About Me

Let's Give it a Shot!

When people ask me the question, “So what do you do?” they are often met with an awkward pause as I struggle with where to start. I’ve written and directed documentaries, designed and produced video games, photographed just about any subject imaginable, written political speeches and have even been known to pick up a brush and noodle out an illustration or two. When the words finally stumble out, I usually say, “I’m a beekeeper.”

It’s not a lie, I do keep bees and it’s a lot easier to explain.

I think my career can best be defined by the phrase, “Sure, let’s give it a shot!” I stared out as a illustrator for children’s publications. This was in the late 90’s when the inter-webs was getting robust enough to not be dismissed as a passing fad. I enjoyed drawing and painting but quickly realized that my work could be more impactful if it were animated and more I’m importantly, interactive. That realization led me to pick up a stylus and some page-turners on coding. The result was a ten year love affair with creating educational video games. During that time I was lucky enough to work with a slew of very bright and passionate people and develop content for brand name companies like McGraw-Hill and Sega. (continues below…)

From the Archive

Game Interfaces
Concept Art
Children's Book Illustration

While working for a small interactive shop in Columbus, Ohio, I met three talented and entrepreneurial spirits. We worked well together and it was quickly suggested we form a company that specialized in educational content and games. My answer, “Sure, let’s give it a shot!” This lead to the founding of Tracermedia Corporation in Columbus, Ohio where I served as a partner and creative director for several years.

The Tracer gang at a game launch party.

While I enjoyed what I did, Rochester was calling me home. After leaving Columbus for Rochester I founded Holimoli! Media LLC. which would compliment Tracermedia by specializing in graphics and animation fulfillment for a host of interactive content. The company would be untraditional in that rather than being a brick and mortar studio, it would be a consortium of freelance talents from around the country which would be assembled on a per-project basis. I would act as the project manager and creative lead. For a time, it was a success and we went on to create some outstanding work. Then the crash of 2008 hit.

Clients cut back and some even disappeared all together. After beating the bushes for new clientele I learned of a position with the City of Rochester’s Recreation department entitled “Communications Specialist.” I inquired about it and suggested that rather than hire me, I could serve them better if I took them on as a client; to which they replied “Sure, let’s give it a shot!” While working in this position I rebranded the department and it’s programs, created a long-term marketing strategy and handled all media interactions. It was an unexpected turn in my career focus and I enjoyed the challenge.

The Mayor’s Office apparently took notice of my work and offered to bring me into the City’s Communications Bureau to replicate my initiatives city-wide. I replied “Sure, let’s give it a shot!” While working in my new capacity as a marketing evangelist for the City, I often found that I was unable to find good photography that represented the diversity and beauty of the community I was tasked with promoting. Though I had taken a course in photography in college, I had never really considered it as a viable creative avenue. I was wrong. I bought myself a used Nikon D7000, and learned everything I could about professional photography. Instantly hooked, I was soon using my own photography in publications and marketing materials. It ignited a passion that has yet to leave me.

Shooting an interview for Rediscovering Frederick Douglass

During my time with the Communications Bureau, a unique opportunity fell into my lap. A never before seen photograph of the world famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass was discovered in a local library archive. The photo was brought into the Communications office where a discussion ensued about how to unveil it to the public. The Communications Director at the time mused about creating a video about the discovery. Despite having only marginal experience with creating videos I said, “Sure, let’s give it a shot!” After all, my Nikon did take video. For the next six months, I learned everything I could about film making, purchased some basic equipment and set about creating what I thought was to be a modest video. The more I learned, the more exited I got about the process . In the end, what started as a small time video project, ended up becoming an award winning half-hour PBS special entitled “Rediscovering Frederick Douglass.” I had found my latest calling.

Shortly after Rediscovering Frederick Douglass was completed, as luck would have it, the City’s longtime AV staffer and photographer retired. I jumped at the chance to snag that position and mold it into something that would allow me to dive into my new passion full-time. I got the job and within a year I had hired a new, talented staff and transformed a sleepy, outdated “photo lab” into a full fledged video and social media content machine. Dubbed the Media Services department, my team and I currently produce short form documentaries and other content that promotes the diversity, energy and spirit of my home town. Much of our work can be found on the City’s newly created “What’s Good Rochester” channel (www.youtube.com/whatsgoodrochester). The channel is geared towards giving local videographers a platform to showcase Rochester stories. It is the latest chapter in a career that has proven to be been a long and winding road and I’m proud of the work we are doing.

That is the long and short of my beekeeping career (for now). I appreciate you reading this far. As I said, bee keeping is much easier to explain than a career that has seen so many zig-zags. I can’t wait to see what the next “Let’s give it a shot” moment is. Who knows, may be you will share that moment with me.