My father was my first introduction to the business world. Although a small business, he showed me hard work and dedication, sometimes, just isn’t enough. With time comes growth and development, and if a business, big or small, doesn’t grow and develop with its surroundings, that business will suffer.
I can still smell the sugary scent of paint while growing up in my dad’s sign shop. He was a proud master sign painter in the town of Conroe, Texas. He was the best in our town, an artist with a quill. Untouchable. Sadly, the age of electronics came around, and computers replaced the quill. Clients became fewer, and signage jobs scarce. His business started to sink. The thought of closing his shop seemed unavoidable, until one day I complained, “We look so old, can’t we just try something different?” I replaced the brush in his logo with a mouse cursor, a simple adjustment changed the way the public viewed us. We were now a new company with new challenges, but more importantly with new clients. I didn’t know it at the time, but at 13 years old I had rebranded my father’s company.
After that, a fire ignited within me, and I enjoyed helping organizations grow over and over throughout my career. I love helping leaders give shape to abstract ideas. I became obsessed with turning their visions into actions. In the last decade, I’ve been fortunate to find myself in roles that allow me to nudge the compass needle in a meaningful way. From graphic designer to business owner; from combat cameraman to news chief, I’ve continuously pushed the boundaries in communication and branding.
I got my first taste for national projects when I joined the National Guard marketing team in 2011 as a public affairs specialist and multimedia illustrator. The war in Iraq was coming to an end, and budgets were dwindling. As the primary “expert” it was my job to help reposition the Guard from a Combative Force to an Emergency Response Agency. A daunting task for a junior soldier, but after countless meetings and hundreds of multimedia products later, I can say we made it happen. Finishing big projects is satisfying, but my proudest moments are when I work with small business trailblazers.
More recently I worked as the CCO and brand manager for SignDepotATX, a mom-and-pop print company that had plateaued years ago. When I joined the team, it was hard to pinpoint their drawback considering they had capital, trained staff, high demand, and great location. Within just a few days of monitoring the workflow, I discovered one major issue, word choice. Our language was cold and negative. After that, I developed a new company value structure and made them a part of our daily dialogue. Our focus shifted from product-driven to solution-based. Company sales more than doubled resulting in the expansion to a second location before the end of my contract with them.
Currently, I work at the American Forces Network, a military radio station in Germany. What excites me the most about my role here is the challenges I face with restrictions. The boundaries set by the Army due to budget cuts, security considerations, language barriers, and bureaucracy nurtures a creative environment. It’s a wonderful place for out-of-the-box thinkers, doers, and leaders. With a continuous flow of challenges, I adapt and adjust quickly to solve new problems every day. I have accomplished rebranding and improving the tactics within our station with limited resources, sweat, and determination.
Soon I will be persuing a mass communications program to set me apart as a true expert and help aid in my path of growth and development. The theory-based knowledge I’ll gain will allow me to articulate my ideas to the brand leaders I support. I will ram through any challenge, and sold the hardest of problems for any brand I support in the future, and continue the path I started a long time ago in my dad’s sign shop.