Name: Alex Mayo
Company: Shen Milsom & Wilke
Degrees: Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Hartford Contract Major Program custom-designed to combine mechanical, electrical, acoustics, and audio engineering in a five-year program.
Why You Should Know Him: No stranger to the soldering iron, and unafraid to shoot in 35mm film, Mayo brings analog tone to digital everything. He has seen the future, but he operates with a firm understanding of human elements that will remain ever unchanged. He’s an accidental coolhunter with a Midwestern equanimity sharpened by New York connections. Oh, and he also designs AV systems for some pretty major projects over there at Shen Milsom & Wilke.
There’s Gotta Be A Better Way: Growing up around the radio and entertainment industry, Mayo knew by age 13 that he best abandon his piano lessons for work at a computer repair shop in the Windows XP era. His boss gave him a pile of outdated computer repair books that he absorbed quickly, lending him the air of a veteran in his field. “I’ve always known how to interact with people who are much older than me. In the computer industry, hearing these guys’ thoughts on technology, it gave me a window into the future.”
Maybe more importantly, he noted that his father had learned how to use computers in the same shop where Mayo was now repairing them, and “I realized that I guess it’s different I’m growing up with these devices. I’ve used computers for as long as I can remember. Half of my life I’ve been using technology to solve my problems, so to speak.”
How He Kept His Analog Roots: Originally intending to pursue the science of loudspeaker design, and praised for his math and science abilities, Mayo found himself an audio engineering program that wasn’t focused merely on recording. Then he customized it to suit his career aspirations. “If I went the traditional engineering route, I felt like I would be missing out on a lot of the other course offerings at the university.” So he assembled a kit of engineering talents that just so happens to be perfect for the converged world of AV.
What Happened When He Showed Up in AV: The youngest designer at SM&W, Mayo found himself surrounded by an abundance of experience in an industry comprised of people who didn’t look or talk like him. He translated this scenario into an opportunity to gather knowledge, and then began to assert his own point of view. Suddenly it was a benefit that he had an outside perspective.
So How Should We Find More New Perspectives? In addition to seeking out those who have an interest in AV technology, we need to find a certain kind of problem solver. “The best people in this industry think about how we can use technology to solve problems. What has to happen next is we have to work to bring people in from outside the traditional path of entering this industry. They’re not the people who are going to ace the product model number test. They’re going to be the people who fundamentally understand how to apply technology for the user’s benefit. They can solve problems the users knows about and the ones they don’t know about.”
Get to know the rest of The Nine...