SCN The Nine: Where Are They Now?

The Nine - Where Are They Now?
(Image credit: Future)

Each year, SCN highlights young AV professionals who have the potential to be industry rockstars. We take a look back at previous The Nine inductees and see what they're up to today.

Sharath Abraham, CTS

Sharath Abraham

Read Sharath Abraham's original profile.

Name: Sharath Abraham

The Nine Induction Year: 2020

Company & Title Then: Crestron, Technical Director

Company & Title Now: AVI-SPL, Engineering Manager

How You've Grown Professionally Since The Nine:  I have strengthened my management skills and now lead a group of design engineers, project engineers, and programmers at AVI-SPL. Previously, as the technical director at Crestron, I was a part of the team, but now I also manage teams. The integrator world is very different from the manufacturer world because there are so many buckets to keep track of on a daily basis. With my new position at AVI-SPL, my leadership skills are constantly evolving for the better. 

Victoria Barela, CTS

Victoria Barela

Read Victoria Barela's original profile.

The Nine Induction Year: 2015

Company & Title Then: Columbia College, Student

Company & Title Now: Stream Team Studios, Principal

How You've Grown Professional Since The Nine: Since my days as a Columbia College student and being introduced by my professor, Jeremy Caldera, to the audiovisual industry, I have earned CTS certification and became a Crestron programmer, mentored and guided by my former colleague Hope Roth. I've embarked on projects as a lighting control systems programmer at a Chicago baseball stadium, military installations, corporate headquarters, restaurants, and hospitals. Through these projects, I learned to balance technical specs with the human needs of my clients. 

In the next chapter of my career, I have refocused my purpose to creating experiences using my technical background and project management skills. I formed a company—Stream Team Studios (STS)—with my two amazing business partners, Aaron Davis and Stewart Dixon. STS provides personal service and project management for clients, and we work with some of the best partners in live event production, immersive design, and experiential technology (including the integration of live videoconferencing with Unity and Unreal engines).

I am working on PMP certification with the help of my fantastic mentor, Bradford Benn, through the AVIXA Mentor Program. He has been helping me navigate the next chapter in my career.

 Anne Guthrie

Anne Guthrie

Read Anne Guthrie's original profile.

Name: Anne Guthrie

The Nine Induction Year: 2014

Company & Title Then: Arup, Acoustic and AV Consultant

Company & Title Now: Arup, Associate

How You've Grown Professionally Since The Nine: I have continued to grow and progress my acoustics and audiovisual career at Arup since 2014. A project I had been working on since I started at Arup—the Stavros Niarchos opera house—opened in 2016 in Athens, Greece. I had the opportunity to collaborate on the design and implementation of a large-scale Wavefield Synthesis system at Nokia Bell Labs In 2017. In 2018, I relocated from the New York to San Francisco, where I have developed my portfolio of aviation and transit P.A. projects, working with clients like BART and PDX, in addition to ongoing work with large-scale corporate clients. I have progressed toward leadership roles in the past few years and recently became an associate. My professional interests continue to include sound art, environmental soundscapes, and the performing arts, but I have broadened my range of sectors and markets significantly.

As a musician, I have continued to perform and record, and recently released an album.  In 2019, I created a sound art installation that ran for four months in the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago.

Alesia Hendley

Alesia Hendley

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The Nine Induction Year: 2018

Company & Title Then: The Berry Center, AV Operator

Company & Title Now: Access Networks, Sales Engineer

How You've Grown Professional Since The Nine: Being a part of The Nine has been a huge part of my continued growth within our industry. Since my induction in The Nine in 2018, I've served on the AVIXA's Content & Learning Committee, and I have expanded my knowledge of IT by pivoting and joining a manufacturer that is a leader in enterprise-grade networking solutions. I've also been able to continue fostering relationships with brands like Premier Mounts that have taken me around the world to create multimedia content that highlights not only products but our industry as a whole. And we can't forget the Digital Signage Expo podcast—I ran and hosted that show for its entire lifespan. Now I am proud to host my own show, where creative meets tech and we dive into the cool projects that bring experience to the forefront. I am continuing to build one day at a time and showcase the exciting things we do in hopes that more people will find and join this industry. 

