Good Evening Everyone!

I don’t know how many of you know how I got started with SPJA/AX but felt like its a good time to tell that story.

In 2002, I had just left a job to come up to Long Beach to join some friends who were competing in the AMV contest. (Tag: Troy & Peter) Now I personally have very little skill when it comes to editing music videos, but I very much enjoyed the works of others. On the way up to Long Beach, I crashed my car on the 710 interchange bridge. Hurray! So I had a friend come pick me up and spent the whole weekend, slightly depressed while still trying to enjoy the event. So that’s the initial exposure. Flash forward 2 years to 2004, and Troy Williams calls me up and asks me if I would like to staff the con. I felt special! Little did I know that the convention always needs more people to feed the meat grinder.  🙂

Year 1  – I was staff for AVS in Workshops 2, running a soundboard with Carl Vincent. (Hi Vyrus) Shenanigans ensued, as would be customary for us two and my involvement was almost over before it even got started.
Years 2-6 – I don’t know how or why, but I was invited back over and over often with a promotion of some kind.
Year 7 “2007” – Ah the magical year. I being of sound body and mind, volunteered to serve on the SPJA Board of Directors. It was a crash course in life. While I won’t go too deeply into all the took place, the SPJA has always been made up of people who believed they were doing what was best for the company. Even if it hurt it, more than it helped. (Myself included)
Year 8 – Good luck Truly!
Year 9 – Goodbye old friend Truly, you will forever be missed.
Year 10 – Acting CEO. My gosh, we are still alive.
Year 11 – Lattanzio, nothing else needs to be said.
Year 10 – Help, we are drowning. Too many people to thank, AX would not be around if it were not for so many people who gave so much. While we don’t all talk anymore, I’m still thankful for all that was given.
Year 11 – Very good year, huge growth. Able to pull out from crushing debt to now just huge debt. The beginning of the end for me.
Year 12 – Another amazing year. Stress really started to ratchet up for me. I did … ok but I destroyed so many things. Things got better, but so many wrong choices by so many people, mainly myself.
Year 13 – Hitting my stride, a personal loss, but the show really grew up. Bye, bye debt.
Year 14 – My finest year. Things were all going in the same direction, things really looked great.
Year 15 – The stress is back & hello new board members.
Year 16 – The end has arrived, still so hard to give it up. I have a bit of an idea of how Mike T feels.

Today marks my 2-year anniversary of being gone from the SPJA. It has changed leadership twice since I left, hopefully, things will get better. I know many of you have moved on, and quite of few of you have been let go as well. I hope you all make your peace with your time there and appreciate the work we put in and really see the thing for what it is. The joy, the life, the love we shared, the thing that we made our own and while it will change, that you have forever left an indelible mark. It will always be a magical weekend for me. I miss it like nothing else. Life has its ups and downs, never forget who you are, what you have done and the lives you have affected. I miss you, I wish you all well and I can’t wait to talk to you again!

Peace be with you.

M.H.