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Spotlight On: Joel Malizia, Director of Development for Et Cultura Festival

spotlight joel malizia et cultural art festival st. petersburg

We never pass up the chance to help improve and grow our community, so when we met Joel Malizia at the BurgBorn event back in June at the Mahaffey Theater, we were intrigued. He briefly talked about Et Cultura Festival during that encounter, and that was the seed that quickly grew into our sponsoring the event. Now, we are lucky enough to see Joel a couple times a month to excitedly discuss Et Cultura Festival, a brand new interactive, film, music, and arts festival in St. Pete. Joel has the heart and dedication necessary to grow such an extraordinary event from the ground up, and it seems the timing is perfect. St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area in general are primed and ready for rapid cultural growth, and the inaugural Et Cultura Festival is helping to build the critical mass of that growth. The following interview details some of Joel’s history with his film company, Pilot Moon Films, and how Et Cultura Festival was born.

Joel Malizia

Director of Development

Et Cultura Festival

St. Petersburg, FL

www.etcultura.com

What inspired you to found the Et Cultura Festival?

Our production company, Pilot Moon Films, has been sponsoring and covering festivals for the past 8 years. We made a groove for ourselves in the music industry helping musicians create live performance videos which led to us covering entire music festivals and we really enjoyed it. Three years ago we got a call from SXSW, a huge festival in Austin, TX, asking us to work on their Pro Media Team and we have done this every year since. Participating in this world class festival is what inspired us to see if we could instigate a “next-level” event in St. Pete.

What do you like most about the your industry and community?

The people. It is full of dreamers and creatives.

What challenges does your industry face?

The people. It is full of dreamers and creatives.

How do you measure your success?

I think a good way to measure success is if, and how well, I am able to connect with others. No matter what I am doing. I always do my best to connect with humans and when that happens, the rest takes care of itself… in addition to a lot of hard work.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

Starting Pilot Moon Films. In the beginning, just the idea of being my own boss gave me a charge, but now I am incredibly proud of the content we are able to create with our clients. That and I made a video for my daughter’s 1st grade class a few years back that gets me everytime I watch it.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in your industry?

Doing jobs with money being the #1 priority. Production companies whose primary focus is making money usually find themselves working on projects that are far away from what feeds their spirit. They lose their original identity and become a machine that cranks out packages, formulas, templates, etc. so they can quickly move to the next job.

What is the most interesting trend you see in your industry?

People relying on bigger and better cameras to improve their product instead of focusing on content. Not sure why, but it seems to work for some companies. This makes more companies follow suit.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

Focusing on technology in this business is a very sexy and dangerous distraction. Of course, the newest equipment is amazing and it enables anyone to provide a better “looking” product.   I have found myself coveting gear and equipment that I don’t currently have access to. But, content is, and will always, be king! And the only technology need to come up with great content is a piece of paper and a pencil.

How do you stay on top of your field?

I have never been on top of my field.

What resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

–        I recommend reading a lot of books and collaborating, in person, with as many people as you can.

–        Connecting with people is the best way to open up your entire world and books are great portals into the human experience.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Do what you love, find a niche and your business will grow.

What was your first job?

I worked at an AMC Movie Theater. Cleaning the theater between movies. Endless supply of pretzel bites, Cherry Coke and stomach aches. I had a blast.

What are your hobbies?

I love guitar and used to play all the time. But now, I think my hobbies are the same as my work. Ill get back to it, though.

Favorite food?

Lasagna

Last book you read?

Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert Heinlein

Spotlight On: Nikki Devereux, Project Manager at Pinstripe Marketing

spotlight nikki devereux marketing design Nikki became an invaluable asset to the Pinstripe team the day she started at the agency. Her skills match the project management role – intelligent, organized, friendly, insightful – but we hit the jackpot with her numerous talents, not the least of which include photography and videography. She sees challenges from different angles and opportunities from an artist’s perspective. Clients love her and so do we. Read her spotlight and you will too!

Nikki Devereux

Project Manager

Pinstripe Marketing

St. Petersburg

www.pinstripemarketing.com | www.nikkidevereux.com

What inspired you to pursue a career in a creative field?

I grew up an artist and that natural inclination has always been a huge force in my career choices and everything I do.

What do you like most about marketing?

