I’m glad you asked
I have a lot of fun at what I do and I hope that comes through in a lot of the photos that I post to Instagram and Facebook. Life isn’t all fun and games though. There is hard work too, but I try to make it as much fun as possible.
Here lately, I’ve been asked by a ton of different people, “what do you do for a living?” Well, its a very good question and every answer I give seems to start with “I help people…” The rest of that sentence changes more often than most people change bed sheets and probably more often than some people change underwear.
Sometimes it pays better than others. Regardless; I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and I’m trusting God to work the rest out. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like he shows up when I want him to, but he hasn’t let me down yet.
At the expense of sounding conceited, God has blessed me with the ability to do a million different things well. Although, for someone with ADD, sometimes it seems like a curse. The reality though is that, I’m so blessed I can’t fully comprehend at times. I haven’t found many skills that I can’t at least do pretty well. I can’t really say I’m the best there is at many things either, so I’m a jack of all trades in every sense of the word.
Growing up with the parents I have, is why I am the way I am. They have been such a blessing to me and I’m thankful for them always. God’s blessings abound in my life. I’m human and fail often. I’m well aware of that, but I feel like since God has given me these gifts, I need to help as many people as possible. So that is my goal. “I help people…”
What Brought You Here
After college, I bounced around a couple of things and then spent several years working in the corporate world chasing the dollar. Essentially, I ran the R&D and Technical support side of a manufacturing company for several years. My job led me to the company’s management team and my role was part engineering, part marketing. My knowledge base allowed me to connect with those in the field as well as those in the chemistry lab. I met a ton of great people, traveled all over the US, and become some what of an expert in my field. That said, and without going into great detail, it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. In the end, there are more important things than the dollar and my time there ended. I sacrificed a lot in an attempt to help other people and missed out on a lot of my Mom’s life as she battled cancer. During my last few months there, it became increasingly clear that the company was moving in a different direction than what God had for me. It was during this time that I started Riverbank Products.
Riverbank Products Begins
When Riverbank Products first lifted off the ground, I had some product ideas that I wanted to work on that I thought would really help people. I also wanted to be able to create a company that would allow me to provide a service to others in the outdoor industry. I chose to focus on the outdoor industry because thats where my passions are centered. If you have to work, you might as well work at something you enjoy and what better than combining a desire to help other people and the Outdoors. Riverbank Products was born and has since become part marketing company and part product development think tank and part consulting firm.
For several years I had thought about how dangerous and difficult it was to use a spotlight at night while running an outboard motor with a tiller handle. The trim controls are never very ergonomic and you have to sit the light down or hold it between your knees to adjust the trim. I’d seen several people adapt the trim controls onto the spotlight but every one I’d seen somehow used duct tape, zip-ties, frayed wires, extension cords and all sorts of homemade contraptions. I knew that I could do better. So, I made a prototype the correct way and found a manufacturing company to produce the light for me. The NightRunner Light was born.
With my first product out there, I needed to market it and my company. Not only that, but it needed to be in a creative way with little to no budget for marketing. So, I created The Frog Giggin’ Tournament Series By Riverbank Products. I wanted to promote my company as well as others in a family friendly environment that would encourage kids to get outdoors. It was great because about all you need to frog gig is a good light. You don’t even need a gig. Most people just catch them by hand. The Frog giggin tournament was it.
With running any event, good sponsors are key. T.P. Outdoors was one of the first sponsors that leaped into the frog giggin tournament series. (Pun Intended) The Petrus family shares my love of the outdoors and a passion for getting others outdoors. Bill Petrus and some of the T.P. Outdoors Adventures crew came out and filmed a show at one of our first frog giggin tournaments. I didn’t know it at the time but a good friendship would be formed from this that would lead to so many other things.
Filming an Outdoor TV Show
I’ve dabbled in video and photography off and on for several years going all the way back to high school and photography even earlier than that. An opportunity to incorporate outdoor videography into Riverbank Products repertoire came up when a dear friend asked me to tag along on his Elk hunt in southern Colorado. One thing lead to another and I’ve now been involved with T.P. Outdoors Adventures show for a couple of years.
Like most guys in the south, I’ve been watching hunting and fishing shows for a long time. The Outdoor channel, Fox News or The Blaze and a little food network or history channel are about the only channels that I really watch. Being a fan of outdoor shows is one thing, but before T.P. Outdoors Adventures, I could have never dreamed that I would actually be involved with a hunting show.
In a way, its because I’ve always seen ego driven people on tv, self promoting and bragging about the deer that they just killed. To be fair, that is a gross generalization and I know that not everyone is like that. I also know that a lot of it is just a sales pitch to keep product endorsement deals going. There are an awful lot of “I”s in this post, but I’m just not that person. At least I try not to be.
I have a hard time selling something that I don’t believe in and I’m not very good at self promoter. I’d rather be honest with people and I love serving others. Helping other people is exactly what happens on T.P. Outdoors Adventures.
If you haven’t seen the show, please check it out. Its only maybe once a year that you might see me on tv hunting. Most of the time, I’m behind the camera. And I’m perfectly fine with that. Over the course of several shows, you may see Bill or another T.P. Outdoors personality taking a deer or something more crazy like gator hunting or catfish grabbing, but the majority of what you will see is what we call a Pay-It-Forward Adventure. You will see far more of Bill taking an injured veteran fishing or a disabled kid hunting than bill killing yet another deer.
You see, taking another person hunting and especially someone that is not as fortunate to have grown up in the outdoors is far more rewarding than killing another deer. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hunt but once you’ve taken one deer, your next deer isn’t quite as special. Then you start hunting a special deer. Maybe its a thick 8 point or a wide 10 point you have been chasing. You my hunt him for 2-3 years before you get him. Thats special for sure, but the reward of putting the gun in someone else’s hand, focusing on serving another person, and working hard to make sure that their hunt is special for them, now that is an amazing experience. Seeing the other person actually make that happen is surreal. Now try to capture that on video. Thats what T.P. Outdoors Adventures is about to me.
