Interviewed by Michelle Hundley
In this month’s young professional profile, we sat down with Brandon Rowan, VP and Creative Director of Bay Group Media. Brandon oversees all visual communication operations at Bay Group Media, including layout for multiple publications, logo and graphic design, photography and social media.
Have you always wanted to go into the magazine business?
Well when I was a kid, I really wanted to be a cartoonist or illustrator. I was always visually inclined and loved all kinds of art. As I continued to grow up, I got into skateboarding, guitar, fishing and surfing. I found myself reading all of the magazines that covered these interests. That’s when I started thinking about journalism and possibly working for a magazine in the future.
When I was at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, I did graphic design, photography and writing for our school newspaper. It was great to be able to take part in the different aspects of journalism that make up a story. That’s what really inspired me; an opportunity to integrate art, photography, and writing. I knew working for a magazine I may be able to have a hand in all those aspects.
How did you end up at Bay Group Media?
My first job was for a very small high school sports publication in Friendswood. I enjoyed it there, but wanted to do more; so I answered an ad for a sign company who needed a graphic artist. But when I got there and spoke with the interviewer, he suggested I speak with someone he knew who was looking for someone familiar with magazine layout and design. That’s when I first met Rick Clapp, the president and chairman of Bay Group Media, and I immediately liked the office and the working atmosphere. That was in May of 2008, and I’m still here.
Retention is a hot topic for businesses trying to attract and keep young professionals. What is it about Bay Group Media that has kept you there?
For me, it’s the atmosphere I work in. Here at Bay Group Media, everyone in the office is passionate about what they do. We all communicate well with each other and everyone gets along. Because we all have the same mission and vision for our organization, we always put our best foot forward and appreciate each other’s value in the final product. When everyone cares about what they do and the end product is more important than individual egos, it makes for a great environment to work. We keep the big picture in mind.
That sounds like a great environment! Because you publish different magazines, and everyone has a role in each one, it sounds like teamwork is key to your organization’s success.
Absolutely! We publish both Bay Area Houston Magazine and Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine. Our team has different roles they play in each one.
Since 1999, Bay Area Houston Magazine has been the premier information source and No. 1 publication for Bay Area Houston. It’s a monthly lifestyle publication that features information on local news, entertainment, healthcare, politics and business of the Bay Area. It reaches the upscale Bay Area work force and is designed to be reader-friendly.
Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine is the latest magazine from Bay Group Media and is celebrating its third year of publication. It highlights various coastal lifestyles, like boating, fishing, yachting, sailing, kayaking, surfing and all things marine. We go in-depth on many subjects, especially fishing, and feature articles from some of the best captains in Texas. Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine is published every two months and is based in Bay Area Houston, the third largest boating community in the nation. We love seeing pictures from the coastal community and publish several fishing, surfing and sailing shots each issue. I would encourage everyone to email their photos in to email@example.com.
Both publications feature great stories, photography and highlights. Our team has a tale to tell in each issue and there are so many parts to that story. No one part is more important than the other. We embrace teamwork in our office. Once we bring all our individual parts together it’s so much more, well…awesome…than something one person could have pulled off on their own.
It sounds like you all have teamwork down to a science. What does it take to have a good team and be a good team member?
Be excellent to each other! [laughs] No really, first, you have to listen and communicate well with each other and keep a good attitude. One way to do that is to be able to take constructive criticism without taking it personally.
We each have our strengths, and we want to make our publications the best they can be. So, in order to reach that goal, we take each other’s viewpoints seriously and with an open mind and heart. You need to resist becoming too personally attached to one thing or another. You need to be able to take criticism professionally.
Second, you have to be able to be flexible. Even after we’ve worked hard on a part of the publication, sometimes it needs to be held off, or moved, or other changes from team members are made. Too many people let their egos get in the way. It’s just part of the business. You have to be open to change and not be put off by it.
Finally, what I think is the most important part, is to have mutual respect for each other and each other’s ideas. We come from different backgrounds and have had different experiences. Our team’s diversity is what makes us strong. When trying to reach a goal be flexible, be passionate, and create something you are really proud of.
For more on Bay Group Media:
Brandon Rowan enjoys the outdoors and various coastal pursuits in his free time. He resides in League City with his beautiful wife, Meagan, and their border collie, Murphy.
Michelle Hundley is president & CEO of Stratus Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in Economic/Business Development, Stakeholder Relations, Government Relations, and Reputation Building & Management. More: www.stratuspublicrelations.com/