TITLE: Consultant Liaison
BACKGROUND: Beginning in school with music, Lange eventually discovered the lure of the AV world, and throughout he has found teaching to be an integral part of his activities.
THE CHALLENGE: Showing the everyday contractor the advantages of Aviom products if they've never encountered the downside of IP audio.
What is your position, and what does it entail?
Jeff Lange: I am the consultant liaison for Aviom, and my role involves a couple of things. I interface with consultants, designers, and contractors on how to use our product and how to use it effectively. I do that by providing them with drawings and design help in a format that they can use as a consultant. I've been basically doing this for the company since they hired me last September, but the position was formally changed just recently. In my previous role as a product specialist, I had been teaching a lot more classes, public forums, and seminars, but now I'm more focused on helping consultants and contractors.
How has your background prepared you for your new role?
I've been in systems design and contracting and integration for about 10 years. Having been a consultant and a contractor, I know what they're looking for and how to help them apply the product.
Aviom hired me because I was already out promoting the product. When I was working for a contractor, I was highly involved with teaching Aviom seminars. The last contractor I worked for was heavily involved in the church market. The monitor mixing system is just an incredible piece of technology in that market, and I was using that as my lead to get church sales.
The way I got into this to start with, though, was that I went to school for music and found out you can't make a living teaching guitar lessons. So in the early '90s I got a job selling pianos, but somehow ended up selling more PA systems for the music store. They put me in charge of selling the PA systems, and then I made the bridge into systems contracting.
I started in contracting around '96. I started as an estimator and worked installation and then ran the whole gamut. I went from there into systems design, then I worked a couple years with architects designing systems, then from there I took a position as a training coordinator.
Teaching has always been part of what I do; classes, seminars, things like that. What I used to do as product specialist was talk with end-users quite a bit, and now I am more focused on contractors. For instance, at NSCA I taught a class to contractors and consultants on how to apply the product, basically arming them with the knowledge they need to reach end-users.
What are your short- and long-term goals?
My goals are to help consultants and contractor integrate the product because since it is digital and it's done a different way, it's really different for the consultant or contractor to apply the product. Where they used to have to run 64 individual wires for a snake, now we can just run a single Cat-5 wire, and now we can split is as many times as we want and jump it all over the place and run it over fiber and do all the things that we want to do.
The goal is to educate consultants and contractors on how they can save money and apply the product. I've spent the last couple months doing application drawings and gearing up to illustrate how this technology applies to consultants and contractors. The next step will be going out in the field quite a bit to meet with people, find out their needs, find out how to apply the product in the field more. The fact that I'm here to support what they're doing is extremely helpful. If they've got a question or need a drawing, they can call me and I'll turn it around relatively quickly. It's kind of a safety net, especially when you're integrating a new product.
What is the greatest challenge that you face?
The challenge is going to be educating the mainstream as to why our product is superior. People who do broadcast and high-end applications get it very quickly because they've tried to work with IP-based audio before and know how finicky it is, so really the challenge right now is getting the everyday contractor who doesn't use a lot of IP-based or digital audio gear to realize the advantages without having ever having solved an IP audio issue.
Where do you see your market heading?
We're headed in several different directions, though the monitor system and our connection to the church market isn't going anywhere. We're bridging out into other avenues; for instance, broadcast is going to be really big because of our new Pro64 product. There's nothing else like it. It's got all the advantages of a digital product but it's as reliable as analogue. Any place you have to move lots of audio really fast and accurately without failure, you can apply our product.