feel of Marshalltown suits him just fine.

“I like my 3 minute commute,” he said. “I have a lot of friends here.”