SCN Hall of Fame 2021: Charmaine Torruella

Charmaine Torruella SCN Hall of Fame 2021
(Image credit: Future)

It’s not AV versus IT. It’s AV and IT, said Charmaine Torruella, global services manager at Verrex.

Watch the video below to learn more about Charmaine Torruella.

Torruella began her IT journey in North Carolina in 1998, when she sold long-distance telephone services in order to bring in extra income to support her military family. Missing her home city of New York, she returned there in 2000 and started selling and provisioning comprehensive telecommunication services to small- and mid-size businesses. “After 9/11, network, big data, audio and web conferencing technologies came more into play,” she said. “As clients evolved and pivoted to adopting these technologies, I pivoted to learning more about them and providing them. I pretty much evolved with the customer bases.”

Charmaine Torruella

Charmaine Torruella (Image credit: Charmaine Torruella)

And evolve is exactly what she did. While selling managed audio and web conferencing services, a client asked her for pricing on a Tandberg System Edge 95 MXP that the company wanted integrated into its conference room. “I had no idea what they meant by ‘integrate,’” she admitted. “I looked into it and found a firm as a sub to integrate the technology.”

Curiosity drove her to explore pro AV integration. She ended up as a videoconferencing specialist at pro AV powerhouse AVI-SPL and has enjoyed working in the world of AV ever since. In her current role at SCN Top 50 firm Verrex, Torruella, an award-winning salesperson, provides managed services in the form of break-fixes, preventative maintenance, remote monitoring and managed services solutions, asset management, staffing, and other cloud-based professional services. Essentially, she said, “I work with clients to cobble AV support models that can be efficiently and easily managed.”

She hasn’t left her IT background in the dust, though. “I see pro AV incorporating more IT solutions into its repertoire. I also see pro AV evolving to stand out more as a main tech sector and not a subsector of IT,” she added. “More work has to be done in getting the message out to the other sectors and the world, but now is the time for AV to stand out. Unbeknownst to many, it is woven into every industry and facet of life.”

One of the hallmarks of Torruella’s career is her commitment to bringing diversity to pro AV—something she is passionate about due to the adversity she has faced in her own life. Torruella serves as the first-ever chair of the AVIXA Diversity Council.

“My work with the AVIXA Diversity Council is the impetus for keeping me in the AV industry and preventing me from going elsewhere—for a long time I have been the only minority on a team,” she said. “The treatment of me, as a Black woman in AV, has been mentally draining and dispiriting. As much as I enjoy AV, the ignorance and disparagement continues to take its toll. It has improved, but marginally.”

Torruella was recently awarded the 2020 Tri-State Authentic Leadership Award from the Tri-State Diversity Council. “Knowing that the New York Tri-State community sees what I have done after many years of working among my colleagues and providing them with support is like a loving embrace after a hard day’s work.”

Torruella hopes that her work with the AVIXA Diversity Council will be the mark she leaves on the industry, paving the way for future generations to be fully accepted and to feel more comfortable working in the world of pro AV.

“Chairing the Diversity Council has allowed me the ability to shine a light on the issues and start working on shifting the AV culture toward the positive with regard to diversity,” she concluded. “While we have a long way to go, I’m proud of the impact I’ve made so far.”

READ MORE: SCN Hall of Fame 2021

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.