Luke Jordan, PMP, CTS-I

Luke Jordan

Read Luke Jordan's original profile. 

The Nine Induction Year: 2018

Company & Title Then: Account Manager, Electro Acoustics

Company & Title Now: Vice President and Co-Steward, Electro Acoustics

How You've Grown Professional Since The Nine: My older brother Sam and I each purchased a stake in the business in late 2019. In the same way that having children forces young adults to quickly mature, I’ve had to grow up a lot professionally to serve the Electro Acoustics family. I have gone from being responsible for my sales quote to ensuring the company as a whole has enough sales to continue providing jobs, blessing the community, and enriching our team. That development has come from several angles. First and foremost is my constant communication with my brother and father, and my thirst for knowledge. We read books, discuss company strategy, and challenge each other weekly. Additionally, our leadership team is a balanced forum for identifying, discussing, and solving the biggest problems facing our company each week. Collaborating with these leaders and learning how to work through issues and ideas has undeniably helped me grow. 

Kaleo Lee

Kaleo Lee, Brightsign

Read Kaleo Lee's original profile.

The Nine Induction Year: 2018

Company & Title Then: The Audio Visual Company of Hawaii, Vice President of Sales and Business Development

Company & Title Now:  BrightSign, Sales Manager, Southwest

How You've Grown Professionally Since The Nine:  Moving from AV Integrator to an AV manufacturer, I have learned so much. First, I love and miss serving in the trenches and the camaraderie that comes with being an integrator. However, I have a renewed appreciation for my fellow manufacturing reps. Between supply chains, proper product-to-solution integration, and the last minute Integrators’ requests, it’s the same amount of work with a higher volume of projects, but not as deep into each project as the integrator. The transition was made much easier having friends and frienemies now a reseller/manufacturer and partner relationship. The AV community is a wonderfully tight knit family, and the network of friends/AVTweeps I have made over the years played a huge roll in my transition. I can’t stress this enough, whether it's CES, InfoComm, or ISE, go to the social events. Meet new friends, drink with old ones, and share AV war stories—never be afraid of being yourself; we’re all a quirky bunch. 

Alexander Mayo

Alexander Mayo

Read Alexander Mayo's original profile.

The Nine Induction Year: 2014

Company & Title Then: Shen Milsom & Wilke, Consultant

Company & Title Now: Arup, Senior Consultant

How You've Grown Professional Since The Nine: In the seven years since my profile in The Nine, I joined the New York office of Arup in 2015, where I had the opportunity to work with Anne Guthrie, a fellow 2014 SCN: The Nine inductee. Taking along the knowledge and industry connections I was fortunate to gain while working with Shen Milsom & Wilke, I now have the opportunity to impact the business of Arup’s New York Multi-Disciplinary Consulting Team. 

One specific item I’m proud of is my work helping spread the adoption of 3D virtual and mixed reality tools within all disciplines at Arup. The effort lets both our internal teams and clients experience our designs virtually and become a part of the iterative design process. Reminded of my words from 2014, I do believe that more user-friendly design tools will allow us to “work to bring people in from outside the traditional path of entering this industry."

Stemming from the team structure we’ve built at Arup, our acoustics, audiovisual, theater, and experience design experts all collaborate very closely on nearly all of our projects. This workflow has given me the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of experts while also taking on a teaching role in spreading audiovisual knowledge throughout our team. As always, this diversity of expertise and personal backgrounds has made all of us stronger designers as we constantly challenge the status quo.

Kelly Perkins

Kelly Perkins

Read Kelly Perkins' original profile.

The Nine Induction Year: 2014

Company & Title Then: AVI Systems, Marketing and Communications Manager

Company & Title Now: KP Consulting, Audiovisual Marketing Consultant, and Access Networks, Digital Marketing Manager

How She's Grown Professional Since The Nine: Oh boy. Well, I quit AVI Systems, sold my home, and went on a five-month solo walkabout. I've since started my own consulting business, helping friends, but still in the AV industry. It's been very challenging, but I continue to learn something new every day that helps propel me forward—either professionally or personally. I think the best piece of advice I could give to my 2014 self would be to chill out and give yourself a break ... good karma goes a long way. 

