Shaping The Future Of Event Tech

Shaping The Future Of Event Tech

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At Alford Media, we want our team members to strive for greatness in their careers. As a result, opportunities are available for members of each department to learn more about the nature of the event tech industry as well as technical aspects of the equipment we use. Spec Ops is a yearly event we organize with our engineers and Operations department, dedicated to expanding the minds of our best and brightest. From team-building exercises to in-depth training of intricate equipment, Spec Ops is a way of helping our people embrace their potential while also emphasizing the importance of each person’s role to the greater vision of the company.

Spec Ops

In 2013 we wanted to find a way to bring unity to our road and ops teams, while also helping each person reach their full potential. Side-by-side learning experiences had been an available resource for some time, but this can be limited by the environment of the side-by-side itself. While being on-site to see a technician working in real-time can be a fantastic learning opportunity, the event takes precedence and can affect the technicians’ available teaching time. The narrow focus of this experience also does not quite show the relationship between the work in the shop and the results on the road. We needed a way to have dedicated, distraction-free time to pass this perspective on to future generations of Alford Media.

Thus, Spec Ops was born. Pat Reed, Project Manager at the time, originally conceived of the event as a way to help bring Operations and Road teams together as one, both mentally and in practice. Spec Ops would also be a way to help shape current team members into future leaders. By successfully initiating this event with the guidance of Melanie Reed and a group of experienced technicians like Robert Bennet and Aaron Harris, Pat was able to instill a larger sense of purpose and ambition in our employees. It is this purpose and ambition that helps each member to reach higher and go further in their careers, sometimes even becoming new teachers in subsequent Spec Ops events. Now working as a Director of Show Solutions, Pat still helps to oversee Spec Ops each year but has taken more of a mentor role. In this regard, Pat works to guide others towards becoming future mentors for Spec Ops. This year Pat has been working closely with Operations Manager Matthew Dietzler to ensure that the tradition of Spec Ops can be carried on.

Spec Ops

There are many unique factors to Spec Ops, but one of the most beneficial is that each year sees new information being passed on. Class style activities are always available and can focus on either a specific piece of technology or a specific field, such as electrical theory. The topics of each Spec Ops are decided in advance so that each attending team member can decide which area they would like to focus on. This presents opportunities for any team member to see more of the industry. Spec Ops is an avenue in which a member of the audio department can discover that video is what interests them, where an Operations member can decide that sales is their future, where anyone can see all of their options and choose what works best for them.

Outside of small classes, Spec Ops also uses team building exercises to build character and relationships. This is a more hands-on approach that shows everyone how the work in the shop can affect the work on show site. Over the years we have used several different activities to showcase different sides of what it means to be in the event tech industry. One year saw the attending members divided into 4 teams, each competing to see who could successfully set up a breakout sized show first. Another year saw everyone working together as one team to efficiently set up more of a general session style show. On the surface it would seem like this alone would be enough to help engage our team members, but we don’t stop there. In activities like these, we also assign client roles to some members. This helps to give the activity the feel of a real show. We want our team members to be able to work well together, but we also want them to excel together when faced with pressure. Spec Ops is designed to instill these practices in our teams, ensuring the best for our clients.

Alford has always treated our employees like a family, and as a result we are always looking for new ways to help move each other toward the future. With events like Spec Ops we are confident that we are creating innovative leaders who understand the pressures and bigger picture of all sides of the industry, whether on the road or working at the shop.

Alford Media