AVIXA: Can you tell us a bit about your work history?
I started in AV as a stagehand and then sound man at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago, a cornerstone of the Chicago music scene. I made extra money repairing blown speakers, soldering mic cables, rewiring the DJ booth, etc.
AVIXA: Who were your role models?
As a kid, many of the Chicago Blues musicians were very influential [I play "Blues Harp"]. My first mentor in AV was Gary Kimball, of Audio Video Specialists, San Francisco. Gary was a pioneer integrator there, mentored many folks in the local industry, and hired me to run his AV projects. He was a brilliant engineer, loved by all, and taught me everything about installations, rack wiring, and running an AV company. I was his last student before he passed away from ALS tragically. I do AV in his name and it's why I mentor others.
AVIXA: Tell us about your personal journey.
Always tinkering with gear, tape recorders, etc., and joined my first band at 14; we were terrible, but it was fun.
AVIXA: Where did you grow up?
Chicago, I spent summers on a family farm in Wisconsin but for most of my life I’ve lived in California and that is where I am today.
AVIXA: Have you previously volunteered for an AVIXA™ council before?
Yes, I joined the SILC Council [Systems Integration Leadership Council] in about 2006. I also serve on the Diversity and Women's councils because I want to support their efforts and importance to the industry.
AVIXA: What influenced you to become a council member?
Jay Rogina [Spinitar] suggested I join the SILC, that I'd learn and get involved. He was right, I met many now long-time associates and friends, and it helped me learn how to grow my business. After a few years, and with the support of many on that council, I founded the Independent Technical Services [ITS] Council, to bring together and recognize the growing sector of independent subcontracted AV labor and services. The ITS Council started in 2009 officially.
AVIXA: What attributes contribute to a successful council/council chair?
I think understanding the importance of gathering members together to share ideas, network, learn, and help create new things to help the organization and its members.
AVIXA: Can you share with us your management philosophy?
Teach, encourage, inspire. Lead by example, do the best you can, and have passion for it.
AVIXA: What would you like other members to know about volunteering?
I have served on committees, groups and councils. It's the most rewarding stuff I have done in the industry, besides teaching others. You learn about the industry, yourself, and you get to meet so many amazing people.
AVIXA: What do you want AVIXA members/future volunteers to know about being a member of an AVIXA council?
It’s a chance to become part of a community, belong and contribute. This is a very exciting industry, with so many creative and interesting people, it's a great way to discover who we all are, and all the amazing opportunities and directions AV has to offer. I had no idea years ago how much I would grow and succeed, the relationships I'd make, the family I became a part of here.
AVIXA: What do you hope to accomplish as the Independent Technical Services chair?
To help the Council keep going, evolving, contributing my experience, enthusiasm, and my belief in our sector 's value to the industry as an important resource, a part of the fabric we call AV.
AVIXA: We live in an age of disruption, driven by fast technology cycles. How do you maintain a long-term vision and focus for the Independent Technical Services council in the face of constant change?
Our Council emerged as part of a disruption, from traditional integrator models to new platforms of providing services to the industry. I think in technology industries that will always happen, as new equipment, methods and trends affect what and how we do things. This is an industry formed by many small businesses that found new ways to provide things, create experiences for people. Every major influencer started small, bringing ideas into view, from AMX to Apple, and our member companies are a part of that evolution. You can't be an island in AV, we all work together, so, if companies need help from each other, we will be a resource to do so.