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If you’d asked me 5 years ago if I thought I’d be at the Super Bowl in 2018, I would’ve laughed in your face,” says RJ Pozniak, owner of Maritime Creative, a St. Augustine-based event production company.
Back then, Pozniak was a hired gun working out of his garage in Vilano Beach. Event producers would call him when their clients wanted something more than the traditional A/V setup. As Pozniak’s client list grew, so did his skill set, including projection mapping, video walls, aerial drone footage, man-on-the-street videos, and webcasting live from events. Pretty much anything that required new technology.
As display technology advanced, the demands were keeping Pozniak on the road eight months out of the year. In 2012, he proposed to his longtime girlfriend at the Mumford and Sons show at St. Francis Field. The following year they married at the Lady La Leche Shrine and purchased their dream home in Davis Shores. He was ready to spend more time with his family and less time on the road. So he started Maritime Creative, hired Dan Lankry as his Director of Production, and moved into a warehouse space by Flagler Hospital.
They quickly grew an impressive client list that included heavy-hitters like Bacardi and MetLife. In 2016, StubHub hired them to turn an old warehouse into a contemporary ballroom for their Super Bowl party in New Orleans. They had to pull together a strong team to produce at the scale needed.
“We nailed it. It was a great event and started a partnership that has brought Maritime back to the Super Bowl in Houston and Minneapolis,” Pozniak explains.
For the Houston Super Bowl event, they built an attraction called Loudmouth, an interactive booth where fans could measure the volume of their cheers and compete with opposing fans.
“Our warehouse space turned into a fabrication shop,” says Lankry. “Before that, I would design things and we’d assemble them at the event to be torn down a few days later. The opportunity to design a woodshop and be able to fabricate furnishings and permanent installation work was a dream come true,” says Lankry.
Around that same time, Florida Blue enlisted Maritime to help them make their retail locations more interactive, growing the fabrication side of the business. Today they make everything from coffee tables (made from local fallen hurricane trees) to enormous custom video displays for events and retail environments. Maritime’s team has grown to six people at the local shop and an expansive distributed team of technical experts living all over the world.
“I’m still on the road more than I’d like, but I’m developing more business locally so I can spend more time with my wife and son,” says Pozniak, “and more time fishing,” he chuckles under his breath.
In the wake of hurricanes Matthew and Irma, Pozniak and his team at Maritime were inspired by how supportive the local community was in the face of tragic losses, and are currently focused on giving back to the community by supporting local events. To this end, Maritime built, installed, and ran the live cooking stage at the Made in St. Augustine festival, is supporting the Full Circle Festival in Lincolnville, and is always on the lookout for opportunities to support Saint Augustine’s local culture.