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Race Day Memories – Indianapolis 500

May 27th, 2012 No comments
Marty Indy 500 1992

Working the Pits on Race Day 1992

Twenty years? How did that happen? I was 27 and working for Fox 59 in Indianapolis as a news photographer and thoroughly enjoying the month of May. Each news organization had their own newsroom near the pagoda where we set up monitors and editing equipment, prepared packages to air later in the day, shared stories, stopped for some food and drink, charged batteries (literal) and even relaxed a little.

Excitement – Everyone on the news team was excited for the Indy 500. We spent hours and hours at the track developing stories covering drivers, fans, weather, speed, practice, qualifications, pit crews, food vendors, luxury suites, Yellow Shirts, parties, camping, sunburn, team owners, controversy, traffic and more. Our two sports guys were Kerry Addington and Brian Hammons although most members of the on-air news staff made it out to the track to put a story together. Bob Donaldson and Chris Wright frequented the track during the month.

Race Day – Our new-to-Indianapolis news director Jim Sanders prepared us by deferring to Brian Hammons who had the most experience with Race Day. (Brian had worked for other news organizations and was actually  working as a pit reporter for the IMS Radio Network on this day.) Our team was focused with their assignments as we loaded our gear. We were escorted by police into the track (what a thrill!) and to our newsroom along the main straightaway. Our fire suits customized for Fox 59 were issued several days prior so those working the pits were protected.

You may remember the weather was cold! This presented a challenge to everyone as we were sure we’d be hot and uncomfortable. Not so! Here are some random memories:

  • Feeling special. Yes I felt fortunate and special to be so close, much closer than a fan could be. Working every day out at the track exposed to drivers and owners and celebrities felt great.
  • Loud. I remember how loud it was, even with ear plugs for protection. Then I had to put an earpiece in to hear directions over the radio and had to turn that up so loud it hurt. There was likely a better way.
  • Access. With the television camera and credentials, access to most everything was a given.
  • Watch out! With cars coming in and out of the pits, you are responsible for getting out of the way. I had to be smart and not put myself in danger. There were a few close calls.
  • Cars on the grid. Prior to the “start your engines” call, I was out on the grid with all the cars, colors, people and that crowd! The grandstands were packed. Crazy.
  • Confusion. It was so loud and communication was tough. I did not have a good sense of what was going on but I knew I had to be taking good video. Our rookie news team likely was not as prepared as we could have been – maybe we should have been listening to the radio broadcast to determine where to go.
  • Crazy race. Remember? Roberto Guerrero crashed on the pace lap, Michael Andretti led most of the way, and  Al Unser, Jr. just barely won by 0.043 seconds over a hard charging Scott Goodyear.
  • I was in Scott Goodyear’s pits at the end of the race and from the reaction of the pit crew thought he may have won the race. That quickly changed as we learned that Little Al had won.

To all those news photographers working today – be safe! You’ll have memories for a lifetime to cherish.

Categories: personal, photography, professional Tags:

Thinking positive in a down economy

January 8th, 2009 1 comment

I’m one that understands that the current economy affects many and therefore is a topic at the top of any news editor’s assignment board. We see story after story of how companies and lives are crumbling due to the decrease in consumer confidence, decrease in spending, credit not as freely available as it once was and a multitude of other factors.

I’d like to thank Safari Solutions, an Indianapolis based human resources firm, for publishing an email newsletter today that takes a different angle on today’s circumstances. The topics in the newsletter include “5 Benefits of Hiring in a Down Economy” along with “Low Cost Strategies for Hiring in a Down Economy.”

Ann Clifford, President, writes:
A tough economy presents opportunities for companies to hire top talent. Investing in “A” players can increase revenues, productivity, and profits. Doing business as usual with existing “B” players may not. Below are tips for taking a proactive stance in a sluggish economy!

Ron Giles, HR Consultant, continues:
Business owners may be fearful or hesitant to recruit during an economic downturn. However, if a sluggish economy is affecting your business, hiring top talent may energize your company and give you a competitive advantage when the market turns around. Benefits to hiring during a downturn include:

  • Larger pool of higher quality candidates.
  • Industry talent available from competitor closings.
  • Top performers available at affordable salaries.
  • Top talent may position your company to excel when the market improves.
  • Business owners can focus on high impact activities by delegating to proven performers.

Now isn’t that refreshing?

Categories: professional Tags: , ,

Communications basics in the office.

October 17th, 2008 2 comments

An office environment is made up of people with a range of personalities, needs, desires and skill levels. When managed even at a basic level the environment can be very healthy. We all know it’s not easy to keep the balance with the variety of motivations employees (and managers) have during office hours. Here are some very basic tips or best practices I’ve learned “over the years.”

  • Leave your personal baggage at the door when you walk in the office every morning. This is harder than it sounds since you spend a lot of time with your co-workers and some may even become friends that you trust. You then start to share your personal business and develop deeper relationships with those you work with. Back to my point . . . if you can practice taking a deep breath on your way in the door each day and thinking “I’m at work now” and put your personal business away to concentrate your efforts on work for the next 8-10 hours you’ll be much better off. And so will those around you.

