Digital Imaging Reporter’s 2022 Salute to Superstars behind the Counter

Digital Imaging Reporter’s 2022 Salute to Superstars behind the Counter

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Superstars-2022

Digital Imaging Reporters Superstars behind the Counter  has saluted the unsung heroes behind our retail counters for the past five years. Once again this year, with the added challenge of Covid affecting retailers across the country, our salespeople were the frontline workers for the imaging industry.

The winners are the best of the best for 2022: those who helped keep the lights on with smiles on their faces (even with their masks on). Moreover, they powered through long days and evenings despite putting themselves in the middle of the Omicron threat.

As always, our winners were nominated by their managers, their peers as well as manufacturers who recognize their value and appreciate their tireless efforts on the front lines each day. While so many more can and should be recognized, we had to narrow down our choices to just the top 10. However, we feel strongly that all retail staff should be proud of their accomplishments.

In addition, we want to extend our thanks to every retail salesperson out there who kept the imaging industry alive and vibrant during this difficult past year. We can’t thank you enough.

Digital Imaging Reporter is proud to continue this feature with our fifth annual Superstars behind the Counter. We’d also like to thank those who submitted nominations. Further, we look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.

We’re delighted to present our 2022 superstars!

DIR’s 2022 Salute to Superstars behind the Counter

Tyler Hollowell: Bedford Camera & Video, Springdale, Arkansas

Tyler-Hollowell Salute to Superstars
Tyler Hollowell

In 2016, Tyler Hollowell moved to northwest Arkansas and was hired by Bedford Camera as a sales associate at their Rogers location. Shortly afterward, he began splitting his time between Rogers as a sales associate and Springdale, where he created video content.

In 2021, Tyler was promoted to video producer and pro support specialist based out of the Springdale office. Currently, he focuses on creating YouTube content as well as installations and training for corporate customers. He also provides customer support for technical issues. In my experience, Tyler is always helpful and willing to go the extra mile to get things done!—Nominated by Chuck Cheney, Manager, Independent Dealer Sales, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon USA Inc.

Ric Szczepkowski: Camera Corner Connecting Point, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Richard-Szczepkowski
Ric Szczepkowski

With a passion for photography, Ric Szczepkowski loves sharing it to help others learn how to improve their skills. He has worked with Camera Corner in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for 26 years! During those years, he has built a very strong following by providing excellent customer service, strong product knowledge, as well as photo education.

Beyond sales with Camera Corner, Ric is also the store’s main photo instructor and coordinates photo outings. Outside his world of photography, he loves to spend time with his family as well as support the Green Bay Packers! A big thanks to Ric for his service to the photo community!—Nominated by Michael Pazandak, Sales Representative, Tamron USA, Inc

Shane Pratt: Cardinal Camera, Lansdale, Pennsylvania

Shane-Pratt salute to superstars
Shane Pratt

The acting manager of Cardinal Camera’s Lansdale location, Shane Pratt has been with the store for more than 12 years. Further, Shane’s passion for photography is apparent as soon as he starts discussing equipment, regardless of the brand. He is patient and enthusiastic with all his customers; he always finds common interests to make them feel comfortable when making a purchase.

Shane truly is a superstar outside of the store, too. He holds a half dozen track and field records from his high school days, making him the “fastest man” at Cardinal! And as a father of three, he is teaching his children to be active, shaping them into future athletes and superstars themselves.—Nominated by Matthew Thompson, District Sales Rep, Independent Dealer Sales, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon USA, Inc.

Taek Yim: Mike’s Camera, Boulder, Colorado

Taek-Yim
Taek Yim

Over the past 32-plus years, Taek has been part of photo specialty. He has witnessed many advances and growth within our industry. The one constant Taek has given all his customers throughout the years is the individual treatment any customer deserves from a specialty retailer. His gift of taking care of customers didn’t come from reading sales books on “how to get rich quick” or e-mail newsletters on “increasing your sales conversions.”

Rather, Taek’s amazing service comes from the most basic form of human interaction. He listens, he cares, he explains only when required, and he always finds solutions for the customers’ needs. To Taek, it’s never about making the sale today; it’s always about building friendships for tomorrow. The camera in his hand isn’t what he’s selling; it’s building trust and displaying honesty, and thus sales come organically. Taek also looks for opportunities rather than waiting for them to walk in the door; he continually follows up with customers to see if their photography needs are still being met.—Nominated by Len Wayne, California District Manager, Mike’s Camera

Richard Bright: Milford Photo, Milford, Connecticut

Rich-Bright salute to superstars behind the counter
Richard Bright

An outstanding business partner, Richard Bright greatly values his relationship with his customers. Moreover, he constantly looks for ways to improve the overall customer experience at Milford Photo. In addition, Rich aspires to enhance promotional awareness of the Canon brand whenever and wherever possible.

