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You're one of the few employees around today to work at the White Room. What's one of your favorite memories from that time period?
I absolutely loved that studio and it's very cool to have seen where VK started out, too. It was a magical time for me, overall, spending much of my formative early to mid-twenties there.
I cut the first record I engineered there and thought I was really cool putting every single source through the craziest vintage gear chain. Everything had some vintage Neumann or AKG mic on it and went through as much vintage outboard as possible. Funny enough, that record sounds horrible because I didn't know what I was doing! Turns out that great gear alone doesn't make a record great. Regardless, through recording a bunch of Detroit bands up there, I made some of the most meaningful and lasting friendships, so it was all worth it, even if I wasn't a very good sound engineer.
How did you transition into working at Vintage King from the studio and what was your first role at the company?
I sometimes had to take my van up to VK in Ferndale to pick up gear being rented for a session at the White Room. One time I popped in there and Ryan McGuire pulled me aside and said "Hey, do you want a part time job?," offering a position doing receiving. I generally say "yes" to new opportunities and just see where they lead, so of course I went with it.
So my first couple years here were basically me and Jacob Schneider (Shipping Manager, at the time) running the entire Shipping/Receiving department. Those were incredibly fun times. The grind of the job was no joke, but the crew was awesome! The Tech Shop was in the same big open room and those guys always had great music playing and were just fun to be around and learn from.
Vintage King has grown so much while you've been with the company. What's something that's changed about VK that you love and what's something about yourself that has changed that you love in that time period?
It really has in so many ways, but one thing that hasn't really changed, that's always kept me feeling happy to work here, is the good nature of the people I get to work with. I'd say one thing that has changed for the better, though, is that it's considerably less chaotic than it once was. The cowboy, shoot-from-the hip approach that drove the company's progress in the earlier years has evolved into a much more orderly organization. But it can still throw some curveballs to keep you on your feet ;)
Personally speaking, I mean, in a way, I kind of came of age while working here. I'm much more mature and even-tempered than I was at 23! I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to figure out what I'm good at and get paid to basically be myself. Learning who that is and what I have to offer has been very rewarding.
With such a full plate, you must have a good hack for getting tasks done. What's something simple from your daily routine you'd suggest your coworkers try?
I wish I could drop some kind of mindblowing life hack here, but honestly, I'd say just tend to your well-being, both physical and mental. The better you take care of your body and mind, the better you can operate as a human, both at work and outside of work. That, never stop learning, and always have on some good tunes :)
What's the most exciting aspect of your new role as Digital Operations Manager?
I'm not really big on labels, but to be honest, having this nameplate has inspired me to sit up a little straighter and fully own the job and responsibilities that I've grown into over the years. I get to work on solving complex problems every day and always hope that my contributions are helping to make other people's lives just a little nicer, whether inside or outside the company. This job fits my personality really well and I feel really lucky.