Hal Katersky, a Harrington School Executive Advisory Board member, builds and manages movie and television studios where blockbuster films such as Terminator 3: Salvation, The Book of Eli, and The Avengers are produced. He is Chairman and CFO of Pacifica Ventures, LLC, and has 15 years of entertainment-industry real estate experience, Hal understands the business of media.
According to Hal, in the film and media industry, possessing business knowledge is essential for anyone who wants to succeed. “If you want to be in this business, you have to know how to react in many different situations. My biggest piece of advice is that Harrington School students take at least one business or accounting class before graduating. If you want to work in the film industry, for example, budgets for films are very detailed, so having a quantitative background is extremely important. It will put you ahead of your competition.”
Although Hal stresses the importance of having a quantitative background, he adds that graduates will get ahead if they’re strong writers and speakers, and if they can communicate quickly and efficiently with little time to prepare. The world of communication moves fast, and graduates must be fast too. As the Chairman and CFO of Pacifica Ventures, Hal knows how to keep up the pace as he takes advantage of unique real estate and business opportunities in the world of entertainment. With his partner, Dana Arnold, (co- founder of Pacifica Media Affiliates, the second largest sound post-production group in Southern California) Hal builds and operates Pacifica’s studios in states and countries that provide financial incentives for the production of movies and TV shows. Pacifica studios also offer robust career opportunities for URI Harrington School graduates, particularly those studying film/media.
Hal is a model entrepreneur and innovator with years of experience under his belt. Previously, Hal worked as a management consultant and partner at Touche Ross, a management consultancy in Detroit, assisting clients including real estate developers, auto manufactures, manufacturing companies, and government entities. Subsequently, he became the Senior Vice President & CFO of Taubman, the owner and manager of regional and outlet shopping centers in the U.S. and Asia, prior to forming his own company in 1982, Katersky Financial, a developer and manager of shopping centers in Los Angeles.
Advice for students
One of the most critical tools to achieve success is your ability to communicate your ideas, convictions, programs, and arguments. In order to succeed in any career, graduates must demonstrate strong public speaking, debating, and writing skills. While strong speaking and writing skills are crucial for any career, it’s also important that graduates possess comprehensive analytical abilities from statistics to accounting to finance. In the business of media, strong analytical and communication abilities are crucial.
By: Nichole Sarkis