The Customertimes team is known for its depth of experience, stemming from years of training, study, and hands-on implementations for some of the largest corporations in the world.
But our team members are experts at more than just technology. They have skills that go beyond the scope of their work with Customertimes, and we think it’s time to show them off.
The Discover CT series introduces some of these men and women and shares how their artistic, athletic, and musical abilities enhance the work they do, resulting in critical, creative thinkers who are great at their jobs.
Up first: Denny Gracey, VP Healthcare and Life Sciences Sales, US, an avid musician and custom amp builder. Here, he shares how leading a sales team and playing guitar in a rock band utilize the same skill set, along with the band initiation ritual that made a lasting impression.
Customertimes: Tell me about your involvement with music. When and why did you start playing?
Denny Gracey:I grew up in a small town in eastern Kentucky, and the local radio stations only played country music, which I didn’t really care for much. Because of the ionosphere effect, the pop rock stations out of New York and Chicago came through at night, so I would stay up late to listen.
I was inspired to play guitar by a band called Grand Funk Railroad – they were a supergroup in the early 70s – and when I was 14, my neighbor sold me a guitar with no strings, an amp with no tubes, and a microphone with no cable. I saved up to get them all working, my neighbor taught me a few chords,and I put together my first band with a couple of friends.
CT: Are you in a band right now? What kind of music do you play?
DG: I ‘retired’ from my last rock band, Cowbell Superstar, in December 2018. We were building a decent fan base and the band wanted to play more shows than I could handle. Cowbell was an original glam-rock band. The front man was an amazing performer, and we all wore crazy 70’s influenced outfits – bellbottoms, stacks – stuff like that.
I’ve also been in an Irish folk band for a few years. We only play about 10 shows a year, and they’re easy gigs that have me home by 10pm vs 2am with the rock band.
CT: Do you play any instruments besides guitar?
DG: I play bass guitar. It’s an easy transition since the strings are the same as the lower 4 strings of a guitar. I used to doa good bit of song writing, so I learned enough keyboards and drums to record, but guitar is my main instrument.
CT: What do you love about music?
DG: I think most musicians get hooked early in life – it’s a subjective thing, maybe genetics – who knows?Certain styles just resonate with your soul, and you crave playing.
For me, there’s not much better than making music with a few good friends. Performing has its own rewards, as do composition and recording. As a listener, I’ve come to appreciate diversestyles.
Great music takes you to another place, out of yourself for a bit, and like any great art form, we have our own personal interpretation and connection with it.
CT: Do you have shows coming up?
DG: TheIrish band has a few outside shows lined up in August. Hopefully the venues will begin hosting live shows later in the year so we can get back to it.
CT: What’s the story behind the framed CD that’s visible in your picture?
DG: Funny you notice that. My wife gave it to meas a gift when I formed my first band back in 2004. We had put together a promo kit to submit to South by Southwest. We didn’t make it in, but that was the first of several versions of the Denny Gracey project that went on for about 12 years.
I’d always been in cover bands up to that point, and the original music scene is much different. We had the chance to play with lots of great bands and meet some cool new friends.
CT: Do you have a favorite memory from a show?
DG: Lots of great memories, but here’s a funny one. Back in early 80’s, I was playing my first show with this rock cover band. We played big clubs and they had a cool light show – we actually had our own light man who ran all the controls.
What they didn’t tell me was that the flashpots lined up across the front of the stage would shoot 10-foot white flames straight up in the air.
We cranked into the opening song, and I was right next to one of those pots when it went off. It singed my hair (back when I had hair) and shook me up so badly that it took me about 10 seconds to compose myselfenough to keep playing. Turned out they intentionally didn’t tell me about those pots – it was my initiation into the band!
CT: What do you do at CT?
DG: I’m responsible for “direct to market” HLS sales in the US. Most of CT’s business is through partners, but as a result, many people in our industry are unaware of CT. My team focuses on sales directly to healthcare systems and insurance companies, biopharma, and medtech companies.
My job has many rewards – I have a fairly new sales team and I’m driven to make them successful, which benefits the company as a whole. Plus, the industries we serve are developing new therapiesand providing patient care, their value of course amplifiedduring the pandemic.
CT: Whatlessons have you learned as a musician that apply to your work with CT?
DG: Persistence. If you want to improve your skills, you have to practice and try new approaches and strategies. Some work better than others, and you focus on those that work best.
That’s what we do in sales. When we lose a deal or a project doesn’t go well, we have to learn from it and do things differently next time. The more you practice your craft, the better you get.
It also takes more than musicianship to hold a band together. Everyone in the band needs to share a common goal and work well together. The same is true for an effective sales team.
CT: We hear you also build custom amps. How did that start?
DG: I got interested in amp design 7 years ago. I bought a few books, joined some online forums, and learned enough to build my first amp. I then built one specifically for Cowbellbecause there was a specific tone I was after.
Guitarists would ask me about my amp after the show, and a few wanted me to build one for them. My first few amps took 40-60hrs to build, but I’ve reduced that time by half, and now I can actually make a profit! It’s a great hobby that I may turn into a business someday.
Customertimes is growing rapidly at our offices around the world. If you’d like to work with our dynamic, talented team, check out the Customertimes Careers page, and join a company that’s known for unparalleled service and expertise.