I love that my work in marketing, especially at Pinstripe Marketing, allows me to use my wide variety of skills. As an artist, I like to be very creative and use my mind in that way, but I am also very analytical and love problem solving – I studied engineering for a few years in college and I actually enjoy math, so I still like to exercise that part of my brain as well. Working in marketing gives me the variety and freedom to do it all. I shoot and edit video, write articles and other content, and manage web design projects. So many creative outlets plus analytics all wrapped up in one position!

What challenges does your industry face?

People are inundated with advertising and marketing every day. Recently I attended an event about inbound marketing and the speaker was talking about how we’ve “been bad” as advertisers and marketers. We’ve interrupted people’s lives, family time, and relaxation time to sell products. Now it’s time to give back and stop “being bad.” People are tired of us, but it’s not too late to change that. Inbound/content marketing is one way to start being better.

How do you measure your success?

As long as I’m learning, I feel like I’m successful. I don’t set monetary goals or goals of status – I always want to keep moving forward in everything I do, and the best way to do that is to devour information. I am constantly learning new things about video, photography, artistic techniques, design, and marketing. As long as I can continue to learn and improve my craft, I feel that I am successful in my work. My education is passed on to my clients and informs my art – I do a better job at everything when I keep up with it.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working on marketing projects?

I think that it’s a huge mistake to think “I need new printed collateral” or “I need a new website” without thinking about the larger picture. When you “need something new” take a look at your entire marketing campaign. Each piece is a part of a symbiosis, and if they’re not working together, you’re wasting your time and money. We always try to steer clients in the direction of thinking about the whole rather than just individual pieces. We want our work to be effective, not just a one and done deal that has no lasting effects on the brand.

What is the most interesting trend you see in marketing?

The current trend is and has been inbound marketing. It’s interesting to me because it really fits my style of relating to people. I am not an in-your-face, salesy kind of person – I like to give. Whether it’s lending an ear, teaching, informing, or helping, that is my preferred way of interacting with people. Inbound marketing allows me to do this in an organic way, and in this way we gain people’s trust.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

I’m not sure that I can say technology has hindered my work – definitely there are applications and software that have helped make many things quicker, easier and more automated. The thing that I always try to keep in mind is never to resist technology. That means you’re losing your game, getting rusty. A new technology comes on the market, embrace it and learn it as quickly as you can. It may or may not remain viable, but you will be as long as you’re not afraid of change. With technology, and many facets of life, you have to flow like water. When you resist like a rock, you break things, other people, yourself, and your flow.

How do you stay on top of your field?

I love learning, so I am constantly reading industry news, books, and taking courses related to marketing, art, photography, design, and video. I am the Director of Communications on the board of the Society of Marketing Professional Services Tampa Bay (SMPS), and they offer webinars and other educational events that can be pretty enlightening. I take courses in design, art history, and project management on Coursera – there is a wealth of coursework from top-notch universities on the site. I’ve taken some really interesting courses there.

What marketing resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

Fast Company is great for just about anything cutting edge, whether it be art, music, design, film, environmentally friendly design, architecture, and even infrastructure. It’s a great resource for anyone in a creative field. American Advertising Federation’s newsletter is full of good advertising industry stuff. Joining local marketing organizations or your local small business association is a great way to keep up with people and learning. St. Petersburg has the St. Pete Greenhouse, which is a wealth of info and education for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.

What are your hobbies?

I go to the beach, I cook, do yoga, go to the gym, run with my dog, travel, road trips, I like to go to salvage yards and make stuff with the materials I find, hike, kayak, outdoor activities, river trips, badminton with friends, concerts, art museums and galleries.

Favorite food?

I LOVE FOOD. But I guess if I have to choose – Vietnamese and Indian

Last book you read?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and The Hours – all SO GOOD

Spotlight On: Shannon Bennett, VP Sales & Marketing at ADM Two

Spotlight-On-shannon-bennett
ADM Two has been one of our clients for years and we feel like we’ve become a part of the family. We love working with them because of their incredible creativity, fine craftsmanship, and awesome gigantic warehouse space that we get tours of every chance we get. They design and fabricate trade show booths, corporate signage and interiors, and museum cases and displays. It’s a really fascinating business, so we are honored to feature Shannon Bennett, VP of Sales & Marketing at ADM Two.

Shannon Bennett

VP Sales & Marketing

ADM Two

 Tampa

www.admtwo.com

813-887-1960

What inspired you to pursue a career in exhibit design?

