NC Media: Executive director brings international film industry experience to Nevada County Media
Special to Prospector
The success of a community nonprofit is usually directly tied to the skills and abilities of the executive director, and that is certainly true for Nevada County Media (formerly NCTV), which has grown rapidly since hiring Ramona Howard for that position in 2017.
In a recent interview, Ramona was asked about her background and how she gained the skills and experience that she brings to Nevada County Media.
Where did you live before coming to Nevada County?
I grew up in Fremont, and after getting married, moved to Oakdale, northeast of Modesto, in 1996. We lived there for 20 years raising our three children. We moved to Grass Valley in 2014 to spend time with our only granddaughter and to help our oldest daughter renovate her 100+-year-old home.
What is your work background?
I’ve had a variety of jobs during my adult life, including managing movie theatres, running a family fun center, working for a bank and even doing assembly electrical work. By far the most rewarding job was running my own software business. In 1997, my son and I co-founded a small computer software/production business that evolved into something much larger than we expected. We started off doing production to pay the bills while he developed software for the film industry, and in 1999 we began developing a product using one of AJA Video’s components. This was before HD digital video became a viable workflow option for the film and television industry. We created a specialized software product that took us on many adventures worldwide.
Sounds like a great background for running a production studio now such as Nevada County Media.
Yes, we worked with VFX, production and post-production facilities worldwide and were part of a small development community that included industry giants like James Cameron, Phil Tippet, Douglas Trumbull, and many others. We were fortunate to be surrounded by the inventors of so many amazing technological advancements for film and television who were willing to share their knowledge. Industrial Light and Magic was one of our clients.
Being an entrepreneur, is probably not terribly different than being an executive director.
That’s true. I learned to adapt fast, and wore many hats in the early years of our software company. Being a small start-up, we didn’t have excess funding, which forced us to stretch the dollar and think outside the box. Little did I know how much those skills would be needed again, like at Nevada County Media.
Were there any other jobs that helped shape you for what you’re doing now?
After we decided to close and sell our business, I decided to focus my attention on my community of Oakdale. I went to work for a newly formed Tourism Bureau. We created events, expanded their marketing, and helped bring some fun to town. One project was to market the entire Highway 120 travel route, and every location on it including Yosemite, as one adventure. If you want to check it out, it’s http://www.thehighway120adventure.com/.
Sounds like fun. At what point did you decide to move here?
I ran the Oakdale Farmers Market as part of the Tourism Bureau, and even ran for City Council (I didn’t win). But alas, with our kids all moved away and a new grandbaby on the way, we made our decision to relocate. We haven’t regretted a moment of it. My husband’s family is from just up the road in Alleghany, so this feels like home.
You put in long hours at Nevada County Media. What do you do to de-stress and have fun?
My hobbies are gardening, photography and travel. I‘ve enjoyed helping my daughter with her 100-year-old home projects. We built an amazing front yard garden, which inspired me to become a Master Gardener. Then I became a Master Food Preserver, which makes sense if one is growing her own food. I’ve traveled to Greece, Italy, Mexico, Canada, the Czech Republic, Ireland, France, the UK and all over the United States. One of my favorite places is right here in our backyard – Yosemite.
Any final thoughts about your work?
In 2017 I took on the executive director position of the Nevada County Digital Media Center, with a name change now to Nevada County Media. Helping revamp the organization has been a ton of work but very rewarding. I hope people will come check out the new place and see everything we offer for being creative and making media for live streaming, social media, TV, music recording, video, podcasts and whatever other platforms that come along. It’s great fun.
As a public access TV station and multi-media production facility, Nevada Count Media provides a platform for creativity, personal expression and free speech. Government meetings and public events are live-streamed; all recordings are available on the internet “on demand” for viewing on your smartphone, computer or smart TV at www.nevadacountytv.org.
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