Culture

KEH Stories: Brent McAlister

Here’s your insiders look into KEH Camera and the KEH team. Check out #KEHSpotlight each month where we’ll showcase team members. This month we interviewed Purchasing Manager, Brent McAlister.

Hey Brent! Thanks for agreeing to share your background with our customers. To begin, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been in the photography industry for over 28 years now have thoroughly enjoyed it the whole time. I started in Atlanta at a Wolf Camera in a film processing lab to supplement my income as a recently graduated starving graphic artist and quickly fell in love with photography. Initially, it was a part time job and I quickly discovered that I had a real knack for it, because of my graphic design background —at least that’s what I told myself to justify the student loans I was paying back. I was with Wolf Camera for 20 years and worked just about every position available until my career ended as district manager when the company filed bankruptcy for the second time.  

How long have you been a KEH employee? What is your role (s) here at KEH and what does it entail?

I have worked for KEH just over 8 years and in that time I have worked in a number of roles for KEH, from a Sales Representative, Sales Manager to Purchasing Manager. On a day to day basis I setup and attend buying events with camera stores across the United States and Canada, where we invite our local customers in the area to come by and sell us their equipment. In addition to working with camera stores we also attend Photo Club meetings, and trade shows across the country where we buy equipment and get the KEH name in front of photographers that might not have heard of us before

In addition to setting up and attending buying events, I also oversee our buyers in Japan and Europe making sure shipments are setup in a timely manner and they have enough money to buy more equipment.

What is your favorite thing about your role here? How does your role support our vision/mission?

I believe I have the best job in the company! I truly enjoy my job. I get to travel the country and talk with amazing photographers. Basically, I talk about and play with cameras for a living. As I attend the different types of camera buying events, I am always impressed with how many people love KEH Camera and how we have been able to impact their journey in the world of photography. Nothing make me feel better than past customers thanking us for being here, so they can buy incredible gear at a great price.

One of my favorite parts of this job is sitting down with people selling their camera equipment and learning about their camera’s life. Without hesitation, everyone can tell you a story of where their camera’s been and how they were able to capture memories that will be with them for the rest of their life. I take great pride in being able to tell people that we will be able to give their camera a second life and put it in the hands of someone that will love it just as much as they did.

What excites you most about working at KEH? 

I thoroughly enjoy working with all the creative people at KEH and because of that, it pushes me to be a more creative person in my everyday life. It’s like a big family, but with a bunch of weird Uncle Billy’s, I say that in the kindest and most sincere way as possible, I always loved my Uncle Billy!

Are you a photographer? What cameras do you currently own and which are you currently coveting?

I like to think I’m a pretty good photographer and as you can imagine I have used a huge variety of cameras from a Cambo 4×5 to the old standby Pentax K1000 with mostly positive results. For the most part I would consider myself more of a B&W street photographer. I absolutely love capturing the perfect image that will tell a story without words.

I am currently using my dream camera, a Fuji X100T,  I purchased specifically for capturing a recent vacation on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. I love the fact that I have to push myself to capture an image with a fixed focal length lens— it is an amazing camera.

Here’s a fun question, if you could BE any camera what would you be and why?

Hmmmm, as simple as this question sounds it is a very tough question, I would have to say I wouldn’t mind being a Widelux F8, I really love panoramic cameras.

Do you have other special talents or hobbies?

I don’t know if it is a talent or not, but I’ve gotten pretty good at taking pictures of the top of my head in front of landmarks across the country for my Instagram account, you’ll have to check it out. I started the hashtag #HeadshotsAcrossAmerica so I would have a place to show them off. 

If visiting micro-breweries as I travel across the country, playing video games and smoking on my Big Green Egg every chance I get count as hobbies I’ve got a lot of hobbies. Oh yea, I am a level 35, almost 36, Pokémon Go player, so I am always looking for a gym to take over.

A quote/saying you live by?

“Beer is proof that God loves us and want us to be happy” by the great Ben Franklin  and, “If you are going to do something, you might as well do it right the first time”

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