Justin was, as yet, undecided on a career path when Steve Cheshire entered his room at 5:50 am one morning, His dad had him put on his own used shirt and head to work at 7:30 am to sign up for the Eastman Kodak Company safety class. That move by his father launched Justin’s start in AV, where he began working 20 to 30 hours a week, reporting directly to his father, while doing painting and making pizza on the side
“At first, I didn’t think it would be my thing,” Justin shared, “but eventually, while doing local jobs, I began to see it as a future. I went to my Father and said, ‘Okay, what’s the plan?
“Shortly thereafter, he brought me on full-time, and during the next year-and-a-half, he slowly gave me more responsibility.”
Justin laughs about his first road trip to Orlando, where he was looking forward to learning “the ropes” from “the guys.”
“After three days of ‘grunt work’ – getting coffee, grabbing cables, running to Kinkos — I went to my Dad and complained, asking him to give me more responsibility.
“My Dad smirked, and said, ‘Go get case Y2. It’s really important. You keep this up and running during the entire show!”
With delight, Justin carefully pulled the special case from the stock of boxes they’d brought, and opened it with care. As he lifted the lid, he noted that it was custom fit with foam lining to exactly fit the equipment.
Imagine his surprise when he went to pull out the treasured equipment and discovered that, cradled within the box, was a coffee maker and Cheshire mugs!
Justin laughs, “That was how I discovered from my quick-witted Dad that I was gonna get the same pay, no matter what I was doing, and that every responsibility on a job is equally as important as the next.”
After the joke, though, his father did put him in charge of operating a Panasonic VHS camcorder for that meeting that was being held for the 250-person Eastman Kodak Entertainment Imagery Group.
Justin talks about the as the aspects of the company that have remained the same over the years.
”You always deliver on your promise and do everything you can to make things go smoothly, whether you’re serving 25 people, or 2500.
“Occasionally we have to say ‘no’ to work that’s not a good fit for us,” he confided.
He shakes his head when he notes that what has changed about the business is that it has evolved into a competition of price wars, and that some companies slash pricing, just to get the business…but then, to make up for the loss, they usually also have to slash the service as well.
“There is always a need for fine-tuned technical expertise and for people who will go the extra mile, which our staff does. Our goal is to always add value, no matter what. If that means — in addition to our technical responsibilities — we assist by running to get coffee or helping a planner put out programs, we do it.
“Meeting Planners have incredible responsibility, start to finish. If we can help take even one additional thing off their plate, we try to do that.
“For Cheshire, it’s all about delivering a Return on Investment at every show we’re involved with, to ensure the client’s delight and that they’ll insist on working with Cheshire in the future.
“I also just really want to add that I am forever grateful to my father for giving me direction at a time when I needed it most in my younger years.”