All those Saturday morning cartoons were secretly indoctrinating an impulse to be surrounded by video displays. For a kid coming of age at the time color television was capturing the imagination of Americans, there was something subliminal transmitted to John Greene: a destiny in the audiovisual business.
As something Greene has spent a lot of time thinking about over time, it’s the clearest indication that from early on, technology was a calling. Of course it wasn’t until years later that his career was set in motion.
Like many of the early pioneers of AV integration, “my career was my college,” he recounted. After a very brief stint as a Jersey Shore radio DJ, Greene started working as a truck driver. It wasn’t long before he was progressing through the ranks and really started his career at the technology distributor Peirce Phelps. In a small division dedicated to AV sales, he spent his early years building television studios.
He credits his start down the track of AV under the mentorship of Peirce operations manager Mike Glen, who taught him—quite simply—how to handle everything. “He was willing to see the talent or see in my capability and watch out and almost be a father to me.”
He also took in valuable lessons from Dennis Egan, who spent his first six months as vice president at Peirce talking to employees without making any changes. Then, “He fed our own words back to us, and implemented policy,” Greene recounted. “I’ve learned that that’s a wonderful way to approach situations—to listen.”
Yet another savvy Peirce VP advised Greene nonchalantly that he could be whatever he wanted. Although, the advice was received flatly at the time, “No truer words have I ever heard,” Greene said.
“In our industry, you can come in as an installer and end up as the director of technical services.”
Over the years, he worked on the manufacturing side of the business, for JVC, and for New Jersey integrator Total Video Products. He left to work for an AV/IT company, which lasted all of 90 days. “The world wasn’t ready for that.”
Greene eventually came to land at Advanced AV, which has now been his home since 2009.
One personal cause Greene devotes his time to is rescuing pit bulls through organizations like Pit Bull Pride of Delaware and Delaware County SPCA.While being a leading salesperson at every organization, what brings the most joy to Greene on a daily basis is staff development. He has had the opportunity to mentor other people from entry positions into management. “I think I help them find inside themselves what they need,” he said. “That’s the joy on an ongoing basis.”
He credits Cory Schaeffer for teaching him the “almost life altering” lesson, that there is a human side to this business. “I will never be able to repay her,” he said.
Every step of the way for Greene, people have been there helping him along, and he does his part paying it forward. His personal approach to the industry is evident in the relationship building he does both in person and online. Greene is one of the most active in the #avtweeps online community, demonstrating how social media is a tool for personal and professional growth. He has proven that Twitter is much more than a distraction for unruly, iPhone wielding Millennials. With 10,000-plus bite-sized messages to his name, Greene drives meaningful conversation advancing the industry, 140 characters at a time. In doing so, he also proves that new technology adoption can transcend generational demographics. Now that’s a lesson we can all take advantage of.
Lindsey M. Adler is editor of SCN. Follow her on Twitter @lindseymadler.