I kind of fell into the industry. I studied mass communication – programming and production – and intended to work in the new media. However, I had my first business job with ADM Two (the original one). Once I started I was hooked. It was much like the industry I studied as we too were putting on a show, but it was just a 3D show.

What is the first assignment you remember? Why?

I remember my first time on the show floor. It was Supershow in Atlanta. We were working on the Nutmeg Mills booth. They are the licensed sportswear company that is on Linebaugh and has the stadium-like building. Their booth replicated the look of their building. Ray Butterfield, our founder and my mentor, was supervising the installation. I found it very impressive seeing all these large companies whose names I see in stores. I felt like I was in on the secret of the new items to come out. However, it was most memorable because during the install, one of the labor guys dropped a beam and hit Ray on the head and he had to be seen by the medical staff onsite. Not only was I worried about Ray; we still had a booth to get up as the show had to go on. However, Ray was fine and everything went up without a hitch.

What do you like most about the exhibit design industry and community?

I like the change every day brings. There is always a solution that needs to be found to meet an objective. The creative vibe of the community is what inspires me most. There are very talented people who love what they do and it shows in their craft. The people make the difference in this industry. One you are in you never seem to leave which lends itself to long lasting business relationships and friendships.

What challenges does your industry face?

Our industry faces many challenges that change based on the business climate at the time. During the economic downturn, we had to determine the best way to help our clients exhibit most cost efficiently without sacrificing their brand. This meant extra efforts on our part to determine everything from layouts to materials that would reduce the cost of attending shows.

Another challenge in our industry is how to maximize the experience beyond the trade show floor. A client’s success at a trade show is determined by the overall experience they have inside the booth space as well as before and after the show.

How do you measure your success?

I measure my success by my client’s success. If they do well then I feel we have done our part of the job.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

My greatest accomplishment is balancing family life and my work life. Both parts of my life allow me to achieve greater success in the other.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in exhibit design?

I find that companies try and rush through the process of design focusing on a final look prior to doing their homework and determining the overall objectives. I think it is important to include decision-makers in the process rather than just delivering a design that meets parts of the objectives. More time should be spent on understanding the branding goals of the company, the budgetary costs of the exhibit as well as cost of exhibiting, the functional needs of the exhibit and how a new design impacts the overall trade show program.

What is the most interesting trend you see in exhibit design?

The increased use of rental components in the design for various types of events – trade shows, small private meetings (Yara) and private events (PSCU, NexTech). By integrating rentals into the program either as a complete solution or in combination with existing or new components, clients can achieve more with less and not have the commitment and cost of ownership for parts they may only use once a year.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

Just one of the ways technology has helped is it allows us to quickly and easily look up show information. Back in the day (15+ yrs ago) they communicated information about a particular show to the exhibitor through a show manual. The pros of the old exhibit manual were that it were usually accurate and received in a timely manner. Today’s technology makes it easier and more cost effective to provide the information online. However, I have found that the information is not provided as early as the old style manuals were. Additionally, I have found that the information from year to year is only updated and often the dates/days etc are not changed in their entirety, making important dates not 100% accurate. You may have the right date but not the correct day of the week noted.

The second way I think technology has hindered our work is in the delivery of information. We tend to get pieced information rather than a well thought out delivery of complete details. We then have to spend additional time compiling emails to ensure we have all the information and that any changes through the e-chain are caught. Information is not provided in a timely manner, pushing us to change our internal schedules and rush to meet client needs.

Technology has helped immensely in the search for specific or specialized materials needed for our various projects. It also helps in the speed of communication, conveying images and transferring data. However, the speed of communication can also be a hindrance.

How do you stay on top of your field?

  • I attend various trade shows to see what is the latest and greatest in the field
  • I read industry magazines, blogs and studies
  • I look at new product innovations to see how they may impact my clients

What resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

I read Seth Godin every morning as in inspirational start to the day, as well as:

 If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Invest in your community resources. Use local companies as there are very talented people and companies just around the corner from you. Build relationships.

What are your hobbies?

Traveling, reading, learning about healthy eating/lifestyle, wine, and I’m in a Krewe – Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Spotlight On: Norman & Claudia Fisher, The Pearl on First

Spotlight-On-the-pearl

We’d like to introduce Norman and Claudia Fisher, two people with a lot of imagination and even more energy. Together they have masterminded the renovation of a dilapidated Northeast St. Petersburg apartment building, transforming it into a community of luxury apartments, adding unique design elements, gorgeous amenities, and community spaces. There’s even a car share available for resident use. We are excited to see what the finished apartment building looks like.

