We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Josh Utley. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Josh below.
Josh, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. What’s the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
In 2005 I was in the middle of a divorce and a child custody battle. A month before I was served divorce papers I was laid off after securing a 90 million dollar, five year contract with SPAWAR for my former employer, ManTech International.
While I was at ManTech as their Creative Director and Media Production Supervisor I managed 22 production artists. A few of them were interns from my alma mater where I was on the advisory board. Upon hearing of my dismissal, one of those interns left ManTech and came to work for me.
A month later I had an opportunity to meet with a potential client regarding a real estate website project. I had one huge problem though; I had a two and a half year old daughter and a three year old son and no baby sitter. I was new to the area and didn’t have anyone to watch my kids.
This is where Nick blew me away. He offered to come watch my kids so I could go to the meeting. He was in San Diego and I was in the Malibu area. This was a three hour drive for him and he had to deal with little kids. I had my concerns but after only a few seconds I could tell that he and my kids would be fine together.
I went to the meeting and came back to them all laughing and having a good time. I’ll never forget that moment in my life. I had only met him only a few months before I was let go, and he not only left a multi million dollar company to work for me, he watched my kids so that I could go get us work.
Nick driving up and watching my kids at that moment in my life was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I have been blessed with kindness throughout my life. I do my best to pay this sort of kindness forward every time there is an opportunity to do so.
Nick and I have been friends ever since. You know when you meet someone and you feel like you’ve known them forever? This is how we feel about our friendship. We’ve been through a lot in the last 17 years. We work in the same industry and are able to share the lows and the highs of the journey with each other even though we don’t work together anymore. I think it is important to have relationships with your peers where there is no monetary relationship. We can have no contact for a year and just go have a beer together like we saw each other yesterday.
Josh, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
My first exposure to the multimedia industry watching my father work for a design studio and summers with my Mom who’s a professional studio photographer. This was the late eighties so typography was done by physically cutting and pasting type into place to create camera ready art. At a Kodak photo lab, before there was Photoshop, my Mom showed me how to colorize a black and white photo so that only a person’s jeans were blue or only their jacket was red.
Naturally this lead me to follow in their footsteps. Each of my parents worked for themselves when I was young. I started my first registered business, a lifestyle clothing company, in 1995 with six of my friends. A lot of my friends and I took photography and graphic arts in high school where we learned how to make camera ready art, color operations, silkscreens for t-shirts, business cards and stickers.
In 1996, as a college project, I started a second company Intrepid Designs that focused on graphic design, video, photography and websites. I worked on my projects in the evening and worked as a graphic designer for Touche 21, a clothing manufacturer here in San Diego. My most notable work there was an ad campaign that got noticed by a large company called Australian Horizons which acquired us.
By 1998 I was setting my alarm to check my modem connection to ensure my website files were still being transferred to the server. These were the dial-up AOL days. One website I worked on was called Amba Mall where goods and services were purchased using digital credits. Sound familiar? Today it is called crypto. Unfortunately I was paid in the digital currency and when the company went under I’m not exactly sure what happened to my money. I guess they were a decade and a half too early with the idea.
From 1998 to 2005 I designed and developed websites and creative content on the side while working full time for ManTech International, a military contractor, where we created interactive multimedia instruction. While there I worked on a vast array of projects with million dollar budgets and supervised up to 22 production artists.
ManTech is where I grew the most as a professional. I learned and did so much there it is impossible to cover it all. Some notable accomplishments were leading the way to better design standards and more efficient production. I hacked my way in to their previous IMI tech called Click-2-Learn, found the graphic template files and changed them so that their course ware’s interface would better meet their target demographic’s expectations.
My department has the least turn over because I insisted on hiring artist myself. I knew what skills we needed and how to tell who was the right person for the project. Letting go of talent was my most difficult responsibility. My most successful accomplishment there was helping secure a 90 million dollar five year contract with SPAWAR. I can remember assembling the best artist I had to work on content for presentation.
After ManTech I went to work full-time for myself. I changed my company name to Intrepid Network. Nick worked for me and I’d hire an occasional independent contractor for bigger projects. That year we created an e-commerce website for custom engines which let shoppers see their actual dyno results based on the items in their shopping cart. Our client sold the businesses for half a million dollars plus residuals from sales. We then created a DIY video website for the brand The Wizard’s Workshop that sold their products at Lowes.
Utilizing the latest technologies, leading open source software and commercial tools, Intrepid Network helps clients with all their creative and technical needs. Our services focus on our clients digital presence offering support for their creative and technical needs.
My clients are able to leverage my experience with nearly every industry. From 10 million dollar military contracts to small businesses I am able to identify the common threads of the Internet and successful marketing strategies. I didn’t read everything I know in a book. I’ve experienced most of it. Now I share my experience with my clients.
As I’ve embarked upon my entrepreneurial journey I’ve always done my best to focus on quality, performance and professionalism. Intrepid Network’s mission is to provide a more personable service with the highest quality business solutions. Intrepid Network helps businesses and organizations align their brand(s) with opportunity.
Intrepid Network focus on your unique and specific needs. Together we will discuss those needs and goals. Some of our current clients are the San Diego Automotive Museum, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce, CafeAgave, and USAopoly.
Our process can be summarized with the following six steps.
1. Discovery: “Intrepid Network will meet with you to Identify your goal(s) and discuss the needs of your business -or- organization. At this meeting we will discuss the project budget for each phase of the process. We will then put together a Statement-of-Work that outlines how we will meet your needs within your budget with an estimated launch date.”
2. Research: “Intrepid Network evaluates your direct and indirect competition along with any industry partners you may have. Once we have some adequate ideas, we move into the design & development phase.”
3. Design & Development: “Intrepid Network provides multiple review opportunities during the process. Once we have your approval on a final solution we will begin.”
4. Launch: “Promote the launch of your project with your website, social media, select print publications and other key media outlets.”
5. Analyze: “Intrepid Network provides monthly, quarterly and annual reports providing a wealth of data for marketing and promotions. Our reports provide mission critical data that are used to continuously improve the success of your project(s).”
6. Brand Management: “Intrepid Network ensures your brands online image is solid and constantly improving.”
With Intrepid Network our clients can be confident your project will be completed on time and with no hassle or unforeseen challenges.
Is there mission driving your creative journey?
Intrepid Network’s mission is to provide a more personable business along with the highest quality business solutions. Our business relationship must be pleasant. We understand it takes time earn trust and that the path to doing so must be something everyone involved in is looking forward to.
We invest a significant amount of time in learning about our clients and their objectives. We listen for pain points that we can help solve.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
Attention to detail and aptitude to solve new problems are at the foundation of our reputation. Our agile approach to building solutions that can scale as needed has certainly won us some modest acclaim.
Photo of me giving presentation taken by Troy Orem.