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Steelhead Writes an Open Letter to the Exhibit Industry

On May 3, the chief executives of Steelhead Productions, Inc., sent an open letter to its employees and tradeshow industry leaders regarding recent changes to company personnel.

“We’re doubling down on our company’s culture,” says vice president and owner Rhiannon Andersen. “The people we have with us now are the motivated, the excited, and the true believers. We felt we had a responsibility to our community to make them aware of the changes and the renewed commitment to stay true to our Exhibit Happy brand going forward.”

Company executives vow that they will continue to serve their clients with the quality and dedication the Steelhead community has come to expect. “What you do and how you do it matter equally,” said Sean Combs, CEO. “Going forward, I believe our culture will be stronger to make what we offer the industry even better.”

Here’s their letter to their employees and the tradeshow community:

“As exhibit builders and trade show service providers, we all know the execution and ultimate success of our projects are the result of the tireless efforts of our entire teams.  We are keenly aware of all the behind the scenes meetings, the creative processes, coordination & logistics, and of course the sheer will and resourcefulness of our craftsmen and craftswomen who work unrelenting hours to deliver on time, every time.

In our world, every project is a unique one; an opportunity to leverage our experience while at the same time imagining things that have never been done before.  It takes the best and brightest people to seize this opportunity.  I am grateful that at Steelhead Productions we have so many of these people and its why I love the work we do.

A few days ago, I discovered a small group of our Account Executives see themselves, rather than the collective team, as being the primary reason for our customer’s loyalty; paying no regard to the efforts of their teammates which have allowed them to deliver a level of satisfaction unparalleled in our industry.  These five individuals colluded to set up a competitive entity and planned to transition what they wrongfully perceived to be their clients, not ours, over a period of time while continuing to work at Steelhead.   After learning of their plan, I terminated their employment at Steelhead to give them a head start.

My primary role at Steelhead is to build a team who believes in our Core Values, so we are aligned in our efforts to serve our customers and communities.   One of these values is Service. Our rewards come from serving others. It’s always been imperative that Steelheaders are surrounded by others willing to do whatever it takes to help one another. Is firing 80% of your sales force difficult? You may be surprised by the answer; its not.  When you have values and you lead by them, decisions such as these are surprisingly easy.  What remains are 60 of the most dedicated, united and eager group of people you can imagine.  A few bad apples will not spoil this bunch; for there are too few of them and too many of us.

We are all part of a creative community.  We make things and we make things happen, and we do it by surrounding ourselves with those who put others before themselves.   My hope in all of this is that the silent heroes: the designers, builders, estimators, artisans, accountants, marketers, detailers, and account managers can start receiving the recognition they deserve.  They will here at Steelhead and I hope they do in your companies as well.”

Success for all,
Sean Combs
President & CEO | Steelhead

Steelhead Productions is an exhibit design and production company located in Las Vegas. ‘Exhibit Happy’ is their philosophy, a mindset and Steelhead’s brand promise–a promise to inject fun, creativity and happiness throughout the process of exhibit planning, design and execution. For more info, visit  www.ExhibitHappy.com.

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