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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Through the Photographers Lens

(Every leader must be lead. In order to guide you must have direction)


Welcome to Through the Photographers Lens,

In this week’s post I thought I would focus on Father's day and fathers. I can easily say that after losing my father at the age of 12 I have been blessed to have had men in my life that have stepped up and stood in the gap. Those that have taught me life lessons and shared information with me that in turn helped shape and mold me into the person that I am today. It’s true what they when they say “Father is not always who made you but who stepped up to help raise you. My own natural father passed away when I was but a young pup, but in the time we did have together it was great and no one can or will ever step into his shoes. (Miss you dad!)

One such person that stood in that gap is long time friend and mentor Abraham Viera of Abe V. Systems Inc. ( Abe, as we called him around the shop was more than just a boss but a friend and mentor to everyone who ever worked with him. He took the time to listen to what you had to say and give good sound spiritually based advice and at the same time taught many of us most if not all of what we know about business and business relationships. In fact I can say that many of the lessons that I share with those that I mentor and teach I learned from Abe. I recently had the privilege of sitting down and talking to Abraham and Abe Jr. to catch up and with old friends and what is going on with them these days.

Abe Senior has worked in production for more than 27 years, working with just about every artist you can think of both locally and internationally. Abe senior has also work in many ways with community groups and leaders to help make change in the community and even going as far as giving training, work and thereby hope to many, many now successful, engineers and technicians in the live production industry today. It is even safe to say that there are not many people in the live production game in the U.S. that don’t know of Abe V. Systems ad Abraham and the work they have and are still doing around the country and around the world.

Taking up the mantle, Abraham Jr. is now Vice President of the company and producing events for artists like Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony as well as designing and producing massive events like a 40th birthday event for Jay-Z in Santo Domingo. With a goal of taking the company into more markets, Abe Jr. spends his days running the day to day operations of the company as well as new business and market development.

[As Told to WhyBlueMatters]

How long have you been in business?

I’ve been in business for about 28 years producing events and providing staging, lighting and sound.

Congratulations, you’ve been in business longer than many of the people reading this article have been alive.

I’ve known you for a long time now, Abe and I can say that I have learned a lot from you about myself and about the business, how do you balance being a father and an entrepreneur?

It’s really hard because I am still learning, I make mistakes and they tolerate it. Only time will tell how well I did. I hope the legacy I leave behind is to inspire people to believe in themselves and to go forward.

This is a question for you, Abe Jr, what is the goal going forward? What’s next for Abe V. Systems? Are you going to take over the company?

Obviously it is to continue to expand market share which can be tricky in this economy, but we are working from the philosophy of working smarter rather than harder. So if that means saying no to some shows in order to take on shows that are more complex, then we acquire the tools and expertise to do the more complex shows to foster company growth.

I know at one point you help the title of one of the largest Latin owned production companies, is that still the case?

Abe Jr.: There are a couple others out there that as the Latin market has grown they’ve been able grow as well, but in New York, yes we are by far.

Abe Sr.: The other thing is this as the market place changes and as artists move to different states and make a way for other artists to come forward, it makes a way for other companies to grow as well. So, the sun shines in other states for others as well. However, I must say that here in the states, that though we may not be the largest now we are still among the largest, especially in the Hispanic market. I can say is that I have been the first to get into many markets and venues that have not traditionally been open to minority owned companies. For instance I was the first minority owned company to work Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall and the American Airlines Arena. A lot of the major arenas I was the first, so if there are other companies that have more work or more clients and equipment that’s great but I can say that I paved the way for a lot of the minority companies.

This is one of the most unstable economic periods in history, and I know your business over head must be incredible. How do you manage to stay afloat in this harsh economic time?

Like anybody else you have to cut back. That’s one to the great things about having a family and staff that understands and is willing to cut back with you to make it all work. And deal with the situation as it is. It gets rough, but we stick it out together and that makes it a little easier to get through.

I have seen where you have done a lot in the community and telling some organizations to just make sure that your team is taken care of and you would be glad to work with them. What types of community works and projects are you involved in these days?

I am still a Christian so we do a lot with the churches. Now a days you have to be careful with who you work with because not every organization is made of straight shooters. You develop and intuition for who is real and who is not but we still try to go with what makes us feel good. So we try to help as many people and community’s and even work with some of our competitors to help out where we can. We have in the past worked together with our competitors because we agreed that it was a good cause and we should just do it.

I know that over the years you have also done a lot to help the individual. If it’s putting someone to work or getting someone training or certification for a specific area. What are you doing these days to continue to help the individual to help themselves?

People have a lot of talent and vision. So if you can get into people’s heads and help them to understand that there is a lot of strength within themselves and that they can do it and make them feel positive, I think just by doing that you motivate people. Sharing where you’ve been and what you’ve been through, motivates people. People really like for others to be very honest with them. Like I said before you use your discretion with whom you help because people know when you’re being real and when you are being phony with them. Even with my sons, I thank God for them because with everything they do there is a passion in them for what they do. They do it, not because of the money, although there is a cost and a charge for everything, but because they love what they do. So, if you can motivate someone to go with their hearts and go with what is going to make them happy and not just for money then they can be successful!

Individually, and Abe Sr. I want to start with you, what advice would you give someone trying to get into the production industry?

A lot of people want to get into this field or any field and don’t know their own capabilities. Some people want to do sound, but they are not good sound people but they are good coordinators or have a good vision. What I would say is get into it if you want to get into it if that’s what you want to do. Find out what area is your strength and you really enjoy doing and do the best that you can with it. And obviously keep God first in what you are doing. You never want to take God out of the equation at any point. God knows the desires of your heart and he knows that if what you desire is not going to get you into trouble down the road, I'm sure God will meet your needs.

Exactly! Abe Jr. I want to ask you the same question? What advice do you have for those people who aspire to get themselves in to the VP slot?

It’s a lot of hard work and there’s a lot of soreness before you get the glory. There’s a lot of work that people never see, they just see the end product and it’s just something you have to be ready for. Just like anything else, it requires a lot of hard work, a lot of extra time on your part, it does interfere with your personal life and you have to make a place for that. So if you’re willing to count the costs then it’s worth it, but it’s something you are going to have to be passionate about for it to really work or it can be very, very frustrating on the business end.

What’s Fathers Day going to be like? What is Fathers day going to be like for AVS and the Viera Home?

Abe Jr.: We are going to be filming. MTV direct is doing a deal with us where they are going to be filming my wedding. I'm getting married on August 22nd. So they are going to come on and film the family as one of the pre screening processes for one of their shows to see they cast me and my family and the wedding.

Abe Sr., what are you going to be doing?

I am going to go along with the program. That’s what I do now days. The rules have changed. You know how they say the first shall be last and the last shall be first, will I used to be the parent now I get to be the child. I just go with the flow. I am happy to be healthy, to still have my parents alive, to have my children and to have a woman who still loves me. And I thank God for all those things.

Any last comments from either or both of you?

Abe Sr.: I want to wish all the fathers a Great Fathers Day and to the children always love your parents!

Happy Fathers Day from Why Blue Matters!!!

Rahim Baskett


MindSoulVision Photography




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