One of the greatest things that has happened to RT Creative Group is Jeff Parker. I met Jeff (and Stacey) in a Watermark Foundation Group. This is a 'community type' group led by a married couple for newly married couples. Somehow, Haley and I were qualified to lead a group, though our marriage was only 2.5 years in the making.
At the time, I had already created Igniter Videos, Volume 01 which included five mini movies. I sold these DVDs on our website and had already gone to a couple conferences. I was in the process of finishing up five more mini movies when Jeff and I had a great conversation. As a foundation group, we went bowling one night, but somehow Jeff and I stayed a bit longer and I talked through Igniter, church media, and dreams of the future. Napkin drawings happened. Jeff was hooked on the vision and I was hooked on needing him.
Hiring someone wasn't something I had the finances to do, especially someone of Jeff's caliber. He was a rising star at a financial company on his way to making a nice living (aka. good money). As I've found in life, and Jeff found as well, there are things that are more attractive than money. Creating media and stories that impact a person's walk with Christ was a 'trump card' for Jeff.
My dad and I co-hired Jeff. He did my dad's book-keeping for his company, and he joined me in what was happening with my tiny company. He took a big pay cut to do this, but I never heard him complain. Mainly because he didn't.
Jeff was able to put our numbers, goals, and forecasts on paper. He brought business sensibilities that I didn't have. In some ways, I could see the company for what it was. He knew when we could hire someone. For the first 3-4 hires, I remember saying and thinking, 'I can't believe we can hire someone!'.
Jeff continues to be such a huge part of our growth, changes, and foundation. We sold part of our company (WorshipHouse Media), we have acquired another part (Graceway Media), and today we sit in a great place. I couldn't have done those things without Jeff. There are countless little things I couldn't have done as well.
So today I'm thankful for Jeff. I often tell friends that Jeff is my first and best hire. That's saying a lot because we have an amazing, incredible team. I want to say 'I guess you never forget your first' but there's no way people won't take that wrong... so I won't say it.