Tag: Business & Financial Services

Young Professionals Choose Delaware

Not many people are lucky enough to say that where they live has all the ideal factors, but when it comes to the citizens of Delaware, they can proudly boast about a place that is perfect for all aspects of life. Delaware has been experiencing an influx of young professionals who choose to live somewhere they know will provide them with job opportunities along with a welcoming community.

Over the years, while the size of the state has remained the same, the business and residential communities have grown. Residents of Delaware feel connected to each other, and this allows them to make meaningful connections. As interviewee Jason James points out, more people seek out diversity when it comes to their work and home lives. The younger workforce wants to become involved with people unlike themselves—they want to engage with others so that they can learn and become more in tune with their communities.

Because of these reasons, young professionals choose Delaware as it is a state whose diversity is growing each and every year. The range of diversity allows people to pursue a variety of interests, showing that Delaware is truly a place where anyone can come and thrive.

Kyle Gay: Delaware is a place to live, work, and play, for millennials and for people of all ages.

Kyle Barkins: Really easy to meet people here. I think it’s very easy to establish strong relationships. And it’s easy to get things done.

Charles Vincent: If you can’t get ahold of the person, you have somebody who can, and you’re able to just get things done faster. Instead of talking out stuff, we’re able to do stuff.

Nicole Magnusson: I love the community in Delaware. It’s small enough to know your neighbors, but also big enough to explore and learn new things, and find new places to eat, and shop, and have fun.

Jason James: This generation that’s coming up is really interested in living and working in diverse spaces. Research studies support that over and over again, when millennials are asked, what attracts them to being in a certain place, it is diversity. It’s multiple people, multiple people with different backgrounds, and multiple things to get involved in. So this is really an opportune area for millennials to really move into and work in.

Daniel Walker: We’re flexible as a small state, so we’re able to find what interests a person, and really capitalize on that. And I think that’s what makes the networking so great.

Kyle Gay: We chose Wilmington because we knew that this was a great opportunity for us; both in our careers and finance, and in law, and for the family that we wanted to have, and we finally do have now. It’s a great place to raise children. A great opportunity for people and families to be ingrained into the community.

Jennifer Saienni: And you don’t have to wait years to see the difference of what your work is doing. You are able to come to Wilmington, come to Delaware, and make an impact!

Young Professionals Living the Good Life in Delaware

Young professionals like these agree that Delaware is an ideal location for work and life. You can find great fulfillment and success in your career through the ever-growing job market. More businesses are discovering that Delaware is a great state to locate in, and this allows for job opportunities of all kinds.

And work isn’t the only positive Delaware has to boast. From restaurants to shops to parks to beaches, Delaware has everything that makes a home state worthwhile. Residents of the state take advantage of its many amenities while also making meaningful connections with their fellow neighbors. The community of Delaware, in both the business and residential life sense, provides endless support for all those looking to make the First State their home.

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Mike Pfeifer

Filmmaker, 1440 Film Co.

Mike Pfeifer

Mike Pfeifer

“Speak to the heart to encourage the mind.”

This is the mantra of Mike Pfeifer, the owner of 1440 Film Co. The Wilmington-based video production firm has been in business for just over a year but has already completed projects for the American Heart Association, the Ronald McDonald House and the University of Delaware.

Pfeifer arrived in Delaware during his freshman year at Christiana High School, to move closer to a job his father had gotten at the nearby Chrysler plant. He received his degree in Community and Organization Leadership at the University of Delaware, which became useful with the technical aspects of running a business.

The business degree was a strategic decision for Pfeifer when considering his career. “Growing up I always had a camera around my neck. I would talk my teachers into letting me do a video for a project because I hated writing. It didn’t hit me until I graduated from UD that it was a viable skillset and people would actually pay me to do something I enjoy doing,” Pfeifer said. “I never thought in a million years I’d be able to do this for a living.”

Delaware has provided a great balance for Pfeifer. “I love the quality of life I get living and working here in Delaware. We can be at the beaches or the mountains in about an hour. I do a little bit of traveling for shoots, but most of my work is here in Delaware,” Pfeifer said. He doesn’t hesitate when considering the alternatives. “Sure I could go to New York and hunt down some of the bigger agencies but I’m perfectly happy telling the stories of the people and brands in our state.”

Last year was intense for Pfeifer — building the business, managing both the creative and logistics for complex shoots and doing the networking required to make them happen. On top of that, he is a dad to a 2-year-old daughter. “I get to drop my daughter off in the morning and kiss her goodnight at bedtime which is the most important thing to me.”

For Pfeifer, strategic networking has been critical to 1440’s strong start. “There are also incredible resources for making connections to the larger businesses in the state — Delaware State Chamber, Delaware Decision Makers run by Dave Tiberi, Leadership Delaware led by Terry Strine, and the new Delaware Small Business Administration- they have a great speed networking event that has gotten me connections to a number of banks. I’ve gotten major national clients through this kind of networking,” Pfeifer said.

He credits Delaware for this access, “I don’t know if other states operate like that, but you hear this time and time again with Delaware being so small, and if you put in the time, all of those things are possible here.”

“I love the quality of life I get living and working here in Delaware. We can be at the beaches or the mountains in about an hour.”

Connections are also key in helping him match the right teams to the projects that come in, many of them diverse and hyper-focused on a certain style. “Making large production work here is primarily relationship-based. I am responsible for most of the creative development, but I am surrounded by a really talented group of people in this area,” Pfeifer said.

“Filmmaking is the greatest team sport there is. I have a sports background — you can only do so much yourself, and only carry [yourself] so far.”

1440 was not just a random number for Pfeifer, it was something he spent a lot of time crafting, until he was sure he had the right fit. “Names are challenging and every dot-com is taken. You want the name to be meaningful and represent you in some way.” In brainstorming a unique name Pfeifer focused on lacrosse, as it has always been a big part of his life and something he and his father shared.

