I grew up in Suffolk County, on Long Island, NY. I lived here my entire life. I am the eldest of four siblings. Growing up, I played a wide variety of sports, including soccer, baseball, tennis, and ice hockey. From ages five thru sixteen, I took piano lessons. I still play regularly to this day and while I would by no means consider my piano-playing skills stellar, I pride myself on being a relatively fluid site-reader.
From a very early age, I was recognized as having a natural artistic ability. Throughout my years in school, I was the kid who filled every square inch of his notebooks with doodles of cartoons and comic book characters. It was apparent to my friends, my family and my teachers that this was my calling in life and that I should pursue my gifts and passion professionally.
Prior to graduating High School, my parents had registered me for various art classes with institutions such as The Art League of Huntington and Hofstra University. While I was provided with a firm foundation in various techniques of drawing and sketching, I was initially unsure of how I could eventually apply these skills to a career.
Alongside my passion for drawing, another passion that developed during my adolescence was a heavy interest in computers. From around the age of twelve, I recall my parents purchasing our first family PC Desktop. It was a Packard Bell, operating on Windows version 3.1. This was also around the same time that the internet was first becoming popular. I was immediately hooked. I quickly learned beyond the packaged software and became instantly familiar with all of the back-end intricacies. I was always eager to upgrade my machine, which often included hours-on-end of troubleshooting though system processes, and I was never timid of opening up the tower and getting my hands dirty from the inside.
Upon graduating High School, I was accepted to C.W. Post LIU University, where I began as an undeclared major. I was still passionate about art. However, I was unsure about the prospects of practicing art professionally. Through my first three semesters at Post, I explored different potential avenues of study. Did I want to study law? Did I want to study mathematics? One course in particular that I thoroughly enjoyed was an introductory class in Computer Science. However, art was still in the back of my mind. After dabbling in a few different areas, I ultimately decided in the Fall of 2002 to matriculate into the Visual Communications (Graphic Design) program at Farmingdale State College SUNY.
During the early 2000s, the practice of Graphic Design moving to digital was still relatively young. Prior to the nineties, the industry traditionally relied on much more traditional methods of creating commercial artwork. Early on in the program, many of these age-old methods were instilled in the students. I took drawing and painting courses that involved still lifes and live models. I learned traditional Photography, along with developing black and white prints in a Dark Room. Also noteworthy was a course called “2-Dimensional Design”, which involved simply learning how shapes interacted with positive and negative space. While the first couple of semesters at Farmingdale focused heavily on the fundamentals of traditional media, it was during my second year that the focus shifted primarily to the use of computers for designing. This was the perfect marriage of my top two passions, art and computers. It was there that I learned to use programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, QuarkXpress and Dreamweaver. From years two thru four, I took courses that focused heavily on typography with applications towards Desktop Publishing, Pre-Press Production, and Web Design. Farmingdale had a great Visual Communications program and it was reflected by the passion and ambition from their Professors and Adjuncts, who affirmed that these tools could help lead to a fulfilling and fun career. I graduated with a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Visual Communications in the Spring of 2006.
The first job I ever acquired was at a local United Artists Movie Theater in Farmingdale, NY. I held that job throughout my latter High School years, from 1998-2000. During my college years, I worked as a waiter at IHOP and Outback Steakhouse. While I did not consider the work glamorous at the time, I look back at my time spent with those businesses as the most fun times of my life. Not only did I learn interpersonal skills, but I was taught how valuable it is to practice proper customer service. I have carried those principles with me throughout my entire career.
My first official position as a professional Graphic Designer came in October of 2006. I was hired as an in-house marketing Graphic Designer, by a Private Investigation firm known as Fortress Global Investigations & Security. Fortress Global was a young company at the time, but had aspirations of becoming the world’s top Private Investigation company. The company was formed by a group of former prosecutors, from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and included a network of former investigators, from various notable government organizations such as INTERPOL, the CIA, the FBI, NYPD and Nassau County PD. My initial responsibilities included the design, production and delivery of all marketing materials for the company, which included promotional marketing folder mailers, flyers, signage, printed newsletters, and website graphics. Over time, my responsibilities expanded, as I began to assist in the overall function of the office. I participated in areas ranging from financial book keeping, to actual investigative work. After the departure of their IT manager, my background and experience with computers became especially valuable, as I assumed control and maintenance of our entire computer network system. In November of 2007, I was promoted to the title of Office Manager.
Sadly, late in 2008, Fortress Global fell victim to a number of misfortunes, coinciding with the global recession. Fortress Global closed its doors for good in April of 2009. I was one of only a few employees left standing on the final day.
In early 2010, I began an internship with Long Island Radio Group, owned by a Massachusetts company called Barnstable Group. LIRG owned and operated 4 local radio stations, which included K-JOY 98.3 FM, B-103 103.1 FM, Island WMJC 94.3, and 1100 WHLI-AM. At the time, LIRG had built a local coupon-oriented service, to supplement their on-air advertising revenue. The service was called YourLI, and was a website purposed with competing with services such as Groupon. YourLI had a fulltime Graphic Designer maintaining its website, and my initial role as an intern was to primarily assist in website and newsletter maintenance. In the Summer of 2010, YourLI’s Graphich Designer resigned, and the position was subsequently offered to me. I accepted.
YourLI was scrapped from the company’s initiative in late 2010, at which I ultimately became the Graphic Designer, overseeing all four radio station websites. In addition, I assisted our sales staff on designing and implementing ad revenue generating campaigns and initiatives. Those campaigns and initiatives assumed several forms, including the design and implementation of digital display ads, creating sponsored mico-websites, and capturing data in the form of “warm leads” for clients. My work with our sales staff was always in constant balance with the demands of our programming staff. I worked closely with our Program Directors of each station to ensure that their on-air messaging was consistently reflected through all of our various channels of digital media, which included our websites, newsletters, mobile apps and social media.
In 2012, Connoisseur Media purchased Long Island Radio Group from Barnstable and in 2014, our cluster acquired a fifth station, WALK 97.5 FM from Clear Channel Communications Inc. During my tenure at the stations, which spanned over nine years, I vastly matured as a professional and grew confident in my abilities as a Graphic Designer. For the first time in my career, my artwork was seen daily by hundreds of thousands of people. I also earned a solid reputation as a worker who thrived under pressure, always met deadlines, paid careful attention to detail, and really took pride in the final result of my projects. I thoroughly enjoyed working in radio.
In August of 2019, I was offered a position as a Digital Marketing Manager with The Paramount Theater, in Huntington, NY. The Paramount is a well-established concert venue. I was a member of a three-person team, where we coordinated marketing strategies for a steady streamline of shows, in efforts to boost ticket sales. I assumed primary control of all of the Paramount’s social media channels and posted content daily in the form of both organic and paid content. In addition, I also oversaw the integrity of our website and periodically assisted our graphic designer.
Sadly, the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 had hit the concert industry especially hard and I was furloughed by The Paramount as a result. Although my time with The Paramount was relatively brief, I felt as though I was able to help make an immediate positive impact. One of my first projects was to improve their capability of selling their Gift Cards via The Paramount’s website. Prior to my arrival, their method of eCommerce involved soliciting payment info through a simple contact form. I was able to quickly implement a secure eCommerce solution through their website and integrate it seamlessly with their accounting services. As a result, the business experienced their highest Gift Card revenue ever during the holiday season of 2019.
With over 14 years of experience, I would consider myself a valuable asset to any marketing team. I’m thorough, I’m a team player, and I bring a degree of professionalism that I take tremendous pride in.