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Monday, April 22, 2013

Welcome to PensInitiative by @evil_shero

If you're reading this, I have to say a sincere thank you for checking us out. There are about 100 Penguins blogs/sites/dumpsters you could be checking out right now, and we appreciate you are here.

As mentioned above, there are very literally dozens upon dozens of Penguins sites and blogs out there. The most obvious question is: why one more? Why another one? Why one more site in an over-saturated market that already has anyone with an extra 5 minutes of time and opposable thumbs has already staked a small claim into the large market of Pittsburgh hockey?

I was talking to founder of PensUniverse.com Damian Romano on Twitter about two months ago. Damian and a few other bloggers I talk to regularly were running out of time in their day to put the amount of love they wanted to into their projects. Real life was getting in the way and the supplementary time they once had to dedicate to their hobby was ebbing away slowly.

I was a fan of these blogs that were thinking of folding up and closing down forever, and I wanted to help. Whether it be to contribute or anything I could to keep a few of these sites from shutting down for good. This was pretty unrealistic since I am already involved with construxnunchux.com and several other projects at once and my time is very precious as well as the people I wanted to help. Then in an unintentional non-sense fuel Twitter brainstorming session, the idea of pulling resources started to come to light. Unofficially dubbed the "Voltron-blog" (a reference that attests to our ages) the idea was laughed off as improbable and dismissed.

About a week later, I approached Damian on Twitter again and basically proposed to him a plan of "why the hell not?" The idea of this site was rooted in hypotheticals and curiosity. I started to gauge the interest of some of my close friends with Penguins sites/blogs and the interest and idea was overwhelming. I found that this idea was "on the tip of everyone's tongue but we just gave it a name." (Fight Club)

I think that the roster we have assembled all have a unique skill-set and concentration to cover all mediums of conveying information about the Pittsburgh Penguins to you. Every person on staff was picked specifically for what their talents and interests are and have become personal friend of mine.

Stevie Watson: We have been friends from my first few days on Twitter and she runs High Heels and Hockey as well as the charity kickball tournament Hockey Kicks Cancer. She is a full-time mom with a full-time job. There just aren't enough hours in the day but she manages them with grace and efficiency. I chose Stevie to help contribute written work as well as brainstorm for contests and giveaways on the site. Her perspective of being a hockey parent and her talent of being an incredibly imaginative organizer made her an obvious choice for this project.

Ryan Noble: Ryan works full time with me on construxnunchux.com and over the course of the year has become one of the most versatile talents I have come across. Ryan can do pictures, video, write, promote, and write original music. He is a great asset and great friend. Ryan will be writing as well as managing all of our Google based accounts for the site. Ryan will bring a lot of diverse talent to the team and I am grateful to have him.

Nicole Tracey: Nicole as been a long-time contributor to PensUniverse. She has been an intricate part of their success by maintaining their social media and interacting with their fan base. She is managing the Facebook page for the site and will answer questions, post news, share pictures, and help grow our online presence through social media.  As of writing this (pre-launch) our online reach has surpassed 30,000 people and she has already built an active fan base for us. She is a very important to the success of PensInitiative and we are thankful for the work she has done so far.

Brian Blysone: Brian runs a podcast called ToonsSports on the Trending Topics Network on Blog Talk Radio. His show has evolved into talking about everything as well as sports over time. Brian was the person behind our logo and font design for the site.  Brian will co-manage PI Radio and he has done a majority of our graphic design so far. Brian is another versatile talent being able to write, design, run a show, and he attacks all projects with a curious mind. There is nothing Brian can't do which makes him such a valuable member to our team.

Mike Shelapinsky: Mike is one of the creative minds that push PensInitiative forward with innovative ideas. Mike is in charge of all marketing aspects of the site. He will be setting up a merchandise store, working on cross-promotion with other sites, as well as contributing a weekly piece poking fun at the mind-blowing comments left on the official Penguins Facebook page. Mike is an important part of helping us grow and be successful.

Chris Barron: Chris is a die-hard Pens fan forced to live among a hoard of Capitals fans in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work for the PensInitiative, Chris is a monthly regular on FOX News Red Eye, a weekly contributor on 1400 WBAT in Marion, Indiana, is the co-host of the Team of Rivals podcast on IndianaTalks.com, and is a contributor to MorethanaFan.net. Chris' day job is as a paid political hack. He has appeared on numerous national and local television channels, including MSNBC, NBC, CBS, CNN, CNN Headline News, FOX News, and ABC News. Chris is the self-appointed President of the Tyler Kennedy fan club - and possibly its only member. Chris will be writing for PensInitiative and promoting the site on national television when appropriate.

