Meet The Nine, exemplars of talents we’ll need to move this industry forward. After consulting our top peers in the industry, we selected the folks you see below because they had the most vibrant new ideas in business and a passion for every aspect of life. The Nine are a new class of AV innovators who live to the fullest at work and in all aspects of our constantly changing times.
Read more about the painstaking selection process and what we learned from it, here.
Title: Senior AV Engineer and CAD Manager
Company: AVDB Group
Why You Should Know Her: A die-hard theater buff, Rebecca Sullins insists that she is just much more logical than she is artistic. As one of the top engineers at AVDB Group, she helps people create art and do business in a more logical manner. She dually holds the role of CAD manager because she sees one of the biggest problems the AV industry has as efficiency in communication, or, as she puts it, “you’re only as good as your tools.”
Title: Student, Senior
Institution: Columbia College Chicago
Why You Should Know Her: Here we have a young woman in college aspiring to a career in AV. Barela is still riding high the wave of excitement following her first InfoComm show earlier this summer. It was at InfoComm in Orlando that she discovered she could combine two of her passions: audio and computer programming. While the type of position in AV she hopes to work in continues to evolve, she is now focused on AV programming.
Company: Thinc Design
Why You Should Know Him: An industrial designer with a fine arts background, Oronde Wright thinks in 3D and then draws beyond it into the dimension that gives an object meaning—how people will fit with a design and how the latter can serve the former. In speaking with him about the Thinc exhibit design projects he has contributed to in Kathmandu, Milan, and Jordan, the word “people” comes up constantly as a source of inspiration and information.
Title: Engineering Manager
Company: Linx Multimedia
Why You Should Know Him: This one-time aspiring biologist walked onto his first AV jobsite as “the lowliest of lowly, green techs you could be,” for what he expected to be a temporary job. Four-and-a-half years later, he’s the engineering manager, heading up two formerly separate engineering teams that he brought under one umbrella.
Title: Media Engineer
Company: Virginia Tech, Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
Why You Should Know Him: As a media engineer at Virginia Tech, Upthegrove manages six multimedia labs at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), including the Cube, a first of its kind black box theater and high tech research lab. The Cube specializes in research for spatial sound and virtual reality, yet it is a truly flexible space, essentially limitless in its research potential.
Why You Should Know Them: An ever-widening “team of technologists and storytellers creating new ways to connect brands and audiences,” B-Reel Creative is the place where far-fetched ideas are met with a question, “Who is going to pay for that,” not spoken in an incredulous tone, but merely enquiring which current or potential client will it suit the most. Dream it up, build it, use it. Nearly anything is workable among the members of this egalitarian tribe founded in Sweden by five creative, and expanding to six offices worldwide, staffed by 170 designers, writers, strategists, producers, and developers.
Title: Owner, Consultant
Company: Pure Quality Sound Productions
Why You Should Know Him: The ultimate self-starter entrepreneur, Hooton owned his first sound rental company at the ripe age of 13. He thinks he still holds the record for youngest SynAudCon attendee ever, at 15. By the time he was 18, he’d completed all the SynAudCon classes. When he is not consulting on audio, video, and lighting system design; installing systems; renting systems; or working on InfoComm’s advisory board for audio coverage uniformity standards, Hooton handles sales for the Music Group in the Americas, which covers everything from production to system integration to training seminars and all the necessary media material.
Company: Threshold Acoustics
Why You Should Know Him: He actually understands how the human brain responds to sound. Like, he quantified it in his graduate work at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by computationally simulating the human auditory system and feeding it audio files. His results were presented at the Acoustical Society of America, and yeah, ideas like that could change how we measure room acoustics and make them more relevant to human perception.
Title: Experience Designer, Interactive AV & Systems Specialist
Company: ESI Design
Why You Should Know Her: As a media architect of sorts at a top innovation and experience design firm, Webster gets to dream up elaborate AV showpieces. She is responsible for the conceptual technological requirements and communicating them to systems integrators. What this means practically is that she estimates AV designs at a really, really high level, early on. She takes the functional requirements from the client and devises the technical requirements, before then reaching out to integrators to help with a more granular systems design. And if that’s not impressive enough, she dabbles in product design, successfully raising over $50,000 in a Kickstarter for modular LED blocks, called Tangeez.