Norman and Claudia Fisher

Co-owners

The Pearl On First Apartments

 St. Petersburg

www.ThePearlOnFirst.com

Years in this industry:  20 years

What inspired you to pursue a career in real estate?

We are newlyweds, both of us over the age of 50 and wanted to do a joint project using both of our skill sets. Norman’s background is in corporate business administration and organization assessment. Claudia’s background is in Classical Architecture and interior design.

We recently moved to St. Petersburg and real estate offered us an interesting arena to combine our abilities. As St. Petersburg is truly going through an urban renaissance, we thought it would be fun to design and build something truly elegant for people who choose to rent in the area.

What is the first assignment you remember?  Why?

Norman’s first foray into real estate was the purchase of a few small houses, which were renovated and rented out in the Clearwater and St. Petersburg area. He wanted to learn about real estate with hands-on experience. Claudia became a licensed realtor in Florida but with the idea of doing research in real estate rather than working as a practicing realtor.

What do you like most about the real estate industry and community?

Working in real estate gives you a chance to dream and see those dreams take physical shape. When it doesn’t drive you batty, like waiting for building permits, it can be lots of fun!

Working on a larger scale project, in our case The Pearl On First, has also given us the opportunity to meet and work with a wonderful collection of  real estate professionals, vendors, artisans and small business owners. Without wanting to sound cloying, I often say, “It takes a village to design anything well!” Everybody’s skills and knowledge base are needed and appreciated to make The Pearl On First a success.

What challenges does your industry face? 

I think we are too new to real estate development to offer too much comment on this question but I will say that, especially in Florida which is so low-lying, we need to really focus on creative solutions with regard to the rising water levels over the next decades. I am convinced there are solutions out there if we all pull together.

How do you measure your success? 

This is an interesting question, as Norman and I were just discussing this question a week ago. As we met later in life, we are hoping to create passive income with our real estate ventures that will supplement the retirement savings we already have.

But more importantly, the major guiding purpose for our work with apartment dwellings is to offer living environments that truly delight people, by offering elegant, thoughtful design in their private apartments as well as exceptionally beautiful and welcoming communal areas to share life experiences with friends and neighbors. This is what we hope to achieve.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career? 

For Claudia there have been a few design milestones. Developing the classical architectural design for The Executive Administration Center for Boston University, designing a 22-foot pierced aluminum chandelier suspended in mid-air for The Royal Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Fairfax, VA and now working on the Art-Deco inspired apartment, The Pearl On First.

For Norman, the main one is my recent completion of my MBA from the University of Maryland. I really enjoyed its entrepreneurial learning aspects, and after a career in large corporations, look forward to a next career in a small business environment in real estate.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in real estate? 

Not doing enough research can be a major mistake.  Research is not necessarily fun or sexy, but extremely important, as your gathered knowledge will help guide you into hopefully wise decisions. Often as a real estate investor you can get emotionally involved in a deal or property, and it is very important not to forget the results of the research you did.

Additionally, it never hurts to be as organized as possible and keep at least a weekly schedule to communicate with everyone on the project. There are so many trades working in tandem in real estate, we need to  know what’s happening on a daily basis with each other so we can work in tandem comfortably.

What is the most interesting trend you see in real estate? 

It’s been said before, but as the Baby Boomers start to retire and move South, they are looking for interesting new ways to live their next chapter which are very different from their parents. For example, scenarios that are sought after could include friends living in adjoining apartments, apartments that have new and interesting amenities like a “car share”, apartments that have built-in health care facilities… the sky’s the limit.  It’s going to be a very interesting time!

How has technology helped/hindered your work? 

From a drafting point of view, AutoCAD, Rivet and other drawing programs are can be a huge time saver. My background is Classical Architecture so I still do hand drafting but nevertheless, these programs are very useful.

What can be problematic, in my opinion, is that the computer now allows for an unbridled amount of architectural design.  This, in and of itself sounds good but there have been a fair amount of architectural messes built out there that were created with the aide of computer technology. Without wanting to sound unkind, the adage “just because you can build it doesn’t mean you should” comes to mind!

How do you stay on top of your field? 

We both read a great deal – newspapers, periodicals, professional trade magazines, although Norman is much better at being sure he is up on all the real estate news coming in the door.

What resources do you recommend?  

