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 is educated 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 sort of have opportunities and different things come along, and I was lucky enough to work with some pretty amazing people and get to know what they’re all about and what they’re good at and what they bring to the table.”

“And then things evolve and next thing you know, you’ve got some opportunities and you always have a sixth sense or that little voice in your head that says ‘take this opportunity’ and I was lucky enough to be able to do that. There’s a lot in-between, but you know, that’s kind of the short of it. I am fortunate to work with some really quality people and it’s been good for me.”

How did you start at BMG then?

“John and I never really worked together – I worked at The Tribune, and then he worked at The Tribune, and 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 evolved into what we started here. I’ve contributed to a lot of different places, but as a group, we came together and concede 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 and do all of this cool stuff that maybe we didn’t have the opportunity to do before. What you see today, there is a lot of blood and sweat and tears that have led to it obviously, because when you first start out you’re working so hard it’s hard to see straight sometimes. The evolution of this whole thing is pretty cool, as is being there from the very beginning.”

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 make them better?’ ‘how can we bring them along, so they have these amazing experiences?’”

“I mean 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. When I was younger, I just liked to sit down and create things or build things, and it didn’t go much beyond that, so you have to look at it from a much bigger scope now.”

What’s a typical day like for you?

“I pretty much 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, it’s like I sort of just make sure the engine’s running. I do a lot of other things, but as we get bigger, and things go certain ways, you got to kind of 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 there were so amazing that those things always got made okay. That was 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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