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Welcome to Culture Amplified with Cameron Magee of avad3 Event Production

April 15, 2024

Culture Amplified is a deep dive into the heart of workplace culture to explore the dynamics that shape the environments we work in every day. We hope these conversations will inspire others to create cultures where people thrive and meaningful work is the norm.

In this inaugural episode, Cameron Magee takes us behind the curtain of avad3 Event Production to reveal the core of their success: a deeply ingrained culture of care, excellence, and innovation.

He discusses the challenge of balancing rapid growth with maintaining a strong culture as he rebuilt avad3 after the events industry shut down completely during the pandemic.

Cameron shares his vision for the future of workplace culture within the event production industry, which has historically treated talent as a commodity. He highlights the importance of learning from others so we can all do better and grow together.

You can read the full transcript of this conversation on our website.

Learn more about avad3 in Episode 5: “Building a People-Centered Production Company”

Featured In This Episode

Cameron Magee is the owner of avad3 Event Production, a full-service provider of audio, video, lighting, staging, set design, and streaming services for in-person, virtual, or hybrid events. Cameron founded the company in 2011 in his college dorm room. He now leads a team of over 50 hard-working professionals that design and deliver flawless event production for clients nationwide. Cameron believes that character is as important as competence. He’s committed to building a people-centered production company that brings listening, empathy, and integrity to every client engagement, along with world-class technical expertise and seamless execution.

Adrian McIntyre, PhD is a cultural anthropologist, media personality, and internationally recognized authority on communication and human connection. He delivers engaging keynote speeches and experiential culture-shift programs that train executives, managers, and teams to communicate more effectively and connect on a deeper level by asking better questions and telling better stories.

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Adrian McIntyre:

From avad3 Event Production, this is Culture Amplified. The world and the workplace have profoundly changed in recent years. Much of what was said about “culture” in the past is no longer relevant, as dispersed, distributed, remote, and hybrid work has become commonplace.

Many executives and people leaders are struggling to make sense of these changes and to find innovative ways to drive culture and impact – both within their organizations and beyond.

In this episode …

Why is an event production company known for flawless technical work launching a podcast series focused on the dynamics of people and culture?

What does it take to rebuild a company after the events industry shut down completely during the pandemic?

And how can you create a culture where people thrive, diversity is embraced, and meaningful work is the norm – in an industry that has historically treated talent as a commodity?

All this and more, coming up!

Adrian McIntyre:

This is Culture Amplified. I’m Adrian McIntyre. Cameron McGee is the owner of avad3 Event Production. They’re the sponsor of this series. They’re the reason for having these conversations. Cameron, I’d love to talk about your vision for this series, why an event production company out of Northwest Arkansas is interested in people and culture, and just explain a little bit about what folks can expect from the episodes to come. So first of all, welcome.

Cameron Magee:

Glad to be here.

Adrian McIntyre:

Tell us a little bit in a nutshell about avad3 Event Production so we have some context for the “who” behind this series.

Cameron Magee:

We’re the A/V nerds at the back of the room at whatever major conference you’ve been to. If you’ve ever been attending a major national conference with a big keynote speaker or something, and maybe you’re sitting at the back of the room and you can’t really hear the microphone super well, or they’re feeding back or ringing or cameras are out of focus, or maybe you bought the live stream ticket and the live stream is glitching. We exist to make sure those things don’t happen. And so often people use just the in-house provider or something like that for the A/V. They just kind of hit the easy button with whatever venue they’re in. But we’re around for the conferences that matter. You know, if it’s somebody’s biggest day of the year, they’re bringing in a big keynote speaker, it’s a big corporation, big political thing. We’re there to make sure those things go flawlessly and really smooth.

Adrian McIntyre:

For somebody who’s known for technical excellence and the delivery of flawless productions, why a series on culture in the workplace? Why a series on the people dynamics at companies in a variety of different industries?

Cameron Magee:

Yeah, it’s a long story. I think I’ll connect the dots really quickly here. We’re from Arkansas. I’ve been in Arkansas my whole life. I only founded avad3 because there was nowhere else for me to work. I wanted to do production, but I wanted to stay in my hometown. I had to start something. But I’ve been in Arkansas my whole life, and I never had a job anywhere. I just started this in my dorm room. And so for me, I’ve always had to be a student of others. I’ve always had to be really observant of other things as we’ve built it, because I started with just me. I thought maybe someday we’ll have four people. We have 50 people now which is, I mean, that’s a big production company. And there’s not enough work in Arkansas for 50 people, so now we’re going nationally as we continue to grow.

But I’ve had to become a student of others. And we get to be in some really cool rooms with some really impressive leaders. I get to hear some really cool talks. But I never get to sit down with those folks. I mean, we’re backstage, we’ll put the microphone on them, but I’m not distracting them on their biggest day of the year. You go and present. But I’ve wanted to hear more directly from others and be a student of companies that are so much bigger than ours and their reach is so much further than ours.

But I’m really trying to build something special. Because most of the production industry is somewhat commoditized and the people of my industry are certainly marginalized and kind of kept behind the scenes to a fault.

Production people don’t want to be in the spotlight. We want to be behind the scenes, but I think you can honor the servants, and a lot of our industry doesn’t. And so I’m really trying to build a place that all those people want to work. I’m trying to build a place that I want to work as a production professional. And to do that, we need to learn from others and pay attention to the folks that are getting it right.

