2020 In Retrospect

Zachary Todd is a communications associate with SNA Displays, copywriting and editing a variety of communications material such as company news releases, blogs, and case studies. Zach moved to the SNA Displays’ Dallas office from Washington, D.C., where he worked in the government sector.

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As 2020 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank my company and really all companies that managed the complexities of this insane year and made a good faith effort in the face of uncertainty to allow their employees to excel. Looking back on my first year at SNA Displays (I was hired in the first half of 2020, right as all hell seemed to break loose around the world), I’m struck by how good it’s been for the company, at least from my perspective.

I don’t pretend to know everything going on behind the scenes at my company. Revenue hits and misses, profit-loss data, 2021 forecasts, and all that sound too much like math for me to try to wrap my head around. What I do know is that I’ve been part of a team (dare I say, family) that has continued producing wins and installing displays.

Since I joined the marketing and communications team and contributed to our effort to stay in touch with the digital signage community, I’ve seen tremendous growth and expansion. From hiring personnel (like me!), to opening and expanding offices from Los Angeles to Atlanta, to unveiling spectacular displays in high-profile locations, it’s no secret that SNA Displays is doing more than just weathering the storm. We’ve also completed and begun new, amazing projects that we’re not yet able to brag about, which I’m learning is a pretty common thing when you work with big brands as we have.

So instead of lingering over the negative news of the year, I just wanted to slip some positivity into the ether. Here are some of the good-news, growth-oriented stories I’ve been a part of throughout this wild ride.

Growth

I feel blessed to be part of a company that has been able to retain all of its employees and actually grow during these times. While many of my teammates are spread across the country (and world!) and I haven’t gotten to meet them in person as originally planned, I’ve enjoyed getting to know them via the wonders of technology. Here are some of the ways SNA Displays has grown in 2020:

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Product Launches

Companies can rely on a standard set of products for years without trying anything new. But innovation is essential and it’s been inspiring to see that in action as SNA Displays has launched two new products since I joined. The first was Envision™, an online, interactive visualization tool that lets users design display projects in various settings.  I looked at similar offerings from other companies and after playing around with both, I can honestly say our tool is the best I’ve used. Not having to wait for custom rendering shortens the time it takes to see your dream come to life. Plus, it’s really fun to put custom content on the Eiffel Tower just because you can.

The other major product announcement was SNA Displays’ all-in-one LED product series, ASPECT™. We’ve already seen a great deal of interest in this out-of-the-box digital display and we look forward to its potential reach.

Giving Back

The folks here at SNA Displays have a few core values we like to promote, both to our clients and with each other. We have an internal reward system that we use to recognize each other, which we tag with values like #HaveFun, #DoWhatYouDoBest, #TotalProjectSatisfaction, and #NeverStopLearning, to name a few. But the most notable value right now is #PeopleFirst, and few individuals exemplify that motto better than one of our own, Danielle Dassaro. The highlight of my year was telling the story of how Danielle and her family responded to the global pandemic early on and began sewing masks for first responders back when facemasks were scarce. Well, actually the highlight was seeing a local news channel cover that story, but why split hairs?

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Investing in the Next Generation of Artists

SNA Displays has developed relationships with many of the industry’s brightest content creators, but we recognize that it’s equally important to invest in the next generation of digital artists. Consequently, we partnered with CODAworx to create the Dreams Live Digitally Scholarship program to give art students the opportunity to attend CODAsummit, a yearly conference that gathers creative professionals together to learn from and grow with one another. The sincere gratitude from CODAworx and the scholarship recipients themselves was touching to say the least.

Awards

Seeing the delight an awe in people’s faces as they experience our displays for the first time is the most rewarding part of making jaw-dropping visual displays. But winning awards isn’t too bad either. Take for example the art installation we manufactured for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which won both an International Design Award and an award for Best Digital Sign Application: Digital Signage as Art. We’re also finalists for two Digital Signage Awards for our work on a project we collaborated on with Gensler and Moment Factory. And they said I’d never find a place in the art world.

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So, there you have it, my favorite things about 2020 as a new(ish) SNA Displays employee. Looking back through the year we can certainly find plenty to be discouraged about. My challenge to you is to look back and think about some of the positive things that have happened.

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