A mentor. A pioneer. A colleague. A supporter. A friend. George O’Neill, an industry invigorator who shook up the Florida and LatAm advertising and post production industries has died, LBB is saddened to learn.
George passed away in late March, at the age of 64, leaving his wife Kay Sedam-O'Neill, Son, Kyle and daughter Haley, as well as two sisters, Mary Ellen Guardi and Dr. Patricia L. O'Neill, and niece Dr. Adelaide Wither – and former colleagues have rallied round to share their memories and admiration for the founder of BVI.
George’s impact on the industry is indisputable - he was a co-founding partner of Broadcast Video Miami (BVI), which he set up while at college with his roommate Rick Legow. And he also held the position of Director of Operations at New Art, Miami and at O2 Media, Inc, in addition he was Vice President of studio operations at Brandstar in Pompano Beach, Florida. He served as Agency Development Manager at Colonial Life Insurance, and had in recent years been a managing partner at Xela Agency.
Across the industry, people have shared their fond memories of a man described as ‘a gentleman.
Debbie Margolis Horwitz, is EP and chairwoman at Kreative Kontent – but early in her career she was a producer at BVI.“As a mentor and friend, George taught me how to nurture and manage creative talent. George valued people and the relationships he built. He always made an effort to make his staff and clients feel appreciated. He will be missed,” says Debbie.
Through Manhattan Transfer, George also partnered with BEAM.TV and, in 2011 at New Art Miami, with Adstream, helping to pioneer ad distribution in Miami and Latin America with the Pan Regional Cable networks. He made fast friends with many of the people he met through the partnership.
Emmelie Forsyth, now Founder and Business Development Director at Conference Concierge, spearheaded both companies (Beam and Adstream ) in LatAm and Miami with the help of George. Their efforts came at a time when Miami was not the radar for many international companies. “We took a leap and made it work,” recalls Emmelie. “Without his business knowledge and contacts it would have taken a lot longer to set up adstream and roll out their platform throughout LatAm.”
George was such a great man. He was my business partner, my mentor, my friend. We worked hard, played hard and always got the job done. He will be sorely missed by so many. I will continue to raise a glass or two in your honor. Until we meet again.”
During this time, he also met Michael Parmenter. "I was fortunate to have worked with George whilst driving digital change within the broadcasting delivery network. When tasked with promoting change and encouraging people to challenge the comfortable practices that were becoming increasingly outdated, you become reliant on a select few people alongside you that recognise the need and long-term benefits of the change,” recalls Michael. “George was such a person, a visionary who believed. He had the trust of his peers and the rare ability to march forward decisively and confidently through the doubt. Always respectful, George led by example, always listened, but ultimately succeeded in helping change an outdated manual delivery process to what is now the norm of digital delivery. His impact on the change of an outdated production process will never be fully appreciated. Well done George! We couldn't have done it without you."
George was a supportive friend and an instrumental figure in the Miami industry, as well as a being a keen fisherman, scuba diver and baseball fan and will be missed by all who knew him.