Adrian McIntyre:

Really well said. And as we reached out to guests to invite them to join us for this new podcast series, what we said to them was, listen, you know as well as anyone else that both the world and the workplace have changed drastically in the last few years. Certainly they have been on trend to change for a long time but the pandemic and the post-pandemic reshuffling of how you work, where you work, who you work for, do you want to work at all. It’s all up for grabs now. And people in companies of every industry and every size are trying to figure some things out. They’re trying to figure out things about what it’s like to make a place people want to work so that they can attract and retain their talent. They’re trying to figure things out about how to do the right thing when the right thing’s not always clear, when there are competing priorities, when conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, justice, are becoming more urgent than ever. And nobody has the exact right answer for this. Some folks are doing well. There are some successes to share, but some folks are also trying to think through challenges. How does this affect you? How does this affect your industry?

Cameron Magee:

Well, the pandemic was tough on a lot of industries. It was incredible for some people, which is amazing, but it was certainly tough on our industry. You know, we went to zero events suddenly overnight, went to zero revenue for six months as a company. And so we’ve been in rebuilding mode. And what’s fun about getting to rebuild is getting to make sure we like who we were and getting to make sure that we want to scale and replicate our best parts. But as we’re rebuilding we want to build back better than ever. We want to make sure that as we grow, we’re improving our culture.

I get to spend a lot of time with other owners in different communities that I’m in. I love being a part of community with other small business owners. It can be a little bit lonely if you don’t have that community. And so many of them warned me as we were rebuilding from the pandemic, they said, “hey, don’t grow too quickly, you’ll lose your culture.” And a lot of these firms are maybe, you know, 12 people or 20 people or something like that. And they remember, you know, the years where they scaled the most quickly, their culture really got away from them. And so it’s been really important to me. I want our culture to be better than ever. And I’ve been thrilled as we have rebuilt—not because of me, but because of really smart people that are on our team that really care about this stuff too—I think our culture today is stronger than it’s ever been. That takes a lot of effort. But we get to put in that effort right now because we are rebuilding. To get kind of knocked down at the hardest extreme, but to now get to rebuild is such a, it’s just such a privilege to make sure that as we’re rebuilding, that we like the cinder blocks and the foundation that we’re laying. And so it’s a timely topic for us as we’re trying to be stronger than ever, but we just want to be here to be a student.

Adrian McIntyre:

avad3 Event Production sits at the intersection of the small and growing business that you are and some of the biggest companies in the world. You serve the Fortune 1. You serve other really large companies, political organizations, the White House. And at the same time, you’re growing into areas of the country that are new to you. Sometimes you’re following events that current clients have, other times you’re acquiring new ones. In this series, we’re going to be hearing from folks in a variety of different industries. We’re going to be joined by executives from Phoenix Children’s, Benchmark Electronics, a former CHRO for Novartis and Cox Automotive, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Google, so many others. What are you hoping to learn from them about how they’re thinking about people and culture?

Cameron Magee:

I’m so honored to just get to be a student at that table with these thought leaders. What I’m hoping to learn is, those are all businesses that have to do it at so much of a greater scale than we have to. And honestly, than we ever will have to. We’re not trying to be 20,000 people on the team or something like that. At the end of the day, we’re still just a production company, and even the biggest ones in the world are not that big.

But these are organizations that have figured out how to make, the phrase I would use is, the brand bigger than any one person, the culture bigger than any one person. And as we’ve scaled from five to 50, that’s the first thing I realized when we started to scale and we started to 10X our growth was, hey, this thing’s going to have to be a lot bigger than me. And maybe in the early days I did all the individual hiring or maybe in the early days I was the champion of our culture or the mascot or something or just making sure that our core values are being lived out but that doesn’t work anymore. We have to make sure that the brand is bigger than only one person and that everyone on the team is really saying hey that’s how we do things around here, or that’s not how we do things around here. And so I love getting to learn from these that are 10X or 100X our size, or Google, I don’t know, 1,000X, 10,000X, not because we’re trying to then be that big, but because if they can share how they’ve been able to do it at scale, I believe we can apply that where we’re able to do it at scale. And then ultimately it makes our brand and our culture stronger than it ever would have been with just me. It makes it more diverse and more balanced with all of us. And so that’s why it’s an honor to get to have these guests, and I’m so looking forward to the series.

Adrian McIntyre:

One thing that has really resonated with everyone who’s agreed to join us is this idea of learning together out loud. The idea that thought leadership and expertise don’t have to be siloed inside of companies. There are certain ways in which we can and should learn together from each other, push each other to do better, be better. And I’m really looking forward to these conversations. Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure. And I look forward to seeing you in future episodes.

Cameron Magee:

Yeah, thank you, Adrian.

Adrian McIntyre:

Thanks for listening to this episode of Culture Amplified. If you enjoyed the conversation, please share this podcast with a colleague who might also find it valuable. It’s easy to do! Just click the “Share” button in the app you’re listening to now.

Culture Amplified is brought to you by avad3 Event Production, located in Northwest Arkansas and serving clients nationwide. avad3 believes that event production should be flawless so your message can shine. They provide many free resources for corporate and non-profit event planners on their website, including planning checklists, technical guides, and templates. You can download them free of charge at That’s A-V-A-D-3 dot com.

Special thanks to Cameron Magee, Tabitha McFadden, Amy Bates, Jessica Kloosterman, Steve Sullivant, Kimber Reaves, and Olivia Martin at avad3 for helping bring this podcast series to life.

Podcast strategy, on-site recording, and post-production by Speed of Story, a B2B communications firm led by Adrian McIntyre – that’s me – and Jen McIntyre. Music by Diego Martinez.

Most of all, we’d like to thank our featured guests, who so generously shared their time, stories, and insights with us. You can learn more about them in the written notes for each episode, at

For all of us here at Speed of Story and avad3 Event Production, thanks for listening – and for sharing the show with others, if you choose to do so. We hope you’ll join us again for another episode of Culture Amplified.