2021 Executive Reflections: How an Organization and Its People Respond to Adversity

When the pandemic hit the U.S. full force in March 2020, sports production was forced to accelerate technology changes that were already in motion but not expected to happen for several years. Health and safety came to the forefront of production concerns at the same time as engineers were racing to enable talent and tech to work from their homes. As always, the production industry came together as a family to deliver sports television to a public that was hungry for live entertainment. This editorial by Pat Sullivan, President, Game Creek Video is the latest in a series of “2021 Reflections” from SVG’s 2021 Sports Production Yearbook in which sports-production leaders look back on a year unlike any other and offer projections for the year ahead.

On March 12, Game Creek’s Encore production facility was midway through the Big East Men’s Basketball Championship quarterfinal game when the game and the balance of the tournament were canceled due to the pandemic.

March 13, 2020: Game Creek Video was scheduled to provide production units for 13 events around America. They were all canceled or postponed.

Between March 14 and Sept. 1, at least 671 events were either canceled or postponed.

On March 16, the collective leadership of Game Creek started planning for our business life as we knew it at that time. What evolved after the virtual shutdown of our revenue was an incredible story of dedication, ingenuity, perseverance, and cooperation.

Our primary concern and objective were to keep our engineering, transportation, logistics, and office staff safe, employed and engaged.

Our finance team went to work with our bank group, formulating projections for a 30-, 90-, and 180-day shutdown. Little did we know we would soon be working on 18-month plans.

Game Creek Video’s engineering team responded to the pandemic by developing a range of new services. Pictured: A remote monitoring and contribution setup in a conference room at Hudson, NH, headquarters.

Our logistics, human-resources, transportation, and operations teams jumped in with both feet, developing and executing safety protocols for the office and our mobile units. This was accomplished in the face of little or no guidance from our government, which was issuing conflicting guidelines for dealing with the spread of the virus. Our engineering team established a series of training seminars with our leading vendors. Every day, from March 30 to June 1, there were seminars on equipment operation and maintenance as well as sessions conducted by our staff on such things as show preparation. We had 80% of our staff participate in these seminars.

The engineering team then went to work developing and then deploying GCV Anywhere, a solution that will enable production teams to maximize their capabilities remotely. As travel becomes a more pressing concern for all, Game Creek continues to promote new services that maximize the connectivity-component design of the Game Creek fleet. We are pleased with how this has evolved and excited to present more solutions to our clients as the pandemic creates new avenues for production.

The mark of a truly great organization is how the people in that organization respond to adversity. While we have a long way to go to get back to normal, the last several months have set the table for many years of unlimited potential.

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