  • Don’t assume others are at your beck and call. Everyone is busy. Practice this: “Is there time in your schedule to accommodate me for 10 minutes later today or tomorrow morning?”
  • Help others realize you are not at their beck and call. Practice this: “I’d really like to help, my schedule is full now, how about tomorrow morning?”
  • When another does walk into your office, have the courtesy to take your hands off your keyboard, look in their direction and give some sign of acknowledgment.
  • In the extreme basics category fall: say good morning; acknowledge one another when passing by in the hall; don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink (must I go on?).

If you manage people, you have responsibilities as part of your job that are not practiced often enough:

  • Provide adequate resources to do the work expected.
  • Provide training and a source of advice when questions arise.
  • Listen.
  • Provide feedback. This is a big one for me. People want to know how they are doing. Am I doing well? Not so well? Tell me! What can I do to improve?
  • Another big one: Say thank you! In person. In front of others. Via email. During reviews. All of the above. Sounds simple but few practice what means so much to so many and can have such positive results.

I know some think it corny but one of the best exercises performed at a prior place of employment was to hire a consultant to conduct a personality seminar – you know, like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or similar. All benefited from the day, learning how to communicate effectively with other personality types. I’m sure it’s still paying off, because I know as part of the hiring process that company now does some basic personality typing to not only help managers, but also help employees get the most out of the work environment.

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Shout Out for Doug’s Tuned In Calculator

August 16th, 2008 No comments

I work with Doug Karr, who has so much enthusiasm and creativity, it spills out of his office and every now and then I’m fortunate enough to soak up a little. Admittedly, Doug likes to plan, model, ponder and create and has a great number of ideas 90% completed and he can’t remember them all! In a flurry of genius, Doug recently created (and finished) the Tuned In Calculator which has garnered a bit of interest. To help him celebrate this achievement, I invite you to check it out. Here’s the result on this blog:

Categories: professional, technology Tags:

Start up impressions – working for a young technology company

July 30th, 2008 No comments

I’m going to try to keep more content coming in to this space on a more regular basis, some topics may just be about “me” while others may take on a more work – life – hobbies tone.

I’ve been with my new employer for three months now, well into my initiation period. I now see my contributions making a difference (in a small company most everything makes a difference in some way!). Our management team had a good conversation today about the future of the company (we get together every two weeks for financial and strategy sessions) and I truly appreciate the amount of involvement I have with these decisions. There are moments when I want things to happen much more quickly, though. That’s my impatient side coming through and I tend to ignore the guy on my other shoulder whispering “you better watch what you ask for!”

Categories: personal, professional, technology Tags:

Safe landing at Patronpath

April 18th, 2008 No comments


So I did it! I’m now director of marketing for Patronpath, provider of marketing and e-commerce solutions for the restaurant industry. (Actually I stared about a month ago, I’ve just been late in posting about it!) I happen to be working with Douglas Karr, a great marketing and technology wizard who is active in the Indianapolis blogging scene. My days are spent developing and implementing marketing strategies to help this small, young company build a strong, sustainable and growing customer base.

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Currently seeking job opportunities

March 5th, 2008 No comments

What a great experience at Compendium! Now I’m on to other exciting opportunities and would love to share my experience and know-how with your company. Please see my profile by clicking on the image below, or contact me directly.

View Marty Bird's profile on LinkedIn

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This topic now on hiatus; new adventure begins.

July 22nd, 2007 3 comments

So I enjoy the idea of blogging so much I have now turned my profession towards helping corporations use blogs to most effectively communicate with their customers. I’ll still be blogging, though it’ll be a Compendium blog, and hopefully at some point I’ll dedicate this space to another topic. I’m very happy to be starting this new adventure, wish me luck! Cheers.

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Ensuring your customers find you . . .

July 10th, 2007 No comments

It’s well known that the number one customer acquisition tool for traditional retailers is drive-by, that is, customers find you by driving by your location. But what happens if they’re on the internet and want to find you? One way is to provide a map, with the goal of driving traffic to your retail location. This is very common as well and today I learned the power of the Google Map API. Without some intermediate level of programming expertise, you’ll want to outsource this function. Today I was in a team meeting speaking to such a programmer who opened my eyes to the power of Google Maps. What a great tool for retailers! To make it even easier to “find a location near you” we talked about a way the interface can automatically display the closest locations based on the users originating IP address. Wow! So now when asked “how did you find us?” the answer more and more will be “I was just surfing by!”

Categories: professional, technology Tags:

Finding a niche

June 27th, 2007 1 comment

So what do I know? One option was to blog about my daily personal life (boring!). Another was to simply provide reviews of sites I visit and books I read, mostly about technology and business. Then I thought, well what do I know? I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can thrive doing what I love, using technology to help business owners market their customer experience, products and services. How do I do that? Let’s find out together. I do a lot of research on current trends that I’ll share and I’ll also relate to you what’s currently working and not working, where I’ve been and where I’m going along the tech trail.

I happen to apply my knowledge professionally at the company headquarters of the retail franchise Wild Birds Unlimited, therefore many posts will pertain to the franchise business, bird feeding and bird watching. You’d be amazed at how technology has transformed our business of supporting our independent business owners, how they can market their business using technology and how their customers use tech in bird feeding and bird watching.

What kind of readers am I looking for? Small business owners looking to improve using technology with a focus on franchise businesses, franchised and independent bird feeding and bird watching specialty store owners, and customers or fans of this business that might take an interest in how technology ultimately affects their shopping experience. Let’s go!

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