June 12, 2023
A Conversation with Evan Schaeffer of Degy Entertainment
By Marianne Miron
With the event season in full swing, but before those who make it all happen forget to eat, drink and sleep, here’s a thank you to all of you at Stageline and elsewhere who makes musical summers!
On this occasion, I thought of Evan Schaeffer who I met a few years ago when he approached Stageline with a tour that turned out to be quite challenging, but also ended up building a strong and trusting relationship that continues to grow.
Over the years, Evan has never been shy about expressing his appreciation for the Stageline products, the rental and logistics team and the technicians on the road. It always comes with the right balance of gratitude and clarity.
It seemed like a good moment to incapsulate his thoughts on the job and especially the people who make it all happen.
After working for the Super Bowl Host Committee, Evan joined Degy Entertainment in 2016 and now holds the role of Chief Operations Officer. As such, Evan serves a variety of clients and has developed expertise with collegiate and military clients. His attention to detail and his deeply analytical personality enables him to take a 360–degree view of any event, and to welcome the unexpected. Needless to say, he expects the same level of accuracy from his own team and suppliers.
What does it take to be succesful in this industry?
Communication, preparedness, critical-thinking and troubleshooting skills, are the 4 pivotal qualities for someone working in the live event industry, according to Evan. It makes sense, the peak of the season is so short with thousands of events happening in just a few months and probably 5% of them without something going off the rails! You must be ready to gracefully respond to that other 95% when something does go wrong.
For the Stageline rental fleet alone, there are nearly 1500 events each season, let’s just try to imagine the amount of work, knowledge and precise logistics required to make it all happen. Now imagine the likelihood of something going wrong when so many pieces must come together at once…
That makes it all the more important to build strong partnerships. The kind where you know that the other person will always have your back.
“I want somebody to say no or here’s a better idea, I encourage it because it makes me to think outside the box.”
That would be why Evan keeps coming back to Stageline. Sure, because of the product, but also for the level of service, for the way challenges are handled and resolved.
‘’Working with Stageline, it comes with a different level of comfort because it comes with the guarantee that no matter what happens, the team will do whatever it takes to get the job done.’’
Another company doesn’t necessarily have the depth or the resources that Stageline has, that’s true. What’s also true is that the team in the office and the technicians in the field work tirelessly to make everything run so smoothly because they care and because they understand what’s at stake.
“I’m a very risk-averse person!”
Taking risks just isn’t worth it, and knowing Stageline’s approach to safety is also something very important and reassuring to Evan. It’s an approach that he appreciates and one that translates into the professionalism of every member of the extended rental family, both in the office and out on the field.
“The Stageline technicians, they come with a vast wealth of knowledge but they’re also polite, professional, and charismatic. They know what they’re doing and sometimes go above and beyond to suggest and recommend things, always putting safety first.”
What does it take? Patience and humility, because no one person knows everything, and the most dangerous type of person, in Evan’s opinion, is one who thinks they know what they’re doing when they don’t. They create confidence only to let you down and paralyze the situation when things go wrong.
A willingness to learn is another crucial trait, and Evan emphasizes this by explaining that the most experienced people, the most professional and knowledgeable individuals, always need help. Everyone will need some help at some point in their career because, especially in this business, there is no such thing as a one-man army.
“There’s never going to be a time when you stop learning and if you ever feel like that’s the case, then it’s time to get out.”
This conversation could go on for a while, but our time is almost up, and I want to give Evan the opportunity to share whatever exciting project he has in store, and he tells me about the excitement of watching his newborn discover the world and his wife without whom he would not be able to do what he does…
I guess we do have to stop and smell the flowers, and especially in this industry, it seems to me now more than ever that it is important to do a better job of finding that balance between work and life. The grind will always be there, but relationships and family may not be.
So to all the events big and small, on and off stage…
And most importantly, to the dedicated teams behind the scenes and their loved ones throughout this wonderfully unpredictable live event industry, we salute and thank you!
Have a wonderful and safe event season!