Modern-Shed on MSNBC

How do you run a business that technically does not have a location or even regular employees?

That’s the question producers of MSNBC wanted to answer when they interviewed the crew behind Modern-Shed last week — owner Ryan Grey Smith, general manager Tim Vack, lead manufacturer Erik Johnston and dealer Mike Probach were each interviewed in their homes and workplaces in the greater Seattle area, where Modern-Shed is headquartered.

Modern-Shed general manager Tim Vack, at left, is being interviewed by msnbc producer Frank Silverstein.
Modern-Shed general manager Tim Vack, at left, is being interviewed by msnbc producer Frank Silverstein.

The program, “Your Business,” airs Sundays at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time on MSNBC and features a short profile on a business, along with pragmatic tips for business owners and entrepreneurs on how to start or run their own enterprises smarter.

“Our show is a practical advice show for entrepreneurs especially,” said MSNBC producer Frank Silverstein. “It’s a little bit like ‘This American Life‘ for entrepreneurs, a mishmash of information on everything from hiring and financing to marketing.”

Silverstein stumbled upon Modern-Shed when he found an old postcard from the company stuffed into his files.

MSNBC sound tech Bill Ruth sets up in Modern-Shed GM Tim Vack's living room in Port Orchard, Wash.
MSNBC sound tech Bill Ruth sets up in Modern-Shed GM Tim Vack’s living room in Port Orchard, Wash.

“Long ago, I had myself personally been looking to build a shed,” he recalled. “I wondered what these guys had been up to. I was looking for a story about businesses working with other businesses, rather than selling to customers.”

Through the course of searching on Google, Silverstein discovered a little-known fact about Modern-Shed: The company’s lead manufacturer Erik Johnston is actually the owner of Johnston Contracting Services, Inc., in Sedro Wooley, Wash., and Modern-Shed contracts with Johnston’s design firm to design, fabricate and ship all of its structures.

Like all of Modern-Shed’s employees, Johnston is a contract worker.

“That intrigued me,” Silverstein said. “I wanted to know how that worked. In the course of talking with Modern-Shed about what they do, I learned more, and the story evolved from there.”

MSNBC producer Frank Silverstein, center, and MSNBC camera man Glenn Aust, at right, set up lighting and sound for Modern-Shed GM Tim Vack's interview.
MSNBC producer Frank Silverstein, center, and MSNBC camera man Glenn Aust, at right, set up lighting and sound for Modern-Shed GM Tim Vack’s interview.

The program is set to air at 4:30 a.m. PT/7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, April 5, on MSNBC. The story will also be available online on msnbc.com.

 

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