Front and Center: SIR Director of Marketing & Artist/Vendor Relations Manager, Jenn Triquet

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: SIR Director of Marketing & Artist/Vendor Relations Manager, Jenn Triquet

By Leslie Buttonow

Anyone who’s ever attended a festival or concert tour can appreciate how much work goes into those full-blown productions. Artists and event managers need to ensure that things will run smoothly – from rehearsing, to obtaining the correct musical equipment for each tour stop, and more. A tall order made much easier with Jenn Triquet on the job! She’s the person they rely on for their musical needs and manufacturers rely on to support their artist endorsers.

Below, Jenn talks about moving up in the music industry as a female and meeting some challenges along the way. She also shares how her musical background and experience on the other side of the desk led to a new opportunity at SIR, who’s celebrating 50 years of service as the nation’s largest musical equipment support service for top musicians.

To find out more, visit sir-usa.com.

The WiMN: Growing up, you played an instrument, and you were very much into music and bands. Tell us a bit about your experience with music and how it influenced you in your youth?

JT: From the moment I started school music classes I knew I wanted to work in music – I remember in kindergarten sitting on the mat in a circle knowing that was something I wanted to do when I grew up. I played the viola starting in fourth grade through an experimental program in our middle school to get younger kids interested in the orchestra and found love!

I continued to play during college at Hofstra University and even after I graduated, in community orchestras. It was my happy place! I also sang throughout my school career and got a partial vocal scholarship. Through my teens and early adulthood, music helped shape who I was as a person and the friends I kept – which were vast and varied. As an example, the first concert ever attended was Rush Counterparts, and the following week I went to see Grateful Dead’s Spring Tour ‘94!

The WiMN: Many years later, you find yourself working at SIR , and learn that there’s an interesting tie-in between your favorite guitar player’s first band and their career-changing experience with SIR. Care to share that story?

JT: As the artist relations manager for Korg USA (which represented Korg, Marshall, VOX and Vestax at the time), I had the opportunity to work with many artists. Of course, I had to keep my professional hat on, but I couldn’t help but get a bit giddy every time I got to work with Marshall endorser, Slash! Growing up listening to Guns N Roses, how could I not? Interestingly enough, years later, I’d come to work for SIR. It was at our Los Angeles office where Slash had rented (and may have absconded with for a brief period of time) a Marshall amp – the famous Marshall #39 (as told in this story) from which he got his signature Appetite sound!

The WiMN: When working with vendors and artists in the touring industry, it’s probably safe to say there’s no such thing as a “typical” day, but take us through an average week for you and what that entails.

JT: As the artist and vendor relations manager for SIR, my typical week involves a lot of endorsement request phone calls and emails from artists and manufacturers alike. I help everyone get the best possible pricing and service from SIR across the U.S. Many times, this involves entering orders for the entire band and making sure all the details are in order for a single show or a month-long tour in multiple cities across the USA. Additionally, as SIR’s marketing director, I just worked to overhaul our website (www.sir-usa.com), I write our monthly newsletters, manage our social media accounts, have graphics made for our trucks, cases, stickers, shirts, etc, — if it involves SIR branding, you can bet done I’ve done it!

The WiMN: You are the first person to formally hold your specific title at SIR. What is something you brought to this position that you’re most proud of?

JT: You’re correct! This position didn’t exist before I began here. I remember as the artist relations person for Korg how frustrating it could sometimes be to have to reach out to the 12 different SIR locations to try to arrange the same thing for my endorsers – there was no central point person who could field my request. Each SIR office had its own email addresses and even websites! It was basically the Wild West – each office for itself!

I’m really proud to say that since I took on this role in October 2008, SIR has become unified with one website, one email address system, one look and feel for our branding, and that we’re now the unified operation we’ve always been but didn’t quite look like since day one. I also love that our manufacturer partners now have someone they can call directly and they now have one central point of contact – I’m here to make everyone’s lives easier in the fast-paced and ever-changing artist relations world!

The WiMN: Are there any particular favorite artists or tours that you and your company work with?

