PRESIDENT & CEO
A 25-year veteran of the production industry, Tom cut his teeth at the esteemed New York Times Company, producing television for one of the nation’s leading multimedia giants. He left for greener pastures in 1996, breaking out on his own as a leading technical manager with CBS, NBC, FOX and ESPN.
In 1998, Tom represented the United States at the International Content Market for Interactive Media (MILIA) in Cannes, France, where his model for an interactive television series, Studio Beyond, was presented to an international audience of television and online producers.
It was while traveling the country chasing sports legends that Tom was inspired to make the leap to documentaries, where his stories could find a bigger voice. He founded United Studios, an independent documentary production company that went on to create the PBS award-winning historical documentary Stories from the Mines and the critically-acclaimed domestic violence eye-opener An Empty Place at the Table, narrated by Susan Sarandon.
His passion for documentaries (and his family) brought him back home from New York and, as he always says, “Who needs to work in Hollywood with the ?!*% that happens here.”
A 23-year veteran of broadcast television, Ben Payavis started his 18-year career at WVIA as the station’s on-air promotions director and in 2005 he was promoted to television production manager. In this role, he produces and directs a variety of television programming including but not limited to entertainment, sports, live news events and public affairs shows. Most recently, he produced and directed the Celtic music show‚ "Cherish the Ladies," currently in post-production and set to be released nationally in the Spring of 2013.
A graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, Payavis began his television career at WYLN-TV in Hazleton, Pa., where he also served as production manager. Throughout his career, Payavis has received numerous awards and honors for his work including Gold and Silver ADDY and Telly awards and Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters awards. In 2011, he was nominated for an Emmy Award in Directing Excellence for “A Bucknell Candlelight Christmas," which was distributed nationally throughout the United States.
VICE PRESIDENT OF MULTI-PLATFORM CONTENT DISTRIBUTION & PROMOTION
Doug humbly started his television career at the FOX affiliate in Northeastern Pennsylvania but it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of the bosses in Hollywood who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. So began his career as a network executive with FOX Broadcasting in Los Angeles where Doug created and oversaw the marketing efforts for shows such as the ratings juggernaut American Idol, fan favorite That 70’s Show and reality’s toughest cooking competition Hell’s Kitchen.
Once he’d had enough of that California sun, he headed east to the Electric City where he tapped into his sensitive side at PBS. Now Doug’s role is making sure the VIA creative team maintains that fine balance of creativity and marketability. So basically, it’s his job to schmooze.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR DOCUMENTARY FILMS
Greg is an Emmy and Cine Golden Eagle Award winning filmmaker with more than 30 years experience in film and television production.
He received a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Penn State University and an MFA in cinematography from the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies, after which he spent 14 years living and working in Los Angeles as a mainstream director and cinematographer for television commercials and music videos.
The second half of Greg’s career has embraced a move into documentary filmmaking, during which time he has written, co-produced, directed, photographed and edited more than 20 documentary films for public television, six of which have acquired national carriage. His filmmaking has taken him to locations on five continents.
Greg is a former Artist-in Residence at the Everhart Museum and the Seaside Institute, and is a rostered artist and Advisory Panelist for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has lectured on filmmaking at numerous universities throughout the United States, including Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University and the University of Kentucky.