Alex Scharg, a 2010 Andover graduate, is the founder of the company Flow Video, a video marketing agency with clients across a large variety of spaces, and with team members across Detroit and New Jersey. Scharg’s team has created videos featuring Bloomfield Hills Schools.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 27 years old and a native metro Detroiter through and through. I’m passionate, driven, and I’m a doer. I have a strong desire to help people and to contribute to the world in an impactful way. I have caring, supportive parents who guided me through my journey at Bloomfield, and also a loving sister (a Bloomfield Hills Graduate in 2011, who went to BHMS and Andover High School). After graduating Andover High School, I went on to Michigan State University where I graduated with two bachelor's degrees in journalism and Media Information (a hodgepodge of information technology and media-related curriculum). I’ve had a fantastic career in the media and marketing industry with stints at the Cleveland Cavaliers, WKAR-TV/AM, Fox Sports Detroit, WLNS-TV, and Spartan Sports Network. I was a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers road to the NBA championship in 2016, the MSU Rose Bowl win over Stanford, on-field interviews with Justin Verlander and Jose Bautista at Fox Sports Detroit, on-air intermission updates for MSU Hockey on the state-wide syndicated Spartan Sports Network, and I’ve have covered Big Ten Championships, Final Fours, High School football, and more. I’ve executed guerrilla marketing events with 50 Cent, Adam West and Miss Michigan, and I’ve started two businesses that have gained national and international exposure. I’ve seen a lot of the world, and I’ve always had an open-minded perspective to new ideas and experiences (thanks to my family!)
Do you live in the Bloomfield Hills area now?
I do not live in Bloomfield Hills, but I live within a 10-15 minute drive and decided to stay in Metro Detroit while a good majority of my friends were leaving. When I graduated Michigan State University, I considered graduate school out east, an opportunity at the LA Times out west, and opportunities in Chicago. But I decided to tap into the energy going on in and around Detroit, and grow with the city. My father still lives in Bloomfield Hills today, so I spend time close by and come to Bloomfield Hills High School here and there to help out with the Biff radio station.
What is one of your favorite experiences that you had as a Bloomfield Hills School student?
One of my favorite experiences at Bloomfield Hills High School was the international food day festival. Each year, all of the language classes choose a day to lay out delectable delicacies from its native countries for students to try. Festive music accompanies each table, and the teachers and students bring in home cooking. It was nice to have an authentic, worldly, front-and-center experience in high school, even though I may never get the chance to visit some of the countries and cultures as part of the Bloomfield curriculum (shout-out to my Spanish teachers Mrs. Venetelli and Mrs. Toma!) Another fabulous experience I had was taking choir with Bruce Snyder. Because of Bruce’s reputation and because of the prestige of the Bloomfield choir, we were entrusted to perform and sing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in its annual ‘Home for the Holidays’ concert. Not many 15, 16, and 17 year olds can say that they sang on stage with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in front of thousands of people! And finally, the Lahser and Andover rivalry was always a good one — especially from someone who was a point guard bringing the ball up the court :)
What were the most important lessons or skills that you learned from being at Bloomfield Schools?
Always try your absolute best, because you never know who you will meet or who is listening! Bruce Snyder, the choir director, and Roberta Campion, the theatre director at Andover, always stressed that someone is always watching and you never know what doing the right thing can lead to. I would always stay late at night at school to put in the extra effort for theatre, basketball, radio, etc. Some nights I didn’t get home until 11 p.m.! It wasn’t until I went to college that I was able to see how this lesson paid off. I auditioned as a sophomore for the only sports talk radio show for the on-campus student radio station, and 40 other students auditioned. After I was chosen to be the host, I was called in by the station manager because the Director (now former, he recently retired) of WKAR-TV/AM, Gary Reid, wanted to meet with me about an opportunity there. It turned out that Gary listened to my radio takes, and he also had a connection to the former WBFH Station head Pete Bowers. Gary viewed ‘The Biff’ in high regard, and offered me my first opportunity in the business as an engineer/producer for the WKAR sports show. It was who I knew that got me in the door, but then it was what I knew when I got there. That was my first start in the industry that launched me to many other career opportunities, and it all came from the mentality of ‘you never know who is listening.'
Do you still draw upon your Bloomfield Hills Schools experience today? Was there anyone or anything in Bloomfield Hills Schools that influenced what you are doing now?
I believe Bloomfield Schools has been a catalyst to my professional career choices. As a student, I was involved with pretty much every extracurricular you can imagine including basketball, forensics, choir, theatre, and radio (to name a few). I sought out extra-curriculars to understand what exactly I wanted to do with my professional career. In fact, former Andover principal Rob Durecka (now at West Hills Middle School) awarded me the outstanding Senior award because of my involvement and leadership in school. That was a catapult in my motivation and drive to keep working hard and pushing forward in college. If it were not for the boundless extracurricular opportunities available for students to be creative, I would not have found my career path in the media and marketing industry today. Pete Bowers, Randy Carr, Ron Wittebols and Christina Hammitt were influential for me choosing to study journalism in college, and those diverse Bloomfield experiences prepared me well for my career at Michigan State University. For example, coming into University, I already had a handle on using the Adobe Suite for chopping radio soundbites, and I was well-ahead of other students in the college based off of my previous industry exposure with WBFH radio.