JT: How can I pick just one? SIR has built so many fantastic relationships over the past 50 years that I’d surely leave someone out if I started naming names. However, I do have my own particular favorites and have built lasting relationships with many bands and artist management teams over the years. And being stationed in NY, I am proud of every single order and product we put forward. Just recently, I did the production for the Governor’s Ball on Randall’s Island – that production takes four to five months’ of legwork to put it together! It was the third year I personally worked with the festival, and we’ve really found a groove working with one another

The WiMN: On the flip side, are there any particular challenges you’ve faced working in this industry, overall, as a female in a male-dominated environment?

JT: It’s funny you ask as I had a surprising incident just this week. I answered the phone and was helping a potential customer with an order and answering a bunch of technical questions about an amp. When he was finally ready to place his order, he asked to speak to the salesman! I said “Yep, you’ve got HER!” I’m glad that women in the music industry are seemingly on the rise but you still get a few knuckleheads that just don’t get it. Yes, women can help you out just as well (and sometimes better) than the men!

Breaking the mold of the “boys club” is something I pride myself in doing. Being a girl who’s into baseball, can talk shop about gear, and someone who sold skis (a position at the store I worked for that was typically reserved for men – why? I have no idea!) have definitely given me an upper leg, I think. But that boys club mentality is always there lingering in the background.

The WiMN: Looking back at your younger self first entering the music industry, what advice would you give to someone else at that point of their career?

JT: As a fresh-faced 20 year old entering the music industry, I had no idea how many different areas there were in this industry. I entered college studying Music Merchandising, thinking I would ultimately end up working at a record label or a management firm. Little did I know there was a huge portion of the industry that had to do with the musical instruments themselves. The best thing I ever did was to secure an internship – it helped teach me my strengths and weaknesses and find what I really excelled at. I would highly recommend interning in multiple aspects of the industry until you find your passion.

My former boss, Larry DeMarco, once told me – and I’ll never forget – “You have to find a job you love going to every day or you’ll never truly be happy at work.” He was absolutely right. Coming to SIR is never a chore for me; it’s my second home. I love the people I work with on a daily basis, and after almost nine years here, I’m still very passionate about my job. Find your happy place and it’ll never be work!

The WiMN: This year is the 50th anniversary of SIR. Anything in particular you’d like to share about that?

JT: It’s been wonderful seeing many of the artists we’ve worked with over the years offer such nice testimonials about their experience with SIR. They’ve shared some fun videos and stories that you can see here.

Studio Instrument Rentals Celebrates 50 Years Of Service To The Music Industry

For 50 years Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR) have built the reputation for quality rental equipment and rehearsal facilities among some of the elite in the music industry.  Formed in 1967 by founders Ken Berry and Dolph Rempp, the recognizable SIR trucks can be seen delivering audio gear, music, and services to most major tours, festivals, TV appearances, and recording facilities across the nation.

Visit the SIR website at sir-usa.com.

Read our Front and Center interview on SIR Nashville GM, Laura Ford HERE.

The original SIR location back in 1967. Hollywood, California.

“After all these years, we’re proud to see so many former employees enjoying careers in all facets of the entertainment business. Everywhere there are music artists and music, there seems to be someone involved who has worked at or been associated with one of our locations. We’re also proud that many of today’s recognized artists who became our customers back in the day have become more successful.  It’s been a pleasure to know that we, in our small way, have played a part in their careers and their success.” says SIR co-founder, Ken Berry.

Famous clients include: Van Morrison, Dolly Parton, Jon Bon Jovi, Paic! At The Disco, Blake Shelton, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, TV host Jimmy Fallon, and more.  In honor of the 50th anniversary, many friends of SIR offered their congratulations and sentiments about working with them over the years:

“I just wanted to wish you the greatest, happiest, 50th anniversary… Thank you so much, you’ve been a home away from home for us… I love you guys, thank you for everything and for always treating me like a musician.” – Joan Jett

“I cannot believe SIR is turning 50 years old, and thank God they were around because my life would be totally different without you guys. You were right there for us from the beginning.” – Nile Rogers

“Where would I be without SIR?  Unrehearsed, unfulfilled, unready. Grateful for all the years of joy and music spent here!” – Sting

