Among SNA Displays’ core values is the concept of “people first.” Even though our tangible product offering is top-tier LED video display technology, our strongest collective asset is the people who work at SNA Displays day in and day out, the ones who make Dreams Live Digitally® a reality. As we continue our employee spotlight series, let’s learn little more about Pete Simon.
Pete has been with SNA Displays for seven years, starting as a sales manager and eventually working his way up to Director of Sales, Northeast OOH & Malls. He has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Albany.
Where did you grow up? Do you any favorite childhood memories you’d like to share?
I grew up in a typical mid-sized town an hour north of New York City called Yorktown Heights. My next-door neighbor was an ad executive at a big firm in the city, and I was drawn to him and the people I met in the industry from a very young age. So, I grew up dreaming of selling billboards in New York City!
Do you have a personal motto or mantra? If so, what is it and what are its origins for you?
I have too many convictions to print in one article, but I think one thing that most salespeople can learn from me is to just be up front. This does not mean to stop at just being honest, it means bad news must travel faster than good news, and you should always be the face of either to your client. Do not ever hide behind the company; it cannot save your relationship or the deal.
How do you like to spend your free time?
As I have gotten older, I have begun to really enjoy cooking, specifically Italian dishes from scratch at home; I even mill my own flour. Plus, I love wine so that makes it that much more fun to cook! Aside from that, I have always been deeply interested in history and spend a lot of time reading. Right now, I am reading a book called The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto about Dutch New Amsterdam and its wild ride in becoming New York City. Every New Yorker should read it.
Who’s had a significant influence on your life?
I had two wonderful father figures, both of whom were taken much too soon. My father and stepfather were incredibly talented men, and stalwart in their virtues. When you lose people like that at a tender age, the guidance they provided you becomes much more than what a living mentor can give you. They become part of you in a way, and your ambitions are to honor their image and their love for you.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Do not half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing.
What did you do professionally before joining SNA Displays?
I would say my professional experience in the industry started when I was in college, where I had an internship at Clear Channel Malls. After I graduated, I worked in several different industries, selling different products and services. I landed at Branded Cities in early 2014, which is where I met the folks at SNA Displays.
What has been your favorite job (other than SNA Displays of course) and why?
At 12 years old, I took my first job at a pet groomer where I grew up and held it until I started driving and could do something more. I learned so much about responsibility and earning something for myself, and I fell in love with that concept. It is no wonder why I ended up in sales.
Experience at SNA Displays
What drew you to SNA Displays?
Truth be told, when I met Dennis Hickey, I already had my dream job… or so I thought. When he approached me about becoming a sales executive for SNA, as it was called at the time, it was a huge leap for me. I had grown up wanting to be like the men and women I had met from out-of-home sales at neighborhood parties, and I was finally one of them. But like I said, then I met Dennis Hickey. To have a chance to follow a guy like that and be a part of something was too great an opportunity to pass up, and although I miss the allure of ad sales, I have never looked back.
In your own words, how would you describe your current role?
My title is Director of Sales, Northeast OOH & Malls, and I mostly focus on revenue-generating screens. My role is mostly to follow that type of deal for SNA Displays. So, in theory, I go after any project that could be making the clients revenue, whether that’s a developer or a media operator. It is fun to be in a role where you provide a hard value to your client, and they are not simply purchasing your equipment for a needed service.
What is your typical workday like?
One of the reasons I enjoy what I do so much is that every day brings new challenges. And the best of days brings new relationships! There is no typical day to speak of, and that is such a gift for somebody who has trouble with monotony.
What do you like most about your job?
I am a very social person in general, and that bleeds into every facet of my life, including work. Without question, my favorite part of my gig is the people. My coworkers, clients, subcontractors, and everybody else I’ve met along the way are so important to my life.
What accomplishment at SNA are you most proud of? Your career overall? What is your next big accomplishment going to be?
Honestly, the longevity. I am 33 now, and I have been at SNA Displays just over 7 years. When I look around at my peers, most people have held several jobs in their late twenties and early thirties because you are in a growth stage of your career at that point. I have continued to flourish with the trajectory of the company, and it has been a very rewarding experience, both personally and professionally.
Looking to the Future
Where is SNA Displays and/or the industry headed in the next 10 years?
The sky is the limit for our company and also the industry. First, SNA Displays has amassed the industry’s best talent and we continue to grow year over year, including during the pandemic. With the best people, we can do anything. Secondly, the industry is growing exponentially. LEDs are becoming easier to produce, the applications are growing year over year, and the ways to monetize properties continue to grow. We are truly lucky to be in such an exciting growth stage. And to be more specific on my focus, radio, TV, and the Internet (traditional digital) have all changed in many ways or even become somewhat obsolete. Billboards are real estate, and they are not going anywhere.
What advice would you give a prospective SNA Displays employee in your field?
Be annoying. Bother everybody around you and absorb every piece of information you can. Technology moves faster than dog years — if you aren’t proactive, you will fall behind the times.