Employee Spotlight – Matt Sullivan

“If you don’t embrace it, you’ll just waste it, and if you bruise your ribs on the bunny hill, it will eventually get you to the top of the mountain.”
Our Employee Spotlight this month features Matt Sullivan: Director of the MJ Cleveland office. Alongside his small, but mighty team of 6, Matt has built the Cleveland office into what it is today. Pushing boundaries, building relationships, all while cheering on the Browns; they can’t be stopped. You won’t want to miss where they are headed in the next five years! Check out the full interview with Matt below!

How long have you been at Mills James?

I started working at Mills James Cleveland somewhere between the Cleveland Cavaliers Championship and the Cleveland Browns 0-16 season. Luckily, “The Mills James Way” trended towards the Trophy presentation more so than the defeated season.  I started here as a Broadcast Engineer and now am the Director of the MJ Cleveland office. It’s been 6 years!

Where were you before Mills James?

I started out at WSYX/WTTE in Columbus as a Promotions Editor, which is where I first heard about Mills James. I then worked for ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut and the Los Angeles Production Center. I started as an Editor before making my way into Transmission and Engineering. When it was time to move back home to be closer to family, MJ was the only job I was waiting for.

Tell me a little bit about how you built the Cleveland office from the ground up?

A client once told me, and I won’t ever forget it, “you can sense the success of a building as soon as you take one step in the door.” That to me, screams culture. The culture here in Cleveland is second to none, it is infectious to the team, the client, and the product delivery. Chase Worcester has devised a Business Development Plan to nurture success and Brian Bealko, Frank Lu, Keri Ficyk, Drew Donovan, and Khalil Thompson have the drive, hunger, and skill to grow and further that plan.

Where do you see the Cleveland office going in the next 5 years?

Wow, in the short term, the Cleveland team has outgrown itself at the current location. That is a tremendous feeling and testament to our momentum and hard work. Pair that with the great work by the team at the Huntington Convention Center and Crowne Plaza, and it feels like Cleveland is a great place to be for the next 5 years and beyond.

What is a project that you’ve worked on that sticks out to you compared to the others?

Pretty much tattooed in my brain, April 13, 2016,  I was lucky enough to be on the crew for Kobe Bryant’s last game. Besides seeing full-on force Black Mamba Mode, the arena, surrounding LA Live Plaza, as well as the streets were packed with parade size amounts of people. He scored 60-points in that game. It left me with the feeling of pride, being impactful, and how that can jolt a product, a company brand or even a personal goal.

What led you to a career in this industry?

My grandparents got our family a VHS recorder back in the 90’s, where I first realized memories could be captured. So, between recording family dance recitals and soccer games, I did what everyone else in rural Ohio does, right? Record music videos in our backyard! You just never forget the gut feeling after your first failed tape to tape insert edit.

What do you like to do outside of work?

When I moved back to the cold weather, I told myself one thing: If you don’t embrace it, you’ll just waste it. So, I bought skis, and after many scraps, slips/falls, a set of bruised ribs (on the bunny hill), I finally can say I made it to the top of the mountain.  I also volunteer for Big Brothers’ Big Sisters which is the rewarding side of my life. Proud to be a Big for 5 years strong now.

What’s the biggest challenge you see in this industry and how have you/we overcome it?

Technology advancement on a professional and consumer level is growing at light speed which is an exciting challenge. I can only go back to the advice of before- If you don’t embrace it, you’ll just waste it.  If you bruise your ribs on the bunny hill, it will eventually get you to the top of the mountain. Mills James has done a tremendous job staying ahead of all of it and has prepared itself for the future and beyond.