1. You have now ventured out to Concord, NC after living in the young, hip Plaza Midwood area of Charlotte for a while. Are there any businesses or restaurants you miss in Charlotte? Any hidden gems in Concord you have discovered?
TR: Well, it should be noted that I moved to Concord in early 2020. Pretty much right around the time we got settled in our new house everything went into full-on Covid lockdown. So, our experience with most of the local restaurants has been curbside takeout. That said, my wife and I became big #betonmainstreet supporters to try to help small businesses, so we did our best to order takeout from our local restaurants and then over-tip to try to help them out during the lockdown (The Smoke Pit barbecue and Sabaidee Thai & sushi are my faves). That had the unfortunate side effect of me gaining like 15lbs, though, so now I’m on a diet and I don’t eat anything good at all anymore (except Sabaidee sushi… can’t live without that). That said, I don’t really miss Plaza Midwood at all. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it when I was there… but I’m an old man now and I genuinely enjoy doing things like fishing and camping more than I enjoy hanging out in bars. Being in a more rural area suits me better at this stage of my life. Also, Concord’s rad because 90% of the homes here have a raggedy garage in the backyard with some sort of unfinished project car in it. These are my people.
For those who aren’t super familiar with the area, this 16 second video comprehensively covers everything there is to do in Concord: get drunk, watch Nascar, listen to music… and oh yeah, a half-decent aquarium!
2. It’s been a while and I’m really not sure so I’m going to ask, how long have you been with E-dreamz now? How has E-dreamz changed since you first started working here?
TR: I feel like my tenure at E-dreamz has been multiple lifetimes at this point. I started in 2010. That was a whole different era for digital agencies. Everything was booming, the staff was young and energetic, and work was as much as social as it was professional. It’s easy to fall into the trap of telling too many stories from “the good ole days”. But most of the hilariously memorable E-dreamz takes tend to come from that 2011-2013 era.
I feel like our industry is “revolutionary” in the sense that the technology and trends evolve so rapidly that every few years everything is completely new and different again. I’m still really trying to figure out what the 2020s are going to be.
As is the case with any company, if you stick around for a while you’re eventually forced to learn new things, take on more responsibility, and grow progressively in your role. I never would have mapped out the career trajectory I ended up on, but I’m pretty content with where I’ve ended up. I started off as Project Manager, primarily managing new website builds. Now I do a little bit of everything from business development to operations to even a little “marketing” (gasp).
It’s been a strange journey, for sure. But as much as our industry has changed, the consistency has always been there from the people around me. Most everyone at E-dreamz has been here for five years or more, and there’s a little crew of us who all started around the same time a decade ago that are all still kicking. We’re all such different people now - married, kids, living in the country, etc. It’s like we all grew up together…
3. Juggling project management, account management, sales and even some web development support, you’re sort of known as a “jack of all trades” here at E-dreamz. What is your favorite task to do?
TR: I hate all of it! (Kidding)
It’s a weird one. I talk to my wife about it a lot. Some days, I feel super busy, like I’ve accomplished a lot… but then at the end of the day I look back at all I’ve done and have nothing “tangible” to show for it. Being in a role where you’re ultimately just “managing” things is strange for me, since my personality has always been geared more toward quantifiable productivity. I suppose these days what I do for E-dreamz can be best summarized as “client services”. I just try my best to make sure that we’re meeting our clients’ needs and providing value. Sometimes that means doing something as rote and tedious as menial content entry; sometimes it means researching something new and complex and coming up with a challenging solution. The variety of tasks that I focus on certainly keeps me from ever getting bored!
4. You’re our well known car expert here at E-dreamz. What vehicles and how many do you currently own? Any prospective new vehicles on the horizon soon?
TR: Oh, I’m so glad you asked!
Currently, Britt and I have five cars. My “daily” driver (even though I don’t go anywhere anymore…) is my 2019 Honda Accord 2.0T Sport. Ha. It’s a wonderful car. The Honda Accord is my all-time favorite car. I’ve owned seven of them. It’s not a car most people expect a “car guy” to be into, but there’s always been a weirdly passionate car culture obsessed with the Accord. It’s a charming sleeper. My wife has a 2018 Honda Civic EX-T Coupe. (My Honda fanboydom rubbed off on her). Our utility car is a 2013 Subar Crosstrek. It’s our current road-tripping/camping/outdoor adventures car. We also have a 2005 Jeep Wrangler (“LJ”) that was supposed to be my off-roading project car, but my wife fell in love with it and sort of stole it from me. We also have an old 1986 Nissan D21 (Hardbody) pickup that I restored. It was an old family car that we decided to give a new home.
All of those, of course, are manual transmissions. Our household only has two rules: no automatics, no Macs.
As anyone who’s talked to me at any point in the last year is aware, I have a reservation in for a new Ford Bronco. At some point in the next however-many-months, I’ll be getting a “Badlands” trim. I have a whole Trello board full of maps and details of all the continental-US offroad parks I want to drive it through! My goal is spend my 40s recklessly 4x4ing through state parks. Once I get it, I’ll probably immediately drive straight to Moab.
Tell me this doesn’t pump you up:
I feel I should also mention our recent foray into the hobby of RC cars. Back to the Covid lockdowns... when we weren’t able to go out to places like Uwharrie last summer we got heavy into building and driving 1:10 scale RC crawlers. My wife loves it as much as I do. We chopped down some trees and built some little scale ramps and bridges in the woods behind our house. We now have one of the sweetest RC car courses in all of northeast Concord!
We even have our own social mediaz for it!
5. How has remote work impacted your family? Is your dog Benny happier to have Mom and Dad around more?
I feel sort of guilty admitting it, but the lockdowns/remote work have been really good for us. My wife works for a company based out of Seattle, and she used to have to travel a lot. But since she’s been able to go full-time remote as well, it’s really lowered her stress and been good for our relationship.
Benny, the dog has gotten so used to us being around the house with him all day every day he’d probably suffer crazy separation anxiety if we ever went back to a non-remote work schedule.
Remote life has also made it easier for me to tackle and complete ‘house projects’. We bought a “fixer-upper”, so I spent most of last year remodeling and repairing things. I’ve become an unexpectedly capable plumber and electrician. We’re all very fortunate to be living in the YouTube era… you can learn how to do ANYTHING!
BONUS: If you could have any car/vehicle in the world with ZERO limitations on money, year, make, model, functionality, imagination (you the idea) what would it be and why?
TR: I’m a man of simple desires. I wouldn’t want like a Ferrari or a Lambo or anything. I’ve always been drawn to quirky, peculiar cars. I looked for years to try to find a good condition Subaru BRAT or Isuzu Amigo that I could fix up, but they’re just a little too small for me.
If I had unlimited resources, I’d build a giant garage (or hangar…) and do custom versions of my favorite cars from old TV shows and movies. I’d probably get a BRAT and modify it to fit me and then make it look like the one from My Name is Earl. I’d love to one day get a Jeep YJ and paint it drab brown just like MacGyver’s. Or do up a K5 Blazer like Hopper’s from Stranger Things. I’d have to fit the baby blue Pacer with flame graphics from Wayne’s World in there too. The crowning piece of the collection, of course, would be a Back to the Future Delorian (and if I had the room, I’d get Marty’s Toyota SR5 truck in there too.)
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