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LOCAL STORIES

December 13, 2023 at 11:38:58 PM

Getting immersive with A.C. Meyer

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The crazy journey of a disabled veteran who never gave up.

Published on:

December 13, 2023 at 11:38:58 PM

Ignite Business Insider shares the stories of businesses that are making an impact in their local markets. We highlight their stories in order to inspire entrepreneurial growth and to let readers learn more about businesses across the world that are growing and scaling.

Featuring

A.C. Meyer

Founder

Interactive Entertainment Company

Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and share your story. Can you share a little bit about you and your company?

I am a 100% disabled Veteran who founded Interactive Entertainment Company. IEC is working to cement itself in the newer immersive entertainment vacation space. We currently have in development 2 unique franchises consisting of multi-product, deep story universes, extensive merchandising arms, and multi-day large-scale park and facility vacation experiences set in their own thematic "universes".

A question so many people are interested in, is how you got started. Can you share a little bit about what you were doing before this, and what that moment was like for you when you decided to start this new journey?

Thank you for allowing me a space to tell my story, I hope it can help or motivate someone, who might need it. For the last 12 years, I have been on the path to healing my PTSD from the Iraq war. I was a heavy gunner in the Army and was part of the first wave, in 2003. I used these ideas to help redirect my thoughts and energies while in the process of healing, and as I grew, so did this business idea.

I participated in the Bunker Labs Veterans in Residence program (Cohorts 22B and 23A), which has helped me tremendously to see how to move all this forward. I then went on to become the Captain of the 23B Cohort. I also was accepted into the Texas A&M Renolds and Renolds Entrepreneur Boot Camp for Veterans program, where I took everything to the next level. I have an interesting story and want to bring more awareness to the complications resulting from serving our country, mental health, and acquiring new skills to rejoin the economy. I also would like to share this journey with other vets who may be struggling, to show you can get through it, and realize new goals and dreams. We need to break down this mental health stigma surrounding asking for help.

I truly love what I do, and I see the value in not only the entertainment, but the jobs it can bring, as well as resources to give back to the community and just being a great story to entertain, inspire, and be proud of.

Let's take a little bit of a detour, and rewind the clock a little bit. What did you want to be as a kid? And how did that influence the person you are today?

I have always wanted to be a soldier. I grew up in a military family and was proud to carry on the tradition (although my dad was pissed at first because I joined the Army and he was a light colonel in the Airforce..haha). I think because of my background and service, integrity, truth, and selfless service mean something to me, and something I want to carry forward into my business.

Have you fully let go of that childhood dream? And where do you see yourself going in the next ten years?

I am living my childhood dream now, and it will only improve with the further movement of my current dream! In 10 years I hope to be an established company that is known as a place where everyone is welcome and you can let your guard down (neutral ground) and just enjoy imaginative play and recuperation in a unique vacation experience(s).

Now, I have found that with successful people, there is always someone pivotal as either a mentor, parent, teacher, or someone that you look to for advise, that helped set you on this path. Could you share who that person was? And what impact that had on the person you are today?

I have been blessed with so much kindness, but it all stems from my first mentor. While I can't say his name because he requested anonymity I can tell you he was a former CEO of Pepsi Canada. He was the first business person who took a look at my stuff and said I should keep going as I have an amazing idea, that is very lucrative. his belief in not only me but my professional goals as well helped give me the push needed to take this seriously. The business stuff aside, the process of meeting with him helped me break out of some wicked agoraphobia and social anxiety.

What was one take away that you learned from that person? And how did it translate into your business today?

He was the first person to tell me that the money is out there, they are looking for good ideas. With this message, I no longer feared the size of my goals and just went in all the way.

When we work with businesses, we focus a lot on their "Why?". What is your "Why"? What is the driver behind your company, and why you and your team wake up each day and give it your all?

I am a 2 pronged "why" branching into both the personal and the professional. On the professional side, I see a viable service that currently is under-represented in this continuously emerging industry. On the personal side I want to help another person get through tough stuff with my story. The bigger and crazier it gets the more (hopefully) impactful it will become to someone who needs to hear the message "Don't give up. Get out of your head, and keep going. Believe in yourself and your ideas. It can get better." Even If I only help even 1 person I am successful.

Let's dive deeper into your products and services. You already gave an overview, but how do your products or services help your customers? And what makes them different from your competitors?

I am offering day and overnight stay opportunities in thematic environments, which is not currently being done, except in a few cases. Now this is going to become more and more popular with time, I would like to be known as the customer service forward company that you love to vacation with because we really do care. From the experience to the safety and comfort of our guests, I want to become a triple-A-themed entertainment company that will always keep our price point down to help more people get away and "Live The Adventure". That's my company's tagline. :)

Let's unpack that even further. Let's pick one aspect of your business. What makes it so unique? And how does it change you or your customer's experience?

IEC will be providing the universe or story for the guests to enjoy the experience in. This gives me total control to create story experiences where you have the illusion of control, but we guarantee everyone leaves feeling like a winner.

Let's dive into your customer's journey a little bit. Can you share with us, how do your customers discover you and your brand? What are their next steps? And what is the experience you would like to see your customers go on, when working with you and your brand?

I am still in the "being discovered" faze so any help would be appreciated!..lol Seriously I am always interested in meeting with new people and continuing to be inspired to create more diverse story experiences from those engagements. You can find us on the interwebs at interactiveentertainment.company. When launched I want the story experience to start when you are purchasing your tickets, all the way to the letter you will receive a week after your experience thanking you for supporting a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. I want to shake it up and provide more of those old-school touches that feel personal and genuine.