By: Steve Alford
Alford Media Founder
I’m often asked, “What’s most satisfying about working in this industry?” Well, let’s see, big bucks? No, that certainly wouldn’t be it. Great hours? Are you kidding? Working with cutting-edge new technologies? Does have its appeal. Getting to work with lots of talented people on many different kinds of challenging jobs? We’re getting close now. Helping others be more successful than they would otherwise be? Bingo!
In the late ’70s and ’80s, I made a name for myself in what I’ll call the Golden Age of Multi-Image, programming arguably more multi-image slideshows than anyone in the country. I thrived on taking the transparencies afforded me and pushing the edge of the envelope (or at least the limits of the carousel projector) to make cutting-edge slideshows that often thrilled and amazed clients and audience members alike. I took pride in often working around the clock to meet deadlines and keep clients from seeking alternative programming services. Four times I went “over the wall” – a term we coined for not going horizontal (sleeping) for seventy-five hours. Why did I (and others) submit our bodies to this abuse? I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was nice to be paid for my talent and stamina, but the real thrill DID come from helping others succeed and realize their visions.
Fast-forward thirty years. The slide projector is dead, and I’m lucky to be alive. Computer graphics and video have long since replaced slides and film as the media of choice for corporate events. While the emergence of the widescreen video reminds us of the multi-image days, the technical talent behind today’s extravaganzas requires vastly different skill sets than those needed three decades ago. Today many of our industry’s top audio and video engineers are certifiable geniuses who inexplicably ended up in the staging business rather than at a broadcast station, an engineering plant, or an aerospace facility. Yet, while technical skills have changed over the years, what hasn’t changed is the ongoing need for creative, problem-solving, reliable personnel. A healthy supply of patience and stamina are still valued as well.
For over a decade, I have been contacting all clients for which we staged an event. Along with helping us identify areas where we can improve, the comments I’ve received have been most generous in touting what we’ve done right, and to no one’s surprise, the highest praise goes to the people we have working for us.
On any given day, we are responsible for the audio, video, and lighting at the most important day in a company’s year. We take this responsibility very seriously. We (and our clients) are most fortunate to have arguably some of the industry’s most likable, dependable, and talented technicians in the industry.
Over three decades ago, I decided to put my name above the door. I wanted there to be no doubt about who was accountable for our work and our decisions. The Company has grown more extensively than I ever could have imagined. It’s been a pleasure to witness the maturation of so many of our employees. It’s been equally satisfying to sign on “special” new hires that are gifted technically but possess a work ethic and lifestyle we identify as “burgundy.” It is a privilege to have so many incredible men and women representing Alford, servicing our valued clients. People DO make a difference.