TEXAS – While many businesses are struggling since COVID-19 put a halt to large gatherings, one North Texas production company is thriving by offering technical services to virtual events.
The production of a large, in-person event, like a corporate conference, is big business. When organizing these events – which can yield the attendance of thousands – companies and organizations typically outsource the production of the event, leaving lights, sound, filming, and streaming to the professionals.
When business partners Bill Mott and Joshua Butler launched Falcon Events in December 2019, their goal was to provide end-to-end event streaming solutions from onsite production, taking an event online to be streamed virtually.
At the beginning of 2020, the new company had 20 events booked to be streamed with just a handful of employees. By mid-March, all of those bookings were canceled as the global pandemic made it impossible for large, in-person events to continue. That’s when Mott and Butler realized event organizers would adapt and pivot from in-person to virtual and hybrid events. In the following months, they found their budding business in high demand.
“A lot of these events would typically take place in a ballroom at a hotel or at the convention center,” said Mott. “Due to COVID-19 and the pandemic, all that has gone virtual. [Our] facility has been streaming out all that content. The shows have gone on in a virtual capacity.”
By the end of 2020 as the company celebrated its one-year anniversary, they had more than 80 employees with 175 events successfully streamed with more than 50,000 hours of content to millions of viewers.
“I did not expect this level of success. I was hopeful and optimistic, but the growth from one quarter to the next in our first year was mind-boggling and exciting,” said Mott. “We were at the right place, at the right time.”
Many of Falcon’s new employees came to the company after losing their jobs, furloughed out of the entertainment, airline, and service industries, among others. One of those displaced employees is George Ferrie. Before his position with Falcon as an attendee experience team member, he was a business owner. After being forced to shut down his bar, largely because of COVID-19, he says his job at Falcon gave him the financial stability the pandemic took away.
“Pre-COVID I was the owner and operator of a small business called Wine Squared, a local wine bar in Denton on the downtown square. I owned it by myself for three years. It had been in business for 15 [years]. The pandemic is tough; that kind of forces a lot of small businesses to try and pivot as best as they can,” said Ferrie.
He loves his job at Falcon and feels he’s providing an important service in this time of social distancing. He calls himself a natural-born leader and believes the position is a perfect fit for his extroverted personality.
“We're kind of the intermediary between many different facets of the conference,” said Ferrie as he sat in his cubicle which houses seven monitors. “We’re basically the stage manager, we’re the producer, we’re the lighter, we’re the audio person, we are six people in one. And that is why you see so many screens in my spaceship - [that] is what I call it.”
He continued, "The job can be difficult at times because everyone's knowledge of technology is different. It is my job to help those not as technologically savvy navigate how to use ZOOM or Skype. Those little things you take for granted - you don't realize that some people just don't ever use those programs.”
At the end of a conference, Ferrie feels a sense of achievement knowing he’s given people the opportunity to connect and share even though they can’t meet in person. He says the job is about connecting in real-time, with real people.
“I've talked with hundreds of people a day in a conference, and I make sure that every single person's video is shot correctly, edited to perfection. We do a lot of things in this company, and that's why we're seeing it grow so fast. It's very innovative,” he said.
Falcon has recently outgrown their original office space, upgrading to two buildings in Las Colinas totaling 10,000 square feet with an additional 4,000-square-foot expansion planned for early this year. For more information and job opportunities, visit falconevents.com
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