Name: Gregory Rushton
Company: Mulvey & Banani International
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Why You Need to Know Him: When a major electrical engineering firm decided to expand into AV consulting, they hired Rushton to launch the division. He was 21 at the time, and nearly seven years later it’s apparent he was the right choice. “They took a chance on me, and within six months I was going up against the biggest guys in the city,” he recalled.
He Started Younger Than Young: Rushton was only 12 when he became a roadie for theater and live events, touring with bands playing the summer music circuit of 2,000-seat arenas.
He Didn’t Want Fries With That: Rushton ran the theater at his high school, and when the time came to get another summer job after 10th grade, he made an inquiry with the integrator who did the system there. They weren’t hiring, but Rushton held out for something better when his only option looked like work in a fast-food joint. Luckily for him, after he turned down a dead-end job at a chain restaurant, he was offered a summer gig with the same integrator that turned him down and ended up taking him out of town weekdays all summer long.
Work Is His Hobby: Rushton still does sound design with one of the theater companies he worked with as a teen, and he also owns a recording studio. He does the occasional recording project, but also uses the space to test gear and do sound design.
A-Type Personality: If Rushton does something, he does it with intention. “I like to be active—skiing, sailing, mountain biking—I used to be a ski instructor, and race sailboats, but now I don’t have the time. However, I have taken up mountain bike racing.”
These Kids Today Like ‘Collaboration’: “It’s an interesting dynamic, with the younger guys that are coming up together,” Rushton observed, pointing out his social-media-savvy cohort’s similarities with the close-knit generation of the mid-20th-century. “We talk with each other, even our competitors, if we’re in a jam. Leveraging our connections is something that we’re more apt to do.”
How We Can Attract More Talent Like Him: Specialized programs are the key, and they are few and far between. He suggested that a return of the Ontario Academic Credit (OAC, or 13th grade) might help to bring more focus to graduating students.
What He’s Doing About It: He’s talking to his alma mater, the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology, to develop a portion of their program specific to the AV industry. “Nobody teaches the consulting or install side,” he noted. “I’m working to come up with between 40-80 hours of curriculum as another unit to add on, covering project management, understanding contracts, those sorts of topics. We want to let people know there’s another avenue out there, and it can be lucrative.”
Where You Can Read More of His Thoughts on Education and Training: Page 82 of the August issue of Systems Contractor News, where Gregory debuts as an SCN columnist.
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