He has also taken initiative on all retail and online fronts, offers unmatched pre- and post-sale customer service, as well as brings knowledge, compassion and a friendly smile to all who choose to shop at Milford Photo. Photography is not just a personal journey but one that is shared in communion with others. Thus, Rich loves to use his own experiences behind the Canon lens to help inspire and encourage others to follow their passion for photography.—Nominated by Brian Hist, Account Manager, Independent Dealer Sales, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon USA, Inc.

Don Barker: Murphy’s Camera, Louisville, Kentucky

Don-Barker salute to superstars behind the counter
Don Barker

We would like to nominate Don Barker as our superstar behind the counter. Don is the store manager at our Lexington location. In addition, he has worked at Murphy’s Camera for more than 30 years!

Over that time, Don has built a solid reputation among our customers as well as sales reps for his excellent customer service and product knowledge. What’s more, he is a great listener and consequently is able to gain customers’ trust to recommend the perfect products for their needs. He truly has the customer’s interest at heart, and that translates into a lot of repeat business. Don is definitely a superstar at Murphy’s Camera!—Nominated by Patrick Murphy, President, Murphy’s Camera

Peter Khauo: Paul’s Photo, Torrance, California

Peter-Khaou salute to superstars behind the counter
Peter Khauo

A very accomplished and passionate photographer, Peter is also a video creator. In addition, he is active in the community as well as online promoting photography for artistic and humanitarian means.

More important, his skill and dedication behind the sales counter are exemplary.

That’s why Peter has such a loyal customer following. And he always works hard to get his customers what they need.—Nominated by Mark Comon, President, Paul’s Photo

Colin Bigelow: Pictureline, Salt Lake City, Utah

Colin-Bigelow
Colin Bigelow

He has been the manager of Internet Sales at Pictureline for three years. Colin’s love for the outdoors was fostered early as he watched wildlife documentaries with his father. After graduating college, he returned home to Provo, Utah, and turned to his love of wildlife and landscape photography. When visiting Pictureline as a customer, he decided to join their team.   

The Sony specialist at Pictureline, Colin has turned his passion for photography into a vehicle to touch and educate others who have a true love for photography. His expert product knowledge, ability to meet customers’ needs and infectious, positive attitude have impacted the entire Salt Lake City photographic community. He has received high accolades from his customers.

Additionally, his extensive knowledge supports the consumer and professional cinema segments. He’s involved with multiple teaching institutions in educating individuals on the applications and workflow processes using those products. Colin is a strong Sony supporter, and his advocacy for the brand prompted this recognition.—Nominated by John Bruehl, Director, Imaging Specialty Group, Sony Electronics, Inc.

Bill Skinner: PROCAM Photo & Video Gear, Aurora, Illinois

Bill-Skinner salute to superstars behind the counter
Bill Skinner

I would like to nominate Bill Skinner from PROCAM’s Aurora store. Bill is a longtime industry veteran, having been a Calumet employee from way back. Currently, he is the sales manager at the PROCAM Chicago-area store.

In addition, Bill teaches classes where he specializes in flash photography equipment and techniques. Moreover, when the pandemic started, instead of just sitting back and waiting for it to end, he took control of the online learning classes at PROCAM. He also regularly hosts the classes from many manufacturers, mostly after hours. Further, Bill goes above and beyond to make his customers happy as well as get them the information needed on when items will become available and what’s the right tool for the job.—Nominated by Laura J Errington, Regional Sales Manager, National Accounts, Nikon Inc.

Jake Sneath: Roberts Camera, Indianapolis, Indiana

Jake-Sneath salute to superstars behind the counter
Jake Sneath

Our used retail sales manager, Jake Sneath is exceptional for so many reasons! Jake initially started with us on a part-time basis while he was teaching photography classes at a university in Indianapolis. In time, he realized he loved being behind the sales counter, teaching people about equipment and helping them understand their gear—especially older film equipment.

He came on with us full-time and was quickly promoted to sales manager. Jake’s knowledge of all things photography, but especially film and older film cameras, is a huge benefit to everyone at our store, especially our customers. He always takes the time to explain what things are and how they work. Jake’s overall customer service is incredible, and he’s built a great team that keeps our used department humming every day. Whether working with customers on upgrading equipment, selling their equipment or helping them load film into a camera for the first time, Jake and his team operate with kindness, patience and passion for what they do. We are so lucky to have Jake as a part of our team!—Nominated by Meredith Reinker, Managing Partner, Roberts Camera

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