I was writing an article recently, when I found the theme of professionalism running through it. This caused me to pose the question to myself, “What exactly does that word mean to me and who are the people I’ve learned the most from on the subject?” If there’s one thing I have done right, it is been to take the time to trek around the country and to listen to as many of the great D.J.s as I can. There is one event that stands out in my mind, however. Sparkypalooza: an impromptu Miami event created  by D.J. Platypus when I decided I wanted to come hear the crème de la crème of the South Florida D.J.s. That week was an absolute blast for and was one of the first Planet Platypus shows to feature a plethora of guests. The food was great; the company even better. I bring this up because the crux of this piece is to share the many lessons I took away from the trip. Some things I didn’t even recognize til years months, or even years, later. I do believe that is where I started to notice what the “next level guys” were doing.

There are dozens of D.J.’s I can mention when it comes to professionalism, but for, for some sort of brevity, I’m going to stick with just a few in this article.


Ya, ya, I know. Me being brief is nearly unheard of.

Seriously though, these are a few of my influences that have consistently stuck out to me. First off, is current President, Dane Hansen. Before there was P.A.N.D.A, I was told to speak to Dane by Markie Mark (Prince Harry, Good Evening!) because he might be able to help me with a job in Vegas. For those that don’t know, my ultimate goal as a D.J. was to work in Las Vegas. So I approached Dane completely out of the blue. O.k….maybe 3 or 4 Jager bombs deep, don’t judge. The help he gave me that day was just the beginning of one of the strongest friendships and business relationships I’ve had in my life. To take it a step further, you need to experience the level of passion he has for helping other people. When I pm’ed Dane on Facebook as a complete stranger, he answered me in no time at all. Over the next few months, he would give me every tool I needed to walk into his club and be more than prepared for my audition. I’m not alone in this. That was just beginning of what I’ve seen him give to the D.J. community. I believe generosity like his is what makes a true professional. If you don’t know the Prez, you’re missing out. You’ll have the ability during this at future expos and Pandamoniums, so do so!

A little earlier, I mentioned I went to South Florida for Sparkypalooza. Upon confirmation I was coming, Plat offered me a place to stay without a moment’s hesitation. “My home is your home.” I wasn’t anyone special, just some crazy, mixed up kid who loved this job and wanted to be the best someday. Beyond the inspiring conversations we had about our dreams for the future of the industry, I learned  what it would take for us to get there. I picked up the most from seeing him outside the booth. A large group of us went to see Luke Gawencki at Cheetah in Hallandale. Luke’s another example of a consummate professional. While listening to his show, we were bandying about stories of our friend and how great he was at his job. Plat rattled off one of the best compliments he could give. “He’s a very complete D.J,” he said. I couldn’t put it better as I don’t know anything he can’t do. He always throws a great party and, by our inebriated states, it was obvious he was on his game that night. There was something that caught my eye as we sat at our table, though. I took notice of Plat’s interactions with everyone. Yes, he was there to have a good time, but he was also keeping an eye on everything. He treated the club like it was his own, like how he would want guests to behave in his establishment. And he did this while also trying to make sure everyone was having a good time. There’s something to be said for that sort of attentiveness. He wanted us ALL to leave a good impression and that was what most important to him. It’s far from the only thing I picked up from him that day, or in the years since, but I think it’s the most profound.

People come into our lives out of nowhere sometimes. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be working as closely as I am with Willard Barth and Danny Meyers, I’d probably ask you where you got your weed and if it was reasonably priced. These last few months have been some of the most accomplished of my life, and that’s putting it mildly. The work we’ve been able to do together for P.A.N.D.A. has been an absolute joy because these guys are so highly driven and professional. You’d be hard-pressed to find two better ambassadors of what P.A.N.D.A. can bring to this organization than them. I’m immensely proud to be part of a team with them and the rest of the board. As we continue to follow this path, I think there are some special things in our future.

There’s so many more great influences of mine to mention. Tim Rhodes, a man who all my talented friends told me was the most talented among us, has since become my biggest cheerleader, constantly pushing me to dig deeper and expect more from myself.  Most things I wasn’t even sure I could do. But he proved me wrong, in the best way. Jimmy Boucher, a man much like Tim, who has helped me through the rough times while helping me to believe in myself. It’s inspirational to be surrounded by such driven men like those I’ve talked about in this article. These qualities are what mark these men as true professionals, true P.A.N.D.A.s, that I’m proud to work with alongside.  And it inspires hope in me for what we can achieve with the whole of P.A.N.D.A. nation. I can’t wait for the next surprise. Thank you all for your contributions to my life. And as always, thank you for reading.

Ron Sparkman



Dane Hansen is the current president of PANDA. He’s been nominated multiple times by Exotic Dancer for some of their most prestigious awards, Employee of the Year and DJ of the Year. Dane puts in exhaustive work to bring the dj community to a higher level year after year.