Mad Chad: Chad writes full-time for www.412sportstalk.com  and will be a full-time writer for PensInitiative. Not afraid to have an un-popular opinion or a controversial point-of-view, but what separates Chad from typical contrarian fire-starting is that he is willing to back it with facts and discussion. Chad is an important piece of PensInitiative because of the sports knowledge he maintains and his active fan base he's accrued over the passed few years discussing Pittsburgh sports.

Liz: Mysterious as she is, beautiful "Liz" (if that's even her real name) runs the wildly popular Chicks Who Dig Hockey on Facebook where she covers the day-to-day news of the NHL from a female perspective. She will be contributing written work and posting to the PensInitiative Facebook page adding player bios and interacting with our fan base. "Liz" will also be managing our charitable endeavors on the site as giving back to the organizations that help the less fortunate is important to everyone on the PensInitiative staff and it's where one of her clear passions lie. Liz a great friend of mine and her contributions will be a cornerstone to the group that we have.

Nick Case: Nick is the manager of PI Radio and well as a writer for PensInitiative. He will run the technical aspects of the show as well as book guests and schedule topics. He has worked for several radio stations in his time as well. Nick has been credentialed and media for the 2011 Winter Classic, 2011 All-Star Game, and even previously worked with the Penguins. Nick is a writer on his blog www.caseandpointsports.com and his professionalism and experience will help PI Radio become a large part of this project's success.

Corey Trojanowski: Corey was an important part of the success of PensUniverse managing a majority of the writing duties of the site and helping with the podcast. Corey has a background in television broadcasting, and will continue to use his journalistic skills as a full-time writer as well as a copy editor for the rest of the staff. Corey has the unenviable task of coordinating all written work for PensInitiative and making sure its readable. Corey's writing will be a large part to us staying relevant and assuring we have quality content to share with our fans.

Damian Romano: Damian is the founder of PensUniverse and without his ideas and contributions, this whole project would not exist. Damian has selflessly given his 4 years worth of work and effort to PensInitiative in order to evolve the product into what it is now. Damian handles the day-to-day concerns of the staff, contributes writing, and is the mind behind the site design, layout, and technical aspects. In a sense, Damian IS PensInitiative.

Brandon M: Brandon co-manages the PensInitiative Twitter account as well as contributing his writing to the project. Brandon has vast social media experience as has managed a successful Twitter account from scratch to over 50,000 followers. His humor, timing, and commitment to the project will only help this site grow and evolve with his experience managing popular Twitter accounts. 

@evil_bylsma: Evil Dan is the other half of the PensInitiative Twitter account stepping in and adding humor on top of the news, stats, and live game reports. Evil Dan and I have been supporting account to each other for years now and his contributions will be welcomed and valued. He will also be writing a segment called "Disco's Diary" which will bring you into the intimate and private world of the Penguins head coach. 

Joe Depto: Although Joe is a full-time contributor to www.thepensnation.com he will be helping us out sporadically with some written work and being a guest on PI Radio. Joe is a credentialed NHL columnist and writes for @TheHockeyGuys@TheCheckingLine@TheFourthPeriod, @ThePensNation, and is a frequent guest to @TribLive_Radio. He is one of the best hockey minds I knew and when he offered to help us out I was ecstatic.

Rob Ullman: Rob is an artist and runs Atom-Bomb Bikini . He will be posting his artwork on PensInitiative from time-to-time. Rob has an excellent series he illustrates called Old Timey Hockey Tales and he also creates pictures of pin-up girls in hockey jerseys. When he agreed to contribute when he could to PensInitiative I could not wait to share his work with a new set of eyes on this site. Rob is not only a talented artist, but a hockey historian truly appreciating the rich and colorful tradition of the game.

If you've made it down this far, I commend you. PensInitiative is not going to be a site that recycles news. We aren't going to do three sentence game recaps. We're not going to put up posts in the sake of being first. We are committed to bringing you quality material in all ways possible. We have become a tight group over the passed six weeks or so, and we are all focused on making this project as successful as our fans allow it to be. We appreciate any support and feedback as we strive to grow and evolve into the project it is destined to be. 

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