As the owner and creative director of Phoenix’s Skyline Productions, Joe Reynolds’ career has taken him around the globe. He even says that he could write a book on all the adventures he has had with his longtime high-def video production company, which opened in 1991. Learn more about Joe Reynolds…
Hometown: Evansville, Indiana
First job: Mowing lawns in Indiana as a kid. I remember asking my grandmother for a loan of $85.75 to buy a lawnmower and a gas can from a local hardware store. I was so nervous to ask her and kept thinking would I be able to pay it off. I think back and laugh but that was a lot of money for a young kid back then. She made it very official to help teach me about business and finance, creating a loan agreement and every time I paid her, I got a written receipt. I still have that book of receipts and what a feeling of accomplishment when I made the last payment.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in AZ: If I’m not out running on the canals since I’m a marathon runner, you’ll find me working in our garden, given the time of year, or probably working on my wife’s backyard pub as she is a huge Notre Dame and Arizona Cardinals football fan. We love taking weekend trips up to Pine, Williams to ride the train or visit the Grand Canyon. As of late, I’ve been either out at Lake Pleasant or Saguaro Lake as a new boat owner or exploring the trails with my sons in our Jeep. It’s amazing the beauty you can see on the back roads and trails where a car can’t travel.
The person who has impacted your life the most and why: That would be my dad, no doubt in my mind. He has taught me a lot about business with his degree in that field. He was there as the office manager and accountant when Skyline first started answering phones, doing the bookkeeping and handling all the financials. We joke about it as he had retired about the time Skyline was taking off, and I asked him to be in the office a couple of days a week to help out and well, that turned into 40 hours a week for quite a number of years. He quickly started learning about the crazy world of video production. His guidance was invaluable in the early years of getting started.
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes and why: I’d have to say the 10-part documentary series titled “The Footprints of God,” the story of salvation from Abraham to Augustine. I never dreamed I’d be part of such a huge project taking myself and the Skyline crew around the world to Israel, Rome, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Rome and other places. I could write a book on these adventures, no doubt. Skyline has been the production company for this series. It’s been 20 years in the making, and there is one left to go in 2021. All other nine have been completed to date.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: As a business owner, there are always obstacles and you can be proactive or reactive. I’m a proactive person and glass-half-full type of personality. 9/11 by far was my biggest challenge. Everything came to a halt. You would have thought we had disconnected our phones. It was a rough time, but you do what you have to and keep moving ahead. I didn’t take a salary for a year, cashed out my IRA and kept going. It’s times like these you dig deep, re-invent and if you have family who supports you then you can make it work.
Someone who inspires you and why: Saint Maximillian Kolbe, a Catholic priest who gave his life in exchange for a father, who had a family when they were prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp. My very first documentary project, “Oceans of Mercy,” took me to Poland for 20 days, and I was able to film in the cell he and several others died in, visited his compound where he had a printing press, radio station and was doing quite the out-reach with early forms of media. If television had been around, I bet he would have used that as a tool as well. To this day, I will never forget walking through Auschwitz and interviewing two survivors. It definitely had a big impact on my life and continues too.
Favorite quote: “Footprints in history aren’t made sitting down” and “Fear means go!”
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: The video industry is a tough field since so much of it is subjective, and we don’t have any kind of validity or licenses like a plumber or A/C tech, for example. It’s all reputation and referrals in the industry. I always tell them to figure out their likes and dislikes in the industry. Take the time to explore all the positions and what they get most excited about. From there, learn to network with others in the industry and if an internship opportunity comes along take it, even if it’s not paid. There are so many in the industry, including myself, that are happy and eager to share our knowledge to help others.
What you think makes someone fabulous: In the world today, there are givers and takers as we all know. I’m definitely a giver by nature. The choice by someone to do so without any expectations of anything in return can be rare, the ability to listen and not judge. Above all, someone a person can trust. Simply being present and open. Those qualities can be hard to find in today’s world. We are in such a hurry, fast-paced and sometimes too focused on our own needs, we forget to let a helping hand or just be present.