By Tracey Walker | Photo by Gery Petrof
One might say that the path to success for EventWorks 4D President Joel Solloway was multidimensional.
Almost 20 years ago he founded EventWorks, a company with a unique brand of special events, audio, and video production. That first step into redefining client expectations would be the catalyst for what was to come. EW4D has produced holographic presentations for Cleveland Clinic, Steris Corp., GlaxoSmithKline, Samsung, and Verizon Wireless.
“I’m a true-blue Clevelander, born and raised,” Solloway, who grew up in Beachwood and graduated from Beachwood High School, says. He followed up with a four-year bachelor of science degree from Ohio University and got his certification as an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) paramedic from Cuyahoga Community College.
“I have always been motivated by new and exciting trends, including technology, entertainment staging, and now virtual reality,” Solloway says. “My interest in the EMT-P (Emergency Medical Technician–Paramedic) field was spawned by the excitement and unpredictability it generated. More importantly, I have always have had a strong desire to contribute in some way to the significance of helping those in need.”
Solloway spent 10 years at Commercial Recording Studios (now Commercial Sound and Video) in Independence, acquiring the skills and nuances of the audio recording and sound design business.
“I continued on that path, spending six years managing new business and audio engineering at Beachwood Studios, where, in that time, the studio enjoyed a thriving business, recording national talent for both commercial and music projects,” Solloway says.
The serial entrepreneur Solloway moved on to a number of related opportunities in live sound and staging, which culminated in the formation of EventWorks 4D with business partner and CEO Radhika Reddy, the founding partner of Ariel Ventures, a 100 percent women-owned and minority firm that provides finance, tax, IT, and business advisory services to renewable energy, real estate, small business, international business, and economic development projects.
“As the president of EW4D, I’m always canvassing for new technologies that will enable the company to not only stay relevant but also cutting edge,” Solloway says. “Holographic technologies are now being utilized in the corporate business meeting sector, allowing for a more dynamic and visual approach to the traditional meeting. No longer do presenters need to depend on PowerPoint or Keynote as speaker support. With holograms the possibilities for presenting materials are endless and extraordinarily dimensional. I’m so happy to have spent so much of my professional life never saying, ‘It can’t be done.’ We always find a way, a path, and a solution for advancing new technology.”
Captivating audiences while continuing to present and deliver the intentions is EW4D’s motivation for these types of events, according to Solloway.
“For permanent installation specifically for museums, our design team utilizes small pixel-pitch LED screens to replace projectors, create amazing algorithms for show control, and fabricate an entire landscape of unique holographic imagery,” he says. “Our technology is constantly evolving.”
With 4K resolution and beyond, 3D animation content and accompanied sound design is now more lifelike than ever before, according to Solloway. “As the technology continues to evolve, it is incumbent for me to transfix my attention on collaboration with other outstanding companies eager to extend and explore the boundaries of our exceptional medium without limitations,” he says.
On the local front, Solloway has worked with a host of high-profile clients who have embraced the technology on multiple levels. For example, at Steris Corp.’s recent national sales meeting in Orlando, EW4D’s holograms were used for an opening “wow” factor, transitions, award winners, and specialized messaging. Steris also used EW4D’s technology on the trade show floor by fabricating a theater environment to showcase new advances in equipment, all based around a holographic presenter.
In June MetroHealth used holographic projection to open its third-annual stakeholders meeting. Using 3D animation, EW4D was able to “land” the MetroHealth Life Flight helicopter in the Global Center for Health Innovation ballroom and “fly” attendees on a holographic tour over the MetroHealth system.
Similarly, Cleveland Clinic communicated the meaning of its “Patients First” efforts, guiding attendees at its Centennial Campaign through an hour-long presentation that featured a wide range of holographic content specific to individual speakers and topics as well as a distinctive event open and close.
“For each and every event that incorporates a holographic footprint, you can be assured that no two events look or feel the same, the audience will always be engaged, and the ‘stop, wonder and wow’ effect will be present for all,” Solloway says.
Solloway says that he is always seeking out newly defined and emerging technologies that have added value to EW4D’s core business model. “Enhancing 3D to 4D inspires and motivates us,” he says.
The company is now actively engaged in a new dimension of its “Living History” business, where it can document historical figures while they are alive and preserve them forever as holograms.
“Our virtual immortality platform will allow generations to come an opportunity to talk with presidents, scientists, musicians, artists, astronauts, and a host of others who have contributed to our society,” he says.
A voice recognition system developed by a team in California and staged with EW4D’s technology will enable holograms to “answer” thousands of questions posed to them on subjects relevant to their contributions, according to Solloway.
“We are currently in development as to the best approach on how to present our holograms for one-on-one exposure,” Solloway says. “From small personal kiosks to human mannequins to large staging, the prospects for connecting past and present history is infinite. Guaranteed, this will forever change the way history is documented.”
Solloway believes that his passion for what he does is relative to what he’s doing at any given time and place.
“In this business, you never have time to grow old,” he says. “There is just too much to learn, explore, and discover in this ever-changing world we live in. I have never felt that I have reached a pinnacle in my career. I’m constantly learning and acquiring some new skillset every single day. Whether it’s from a respected business associate or a uniquely qualified millennial full of ideas and skills, I am forever young. I never grow tired of watching our holograms dance, sing, and converse. I marvel in the way architectural or engineering AutoCad can be manipulated into a visually exciting 3D image free to roam in a virtual space in our theater or on a stage. It’s magic, and I’m glad to be a part of that illusion.”
For more info: ew4d.com