Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I, has always loved audio. “I instantly knew I loved it,” he said of his first official foray into sound systems. “From that day forward, I was hooked and got my hands on audio systems as often as I could.” As CEO of audiovisual systems integration firm IAS Technology, he’s able to get his hands on audio systems quite a bit.
Watch the video below to learn more about Jeremy Caldera.
Caldera began following his passion for audio early, enrolling at Columbia College and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in audio arts and acoustics. During his last semester there, Caldera found work as an audiovisual sales engineer at Thompson Electronics Company. He soon realized that in order to succeed in pro AV, he’d have to learn more about video and control systems. “It was at that time I discovered the CTS program, which not only furthered my own knowledge, but gave me an appreciation of the need for great education in the audiovisual industry,” he said. Educating himself—and others—would become a hallmark of Caldera’s career in the industry.
As his career progressed, Caldera sought volunteer opportunities and began to work with AVIXA more frequently. After teaching a CTS prep course at InfoComm, Caldera recognized the allure that training AV professionals held for him. In 2014, he was elected to the CTS Certification Program Steering Committee, and in 2015 became its chair. “This was an unforgettable experience that allowed the opportunity for exam writing, certification administration, and appointment to the ethics committee, which I am still a part of,” Caldera said. “In this position, I was ambassador for the industry and was afforded many opportunities to preach the value of education in pro AV.”
Caldera also works with AVIXA to create and maintain standards within the industry; he currently chairs the task group responsible for the renewal of the AVIXA D401.01‐202x, Documentation Requirements for Audiovisual Systems Standard. The group is charged with revising the consensus standard to make it more useable and adding an aspect of minimum documentation requirements for the AV industry. After nearly five years of work, this process is coming to an end in early 2021, and Caldera says he is honored and proud to have helped shape the revamped standard.
In addition, Caldera served on AVIXA’s Leadership Search Committee to find and mentor volunteers to serve on committees and to appear on the next AVIXA election ballot. Because of his volunteer work, particularly in educating the industry, Caldera has been recognized as AVIXA’s 2015 Young AV Professional of Year and AVIXA’s 2016 Educator of the Year. He received the NSCA’s Randy Vaughan Founders Award in 2017.
Educating the Next Generation
While participating in a podcast discussing education, Caldera spoke about his experiences at Columbia and the few classes he found there focused on video and control. Recalling the podcast, Caldera said, “It was not from a place of criticism, but simply an evaluation of what I wish I had learned to be better prepared for a career specific to systems integration. Little did I know ... the current chair of the Audio Arts and Acoustics program at Columbia was listening.”
Because of this fortuitous happenstance, Caldera was able to help the college expand its offerings. He worked with several high-profile industry educators—including SCN Hall of Famers Chuck Espinoza, CTS-D, CTS-I, and Bill Nattress, CTS-D, CTS-I—to help develop new curriculum, which he was eventually asked to teach.
According to Caldera, at the time he was developing a class for Columbia, AVIXA was in the process of creating new programs to spread awareness about the pro AV industry to young people, and Columbia was the first college to develop a partnership with AVIXA for use of the ready-made curriculum. “This partnership and the success that we saw at Columbia helped to spawn the workforce development and college partnership program that is now such a vital part of AVIXA and the AVIXA Foundation.”
Caldera, who still teaches at Columbia, also sits on an academic advisory board at the college to form what has become the Audiovisual Systems Integration concentration within Columbia’s Audio Arts and Acoustics department.
“The most rewarding thing to me is watching students from my classes come up in the industry. From gaining employment to earning their CTS, it is humbling to watch people I’ve taught become key players in the industry and go on to inspire others,” he said. “I am proud to say many of them have taught me more than anything I could have taught them in that one class or one semester together.
“There are so many great careers in the audiovisual industry, and very limited talent to fill those positions. We have reached a point where many industry legends are nearing retirement, and we need to create an educated workforce to replace them and to fill the new roles being developed daily. Workforce development and education is vital to the successful evolution of the audiovisual industry.”
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