Ricky Markiewicz joined the LaFleur team in July as an account manager, focusing both on new client outreach and our current client accounts. Ricky virtually sat down with LaFleur to talk about the perks of an unusual career path, dance parties in the time of coronavirus, and a very specific superpower.
LaFleur: Can you tell me about what you do at LaFleur?
Ricky Markiewicz: I’m an account manager, which means I am the voice of the client to the staff, and the intermediary for the staff to the client. I try and make sure everyone is getting the best out of each other.
LF: What do you like about being an account manager?
RM: I like the sales side of things, connecting people with LaFleur and our services. I just genuinely like helping people get what they need. When people are like, “I’ve got a problem!” it gets me pretty jazzed when I can say, “I have a solution!”
LF: For sure. When you were a kid, did you see yourself in a helping role as a grown-up?
RM: No, not really. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archeologist; that was my big goal.
LF: How did “archeologist” turn into becoming a DJing account manager with a master’s degree? (I’m cheating a little bit. I know some tidbits about you already.)
RM: I was obsessed with all these old civilizations. And as I got older, I was more into anthropology because I was interested in the people and not just the old stuff. But anthropologists mainly teach, and I didn’t really want to be a teacher.
RM: At that point in high school, I was getting really into broadcasting. I would read the morning announcements and slip in silly words, and no one would catch me. It was my greatest joy.
LF: That’s amazing.
RM: So, I thought I wanted to be in broadcasting, which is what I went to school for. I wanted to be a news anchor, but when I graduated in 2005, we were fully in the grips of terrorism-driven news, and I convinced myself that I did not want to be a fear-mongering reporter. I just couldn’t lead with murder and kidnappings, even though you’re taught that those things are what people want to hear.
LF: That seems really hard to write about.
RM: Right. So, then I tried public media and did that for a while. The DJing was in tandem.
LF: How old were you when you got started?
RM: Eighteen. I would go to the nightclub by myself in my best nightclub outfit to dance and meet people. I loved it! I bought turntables with my tax return that year and would DJ parties for my friends.
LF: What music did you play?
RM: Oh, stuff they didn’t want to hear. Everyone wanted hip hop, and I’m like, “I have records from a European record label, you don’t want to listen to that?”
LF: I’m sure all your friends were all excited about Swedish pop.
RM: Like with anything, though, I had to play things that people wanted to hear if I wanted to make money at it. By the time I graduated from college, I was able to DJ full time for probably five years. I was getting gigs all over the Midwest.
LF: I bet the recession shook things up.
RM: Yeah, all the bars and nightclubs closed. I had a mortgage, so I needed to pay the bills. So, I entered the world of insurance for a few years and went to grad school after that.
LF: Did you know you wanted to be an account manager when you graduated?
RM: When I graduated from Grand Valley in 2017, I wanted a job like this, but I didn’t know that positions like this existed. I didn’t have the words for it. I knew I wanted to be in marketing but didn’t know where my niche was yet.
LF: I think a lot of folks run into that. They have very specific skills that don’t always translate to a cookie-cutter career.
RM: I agree.
LF: Now that we’ve found each other, what’s your impression of LaFleur so far?
RM: It’s great. I’ve never been somewhere where people are so aligned in their thinking. Chip and Falon have done a great job of assembling an outstanding team of people and giving them the space they need to produce excellent work and grow in their careers.
LF: It’s so nice to feel like people care about you as a human being, isn’t it?
RM: Sure is!
LF: So, when you’re not here, and you’re not DJing, what can we find you doing?
RM: My wife Nicole and I try to find activities we can do with our son, Sam. We go to the park a lot. I also like to play guitar and bass, and gaming. Board games and stuff are hard to do lately, just like DJing. Can’t have dance parties without people.
LF: You don’t have three-person dance parties with you, your wife, and your toddler son in your basement?
RM: Totally does happen, but usually to his music. Getting him to dance is awesome. We also really like sci-fi shows. I just finished up Umbrella Academy.
LF: It’s a great show. I feel like I want to examine the different powers people have and the tropes they employ. There are a lot of dynamics going on. All that aside, I loved it.
RM: And the X-Men comparisons are really building up. Lots of similar powers.
LF: If you had to pick a superpower, what would it be?
RM: I’d be physically invincible. How great would it be to be invincible at a protest?
LF: What about emotionally hurt?
RM: I like my powers with limits. I just couldn’t be crushed, shot, stabbed…I’d die from a broken heart.
LF: I think your current superpower is introducing people to good music. What album should people be listening to?
RM: Of Montreal’s “Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer?” That’s my recommendation.
LF: I’ll get right on that.