What inspired you to create your videography company, FlowVideo? And is there anything about the company that you'd like to share?
If you told me when I was 18 years old that I would co-found of a video company, I would’ve laughed. While I was on the student radio station at Michigan State, I built a connection with a talented videographer named Scott Wasserman, who did videos for the radio station and was a freelance videographer on his own for several years. We had an instant connection and began collaborating on different projects together based on our skill sets. Again, you never know who you will meet or who is watching. I was the storytelling, journalism side and he was more of the technical video side. We produced a tennis documentary that won the Spartan Film Festival and produced a variety of different projects together as students. It really came out of passion on the stories we were telling, and we wanted to build our portfolios. As a journalism major, I was learning how to shoot and edit video, write for broadcast, engineer produce on-air radio, and more. There’s a term called ‘one-man band’, in that journalism majors today have to be able to do a lot of different skill sets, so I was able to quickly grow in learning more skills in the video side of things. Years went by, and Scott and I each received different requests to do video recaps of an event, or to help with a video fundraising campaign. We continuously collaborated and we both were working on the side for a few years until 2016, when we took a leap of faith to go full-time and never looked back. Entering year 4, we’ve become a video marketing agency with clients across a variety of spaces, including Big Ten Universities, schools, auto-suppliers, and even a billion-dollar bank. We have team members across Detroit and New Jersey, and we recently flew to Geneva Switzerland to film the United Nations Geneva Summit for an advocacy group called UN Watch. We offer video and digital marketing services for a variety of industries, and it’s amazing that I have been able to combine my talents and channel it into something that is impactful to the world.
Is there anything that you are particularly excited about for your own future?
Currently, I’ve been spending the past three months in Jerusalem, Israel, studying and exploring the depths of Talmudic law, Jewish philosophy and ethics. Religious observance was never a thought or talking point in my life, as I didn’t grow up in a religious-observant environment, so for the first time in my life, I’m spending time to work on my inner-self and exploring some personal interests that I never made time for. I put my career first always before myself, and I’m finally taking some time to put myself first. I’m looking forward to seeing how much I’ve grown after my studies have ended, and narrowing in on the lifestyle that I envision for myself. I have about 4 months remaining before I come back, and I’m excited to fill up my cup and give over what I’ve learned to others back home in metro Detroit!
What advice would you give current students or alumni?
Try as many experiences as you can as a student, so you can learn more about yourself and your mission. Always say ‘yes.' I didn’t pick up WBFH radio until I was a junior in high school in my second semester, and that ended up being the perfect combination of my love of the arts and athletics. So you never know what activity or learning subject may strike a chord in you. I wanted to dip my hand in a variety of extracurriculars and classes to make myself more well-rounded. As much as I did it to help me decide what I wanted to do with my career, one thing I wish I knew or did was to channel more of that interest into finding more about who I was as a person and to help more with my personal growth. We change so much as people and we are always learning more about the inner self each year, so it’s important to try new activities and experiences to learn more about who you are. The person you are at 17 will be completely different when you are 27, so it’s important to be open-minded to career options and flexibility. As much as career needs to be a focus, building good character traits and moral values is equally as important, and it will rub off on whoever you end up working for and with. It’s important to make sure you develop a mission of ‘why was I put here on this world.’ — whether personally, professionally or both. And that is an important topic that we often do not spend time thinking about.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
One nice story of how my relationships from Bloomfield have followed me. There’s a famous Bloomfield teacher, who recently retired, named Suzie Feigenson, who I’ve kept a close relationship with over the years. We usually meet up for coffee once per year. She developed my writing and my critical thinking skills, and I’m grateful to have met her. When I went to Michigan State University, one of my Journalism school professors, Joe Grimm, was finishing a book he wrote on the history of Faygo pop in Detroit, but he was missing some key information. When he told me what he was working on, I flashbacked to my relationship with Ms. Suzie Feigenson, whose family started the Faygo pop company. I was able to connect the two, which led to ’The Faygo Book.’ It has garnered some state-wide and national recognition. https://thefaygobook.org/, I never thought that I would be able to connect and leverage my Bloomfield relationships as much as I have, and it shows the uniqueness and caliber of its community members. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to have some of the career and life experiences that I have at the age of 27, and I’m grateful to the Bloomfield teachers, curriculum and community for helping me get to where I am. My teen years were a foundation for my personal and career growth, and it prepared me well for the college and professional world.