With regard to design, Claudia believes that any disciplines relating to Classical Architecture can provide a tremendous foundation for designing anything better – from traditional to ultra-modern. The Institute for Classical Architecture and Art, based in New York City, is a major educational institution and provider of all kinds of helpful design information. Additionally, the business of real estate is not only national but often also highly influenced by the locality. So continuing awareness of local changes and trends is key. It is as simple as subscribing to the local newspaper and volunteering on various local committees.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

If I were to advise Tampa Bay companies on participating in the local rental or condo real estate business, I would advise them to firstly determine specifically, what their target population is, and then be very aware of that population’s desires for a future living experience. Only with that information, would I design a apartment or condo product that serves that market. Often properties are put to market that are generic in nature rather than satisfying specific needs.

What are your hobbies?

Norman’s hobbies are tennis, soccer, reading, and adventure traveling. Claudia’s hobbies are opera singing, ballet, and reading 18th century novels.

Favorite food?

Norman – Italian.  Claudia – anything I haven’t cooked myself.

Last book you read?

Norman – Steve Jobs

Claudia – Disney War 

Spotlight On: David Graham, Principal of Elite Intelligence Solutions

intelligence agency marketingNext up in our Spotlight series is David Graham, a truly fascinating person who is a wealth of information about intelligence and security. There’s something about David – you just trust him because he is so knowledgeable and he can talk for hours about things that most people couldn’t even imagine. We were lucky enough to work with David on his website, and in the process we learned a lot of cool stuff. We thought you might find him interesting as well.

David Graham

Principal

Elite Intelligence Solutions

Tampa

www.eliteintell.com

Years in this industry: 30

What is Intelligence? How does it relate to my business?

Intelligence is a process of identifying, collecting, and analyzing information, allowing the client to make an informed decision based on accurate, unbiased information.

What inspired you to pursue a career in intelligence?

I’m naturally inquisitive and I’m always searching for answers and developing solutions to problems.

What do you like most about the intelligence industry and community?

The industry is consistently changing, whether it’s advances in technology or the motives of individuals. These changes keep the field of intelligence interesting and constantly evolving.

What challenges does your industry face?

I think the biggest challenge is keeping information secure. Whether it’s cyber-security, physical security or protecting intellectual property, each of these requires a different method of detection and prevention.

How do you measure your success?

I measure success by providing a client with the information they requested and/or providing a solution to an issue they may be dealing with.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in intelligence?

The biggest mistake I see companies make is failing to recognize or admitting they have a problem. They should hire an outside source to come in and assist in gathering information – intelligence – and formulating a solution. Relying on internal sources to gather information can be problematic for many reasons, including lack of expertise, lack of experience, or company or personal loyalties.

What is the most interesting trend you see in intelligence?

The most interesting trend I see is the speed at which technology is advancing. These advances create challenges for the security expert and require him or her to stay up to date on current threats, methods, and techniques to combat these threats.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

Technology has hindered this field because:  Hidden audio and video recorders can be purchased on the internet for less than $20.00. The proliferation of these inexpensive, readily accessible devices has made it difficult to protect the information of individuals and companies.

Helped: From camera systems to cyber-security protocols to technical surveillance counter-measures, technology has helped the industry with the advanced equipment development designed to combat intrusions and information leakage.

How do you stay on top of your field?

The only way to stay on top of this field is through continuing education and networking with other subject matter experts.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Prevention and protection. Do not wait to call on an expert to assist in preventing the loss of information and develop a solid plan to protect you, your employees, your facilities, and your information.

What are your hobbies?

Having grown up on Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, I love to fish and go boating with my family. I’m an avid hunter and outdoorsman. I also enjoy training dogs for obedience and bird hunting.

Favorite food?

Anything Italian

Last book you read?

The Wizards of Langley” Inside the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology by Jeffrey T.  Richelson.

I’ve been asked why I read non-fiction technical “espionage” books. Prior to retiring from a major law enforcement agency, I was assigned as a technical surveillance detective, responsible for all aspects of technical and physical surveillance and tasked with developing surveillance techniques and procedures to detect and record criminal activity. I am a firm believer of “not reinventing the wheel,” so I became a student of the methodologies and techniques of the CIA and KGB on how to gather intelligence and then apply them to modern law enforcement. Along with learning “how” to gather intelligence, I learned how to protect and prevent the loss of intelligence. Even though I’m no longer in law enforcement, I am still a student of legally obtaining and preventing the loss of intelligence and applying these principles in the private sector.

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