Employee Spotlight: Matthew Whitehead, Structural Designer

Matthew Whitehead is a Structural Designer at Shepard. Based in Las Vegas, he’s been with the company since mid-2022.

How he got his start: Growing up, Matthew frequently accompanied his father to the trade show company where he worked, chatting with his coworkers and learning the ropes of the industry. When his father fell ill and was unable to work, and with Matthew seeking employment to support his family financially, he turned to his father’s old teammates.

“I got a job at that company in their exhibitor services department,” he recalls. “And after a few years there, I worked my way up to design.”

Although Matthew entered the tradeshow industry somewhat unexpectedly, his enduring commitment speaks volumes. “I’m drawn to its dynamic nature. Every day presents a new challenge,” explains Matthew, who admits he couldn’t fathom returning to a conventional nine-to-five job. “The constant problem-solving and collaborative atmosphere are what truly resonate with me.”

Why he loves working at Shepard: Matthew, who joined the Shepard team in mid-2022, values the camaraderie among his colleagues and appreciates Shepard’s emphasis on employee wellbeing and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. “It allows me to actually do a reasonable amount of work and then be able to say, ‘I’m turning this off and now I’m going to relax and I don’t have to worry about this until tomorrow morning,’ as opposed to me lying in bed thinking about all the things I need to fix,” he explains.

Memorable moment: He reflects fondly on the company-wide summit he attended in December. “I’ve never worked for a company that was willing to bring all branches together to mingle, get to know each other, and participate in workshops. It was a great experience,” he says.

Where he finds inspiration: Matthew is deeply inspired by his friends and family, particularly his parents. “I often reflect on where they were at my age,” he explains. “As very young parents, witnessing their journey to where they are now—it’s truly incredible. Managing five kids, education, and employment at such a young age? That’s incredibly inspiring to me.”

How he spends his free time: Outside of work, Matthew finds joy in maintaining his health through exercise, emphasizing its importance. He also indulges in his passion for gaming and considers himself a food enthusiast, particularly when it comes to baking. “I’m a dessert person,” he shares with a smile. “I like baking cakes, brownies, and cookies, but my specialty is definitely cinnamon rolls. I get frequent requests for those.”

“I enjoy both cooking and eating —more so eating than cooking,” he admits with a laugh.

The advice he’d give his younger self: “Nothing is worth your happiness,” Matthew says. “If you are not happy, there is no shame in saying ‘I can’t do this. I’m going to find something else that makes me happier.’”

Shepard is a full-service event production company. We design, develop and manage trade shows, corporate and other events throughout the U.S.