Matt Eckstein, CTS-D
AVIXA: Tell us about your personal journey. Where did you grow up? Who were your role models?
I fell in love with the power of theatrical performance to effect change as a college student in Cleveland, Ohio. Sound and music became my medium to tell stories and challenge an audience’s perception. I studied sound design in graduate school in California, and while in school, I found my way to consulting on themed entertainment/theme park attractions worldwide. Themed entertainment gave me an infinitely larger platform to spark curiosity and tell stories, and a unique challenge to get the point across succinctly. I moved back to Colorado where I grew up, and continued my passion for consulting, AV systems design, and telling stories closer to home. Some of my real-life professional role models are Darren West and Bob McCarthy, Meyer Sound Laboratories, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to watch them work in person. I also have a soft spot for Mickey Mouse, who is a reminder that something small can become something larger than life with some persistence, and Peter Pan, who is a reminder of the value of a youthful perspective.
AVIXA: Have you previously volunteered for an AVIXA council?
This is the first council I ever joined, and it continues to hold a special place for me because of the potential impact our work has on the careers and lives of young people in the AV industry. I also sit on the Design Consultant’s Council.
AVIXA: What influenced you to become a council member? What attributes contribute to a successful council/council Chair? Can you share with us your management philosophy?
I became a council member to join a community of like-minded emerging professionals in the AV industry, with unique perspectives, and to expand my own way of thinking. I think a successful council Chair is someone who can create a space for collaboration in a competitive industry. I like to think of leadership as a supportive role, where I can empower people to speak up and bring their ideas to the table. The AV industry has so many related specialties that everyone has their own perspective and unique voice. I think a successful leader can merge those voices together and create a community.
AVIXA: What would you like other members to know about volunteering? What do you want AVIXA members/future volunteers to know about being a member of an AVIXA council?
The council is a great group of young/rising AV professionals who are committed to supporting our peers as emerging talent in the industry. The biggest benefit of the council is the access to this group of people as a resource for personal and professional growth. Joining plenary meetings, attending events and AVIXA conferences, and participating in mentoring opportunities can be a substantial time commitment, but members can get out of it what they put into it. If you're passionate about growing and bettering emerging AV professionals, I'd encourage anyone to come to a meeting and see how you can make a difference.
AVIXA: What do you hope to accomplish as the Young AV Professionals Council co-chair? We live in an age of disruption, driven by fast technology cycles. How do you maintain a long-term vision and focus for your council in the face of constant change?
My hope is that the Young AV Professionals Council can be a place for rising AV designers to seek mentorship, grow their skills, and share ideas. The very fact that technology and product cycles are so fast is exactly why it’s critical that AV professionals remember that we exist to facilitate communication, share ideas/stories, and create experiences. The products and technology are tools in our toolbox, just like a hammer is a tool in a carpenter’s toolbox. Our council is remarkably well placed, in collaboration with other groups like the Standards Committee and the AVIXA Foundation, to educate members about holding onto the big picture, utilizing needs-based design, telling stories, and building experiences … not just selling boxes.