Meet the Marlins: Derek Watkins, VP of Product Development

Like Jamie and John, Derek has been on the Big Marlin ship since it took sail. As the Vice President of Product Development, Derek has over 25 years of advertising, marketing, and technical experience. He degrees in both fine art and business marketing, and those two fields combine to make him the perfect Product Developer for our pixel-driven digital spaces.

What is your professional background?

“I have always been in publishing and marketing. I worked for newspapers and magazines for most of my career. Different roles in all of those situations, but it’s pretty much always been on the marketing and advertising side.”

How did you get where you are right now?

“I guess as you go through your career and your life, you get presented with interesting opportunities. As new things came along, I was fortunate enough to work with some pretty amazing people. I got to know what they were all about and what they were good at and what they brought to the table. I feel very grateful about where I am today.”

How did you start at BMG then?

“John and I never really worked together – we were in different parts of the company, but we always crossed paths. We kind of watched each other and got to know each other a little bit and said, ‘We need to work together at some point’, and that was the first time I was ever exposed to John Allen and all of his antics.”

“Time goes by, things evolve, and eventually we end up in the same spot, and we got our opportunity to work together, and that went well. At the previous company we were at, we were very successful, and Jamie was part of that, Ted was part of that, and we worked well together and built up a successful section of the company.”

“Then that developed into what we started here. I’ve contributed to a lot of different places, but as a group, we came together and conceived this whole place. The evolution has been really cool.. it’s never quite what you think it’s going to be.”

“We’re in a really good spot, and we have an opportunity to make a change and impact people’s lives and help people. This allows us to do all of the cool stuff that maybe we didn’t have the opportunity to do before. What you see today is full of blood, sweat and tears and I'm proud of what we have accomplished as team. The evolution of this of the BMG adventure has been nothing short of amazing.”

What is your favorite part of BMG, or your job?

“Well it changes over the years, when I first started it was different. It was about making sure that we did everything the right way, whatever that was, and making sure we made good decisions. And that’s still important, but now it’s more about the culture and being able to help people and see them evolve, and saying ‘how can we get better?’ ‘how can we bring them along, so they have amazing experiences?’”

“The rest of it is work, and I like that, there are other parts of it I like too. Making sure that we’re in the right position to be able to help and do our jobs really well is challenging, and obviously, the challenges are great, but things change almost daily, and keeping up with that is a very big challenge. Earlier in my career I just wanted to sit down and create things or build things, and it didn’t go much beyond that, now I have to look at it from a much bigger perspective.”

What’s a typical day like for you?

“I keep an eye on everything that we do, or everything that goes through the pipeline whether it’s through our web service or communications or file services, or computers in the office, or our local network, or our outside network, I make sure the engine’s running. I do a lot of other things, but as we get bigger, and things go certain ways, you tend to stay in your lane and trust other people that they’ll get their things done.”

What’s something you want us to know about Derek Watkins?

“I worked for a resort newspaper, that was my first job right out of college. I worked for the Chronicle and Pilot, in Crested Butte Colorado, a little resort town. It was a cool job to get right out of college, because I didn’t know much of anything, and I learned really quickly. You just get thrown into it, and you make a lot of mistakes, and you mess up, but the people I worked with back then were so amazing and understanding. Over the years that experience has gotten me though a lot of tough times, that's where I got started, that’s a memorable thing.”

If you want to learn more about Derek Watkins, Big Marlin Group, or the culture of what makes us the best digital marketing agency in the business, contact us today!

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