John RiceJohn Rice is Senior Business Development Manager at Field Nation and the recently elected Chair of AVIXA's Independent Technical Services (ITS) Council. The council represents small businesses that supply services to the AV industry. He is replacing outgoing Chair Jack Mayhugh. Rice talked to us about what he hopes to achieve as ITS Council Chair and his AV career to date.

Q. How long have you been involved with the ITS Council?
A. It's only been about a year. I was at InfoComm 2015 in Orlando and was invited by Jack Mayhugh to join the council. It's been beneficial to me getting more involved in the industry and getting connected. When Jack decided to relinquish his position as Chair of the council, I was one of the people he approached. We went through the process, and I was appointed Chair in February 2016.

Q. What are some of the interests and some of the concerns of the members of the Independent Technical Services Council?
A. I think for the whole industry it's manpower. Getting enough feet on the street and enough qualified individuals with the certifications to do the jobs. There is so much business, that everybody's scrambling for resources.

What does the ITS Council hope to achieve in 2016?
A. We actually just revised our mission statement. It is to create networking opportunities, share knowledge, raise awareness of what members bring to the AV industry as a whole, and encourage community service.

Q. What are some of the qualifications that make you suited for the role as Chair?
A. I raised my hand! The company I work for, Field Nation, is one of the largest providers of field service techs and we have been getting more involved with InfoComm and trying to help the industry as a whole in solving the manpower problem. We have been working closely with AVIXA to try to get more people to be certified in the pro-AV space. Having highly qualified field service techs is paramount to getting work done, and we believe the alignment with InfoComm will help the industry as a whole.

Q. Tell us a little about your day job and what you love about it?
A. As I mentioned, Field Nation provides field service techs. We've been on Inc. magazine's list of 500 fastest-growing private companies for two years in a row. We have a workflow management platform that enables companies to get a lot of work done, by connecting people who need service providers with the service providers themselves. We have 70,000 techs in our database, and they are based throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and 14 other countries globally.

What I love about my job is we're helping people get work done. I love seeing companies that take advantage of what's available through Field Nation and grow their companies knowing they can use us. Small companies can grow large with new staff because they’ve got 70,000 field service providers at their disposal who can do the work.

Q. What has been your career path and experience in the AV industry?
A. I've been at Field Nation since July of 2013 and that was my start in this industry. Before this, I sold engineered electrical systems on large corporate projects in new construction, which I did for 12 years.

Q. What has been your involvement with AVIXA?
A. As a relative newcomer to the industry, I've only been involved with AVIXA for about a year and a half. InfoComm 2015 was my first time at the show; Field Nation had a booth there. We continue to have lots of different conversations about how we can help each other.

Q. What is your favorite AVIXA memory?
A. Certainly the InfoComm show is the highlight. That was my first, and I was floored by all the technology and all the companies represented there. I thought it was unique that so many people knew each other and have worked together in previous roles.