post img

Staff Interview with MILAD KHOULI, Senior Account Executive - International

Tell us about Apollo Design® Technology’s global presence.

Apollo Design® is a global player. We have dealers on every populated continent and are known for our ability to ship products quickly to the far corners of the globe. We make ourselves available to dealers who have questions at 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m. and they tell us how much they appreciate our efforts.

Competing in the global market is a unique challenge, dependent on market fluctuations and the strength of the dollar. I keep up-to-date with shipping requirements and options to keep Apollo Design® a vital presence in global markets.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Of course, it’s all about the people. I love the relationships that develop when I’m helping a team with a challenging project by providing just the right Apollo products. I love the fact that there are never two days that are exactly the same. I have met fantastic people all over the world, and love that connection.

What was your first position at Apollo?

When I first came to Apollo, I started in an inside sales position to learn the business. Within a short period, we decided to attack the foreign market, and build up an international presence at Apollo. I felt comfortable moving into this arena and enjoyed the travel opportunities that came as a result. I also moved into a position as OEM.

How did life prepare you for Apollo Design International sales?

I had traveled quite a bit before I came to Apollo and had already lived in several countries. Being from a part of the world where sales and negotiation are a way of life, I enjoy the demands of a fast-paced sales environment. Also, English is my third language, so I have had a fair amount of experience in communicating outside my comfort zone.

How often do you travel?

The number of trips varies throughout the year, with the majority occurring in the fall and spring. Most of the international shows are held in those two seasons, avoiding the holidays in winter as well as the summer break. .

I attend international lighting shows to meet with dealers from several countries at once, but I also arrange trips to meet with dealers at home–to tour their facilities and take inventory–or just introduce new products and brainstorm creative ways that Apollo can help with their projects in development.

How many countries have you covered in a single trip?

Three. I went to Europe, and from there to Lebanon, and then to Dubai. 

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. 

What stands out in your mind?

Each trip is unique and interesting. Although I try to see some of the local sites, sometimes a show keeps me too busy or has long hours, and you can’t get a feel for the local areas.

I had a great learning experience in Chile, South America. It was my first trip to Chile, and I was there for a show. There was a concert going on, with many lighting and sound equipment. I got to see the backstage personnel and the director pulling all the special effects together. It was amazing since I hadn’t had the chance to see the backstage work that goes into producing a quality show. I learned so much that day. (Jennifer Lopez was one of the artists singing in that show.)

What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?

Of course, I miss my family. When you’re overseas—outside of Europe—the phone doesn’t work quite the same, or we are in different time zones, and it’s hard to call home whenever you need. Some of the new apps make that a little easier— you can chat free of charge now. That’s progress. It makes the world a smaller place than it used to be.

I love trying different types of food when I’m abroad, and my dealers steer me to great local spots. Sometimes, it takes time to get used to a different bed, or they don’t have enough pillows. I miss my own bed and pillows.