July 1, 2016

ckellyWhen Connor Kelly, CTS®, a site manager at Johnson Audio Video, first began working in AV, it was his background as a working drummer, interest in sound gear and experience with structured cabling that pointed him in the direction of a career in AV. As an AV technician, based in Toronto, Canada, he thrived on the variety of projects across a number of different sectors — oil, medical, finance, government — and seeing the "inner workings" of many different industries.

"I quickly became a lead technician, and I then became very motivated to move into a management position," says Kelly, who's worked at Johnson AV for five years and is now based in the company's Ottawa location.

Earning his CTS certification proved his worth and opened doors for him as a technician, and as he began doing more project management, he discovered AVIXA's Project Management for AV Online course.

"This seemed to be a perfect fit for me as I could learn a few more proven techniques on how to keep a project rolling efficiently," he says. "The course was especially useful because it focused specifically on the AV industry. I found it easier to digest as I could relate directly."

On large-scale jobs, such as a recent project for the Canadian House of Commons, Kelly is aware of the importance of paying attention to detail early on in the process and that accurately planning elements related to timeline, quality and budget, for example, are key to a well-run and successful project.

"Since taking the Project Management for AV Online course, I find myself with a new appreciation for each phase of the job," he says. "The course discusses four typical AV project life-cycle phases: program, design, construction, and commissioning and training. Although I am mainly involved in the construction phase, it is important to understand each of the other phases and the people involved. If I can develop strong working relationships with these people, it will only maximize my understanding of the project and help me predict something that could potentially become a problem."

The course solidified for him that project managers need to bring issues to the table early, and provide options for possible resolutions.

"For me, this course really highlighted the importance of speaking up anytime you catch something that doesn't seem to be moving along as planned. It is much better than assuming everyone has identified it and so it mustn't be a problem because no-one has acted on it.

"Something that you noticed early on may not have seemed like an issue when you discovered it, but when left unattended to, it can become a large issue down the road."

Kelly particularly appreciated that the course was available online, as he has such limited down time during his working hours.

"I have little pockets of time spread throughout my week that I can do things like this, so the online course was perfect for my schedule. Whenever I had a free second I could just go online and pick up where I left off," he says. "I would highly recommend this course to anyone in the AV industry who is looking to move into a project management position, or a project manager looking to move into the AV industry. For me, it was well worth the time."