Leadership / 03.29.23
Charles Edinger Counts His Faith, Family, Friends and Ticketing Among Life’s Blessings
Charles Edinger lives a busy but harmonious life in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with Michelle, his wife of 30 years; their four adult children close by; and an abiding faith in God. While his job as Director of Ticket Operations for Ticket Star, a division of PMI Entertainment Group, helps him provide for himself and his loved ones, he finds meaning in helping his church and supporting his community.
“It is just the way I am as a person,” he says humbly. “Because of my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ, we are supposed to serve others. Being president of our congregation helps strengthen that faith.”
Charles has also given back alongside his ticketing career as a volunteer firefighter in Morrison, a community 30 minutes south of Green Bay, for 25 years. He recently moved to an honorary role after spending 10 years as an officer and 15 years as the department’s co-fire inspector, completing approximately 70 inspections of commercial properties twice a year.
“For the fire department, I enjoyed helping other people, especially when you see them at their worst times, on the rescue calls and obviously the fires. I stepped down from the fire department a couple of years ago when I was serving my second term as president of the congregation. I was also, at that time, president of the fire department. So, I was honest with them. I said, ‘Something's got to give here. I can't make all these trainings and still be effective with being the president of the congregation and also running a regional ticketing company, which is my livelihood.’ I said if I have to choose between the fire department and serving in the congregation at church, it is going to be the church that wins.”
While Charles has given much to his church over the years, he has also received an abundance of grace and credits his friend Pastor Randy Ott for mentoring him in the Christian faith and the business of running a church. He says his faith inspires him to be more patient and understanding toward others.
Being busy is nothing new to Charles. Before working in the entertainment industry, he juggled four jobs. “I was an IT individual with an accounting degree, and I worked for the local school system as one of their IT resources. I did that, and I did part-time payroll clerk [work] for a nonprofit agency. Then, I helped out on my mom and dad's family farm, plus I had one more job as well.”
It is no wonder that, when asked what advice he would give himself if he could go back in time, he responded: “Don’t work too much. Slow down and enjoy your family more by spending more time with them in the early years.”
With that said, Charles is trying to make up for lost time. His children are all adults now, and he and his wife see them as often as possible. “My baby is actually 32,” he laughs. “We have nine grandkids and one great-grandchild. Looking back, in this industry, we get caught up in our jobs. At times we put our careers ahead of our families, and I am guilty of that like anybody else. That is where I am coming from with that statement. I wish I would have stepped back a little bit and taken in a little more time with my family when they were younger.”
What do they like to do together as a family now?
“We try to get together [during] the holidays,” Charles says. “Then we get together for anything like birthdays for the grandkids. Spending time together is more important than anything else. As much time as you can.”
Like most of us, Charles never set out to build a career in the ticketing industry. “It was mostly because of my IT background,” he says about how he got into live events and entertainment. “I was system manager for PMI Entertainment Group in 1992, 1993 and 1994 … John Dederich was my mentor for the first couple of years. He taught me a lot about the entertainment business.”
In the mid-90s, Charles stepped back and took a different job, leaving live events for seven years. “With a young family, [working] nights, weekends and holidays was a little tough. I got into sales and procurement … Then [PMI] called me and asked, ‘Would you be interested in managing Ticket Star?’ I have been back since 2002.”
When Charles returned in 2002, his mentor John Dederich was in a different role. “Ken Wachter was our president when John Dederich stepped down, so he was more of a mentor after John had left.”
Whether someone is a mentor, peer or friend, Charles most admires honesty and a willingness to serve others. Compassion is the trait he admires most in a colleague, which is not surprising given his Christian faith. “Having compassion for others is an admirable quality that can allow individuals to understand different perspectives and act with empathy,” he says.
When it comes to leadership qualities, Charles says passion, teamwork and social skills are essential for all leaders who want to be effective. “When you have that type of leadership, you get buy-in from your employees,” he explains. “You make the company stronger, especially when it comes to accomplishing your mission statement.”
And what does Charles love most about his job? “Contributing to a larger purpose in providing the audiences pleasure and delight in the entertainment experiences we provide to our community,” he says.
As for his greatest career achievement to date, Charles says it has been his experience “being the director of ticketing for several sold-out concerts with 60,000+ people at Lambeau Field.” He mentioned one concert in particular that really stood out. “[It was] Kenny Chesney when we had our first concert, and PMI Entertainment Group was the promoter that brought [the show] into Lambeau Field. That was 12 or 13 years ago. I worked with their staff at Lambeau Field. I was the point person with the ticketing from start to finish.”
When it comes to concerts, Charles enjoyed the Eagles when they performed in 2008 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, his favorite venue and the venue where he works. “That was the best-mixed concert [from a production standpoint] this building has ever had. Inside any venue, that was the best concert I have ever heard … It was beautifully mixed,” he says. But Charles reserves his highest praise for the Beach Boys. “I am a big Beach Boys nut. I have seen them eight times in concert,” he says.
Despite his busy professional and personal life, Charles still finds time to attend the annual INTIX conference and actively participates in the organization.
“INTIX is a network of great industry friends,” he says. “It gives me the opportunity to network and share ideas with peer-to-peer individuals throughout the year and at the annual conference. Over the last couple of years, the Wednesday [Wisdom] Zoom call has kept the members connected; we are able to discuss issues with peers to figure out how others have worked through the same issue.”
“INTIX is a very important part of any [ticketing] individual's professional life. It is a strong network that provides me with the opportunity to learn from people I admire and respect, and [I enjoy] meeting some new and interesting people along the way.”
Another thing Charles is sure about is the greatest love of his life. “First is my God, second is my wife, and third my family and friends.”
Charles also admits that he wishes he were more assertive. It fascinates him to meet a person who has a quick wit or quick response because he is usually not like that himself. “I am usually the one that holds back,” he says. “I tend to analyze things a little too much at times.”
Like many others who have had a busy career, Charles says if he won the lottery, he would retire and, in his case, spend more time enjoying the outdoor life. “I love the outdoors,” he says, adding that he would most like to live in Alaska, which is on his bucket list. His favorite place to visit is the mountains in Wyoming, where he travels every October. “The area is peaceful and re-energizing. I go for two weeks, and that is my time out. I fell in love with fishing in the mountains because we go brook trout fishing in the canyons. When you are sitting next to a stream listening to the water, and you see bald eagles flying around. That's peaceful to say the least … We go up to Canada [too]. This is going to be our fifth trip coming up in June. We are going to go walleye fishing in the Dryden area.”
In the summer, Charles and his wife also spend a lot of time at their cabin, which is not quite a two-hour drive from Green Bay. “[With] my job, the hours sometimes don't allow [us to go every weekend], but we get up there as much as we can. That's another area [where we] can spend time with our family because one of our daughters has a cottage on the water about 10 minutes from our cabin. Our kids and grandkids come at times and stay overnight with us, as do other family members. That's what it's really about; it is about family.”
“And darn the luck, I have no cell phone coverage at my cabin’s location … This allows me to disconnect from the work side of [life], and that is really a great time out.”
Indeed, while sitting in his cabin at night, surrounded by God’s splendor in nature, you may find Charles quietly reading. His favorite writer is Steven Rinella, the great outdoorsman from the Sportsman’s Channel, who has “such a clever wit and timing to use humor within his writing,” he says. We can also picture Charles sitting back and listening to a song like “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles or one of his many Beach Boys favorites. “Their songs just reach your soul with the harmonies,” he says.
A busy and fulfilling yet harmonious life — what could anyone want more than that?
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Tags: Leadership , Faith , Family