You know that person who is always just having a little bit too much fun to really be running a successful business? They never really gave up playing a musical instrument, or maybe they surf every morning before showing up to the office. They probably make a habit of cycling 100 miles at sunrise, race dirt bikes on the weekends, or indulge in some random act of sailing, golfing, mountain biking, hiking, or just walking the streets with an eye open toward the art and sound all around us.
How on earth does that person, with all their “hobbies," ever get any work done?
I’ll tell you how. Successful, innovative, visionary people do not have hobbies. They just live, every single day, with the utmost gusto. Nothing is saved for later, everything is an opportunity to inform, change, move. Right now.
The audio and video technology industry and its various application segments were built by people who not only took their work home with them, they made work have real purpose in their lives. The cast of founding characters includes the small-town radio and PA operator who insisted that “moving pictures” could be shown outdoors in his hometown after he came home from the war. The powerful, fashionable politician who decided that she could build AV hardware in America, and who supported our industry’s trade shows from the very first moment. The crazy consultant who put on skates to install quad sound systems at roller discos. And a multitude of guitar collectors, program language readers, garage tinkerers, and cineastes who want to improve the way things work for customers and for themselves.
When we look for those who will change our industry, we don’t need to crunch numbers or talk about years of experience, we must look for leaders strong enough to defy expectation. The past proves that those who did it right, did it differently. They were iconoclasts. They challenged convention and never lost sight of the goal, even when the research got chaotic or the science had to be pushed in the right direction to reveal new possibilities.
We have the privilege of working in an industry where innovation never ceases, both in terms of technology and in the way in which we conduct business. While those shifts continue, the attributes of leaders remain constant. They see the world differently, finding possibilities for improvement where others see obstacles.
So who is it? Who’s next? There are examples everywhere, but to really discern who is capable of creating change, one must learn how to interpret the signs. It’s not enough to just be a certain age, these individuals simply show up at work in a distinctive fashion.
Even if they are not at their desk precisely when the whistle blows, they are always applying new knowledge to the work that must be done. They don’t just clock hours, they extend each moment to contain more than what is expected. They commit to tasks with unique ambition, logging extra time in the field when a project offers the sense of achievement that comes with meeting a challenge.
This is the driving factor exhibited by industry leaders past and present, and as a result, it’s fairly easy to create a comparison and recognize the signs of burgeoning talent. But it’s essential to remember to look for talent on the periphery of our industry as well as within it. Sound designers, musicians, software geniuses, live sound engineers, charismatic sales professionals—these have always been a source of talent for AV. Now it’s time to seek new contributors to those fields and talk to them about what they might want to create for our industry.
This month we set a framework for the future by presenting The Nine, exemplars of talents we’ll need to move this industry forward. After consulting our top peers in the industry, we selected representatives with the most vibrant new ideas in business and a passion for every aspect of life. The Nine serve to illustrate that the work/life balance is no longer a simple equation of “working to live” or “living to work." It’s about living to the fullest at work and in all aspects of our constantly changing times.
A broad range of talent is represented across The Nine, as you’ll see in the profiles on this page. What we learn from the spectrum of interests represented by this group’s energetic pursuit of goals is that work is what you make it. Technology has shifted culture so there is no longer an “every day” pattern in work or life. Each day is different, hour to hour, minute to minute. This has always been true, but now we have to give each minute the space to live up to its potential.
There is a tremendous amount of potential within The Nine and beyond to those who are inspired to employ technology in a quest for change. We are lucky to work in a business that prizes enthusiasm and harnesses new ideas for the growth of businesses. Every day, let’s strive to keep things interesting, and watch The Nine for new ideas on how to have fun with success.
The 2014 Class of The Nine
The Nine 2014
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.
Company: Shen Milsom & Wilke
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.
Title: Acoustic and AV Consultant
Why You Need to Know Her: She uses phrases like “auralizations of ballet footfall” in her daily work, and we all secretly wish we could be scientific about art all day. She is a musician and a composer, she’s on a record label, and her latest releases came out on audio cassette (super hip) and vinyl (still quite respectably hip). Oh, and her first project as an intern at Arup had her spatializing the audiobook recording of Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Mu nro, and her career has only gone up from there.
Title: Director of Recruiting
Why You Need to Know Him: After Whitlock established and built with a consulting AV veteran, the company placed the continuation of its rapid growth strategy into the hands of Turner. Previously employed by an outside staffing firm, Turner had worked with Whitlock in the past, and was ready to be a dedicated in-house talent. As growth continues and Whitlock integrates its Xerox AV acquisition, Turner is building a larger recruiting department.
Title: Senior Consultant
Company: Charles M. Salter Associates
Why You Need to Know Her: Equal parts passionate musician and technologist, Kelson offers the prototypical consultant package with a twist—she planned a career in AV from the start. She entered a Master of Arts in Audio Sciences at Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in Acoustics, which she knew would translate into a career in AV. Her course load combined classical music training topped with science classes populated by pre-med students and engineering majors, which presented opportunities to compare and learn across applications.
Company: Mulvey & Banani International
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.
Title: Area Technical Director
Company: RIVA Creative U.S.A.
Why You Need to Know Her: A true artist and composer with an approachable demeanor and insatiable curiosity, Seekins translates visual metaphors into sonic cues in film, theater, installations, exhibits, and theme parks. She started on the art and theater composition side and is now gaining an understanding of the AV systems side in her role as technical director for a themed entertainment company. She is continuing to work across this spectrum, investigating the ways in which atmosphere and environments—and even human emotion and wellbeing—can be enhanced by carefully designed audio content.
Title: Marketing and Communications Manager
Company: AVI Systems
Why You Need To Know Her: She translated an interest in computers and technology into a marketing role that had her terminating cables at trade shows as well as creating advertising creative. She raised the cool factor of AV marketing while at Vaddio, with a series of witty t-shirts and hilarious videos like “Vaddio Does Audio”. Now she’s working on the integrator side of marketing to help solve the elusive “selling services instead of products” question at AVI Systems.
Title: Systems Integration Analyst
Company: A defense contractor
Why You Should Know Him: He was the kid that set up the household’s fancy new VCRs, video game consoles, and DVD players. His dad was a software programmer, but the youth is the one who finally put the family PC on the internet with one of those 56k promo discs there were in endless supply of in everybody’s mailboxes in those days. “That day opened me up to a whole new dimension—one that travels long distances over just copper cable.”
Title: Services Sales and Project Manager
Company: Advanced AV
Why You Should Know Her: Holmwood was destined to be a huge influence on the AV industry before she ever knew it existed. Focused on client experience since before it was cool, she joined Advanced AV immediately after completing college and quickly translated her communications skills into project management. After a brief sojourn in the manufacturing world, where she launched a project management division within Scala, she returned to Advanced AV to focus on the rapidly changing and growing service department. Now her interest in client experience is combined with application knowledge for the ultimate ambassadorship to usher in the new era of AV.
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SCN The Nine 2014