Talking Shop with Drew Janes, founder of Relentless Media Productions

Monday, December 14, 2009
Drew Janes, founder of Relentless Media. (Submitted photo)

Drew Janes grew up in the Bootheel community of Qulin, Mo., where he spent many a day working for his father's business. It was there that Janes realized he longed to work in media in a larger city. That realization led to the launch of Relentless Media Productions in 2004. Today the company has offices in Jackson and Poplar Bluff, Mo., and specializes in graphic design, photography, video production and web design. Business reporter Brian Blackwell sat down with Janes to learn more about his life and what inspired him to create the company.

Q: You started your company five years ago. What has been the most challenging part of starting and growing the business?

A: The most challenging part would be adapting and changing the way we do business. I believe we can't stay the same. If you don't keep up with the industry you'll quickly be left behind. On a monthly basis we change the way we do business. It keeps us fresh and motivated. We're constantly trying to stay one step ahead.

Q: Where do you see the company going in five years? Any expansion plans?

A: We want to grow in another larger market. We want to expand some of what we do in each of our departments. We're a four in one company. We want to expand those areas of interest. Whatever it would take in the next five years we hope to increase our staff and productivity. We want to change industry through design and media. In the next five years we want to be a dominant firm that can accomplish those goals.

Q: Do you find the business climate today harder to start a business?

A: Yes, it's harder because of the economy. But you have a place to grow if you have your eyes open and find a niche. For people wanting to start a business it's harder but not impossible. It's a prime opportunity.

Q: What advice would you give a potential entrepreneur?

A: Have a vision for what you want to do. Be persistent in what you're wanting to do in your vision and plan. Then follow through. Develop a support of those who you rely on. I have people I constantly ask for advice to grow. You have to have a vision to make your dream become reality.

Q: What community activities are you involved in?

A: A member of Jackson and Cape chambers of commerce. I also participated in Leadership Jackson. Relentless has a nonprofit organization called Relentless Pursuit of the Arts, which will launch early next year. We will hold a series of events and outlets to develop arts for young people who aren't in traditional arts like new media. We want to raise awareness to create more of a scene in the media. We're trying to do more in the community where we live and contribute to things like this.

Q: Who has influenced you in your life and why?

A: My wife has really been No. 1 in influencing me. She's helped me follow my dreams and visions for my business, as well as the things I love to do. Without that it would be impossible to do anything else. Having a wife who supports me is huge. It's like having that extra person that helps push the vision you have. Without it you're alone.

Q: I know most people want to make a difference in their community and in the world. Is that the case with you? Why?

A: Everybody needs and deserves that opportunity. With art everyone deserves a chance to express themselves. We see that as an open door to help kids pursue their interest. Personally, besides the business, changing the world is done through people doing something. We've been involved with documentaries for missions. We're also involved with House of Prayer. I believe the need for world change is still there.

Q: Tell me more about why you're involved with House of Prayer.

A: We're a part of a group that's helping start a House of Prayer in Poplar Bluff [Mo.]. We're ushering in a gathering planned for next summer. There's a change happening in America. We're praying for reformation. I've seen how the House of Prayer has affected everything in America. I think it moves things, it changes things. It's effective in ways some vehicles are not.

Q: I know you like to snowboard. Tell us what makes it such a thrill for you and what it was like winning the national wakeboarding championship.

A: That was in 2000. Growing up in a small town, there were a couple of us who wakeboarded on the weekends in Norfork Lake in the Ozarks. I won first in state from 2000 to 2004. Snowboarding came into the scene because I got sponsored in 2003 by a wakeboarding company. That's how I got to see the world. I traveled a lot, mostly in Texas, California and Florida. I love sports like that. Wakeboarding ... makes me free. That's one thing my wife, Halee, and I do. We try to go on the weekends when it's slower and warm enough. The big thing we did over the summer is teach kids how to ride. It's a better way for me to share my love for the sport.

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