“14 was one of my numbers, 40 was his. He passed away from cancer five years ago.” When looking into the use of the number “1440” for his business, Pfeifer discovered that there are 1440 minutes in each day. “I knew it was right — that it is about making minutes count.”

Making an impact and speaking to the heart to encourage the mind is the core mission that drives all of 1440’s work. “In any career, people want to do things that make a difference. Sure I could sell 10 million batteries for Duracell but I would much rather make an impact somewhere.” So Pfeifer started Project Give Back, where a percentage of every project goes in a pot. At the end of the year, that money is used to fund a pro bono piece designed to do something meaningful.

Project Give Back for 2019 made a big impact. Focusing on Teen Sharp, a Delaware non-profit that helps underrepresented students get into college, Pfeifer decided to film the students opening their college acceptance letters. “We shot it at DeTV’s studio. We put them under the lights and then surprised them by bringing out their parents from behind the curtain to talk about what all of their efforts meant to them. That despite whatever the letter says, they are still champions.

Pfeifer then takes a deep breath recalling the moment. “Then we brought out one of their Teen Sharp mentors, who had worked with them for 5 years. And then, right after all of that, we had a representative from one of the colleges on the phone. We hand the phone over to the students and it’s someone from the university telling them ‘we would love to have you.’ And everyone there just melts. It was such a powerful moment. And now Teen Sharp has… they have lightning in a bottle,” Pfeifer said.

“They have the most rewarding thing I’ve ever shot. If I could do one project like that a year, for the remainder of my career, that would be a success for me.”

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Kevin Short

General Manager,
Mid South Audio

Kevin Short loves Delaware

Kevin Short

If you’re enjoying live music at the Freeman Stage in Selbyville, you’re likely observing the handiwork of homegrown event production company: Mid South Audio (MSA).

In the intricate dance of lighting, sound equipment and video gear, it’s easy to forget the kind of coordination it takes to properly execute a live performance. MSA has made this its specialty since 1989.

Founded by Sussex County native Kevin Short, the now full-service event production company and recording studio was born out of an audio installation company that began in 1983. Technology and consumer preference are constantly shaking the industry up, but MSA has changed with the times, dancing to the music all the while.

“We used to be an audio installation company, but now we do what’s called ‘integration.’ That’s not even a word we used 30 years ago,” said Short, MSA’s general manager. “Today, everything – sound, video and lighting – needs to work together and be integrated. It’s all part of one package.”

In the beginning, MSA offered sound services to small local events and bands. At the time, it was a modest 16-track analog studio. Over the years, the company’s client base grew. They started supplying services for local venues like the Avalon Theater in Easton, Maryland and the Delaware State Fair. Their offerings grew too. After buying several lighting companies about 15 years ago, service integration began.

Currently, MSA provides production services for large scale national acts from New Hampshire to Florida and as far west as Texas. The studio has morphed into a state-of-the-art digital facility which has recorded Grammy Award-winning artists while still catering to local musicians and venues.

Plans for Growth

Part of what’s kept MSA alive, is their focus on the future. Now is no different. The company, currently in Georgetown, recently decided to relocate to Milton and build a new 20,000 sq. ft. headquarters.

“We’re really excited about it because we’ve always worked out of offices and warehouses,” said Short. “We’re going to have a brand new 3,500 sq. ft. recording space and a retail showroom for the first time. It’s a big expansion for us to be able to bring in customers and have them demo products – they can try before they buy.”

“Delaware is a small state, and I believe the state and the business community here goes out of its way to be friendly to local companies.”

The stage in their showroom will enable them to put on demonstrations, trainings and lectures. The new recording studio will also make their in-house productions more efficient.

“We do a once-a-month show called Tech Talk Live that we currently have to rent studio space for,” Short said. “In our new space, we’ll be able to produce it in our own facility.”

The Delaware Difference

When MSA resolved to make the big leap into a new headquarters, it forced them to reexamine what being in Delaware meant to them. Doing their due diligence, they considered several other locations on the east coast. Ultimately, the state retained them for several different reasons, said Short.

“A big thing for us has been that our location helps us attract top talent,” he said. “When we’re trying to entice someone to relocate here, being near the beach communities has been helpful.”

A vibrant client base resides here as well.

“We’re an entertainment company and this is a resort area – they go hand in hand,” he said. “A lot of our customers are restaurants, bars or music venues. Anyone who’s putting on a live event or show in this area may be interested in working with us. Not every community is made up like that.”

A grant MSA recently obtained from the Delaware Division of Small Business also helped persuade them.

“We applied for a received a grant for just over $100,000 – mostly in strategic money, but some to help develop jobs,” said Short. “That made a big difference for us. We already feel like we’re swimming upstream in some ways because so much equipment is being sold online these days and everyone is moving away from brick and mortar.”

Given that the odds are being stacked against old-fashioned retail, Delaware’s lack of a sales tax makes it even more attractive.

“All the tax laws are changing for internet purchases, but Delaware is a great state for us to open a retail space in because of the tax-free shopping,” said Short. “If we can save a customer 5-7%, especially on a large purchase, it’s a great competitive advantage.” 

However, one of the best benefits to staying in Delaware is a seemingly intangible one, notes Short: the business community’s dedication to supporting itself.

“Delaware is a small state, and I believe the state and the business community here goes out of its way to be friendly to local companies,” he said. “We support each other, and this state remains a pretty easy place to get things done.”

With their new headquarters on the horizon, MSA looks forward to another three decades of growth and evolution in the First State.

For more information about Mid South Audio, call (302) 856-6993 or visit midsouthaudio.com 

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