Hey Romeo! Congratson all that you’ve accomplished with StratasCorp in just a matter of years. Please tell us briefly about your company and why venturing into media with Stratas Media Group was the right move for StratasCorp.
StratasCorp is a corporation with nearly 300 employees worldwide that specializes in Informaiton Technology capabilities on a global scale such as Cybersecurity, Network Operations, Integrated Logistic Support Services, Telecommunications, and Creative Media Services. I believe we are in a cultural shift that’s comparable to the era of when cable television started to replace the radio. In today’s world if CEO’s and companies aren’t investing in creating and distributing content via the internet for mobile platforms then it’s only a matter of time until those companies become obsolete. It was important to me to build a creative media company within the corporation to help me scale my business at speed and to showcase the most important thing to me about my business, which is the culture within the company. I value my employees more than I value my customer.
What are your visions for both StrataCorp and Stratas Media?
To create a successful company and a brand that is built by putting people first. I truly believe in the macro economics of business (people over money). Providing value and making people feel valued is how you achieve longevity.
If there is one thing you can point out that has been a career highlight for you with your brand, what would it be?
Honestly nothing comes to mind. Because I don’t care about the highlight reels. I care more about the process. You can’t rest at halftime because your up by 3 touchdowns… the game of entrepreneurship of building a brand and a company consist of 4 quarters.
You’ve also been featured on a 40 Under 40 list in Hampton Roads a few years back! What are goals you plan on hitting by the time you hit 40?
You’re a little late..(hahaha) I just turned 41. But my goal at 38 is no different than at 41, 51, or 61. It’s to always be the best possible version of myself and to become a better CEO and person than I was the previous day. I believe its important to always reinvent yourself because we all have room for improvement. I also look forward to the experiences I will encounter because I like to take those lessons learned and use them offensive leverage when growing the company. Having the experience of a 40 year old and the passion of a 20 year old is how I am able to outwork the competition.
We see you’re also attached to a project with Igelese Ete, music consultant for big movies like Disney’s Moana and had a role in the music of The Lord of the Rings. What drew you to being a part of this one night show?
I was introduced to Igelese Ete after meeting with Erman Baradi founder of Ermantourage during my recent trip to LA while shooting a project for Ermantourage. Erman and I started our companies around the same time in Virginia Beach and always supported each other during the process of building our brand and company. While in LA Erman told me about this project he and Ingeles teamed up on called ‘Malaga” which is a choral celebration depicting the journey of the people of the Pacific Islands. Being part Filipino and spending majority of my childhood growing up in Hawaii, the Pacific island culture is a big part of who I am today. The people of the pacific islands are passionate about two things. The rich natural resources of the region and their Ohana ‘Family”. And those two things are the same passion I have that shares a part of my soul. I love being around the ocean and I love being surrounded by friends and family. When I was asked if I would be interested in helping bring “Malaga” to the United States it was an easy decision for me to say ‘YES”. After speaking with Igelese and Erman on a skype call for about an hour I was excited to be part of something that will be showcasing the concern of climate change that is affecting the world on a global scale in a creative and meaningful way.
You also have an event in Virginia on April 27th! What is it about Virginia do you think cultivates great talents in entertainment? Everyone knows it for Pharrell, Pusha T, Missy Elliott, Timbaland…but what about the film scene excites you? Is there potential growth for the area for film productions?
The state of Virginia is known for its historical resources. But the Hampton Roads area cultivates great talent in the entertainment industry because we are a melting pot of so many different cultures because of the influence of the military. A lot of people who get stationed here in the Hampton Roads area end up putting down roots and building a life here. We are proud of our military and its part of our culture.
Virginia has a lot of potential for being a great place to shoot and produce films. We are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay which offers amazing imagery and we still have a lot of colonial architecture spread over the region. But the film incentives to bring large scale productions to the state is what’s truly holding back the potential for growth. We have a lot of talented individuals from music, acting, photography, videography, and production that come from Virginia but end up leaving the area for better opportunities that help them grow both professionally and personally. I would love to see a lot of that talent stay here or even move back to Virginia and that’s why I have teamed up with Erman Baradi to help cast a brighter spotlight to showcase the people who are locally grown and talented and hungry to give them an opportunity to pursue their passion and live their dream. I applaud Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams for always giving back to the 757 community and always expressing his passion for wanting to make Hampton Roads a destination for music and film production. I don’t know what the future holds but I am looking forward to hopefully teaming up with Pharrell to help get the state of Virginia to work on improving the Film tax incentive. It’s a lot of work but you have to start somewhere, and I am looking forward to the challenge.
Lastly, what is Romeo Spino’s last piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?
Keep your mind quiet because everything else is just background noise. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t or you’re not going to make it. Because those people are truly insecure about themselves and nobody should be able to dictate to you how your life will play out. Its up to you to write your own script because you can choose how your story ends. Stay genuine, be empathetic to others and always stay humble…. And be ready to work your face off.. Entrepreneurship is not for everybody.