Gary Solomon Jr. – Solomon Group

Gary Solomon Jr.

Co-founder, Solomon Group

New Orleans, La.

Describe your job.

I focus on Solomon Group’s strategic initiatives, a responsibility that has resulted in our national success and expansion.

How did you get started, and what got you from there to today?

I started out in theater production, though my favorite aspect was neither creative nor technical; I just loved the process of bringing projects to life. I realized there was a business to be made from just that, but on a much larger scale. Solomon Group was first founded as a creative production company that transcended entertainment into sporting and fan events. By being self-performing and doing many services in-house, Solomon Group was able to offer production, fabrication, A/V, and technology all under one roof while cutting out the middleman.

Do you have a favorite type, size, or style of event to plan or do you like variety?

The bigger, the better. While Solomon Group thrives on events at massive scale, we also strive to always do what has never been done before. We never back down from a challenge, which ultimately means no two events are ever the same.

What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?

In 2013, Essence Festival took a chance on Solomon Group to produce its three-day-long concert and convention series featuring one of the entertainment industry’s biggest names: Beyoncé.

It was our make-it or break-it moment: the largest event we had ever produced at the time with the largest stakes imaginable. Beyoncé’s crew had one night to swap her set for our Essence set. The timing was tight, and the stakes were high. But everything went off without a hitch. That moment set Solomon Group up on the trajectory for where it is now, and we’ve been the festival’s producer ever since.

How has your business adapted to the ongoing uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic?

Our values have taken center stage. Our team is comprised of masters of logistics and builders of activations, so our plan was simple: Find a way to use our skills to benefit both our community and company during the pandemic. We established a feeding program that distributed more than 100,000 meals and built temporary hospital bathrooms for the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. As a result, we made a difference in our community during a time when no one knew what was coming next.

What are the essential skills every newcomer into the industry should possess?

Having an unusual appetite for work and risk is a good thing. If you don’t possess a passion for this line of work, it’s probably not the best career path for you. It’s not the easiest career path, but it’s the most gratifying, especially when you have an emotional link to it. So, make sure you’re passionate and you’re willing to put the work into it.

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