Its only part of what I do, but as I’ve done more and more of it, its the part I live for. I almost feel like its a nonofficial ministry of sorts because I get to show the love of Christ to the people I hunt with by serving them. I mean, thats what Christ did right? Christ didn’t come and shout “look at me, look at me” everywhere he went. He had tons of followers for sure and he was outspoken yes, but he was always teaching and serving others.
Now you might say, “wow that sounds like a lot of fun and a noble cause, but does that pay the bills?” No. Not entirely. I have other projects.
Havoc Boats has been a client for a long time. All of their current videos and marketing materials like their website and brochures have been produced by Riverbank Products.
We even did the early CAD drawings for the first Havoc boats. Based on those drawings, we showed that it would be difficult, yet not impossible, to create the side profile that is unique to the havoc hull profile. This latter came into play as the boats entered production phase and Havoc worked to ensure that the profile worked from one boat to the next.
I don’t want to steal any thunder or recognition from Tim Scott. The cult following that Tim has generated and the boats that he builds makes it an easy sell. I’m just one guy who has helped out along the way. Check out Havoc Boats at a dealer near you.
Support For Our Veterans
The very first episode of T.P. Outdoors Adventures that Bill Petrus asked me to help film was with an event for Warrior Hunts. Warrior Hunts is a non-profit organization that helps get post 9-11 combat veterans outdoors through hunting and fishing weekends.
The event that we were filming on that first episode was dubbed Deerpocalypse. Warriors from all over came to north Louisiana with one task in mind, Hunt Deer. I got the privilege of filming and working with several warriors that weekend which also happened to be on the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was a special time and I’m not sure who had more fun, me or the warriors.
Since then, Riverbank Products has filmed numerous events with Warrior Hunts. I’ve been working with John Nolan, the director of Warrior Hunts to help promote the organization and build it into a bigger, more sustainable non-profit. For more information about Warrior Hunts and to stay up-to-date on future events, Like their Facebook Page.
Through T.P. Outdoors Adventures, we have filmed several events with Wounded War Heroes. One of the most memorable was a south Texas turkey hunt with Matt Cole and Chuck Williams. Both warriors were able to complete their grand slam on this trip. It was an amazing hunt.
After the hunt photos are common practice in the outdoors. On this, the final day of the hunt, Matt finally made it happen. It was an afternoon hunt and by the time everyone got back to camp, Light was fading fast. Now, Texas sunsets are some of the most beautiful sunsets the eye can behold. This one was one of those and there wasn’t much time.
I saw this scene unfolding and ripening faster than an old banana. As the sun seemed to speed its descent toward the horizon, and with only seconds to capture the essence of the hunt, I knelt down, backed everyone up, and grabbed this shot. Wounded War Heroes now uses photos from that hunt in many of their promotional materials.
Another group is called Lone Star Warriors Outdoors. I got the chance to meet Chris Gill, the organizations director, during a hunt with Warrior Hunts. We shared a blind together during Doepocalypse weekend. Although Chris didn’t get to harvest a deer, we did have a great time and he shared with me a little about what Lone Star Warriors Outdoors was doing to support veterans who were returning home.
In december of last year, Approximately 20 veterans converged on ranches around San Angelo Texas for a deer hunt. Most thought they would be roughing it with white bread and porknbeans. What they found when they got there was accommodations, meals, that blew their minds. Not only that, but they were supplied with every pice of hunting gear they would need sans socks and underwear. To say they were treated like royalty is an understatement.
I was able to tag along with Jose Martinez. Jose was injured during combat, but that hasn’t stopped him. He was able to successfully complete a dream hunt that weekend. The Emotions that flooded the blind after that, are off the charts. Check it out in the video below.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “never trust a skinny cook.” Well, I always say never trust anyone who doesn’t like to eat. I’m here to tell you that I like to eat. I may be thin, but don’t let that fool you. I don’t just like any food though. No blan banquet food here.
One of my favorites is pork. Whether its thick slice bacon or slow smoked porked butt, hard to beat pork. There is not a bad day that can’t be at least helped with bbq pulled pork. I mean think about it. Here in the south, someone dies and while the family is mourning the loss of great aunt suki everyone from miles around shows up at the house with bbq pork and baked beans with extra bacon.
As a pork eating crusader, My secret weapon of choice when it comes to doing battle with a pork butt is a product I launched a couple of years ago called Bayed up BBQ Rub. This seasoning blend is fantastic on pork and a lot of other stuff as well. Its great on chicken and burgers or even just to add a little kick to popcorn or eggs. But, what this seasoning was really made for is WILD HOGS. Of course you don’t have to use wild hogs but if you have hogs on your property, you need to try this seasoning. You’ll be happy you did.
Here to Help
These are just a few of the things I’m involved with. I’ve also done commercials and corporate work for various companies. I’ve filmed events of all sorts, even a few weddings here and there.
Essentially, I love helping others and I’m here to help. When I first started Riverbank Products, the Night Runner Lights was the very first product that I developed and marketed on my own. It was also at that time that I adopted Mathew 5:16 as my mission statement for Riverbank Products.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Mathew 5:16
Sometimes “christian run” businesses seem to flaunt a christian symbol and then run their business in a completely opposite direction. I make no bones about the fact that God is the center of my business, but I’m often cautions of how I portray that fact. I don’t want to ever take advantage of others and I hope that through helping other people, Christ will be shown in a mighty and graceful way. If you need help with a project, Contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org