By Kim Leder
Once every four years, the world seemingly comes to a halt as eyes become glued to televisions during the Summer Olympics. It isn’t often that people are able to help run such a prestigious event, but Rider alumnus Josh Veltrie, ’11, had that special opportunity.
Veltrie was a production associate (PA) for NBC who dealt with the producers, directors and other members of the network’s news crew. He was able to experience the Olympics in a way many are not able to because of his job title.
“As a PA, my role was to supervise a group of 14 loggers along with another PA,” he said. “We managed their schedules to make sure the important events got logged. If anything important or newsworthy happened in one of the lesser sports, it was my job to alert the producers about it to see if they would want to air it during prime time. My job was basically to help the producers in any way I could along with supervising the loggers [and] interns.”
Even though he was working hard at his job, he was still able to enjoy his first time in a European country.
“Being able to go to London for four weeks was amazing,” Veltrie said. “I had never been in Europe before so it was quite an experience. The first week I was there everyone [I worked with] had relatively normal hours so we were able to go out and see the city at night, which was awesome.”
Veltrie was able to make connections through an internship with NBC in the sports department even before graduating.
“While interning at NBC I was able to work closely with multiple producers and I kept in contact with them after it was over,” Veltrie said. “I received a phone call from one of them at the end of last summer asking if I’d be interested in working the Olympics in London.”
Veltrie’s attention to detail and dedication to work is something that impressed his fellow co-workers.
“I only just met Josh at the London Olympics but his organizational skills and poise really impressed me,” said Alex Tint, a PA with NBC. “Josh was in charge of a lot of people in London and to be given that type of control and responsibility at such a young age is a true testament to how the folks at NBC Olympics feel about him.”
It wasn’t all work for Veltrie though. He was able to experience some of the Olympic events live in the stands.
“My favorite part of the Olympics was having the chance to go and watch track and field for a night,” Veltrie said. “I was lucky enough to witness Usain Bolt in the 200-meter and a world record in the 800-meter.”
The Olympics not only brings out the finest athletes from every country, but also many celebrities who come to watch the action unfold in front of their eyes. Veltrie had the experience of meeting some high-profile guests.
“There was a ton of on-air talent [and] Olympians walking around the hallways while we were working such as Apolo Ohno, Shaun White, John McEnroe and Michael Phelps, just to name a few,” Veltrie said. “I was able to meet Jimmy Fallon, who graduated from the same high school as me, so talking with him about my hometown was a lot of fun.”
The Closing Ceremony was a spectacle witnessed by millions of people throughout the world. It was an event that brought on a myriad of tweets and Facebook posts. It was also incredible for Veltrie when he saw his name flashed on the screen as a PA.
“One of the top moments while I was over there was seeing my name come up in the credits after the Closing Ceremony,” Veltrie said. “It was one of the prouder moments of my life and was just a great feeling.”
With this once-in-a-lifetime experience, Veltrie was able to walk away with new knowledge about the sports industry.
“I did learn things while I was there,” Veltrie said. “I learned that in this industry you always have to keep your head up. A lot of problems occur while working in television, but you have to be able to roll with it and adapt the best you can. The more you let it get to you and the more stressed you are, the more it can affect your work. Seeing all of the producers and directors handle everything that goes on during the Olympics and work together was amazing and I hope one day to be in their position.”
With everything that Veltrie has walked away with, his future in the sports industry became clear to those around him.
“Josh clearly has a bright future ahead of him,” Tint said. “It seems he can go very far in production or really in any other capacity within the industry. He knows how production works, he gets results and he’s very easy and fun to work with. That, coupled with great poise under pressure, is a winning combination for working in television.”