How TOURtech, Michael Gaster + Associates, CTD, 3rd Rock Events, & Unbridled Have Gotten Creative To Show They Care
As the effects of COVID-19 drag on and our industry continues to struggle, there are so many great stories of people who have risen to the occasion to help out others despite their own challenges. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the blog post we wrote about some of our customers’ efforts, so we decided to take it one step further and highlight what some other industry thought leaders are doing to provide for their communities. This is just the first in our summer series, so stay tuned for more great stories about what our industry is doing to serve their communities.
TOURtech: Providing Technical Expertise and Resources to Make a Difference
TOURtech, based in Raleigh, North Carolina has been working hard and getting creative to come up with a number of ways to give back. For years, TOURtech has provided technology solutions to a variety of events, including the since-canceled NFL Draft. In the wake of challenging times and canceled events, they looked around to see who was in need and found a lot of opportunities.
During the shut-down, WiFi became even more apparent as a necessity, not only for employees who now needed to work remotely, but also for school children and others who needed to adjust to the change. Many underserved rural areas were left behind in being able to function this way, so the folks at TOURtech partnered with the ITDRC (Information Technology Disaster Resource Center) to provide WiFi hot spots to people in areas who needed it the most. See the full article here.
They also saw an opportunity to help out in the restaurant industry. As state governments have slowly updated guidelines and restrictions to allow re-opening of businesses, new protocols have been paramount in ensuring the safety of patrons and employees, including the use of disposable and digital menus. TOURtech used their technical skills to help local restaurant owners provide touchless menus, saving some trees and some resources of an already stretched-thin industry. See the full article here.
In addition to these efforts, they have been deploying response teams to set up networks for pop-up screening centers to ensure data associated with COVID-19 testing is securely and quickly recorded as well as supporting the development of the Live Events Coalition to assist raising awareness of the economic impact COVID-19 has had on the many support businesses behind the scenes of live events.
Michael Gaster + Associates: Quarantine Concerts
Michael and his team of technical professionals based in Savannah, GA have provided live event services, installations, equipment, and equipment maintenance for decades. When business stopped at the beginning of the pandemic, they turned to help musicians who were out of work by hosting their series of Quarantine Concerts.
These concerts are completely driven by community donations, and any proceeds from them go to the performers first. As many people in the industry know, engagement is one of the most difficult aspects of these remote events, but Michael Gaster + Associates has been successful in getting folks to tune in thanks to some local radio stations getting the word out, the artists’ followers, and word-of-mouth. See Michael’s interview with Do Savannah here.
CTD Inc: Keeping Technicians Working and Feeding Those in Need
Since 2002, CTD Inc has been providing technical support to entertainment production companies in the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast including audio engineering, lighting design, video engineering and camera work, rigging installations for temporary and permanent projects, carpentry, and providing labor services for special events. Because of the nature of their work, they and the tight-knit group of technicians they work with were among the first ones hit, so they had to act quickly when they started seeing COVID-19 related cancellations in early March.
CTD has a strong focus on the large family of contractors they support, and the first concern for them was making sure each person who works for them was taken care of. When cancellations came rolling in, they finished making sure everyone got paid for jobs completed, regardless of whether they were paid in full by their clients and pushed pause not knowing when they would start again.
Randy, the owner of CTD also happens to own a farm, so he has provided farming jobs to some of his out-of-work technicians and installers as another way to put money in the pockets of these people who really need it right now. With the crops they are producing on the farm, CTD partnered with IATSE Local 22 in Washington, D.C. to provide fruits and vegetables for a fresh food drive for needy families. The farm is operating as a cost center, but they are doing whatever needs to be done to keep everyone they know and love going during these uncertain times. They have had a small amount of revenue-generating work such as helping with the fencing surrounding the White House and the Blue Angels flyover of D.C., which has allowed them do what they can to make immediate payments to crew, knowing that most of the contractors are scraping by or are doing odd jobs to pay bills.
3rd Rock Events: Helping Entertain Families in their Community
3rd Rock Events is an event production company based in Charlotte, North Carolina with over 20 years of experience in live production and event management. They realized during this time that they could help keep families engaged by providing their production expertise to help with streaming events. They worked with their friends in the community to coordinate book readings and craft activities for children who are at home. Their videos can be found on the Charlotte Kids Festival Facebook page.
During these weekly live stream events, families have been able to log on to see their local police officers, medical workers, and members of community non-profits reading children’s books and leading various activities for kids to try at home. Each event is co-hosted by a local festival favorite, Pinwheel Polly.
Unbridled: Donating 20% of All Profits to Charity
Unbridled is an event management, event production and creative agency based in Denver, Colorado delivering intentionally crafted events. Each year, Unbridled gives the first 20% of its profits to its charity branch, UnbridledACTS. When 50 million people in the United States lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, UnbridledACTS stood ready to offer support. As part of their 2020 Assistance Fund, they have dedicated over $200,000 to help individuals who have become unemployed during these difficult times. Since April 1, they have issued 52 grants and $133,000 to families directly impacted by the pandemic.
They have had the privilege of ensuring single moms make their rent payments on time, helping a single father put food on his family’s table, and providing essential resources for their community. With every phone call, encouraging word, and supportive action, UnbridledACTS continues to offer hope to those who need it most.
We would love to hear what you’re doing too. If you’d like to be featured in our next article, let us know what your company is doing. We will continue to provide content for the industry to help circulate ideas and some positivity while we all work towards a brighter tomorrow with the values we’ve learned together in these trying times.