It was just three days before load in when my favorite client (and wife) called to ask if I had the bandwidth to assist a new NASCAR partner by integrating their high-definition mobile video boards into the NASCAR Hub at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This event was the debut of The Awesome Bash (a custom-built VIP Awespitality trailer that I had designed with the team at SME), and we already had a very full plate. However, if I understand anything about the sport of NASCAR it is that NASCAR is fueled by partnerships, so I agreed to do anything I could to ensure that this new partner had a great experience and their product was well integrated into our custom-designed footprint.
Looking back, it’s fun to think about how the last twelve months might have looked (no doubt very different) if I would have taken an easier path and told the client that there wasn't enough time to facilitate the request.
Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and my virtual mentor, has a saying that doing the right thing is always the right thing—and this once again proved to be true.
Fast forward to two months later and just three weeks before the 2017 Daytona 500. My phone rang once again with a call from the guys with the video boards (now known as Ingenuity Sun Media or ISM for short). They had just entered into a multi-year agreement with International Speedway Corporation (ISC), which enabled them to bring their technology to every ISC track. The only problem is that they were marketers and not logistics people; they had no idea how to transport their screens from track to track. Fortunately for me, they knew that Traction Event Labs could be their logistics partner because of the way we assisted months earlier in Miami.
I can’t describe how fast the last twelve months has gone and how much I have learned along the way. What started off as a simple operation traveling to 15 events quickly morphed into a full-time operation with two trailer loads of screens and seven crew members building screens at over 30 events this year. We have taken the ISM Connect mobile video boards to nearly every NASCAR track on the circuit, the Citi Open tennis tournament, SEMA (which is one of the largest trade shows in the US), the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, and beginning last month, every Washington Redskins home game.
I have been moving at warp speed ever since that call back in February and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. As I looked forward towards 2018, I knew something had to slow down or I was going to hit the wall. Therefore, I headed to ISM HQ in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, to ask for an extended contract. If granted, it would allow me the ability to hire my first full-time staff member and implement structure that would give me some relief. Twenty minutes into my pitch I was stopped by Ryan Owen (ISM President). He offered me the contract that I was looking for as well as a much bigger opportunity. Ryan and I hadn’t met before this pitch, but my reputation preceded me, and he believed that there was a place on the team for my unique skill set. He offered me an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse.
ISM acquired Traction Event Labs and I am now the Vice President of Operations for ISM Connect. As excited as I am about our future at ISM, I know that I need to continue to surround myself with great people. I need to keep quality and professionalism at the forefront of everything that we do. We are riding a rocket ship and I need to hold on tight as it is sure to be a wild ride.
Last January, I wrote a blog stating that 2017 was going to be a Monster Year. Looking back, that might have been an understatement. 2017 was a turning point for me personally as well as professionally. It
was a year where I became comfortable as an operator and finally understood where I could provide the most value to my clients. I am grateful to Jeff Hutchins and Bill Dunn for trusting the team at Traction Event Labs with such a great responsibility and am now excited to be a larger player in the ISM Connect family.
My role is sure to morph as our network grows and responsibilities are broadened, but at the current moment I plan on doing business as usual. My internal clients will call, email, text, or slack a request and the Operations Department will do what we do best and answer the call with the two words everyone loves to hear: “No Problem.” I will continue to document this journey as I did my last through blogs, vlogs, and one second videos. I hope the content that I curate provides value and reminds everyone that doing the right thing is always the right thing.
To learn more about ISM, please check us out at www.ISMconnect.io and keep an eye out for the ISM team as we are sure to be coming to an event near you soon.
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