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Staff Interview with KEITH KANKOVSKY, Senior Account Executive

Tell us about Apollo's responsiveness to customer needs:

The team at Apollo has been known to go the extra mile, regardless of the time or situation. I once took an LED lighting fixture order for a local church while riding in an elevator in Frankfurt, Germany at midnight.

While ice-fishing on Sylvan Lake on a frigid Saturday night I received a tech support call from a theatre on the west coast. After diagnosing the situation, I promptly dropped the cell phone, where it landed on a narrow sliver of ice between my two holes in the ice…

When did ADT first arrive as the #1 producer of gobos?

Being the largest producer of custom gobos is one thing, providing a better-quality product quickly in high volume is another.

Joel’s choice of .008-inch stainless steel in the early 1990’s was a stark improvement over the competitors’ .005 product. Clients immediately noticed the improvement in durability and length of life, switching much of their business to Apollo.

Tell us about your relationship with Apollo.

I was the 11th employee hired by Joel and Keersten. I worked for Joel at Corbin Carriage in the late 1980’s but we met first during high school. Joel also worked for me part-time at my machine shop, ACME Industrial, in Arcola Indiana, which I later sold to a business partner. I joined Apollo on January 2, 1997.

Your colleagues and Apollo clients refer to you as the MacGyver of the entertainment lighting industry. Tell us about some of the more challenging problems you've solved: 

While taking a late night technical support call from Las Vegas I was asked by the caller where I was located. I told him I was at my home in a very rural setting outside of Fort Wayne, and he asked yet again, "Where?"

I admitted that cell service was minimal, and that I was in my daughters' treehouse, where a cell connection would be much more reliable.

"What’s all that noise I hear?"

"You aren't going to believe this," I said, "but it's snowing here, the tin roof is rattling in the wind, I have a noisy cat in the treehouse that wants out, and a dog on the outside of the treehouse that wants in. His tail is smacking into the door each time he hears my voice because he knows I'm in here. So there, that’s where I'm located.”

Silence, then a burst of laughter. “Keith,” he says, “I’ve lived in Vegas for over 20 years and thought I’d heard EVERYTHING!”

A week later I received a three-foot package via UPS from a friendly competitor. Upon unwrapping the 1x6 pine board I realized there was an inscription across the front that boldly stated, “NO CELL PHONES ALLOWED IN THE TREEHOUSE!”

Words gets around pretty quickly in this market…

Where is the sign now and is the treehouse still standing?

The sign hangs proudly in my barn, reminding me to turn off my phone when spending time with my family. Unfortunately, the years of young kids passed much too quickly while I was chasing the corporate dream. Thankfully, we see each other often and consider the time priceless.

The big walnut tree was cut down this spring and the remaining stairs and deck will go this summer. :(  My daughters are both away at college and the 10x10 structure was falling into disrepair.

What was your proudest moment at Apollo?

There have been many, many moments of great satisfaction. Let’s see…

One of the proudest moments at Apollo was finding out that our team had won our eighth ESTA consecutive customer service award, one each year for the duration of the award, voted upon by the entertainment lighting industry and our dealers/peers. 

Another favorite memory involved taking the entire Apollo staff aboard a charter bus to Cincinnati for the Ernst & Young Awards. That was another pretty cool moment in our history.