Gregory Rushton

Gregory Rushton

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The Nine Induction Year: 2014

Company & Title Then: Mulvey & Banani International, Associate

Company & Title Now: Mulvey & Banani Audio Visual, Vice President

How You've Grown Professional Since The Nine: Since being featured in The Nine, I have become a power player in our industry. In 2017, I evolved Mulvey & Banani’s budding audiovisual division into its own subsidiary company, Mulvey & Banani Audio Visual. As MBAV’s vice president, my efforts haven’t stopped as I continually work to expand not just my own team, but Mulvey & Banani as a whole. Not content with a superficial or siloed system approach to AV design, my expertise has expanded to encompass the integration of AV with all related electrical and electronic systems (electrical/power, IT/comms, security, lighting and lighting controls, wayfinding, etc.) infrastructure, and end user technologies. I am now engaged with Mulvey & Banani's Building Intelligence (BI) division and its pivotal role in achieving sustainability in buildings. 

Outside of MBAV, I remain heavily involved in the industry. I have been a part of both the AVIXA Consultant Council and the AVIXA Young AV Professionals Council, where I am currently co-chair. In 2020, I was honored with AVIXA’s Young AV Professionals Award. Most recently I was voted to the AVIXA Certification Committee, where I hope to further contribute to the creation of established certifications that help to create industry awareness with clients, architects, contractors, and engineers alike.

Meg Sciarini Smith

Meg Sciarini Smith

Read Meg Sciarini Smith's original profile.

The Nine Induction Year: 2019

Company & Title Then: A major Silicon Valley corporation, AV Systems Engineer

Company & Title Now: A major Silicon Valley corporation, Event Demo Systems Engineer

How You've Grown Professional Since The Nine: I am always learning, and I appreciate the network of amazing people who are willing to teach me things. I have grown more confident in my knowledge base and have a sense of optimism looking forward to the wide adoption of new standards and interoperability of hardware. My drive is still toward providing amazing experiences. I'm learning about new technologies that span XR in all its forms, spatial audio, and how we can make these experiences accessible to everyone to allow amazing stories to be told in new and engaging ways. 

Rebecca Sullins

Rebecca Sullins

Read Rebecca Sullins' original profile.

Name: Rebecca Sullins

The Nine Induction Year: 2015

Company & Title Then: AVDB Group, Senior AV Engineer and CAD Manager

Company & Title Now: Senior Design Engineer; Clair Global Integration

How You've Grown Professional Since The Nine: I've tried really hard to add detail to my communications without getting lost in minutiae. So often in the tech world we can get hung up on every single acronym, protocol, or semantic argument that the system as a whole gets lost. 

I don't find much use in the saying "losing sight of the forest for the trees" because trees are the forest, but you can easily get sidetracked arguing about the color of the bark.

Emily Webster

Emily Webster

Read Emily Webster's original profile.

Name: Emily Webster

The Nine Induction Year: 2015

Company & Title Then: ESI Design, Experience Designer, Interactive AV & Systems Specialist

Company & Title Now: ESI Design, an NBBJ studio; Principal, Creative and Head of Media Environments

How You've Grown Professionally Since The Nine: As a company principal, creative, and head of ESI’s pioneering Media Environments practice, my role is to lead teams to thoughtfully design systems that use technology to activate a space and tell a company’s story.

I am involved in our creative work across all stages, from business development right through to project completion. This creative oversight allows me to bring a strategic approach to the types of solutions we present to our clients and guide how we incorporate technology to help them create engaging, immersive, and meaningful experiences that elevate their brand. 

One thing that hasn’t changed is how I view spaces as platforms that should adapt over time. Because ideas change faster than buildings, I help clients build an overarching digital technology layer that can be adjusted or changed dynamically and in real time, unlike furniture, interiors, and building architecture.

Since we last spoke, I’ve led the experience design on numerous award-winning and iconic projects, including the immersive exhibitions at the recently opened Statue of Liberty Museum; eBay Main Street, the centerpiece of eBay's 20,000-square-foot Silicon Valley campus; and The Beacon, a data, light, and sound installation in The Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh. And right now I am working on an exciting national monument, a high-profile airport terminal installation, and a series of different HQs for various international clients.

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.