So, what do you do?
The more than common question regarding one's career is a main staple of interrogation when getting to know a person.
If you are getting to know Justin Reed, the answer may not come easily. His Paducah-based business Crossroads is so diverse that at first glance it is hard to get a full grasp of what he does.
If you know Justin (outside of the aforementioned question), however, the mission of Crossroads becomes clear. It springs from his loves and passions.
At the core is a love for music and technologies that facilitate communication. Justin, an avid guitar player and technology advocate, wants to share that love with others.
"We have the music store," says Justin, "and we offer lessons with multiple teachers in music education. We have a live venue space where we can do professional recordings for artists."
The high-tech recording side of the business facilitates anywhere from one hour of recording all the way to multiple-day sessions. Once recorded, Justin knows that the music needs to be communicated to others. This leads him into another realm.
"At the heart is a desire to teach people to communicate in the digital realm," he says. "Communication constantly evolves. Think about the printing press or television. Communication today is just as revolutionary. We consume things in a very different way than we did not too long ago. It is integrated into our lives."
Justin teaches his musicians how to share their passions via technology. He also realizes that the need to communicate cuts across all areas of life. That's why he and co-worker Justin Jones have become invaluable to many local businesses and churches.
"We started doing a lot of church sound installations," says Justin. "We had one, for example, that had a sound system that barely worked. The pastor had never used an iPad. With their new system, he is using a wireless mic and an iPad that can be displayed on 81" monitors. It has revolutionized the way he shares with the congregation. And we didn't just install equipment and leave them with a stack of manuals. We work together, teaching them how to make the most of what they have. Education is at the heart of it all."
The need is not reserved for churches only. Crossroads has worked with the Paducah Chamber of Commerce, JP's, the River Heritage Museum, CSI, and others to enhance and make the most of technological possibilities.
"The City of Benton has been doing events around the court square," he adds. "So they had us install an ambient sound system to enhance those events. It takes it to a new level."
He also sees the need to help businesses get started off on the right foot. "In the past, a contractor would build something, and the IT aspect of the business would be an afterthought. Now, it is one of the main functions of how we work and operate. There is a need for someone to stand in the gap between customers and contractors and build in a way that will facilitate technology. From new construction to renovation, it has to be part of the structure."
The Crossroads team is currently working with the developers of the Tribeca Inn in order to get them started off on the right foot when the doors open. From a live music area to meeting rooms to the phones and access control to rooms, they are doing it all. "If it has a wire and/or blinks, we are working with it!" laughs Justin.
Beyond the technology, Justin derives an even greater pleasure from his job. "What we do is centered around communication," he adds, "and on the personal level, I have been able to get integrated into the lives of people in this community. The creative process, whether it is capturing audio from a musician or designing a new system for a business, is great. But developing those relationships is the most amazing part of it all. Watching people develop is great. We are service, education, and relationship based. That is what what all of it should come back to.
"Sure, it is hard to simply explain what we do. Just yesterday, I worked tuning bongos in the morning and then did a data installation for a doctor's office in the afternoon. But at the center of both is a new opportunity to help someone communicate and share. It is about developing others to be the best they can be."