SCN Hall of Fame 2021: Rodrigo Ordóñez

Rodrigo Ordóñez SCN Hall of Fame 2021
(Image credit: Future)

Sometimes, a very practical path can emerge from the most impractical of dreams. That was the case for Rodrigo Ordóñez, CTS-D. “Like many others in AV, I wanted to be a rock star,” he said. Growing up in Mexico City, the singer and multi-instrumentalist also developed an affinity for the engineering side of music technology, and studied electronics and electrical engineering at the Universidad Iberoamericana.

Watch the video below to learn more about Rodrigo Ordóñez.

After graduation, he got a job working in satellite communication in the booming telecommunications industry. “While it was interesting, I kind of missed my origins. I missed who I wanted to be,” he said. So he went back to school, earning a master’s degree in music engineering at the University of Miami, with the intention of either designing guitars and mixing boards, or working behind one as a sound engineer.

Rodrigo Ordonez, K2

Rodrigo Ordóñez

As he was nearing graduation, his advisor opened his eyes to an alternate career by connecting him with an AV systems integrator in California. “She didn’t have a job for me, but she explained what the AV industry was about—basically let me know that it existed,” he said. “I was fascinated, and I realized that it was a potential business path that didn’t involve dealing with drunk musicians at 2 in the morning. That sounded like a good plan to me.”

This impression was confirmed quickly. Once he got his degree, he took a job at Kirkegaard Associates, an AV consulting firm in Boulder, CO, and convinced them to send him to Orlando for InfoComm despite having been on staff for just a few months. “I went to my first InfoComm and it just totally changed me,” he said. “It made me realize that there was this whole community behind it, that for one was a ton of fun.”

He jumped wholeheartedly into the educational offerings at the show and got certified early on in his career. Finding the certification process fascinating, he became involved with the certification committee, first as a subject matter expert in the item writing groups, then later with the committee itself. This relationship with AVIXA eventually turned into an opportunity to help direct the industry at the highest level: as a member of the board of directors. “That was just an amazing opportunity, having some insight into the leadership behind the organization and the strategy for the industry, and where the industry’s headed from an association perspective. And being able to give a little bit back,” he said.

Now, reflecting on his career, it’s one of the things he’s proudest of, along with all the little wins in his day-to-day work. “I’ve put in more than a few really long nights and days trying to get a project up and running or trying to get a program working,” he said. “Even when it’s horrible in the middle of it, anytime I’m able fix a problem and get the system working, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s like a sugar rush.”

Ordóñez said his work in AV is far from done. “I can’t think of anything I don’t like about what I’m doing,” he said. “I just love the work, and I love the people I’m doing it with. And I think the AV world for the next 20 years is so open to exciting new things, and I see a lot of opportunity to keep my work exciting and not stale.”

READ MORE: SCN Hall of Fame 2021

Matt Pruznick

Matt Pruznick is the former editor of AV Technology, and senior editor for Systems Contractor News and Residential Systems. He is based in New York.