“50 years of great service, thanks for being there!” – Brad Whitford of Aerosmith

 

Front and Center: SIR Nashville General Manager, Laura Ford

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: SIR Nashville General Manager, Laura Ford

By Leslie Buttonow

For those not familiar, SIR (Studio Instrument Rentals) is the nation’s premier provider of musical instruments/gear rentals and rehearsal facilities for musicians preparing for music tours or TV appearances, as well as for major festivals. They are located in most major cities across the country, and Nashville is no exception. Laura Ford has worked at this location for the past 29 years, first as their office manager, and then after a few years, as their first and only female general manager – a position she holds to this day.

Although SIR Nashville is located in the heart of “Music City,” they serve a territory that spans far and wide, including cities such as Dallas, Charleston, New Orleans and Detroit, delivering gear rentals directly to a wide array of performance venues. With that kind of responsibility and geographical coverage — and the ever-changing nature of tour productions — they need someone who can stay organized and exemplify the expression “grace under pressure.” Luckily, Laura Ford is just that person.

To find out more, visit www.sir-usa.com.

The WiMN: You’ve been driving the bus at SIR Nashville for quite some time. What are some of the day-to-day business areas you’re responsible for, and how many people are on the team at your location?

LF: There are 15 of us altogether. I do a lot of paperwork and accounting, but I also research and make a lot of the purchasing decisions, and do research on touring and recording trends to keep up with the equipment demand.

The WiMN: What are some things you feel have kept you successful in your career over the years? Any particular habits, skills or personality traits you find especially helpful?

LF: For one, you have to be a complete crazy person with multi-tasking. You have to stay calm with everything that’s thrown at you. Nothing stays as planned, and so every moment, you need to think about how to solve problems. Shows and tours hardly go off as planned, but if you can get everything to work at the end with minimal stress for everyone involved, then you’ve done your job well.

The WiMN: SIR celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – that’s a LOT of artist support! Are there any favorite artists you’ve worked with during your time there, or stories you’d like to share?

LF: In my 29 years, I have a ton of stories. Once I came around the corner of the hallway at our facility and ran into Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings comparing open heart surgery scars. They turned to me with their shirts open and asked me whose scar looked better. Yeah, I told them to button it up; I wasn’t going there! Ha ha!

Another time we had a big snow here in Nashville. I let all my employees leave to get home and I was waiting for the last order to cancel. Eddie Money walks in the door complaining about the Nashville drivers in the snow. He had called to have someone pick him up because he didn’t want to drive with all the crazies, and he proceeded to tell me that I needed to shovel so people could get in our parking lot. I told him it was fine and that it would be gone tomorrow. Just then, the phone rings and it’s my last customer cancelling their order. When I got off the phone, I was looking for Eddie to find out when his ride was coming. He wasn’t in the lobby or in the back. I looked outside to check if he was there, only to see that Eddie Money had grabbed our shovel and was shoveling our parking lot!

That’s just two of many…

The WiMN: Working with all of those artists, tight deadlines and last minute requests must be stressful at times. How do you and your team keep your cool during those times and work through it together?

LF: I think for the most part, I keep my staff calm because I stay calm. I always remind them that getting upset only hurts them and doesn’t get the job done. Plus at this point, I think we are all used to it.

The WiMN: What has your experience been like as a woman in the industry––any challenges you’ve had to overcome?

LF: When I first started, I really was the only woman in a higher position in this end of the business – the male-dominated end of the business. So there are always challenges; unfortunately, even now. You have to do it right and do more without complaining. Then you earn the respect of the male counterparts. But it’s great to see that there are a lot more women in my end of the business now.

The WiMN: Any advice for young ladies looking to break into the performance side or business side of the music industry?

LF: Definitely go to school and remember as a woman you have to do it right and do more. Once you earn the respect of the males, then the playing field is even – sad but true.

The WiMN: Are there any big tours or festivals you’re preparing for currently that we can expect to see in the spring or summer?

LF: Our two huge events we do in June are Bonnaroo and Firefly Festival. They’re a very big undertaking, but very satisfying when all goes well.