Name: Evan Parker
Position: NASCAR Managing Dir of Content Strategy
Where I’m from: L.A.
Where I call home: Charlotte
Focusing on right now: Trying to bring together a couple of groups that have been doing great work in their own silos. The one larger content group will do everything from our social media, to all the editorial on nascar.com to brand new content with our partners.
Best advice: I was home last week for my grandfather’s 100th birthday. He always tells me, "Be happy, work hard and get plenty of exercise." I know it’s simple advice, but if it’s got him to 100 years, I can’t argue with it.
Must have for a new hire: The biggest thing for me is somebody who is really a team player and easy to work with. At NASCAR and in the sports industry, you get a lot more done if people want to work with you and if you have respect. It doesn’t matter how talented or smart you are. If people don’t like working with you, you’re not going to be successful.
Execs I admire: STEVE PHELPS and JILL GREGORY at NASCAR have been huge mentors to me, and they’ve been able to put me in great positions and teach me a lot. KENNY MITCHELL, who’s now with Gatorade but used to be at NASCAR, taught me to really think outside the box and push boundaries. DAVID FREEMAN, who’s now at CAA, is the first person who really taught me how to sell.
Book shelf: I just finished, “RIVER OF DOUBT.” It was about TEDDY ROOSEVELT mapping a river through the Amazon after he was out of the White House. And I just finished “MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING” by VIKTOR FRANKL. I don’t read business books, but I like to read a lot of nonfiction and history books about impressive people.
Talking tech: It’s a daily challenge to stay on top of all the different ways we can give people content about NASCAR, whether it’s in 140 characters or a video or a long-form article or mobile alert. It seems like every day, it’s changing, with Amazon getting into the space a little more, and as phones evolve.
Must-have music: I’m probably single-handedly lowering the age demo for STEELY DAN. But I’m all over the place. A lot of indie rock, like ST. PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES or TENNIS. I grew up on rap and hip hop, so BLACK STAR and PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, PETE ROCK. Since I’ve moved to Charlotte, I’ve had to listen to country, and I can stomach MARSHALL TUCKER BAND, CHRIS STAPLETON and YARN.
Food for thought: When I moved to Charlotte, I quickly gained 40 pounds eating barbecue at Midwood Smokehouse and drinking a lot of IPAs. So I’ve had to get a little smarter, switching from heavy IPAs back to Coors Light. The only thing I refuse to eat is coconut. I’m pretty much a garbage disposal, but I think that coconut is probably the worst thing on Earth.
First thing in the morning: I try to get some exercise, clear my mind and think about the day. Then as soon as I get to the office, it’s consuming as much content as I can, not just about NASCAR. It’s SBD, Ad Age, Variety, getting an idea of what’s happening in the marketplace.
How I unwind: On the weekends, I love nothing more than a solitary breakfast, sitting alone with a book or whatever I’m reading. My girlfriend works in sports as well, for the Hornets. So we don’t have that many weekends where we’re both away from our respective sports. But when we do, it’s taking the dogs to the dog park. I collect vintage watches, so I spend a good amount of time indulging that, researching them or going to shops and checking out watches.
Day in the life: This is a new role and a new team. The biggest challenge is combining all these different groups that have always operated separately into one. There’s not a real road map now. News breaks 100 times a day in the NASCAR world. As much as you plan, something can pop up that you have to adapt for.