Vernon Fong ’97 takes his work home.
“I love to adopt new technology,” said the digital strategist for one of the largest technology product manufacturers of our time: Samsung.
Vernon has outfitted his New York City home with his company’s technology for a connected living experience: TVs, kitchen appliances, lights, security—all connected, all at his fingertips through the use of a Samsung SmartThings hub connected to his mobile phone and computer.
“I am fond of the technical underpinnings that allow interconnectivity among devices,” Vernon said. “My car, my TV, my security system, my computer—the software engineering that connects and utilizes the exponential explosion of hardware capabilities is super inspiring.”
Vernon most recently has been at the helm of the Samsung strategy and experience components for business-to-consumer and business-to-business websites www.samsung.com/us and www.samsung.com/us/business. It’s Vernon’s job to “roll up [his] sleeves with brand, creative, tech and data teams.”
In addition to launching, maintaining and redesigning Samsung websites, Vernon has implemented project management information systems at the technology giant, serving as a driving force in the challenge of merging business goals, technology, analytics and product design/user experience/ content. His product web marketing campaigns most recently include the popular Galaxy S9 mobile device.
“In a nutshell, I work across many cross-functional layers to find the right mix that balances our brand and business goals,” he said.
Vernon, who has served as a judge for the Digiday Awards and has presented at several conferences on the topic of technology and marketing, said new technology advances present challenges that range from figuring out practical applications to determining if a technology is sustainable—and everything in between.
In addition to earning his degree in marketing at SUNY Oswego, Vernon was on the air for WNYO and helped bring some hip-hop acts to campus. He said that the stark contrast from where he grew up in New York City and life in Oswego, played a role in shaping his success.
“I learned that community is important, and not everyone is always out for self gain,” he said. “I think Oswego best prepared me by fostering my love for learning. Oswego introduced me to a broader spectrum of life experiences.”
In his free time, Vernon practices photography—from street photography to capturing moments with his wife, Denise, who is an analyst at PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers); and their three sons, Leo, Ryan and Max.
“It’s how I disconnect from the world,” he said. “It is super rewarding to find truth in 1/200th of a second.”
And what type of phone did one of Samsung’s digital leaders use on the Oswego campus back in the day?
An Ericsson brand mobile phone.
“It did nothing but make calls,” Vernon said.