Taking His Shot

5 By 5 Communications Founder Sees His Dreams Take Flight

Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Justin Sicking

When Alan Kungu Mbathi, owner and founder of 5 By 5 Communications, was younger, he dreamed of both flying and owning a business.

Today, his dreams of taking to the skies and running his own business have both taken flight – just in a different way than he initially imagined.

“My business, 5 By 5 Communications, a creative video agency, operates out of Noblesville,” Mbathi says. “Most of my work is done in Carmel, but I do have past and present clients in the surrounding Indianapolis area, and as far as Lexington, Kentucky.”

The company specializes in promotional production, commercial production, event coverage and podcast production, both live-streamed and prerecorded.

“I have military experience, having served in the U.S. Army for six years,” Mbathi says. “Prior to emigrating to the United States from my homeland, Kenya, I trained as a pilot with the goal of flying commercially, but the cost of training got prohibitive.”

Mbathi decided to change his goals.

“I’m trying to pivot my life to something I could do apart from flying, so I discovered video production,” he says. “I got my bachelor’s degree from Anderson University with a bachelor of arts in communication arts, with an emphasis on audio, visual and cinema production. After graduating, I did a three-month stint as a production assistant with WTHR channel 13.”

After that, Mbathi went to work at Fox 59 and CBS4 as an editor.

“I spent two years doing that, and then I was finally able to move on as a full-time photojournalist at the station for the next four years,” he says. “That is where I cut my teeth learning to tell stories, and keeping up with the fast production pace of the news business. I was somewhat of an oddity at the station. It is not often that editors break in to becoming photojournalists at a big-market station.”

Mbathi was still determined and focused on photography opportunities. He did this until he was able to prove his worth as a solid photographer.

“I led the station in exploring and implementing their ‘Air Force,’ a fleet of drones for news gathering,” he says. “I helped them establish the drone operation of which they were a leader in Indiana. After six years at the station, I was fired as a result of downsizing, due to acquisition by a new management company.”

Mbathi now also works with WFYI.

“5 By 5 Communications is my creative outlet, where I pursue things other than news,” he says.

Mbathi says he loves Indiana.

“I immigrated to the United States in June 2007,” he says. “I came over with my wife, who is American. My plan was to do the five-year process of naturalization. As I had always wanted to join the military, and because I was enrolled in school, I was a part of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid select service program. I figured that was an opportunity to explore something I had always wanted to do.”

In December of 2010, Mbathi enlisted in the Army and attended basic training.

“After training ended, I was surprised to learn that an opportunity for citizenship was open for me, so I took it,” he says. “It was a simple, relatively quiet process. Since I enlisted in the reserves, I was only obligated to one weekend a month, and two weeks during the summer. I enlisted for a six-year contract, and opted to get out instead of re-enlisting. I felt that I had served my country as needed. I also needed the time to pursue my personal goals, which was video.”

Mbathi has high hopes to grow his business.

“I just use my personal contacts for now, but I am hoping to grow so 5 By 5 becomes its own entity,” he says.

For further information on 5 By 5 Communications, call 317-985-4072 or visit 5by5communications.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Send me your media kit!

hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "6486003", formId: "5ee2abaf-81d9-48a9-a10d-de06becaa6db" });