CAMILE HILL: “Our hopes are to try to stay ahead of the curve, which is a pretty brisk run to do that, and to make it easier for our clients to do a very complex and time-consuming thing — which is to produce live events,” says the co-founder and president of Merestone. (Photo by Mike Mertes, AZ Big Media)
Hill uses innovation to stay ahead of the competition with Merestone
Camille Hill, the co-founder and president of Merestone, enjoys the challenges of producing live events.
“You’re never doing anything the same minute-by-minute,” she says.
Merestone prides itself on bringing your wildest vision to life. From large and grand to small and intimate, Merestone can make it happen. The award-winning full-service production company established in Arizona produces entertaining and memorable events worldwide.
Hill, who was one of Az Business magazine’s Most Influential Women of 2014, founded the company in 1974 with her husband, Ted Hill, CEO of Merestone. Hill’s brother found the word “merestone” in an old Anglo-Saxon dictionary.
“It means ‘the marking of a monument’ and we thought it was a terrific name,” Hill says.
Before moving to Arizona, Hill’s husband was a photographer in California. With Hill’s background in scenic design, they combined their interests and skills to create Merestone.
“The event marketing and branding market was kind of in its infancy back then,” Hill says. “We saw a need and started to supply it and it grew from there. I always tell people that starting the business was legitimate. It wasn’t a midlife crisis. We both had training for it.”
Merestone has grown rapidly — the number of employees, services it offers, clientele and scale of events — which Hill says is because clients requested it to grow.
“In the event and meeting business, when you have all these services together, it gives you a better product if the puzzle pieces fit smoothly, they all tie into one another to create the full picture,” she says. “We’re a company that has a lot of answers for a lot of needs under one roof.”
Hill says the events industry has evolved over the past 40 years – things change and people need things faster than ever before. “Our creative services team spends a lot of time trying to determine what our clients are trying to accomplish,” she says.
This fast-paced environment can be stressful and challenging, but Hill thrives on it.
“The challenge is nonstop,” she says. “I like the scale of the problems. We have audio/visual, staging, large trucks, construction, videography and we have to be able to manage all of that and bring it together to work smoothly. I can’t think of another challenge that would challenge me as much as that.”
Merestone’s competitive advantage is its cohesiveness of services, Hill says. The company also completes its work in-house, which has tremendous value because it has more creative control and it’s more efficient than outsourcing, saving money and time, Hill says.
Hill’s entire family works at Merestone. She says her three children will be taking the company to the next level in the future.
“It’s going to be in knowledgeable, incredible hands,” she says. “They’ve grown up in this industry, so they have a love affair with it and it’s a perfect match. The three of them work together flawlessly, so this business is going to grow much faster than it has in the last 40 years.”