Talented, passionate, engaged in our communities, meet the employees of Fry.
Meet Fry sales assistant Rick Briggs. Monday to Friday he’s the guy who makes sure that your samples arrive overnight or that the catering contains Vegan options, but when the weekend rolls around he and his banjo go on the road with Bill Yates & the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band (www.countrygentlementributeband.com).
Take a listen to some of Rick's bluegrass singin' and pickin':
Rick gets his passion for music from his father, a singer whose radio show was broadcast across much of the east coast in the 1950’s. The Briggs family record collection contained everything from Glenn Miller to Roy Acuff, providing young Rick with a well-rounded musical education. As a child he would look forward to even the tiniest bit of time home alone so that he could play with all of the off-limits musical instruments in the house.
Like many young musicians, Rick began performing in public as a saxophonist with his elementary school band; but it was when he was 13 that he first heard Flatt and Scruggs on their Live at Carnegie Hall album and was called to the banjo. From then on he devoted his efforts to learning new songs by ear and developing his improvisational skills, finally making it as a professional musician in the mid 1980s.
In 1998, faced with an existential crisis and burnout from all the easy money on the scene (maybe you’ve heard the adage, the way to get a million dollars in bluegrass music is to start out with two million), Rick saw a classified ad for a bindery position at Fry. The rest, as they say, is history. In his 14 years with Fry, Rick has moved up and around from scanning to pre-press and beyond, the sharp mind of an improviser making him a quick study and invaluable asset wherever he goes.
The same can be said for his life with the band. While performing on banjo and harmony vocals is his favorite, Rick also manages their website and books dates for the Country Gentlemen. “It’s rewarding to be in a really good band, with great guys that get along and make the kind of music that [we] love while having fun at the same time.” When six guys still get along after 4 days in a conversion van from Pennsylvania to Kentucky to Ohio to Michigan and back, the credit can only go to the power of their music.
Meet Fry graphic designer Dennis Hutchings (“Hutch”). While on the clock it’s magazine and ad design, but after hours his impressive portfolio extends from Juniata County, Pennsylvania where Hutch and wife Georgia call home - to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam where he served with the United States Air Force.
Hutch caught the artist’s bug as a child when he began painting on castoff squares that his father would bring home from work at a carpet company. Eventually in high school he turned pro - a $50 commission from a school nurse. Soon he was pulling down a regular paycheck in the design department of that same carpet company, mixing his own colors and painting flooring designs onto grid paper.
In 1966 he took his sketch pad into the USAF to Lackland, Texas. Here he trained as an Airman Security Police dog handler with his first German Shepherd, Major. Hutch moved around over the next four years throughout the United States, and all around the world to the Philippines, Australia, Japan, ending up in Vietnam. (He partnered with a new German Shepherd on each base; dogs did not travel with their handlers and often there was no way for a handler even to find out whether an old canine friend was still alive.)
In 1970 President Nixon said he’d done enough and gave Hutch an honorable discharge and art school tuition through the GI Bill. After graduation he found part-time work, working as many as five different jobs in a given week, trying to find his niche in design. Through a brilliant stroke of luck after two weeks in car sales, a Sales Manager from Empire Kosher came in to test drive a Triumph TR4 and gave him a design job on the spot (unfortunately, he did not get a sales commission on the car).
He quickly worked his way up to the role of Art Director where he stayed for 20 years before coming to Fry. Today he lives in Port Royal with his wife Georgia and Fanny, a Golden Retriever whose career as a seeing-eye dog was cut short by a cataract.