At Your Service
After he graduated from SF State with his accounting degree, David Yarnold (B.S., ’82) worked as an auditor, combing through the books of biotech companies, financial services firms and even a railroad. “I got to see tons of different businesses and how they were put together, whether they were new startups or established companies,” he recalls. “And then I ended up at a little place called Oracle in 1987.”
That was the start of what Yarnold describes as “a crazy 30 years in software,” culminating in his current position as CEO of Servicemax, a software-as-a-service company used by firms such as GE and Coca-Cola to manage field-service divisions. By swapping the unwieldy clipboards of field service techs for a cloud-based management system, Servicemax helps companies become more efficient at everything from scheduling service calls to ordering parts. According to Yarnold, companies that work with Servicemax have generated 22 percent more revenue from their service sectors, and first-time fix rates — whether that copier repairperson fixes the jam on the first visit — have risen by 17 percent.
Given those results, it’s no surprise that Servicemax is expanding: The company has teams across Europe and a development center in India, and it was formally launched in Japan this fall. “Our business is almost 40 percent outside the U.S. now,” Yarnold notes. “The basic business issue that we support is that the customer picks up the phone and says, ‘Hey, come fix this.’ And that’s true everywhere.”
Yarnold worked full time while attending SF State, where he met his wife, Adrienne (B.S., ’83), at a party for accounting majors. He has fond memories of Russell Langer, a former assistant professor of accounting, and Professor Emeritus John McWilliams, recalling them as “super-smart, inspiring, down-to-earth guys.”
“SF State was the foundation of a great business education that placed me in this unbelievably accelerated learning environment of Silicon Valley startups,” he says. “I’ve actually had more years than not in my career in which the company I was with doubled in size.”
Yarnold recently returned to SF State as a guest lecturer in Associate Professor Minu Kumar’s sales management classes. “I was really pleased with the type of interaction that I had in the classes, with the depth of what they were teaching and the reality of what the students were learning,” Yarnold says. “It was really reflective of what’s going on in the field.”
Students praised Yarnold for sharing detailed, inspiring stories from his business ventures. “Given Dave’s vast experience in sales and sales management, it was not surprising that he had plenty of fine points he could share through his meticulously constructed presentation,” Kumar says. “Our students asked Dave many practical questions … and he answered them from a place of empathy.”