PRESIDENT & CEO
A 25-year veteran of the production industry, Tom cut his teeth at the esteemed New York Times Company, producing television for one of the nation’s leading multimedia giants. He left for greener pastures in 1996, breaking out on his own as a technical manager with CBS, NBC, FOX and ESPN.
In 1998, Tom represented the United States at the International Content Market for Interactive Media (MILIA) in Cannes, France, where his model for an interactive television series, Studio Beyond, was presented to an international audience of television and online producers.
It was while traveling the country chasing sports legends that Tom was inspired to make the leap to documentaries, where his stories could find a bigger voice. He founded United Studios, an independent documentary production company that went on to create the PBS award-winning historical documentary Stories from the Mines and the critically-acclaimed domestic violence eye-opener An Empty Place at the Table, narrated by Susan Sarandon.
His passion for documentaries (and his family) brought him back home from New York and, as he always says, “Who needs to work in Hollywood with the ?!*% that happens here.”
A 28-year veteran of the broadcast television industry, Ben Payavis serves as Vice President of Production for VIA Studios Global and is the primary liaison between the VSG team and it's clients.
Payavis began his television career at WYLN-TV in Hazleton, Pa., where he served as production manager. During his tenure, WYLN began as a start up company and in short time became a leader in local sports and regionally produced content.
In 1995, Payavis started his 20 plus year career at WVIA Public Media as the station’s on-air promotions director and was promoted to television production manager in 2005.
Throughout his career Payavis produced and directed a wide variety of content including commercial, promotions, live news and public affairs programming, sports, entertainment, corporate and web.
A graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media, Payavis was a member of the university's football team and was an all-conference offensive linemen in addition to a National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete.
Over the years, Payavis has received numerous awards and honors for his work including Gold and Silver ADDY Awards, Telly Awards and Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Awards.
In addition to being a five-time Emmy Nominee and a three-time Emmy Winner, Payavis was awarded an Emmy in Directing Excellence for “Cherish the Ladies: An Irish Homecoming", a program that was distributed nationally to PBS affiliates through American Public Television.