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The Nine 2018: Next Wave of AV Innovators

SCN's 2018 class of The Nine
2018's The Nine: Alesia Hendley, Dan Barron, Hailey Klein, Kaleo Lee, Luke Jordan, Chase McCloud, Elizabeth Newton, Emile Van De Coevering, Scott Kelley (Image credit: Future)

Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” This year’s class of SCN’s The Nine features young AV professionals who are leading the way into the next iteration of the AV industry.

As Lindsey Adler, then editor of SCN, said in 2016, “The Nine isn’t your typical ‘Forty Under 40’ list.” The Nine encompasses a generation of AV leaders who have already started to change the industry. There’s Luke Jordan, who revamped and spearheaded AVIXA’s Integration Council at the ripe old age of 27. There’s Alesia Hendley, who’s taken the power of social media to the next level and even has Baby Boomers upping their social game.

The one central theme we discovered while interviewing this talented group was the power of adaptability. Adaptability has translated to success at a young age. Whether it’s the willingness pick up a new skill like Chase McCloud did when he learned how to create 3D rendering for events, or modifying your working style to accommodate exciting ideas from clients like Elizabeth Newton, the ability to change quickly and easily is a recipe for a success in the ever-fluid world of AV.

2018's The Nine: Alesia Hendley, Dan Barron, Hailey Klein, Kaleo Lee, Luke Jordan, Chase McCloud, Elizabeth Newton, Emile Van De Coevering, Scott Kelley

The 2018 Class of The Nine

The Nine 2018

Dan Barron

Daniel Barron, HB Communications

Dan Barron

Title: Head of Brand Strategy

Company: HB Communications

Why You Need To Know Him: With a positive, energetic spirit that’s contagious and motivating, Barron is the literal personification of next-generation leadership at HB Communications. The company his grandfather Mackey founded in 1946, now led by his father Dana, has changed a lot since its first days, when it was known as HB Motion Pictures. And with ample new ideas firing through him at any given moment, Barron is clearly ready to keep that evolution moving forward. Using collaboration, marketing, and design skills he developed in various creative projects, from managing a hip-hop record label to turning a cheap Honda Civic into a Fast & Furious-worthy ride, he’s got big-picture plans tempered by a firm understanding of the intricate puzzle such plans need to thrive.

Read The Nine: Dan Barron

Alesia Hendley

Alesia Hendley

Alesia Hendley

Title: AV Operator

Company: The Berry Center

Why You Should Know Her: Let’s face it—you probably already know Alesia Hendley. In just over a year, she’s burst onto the pro AV scene with her trademark smile, social astuteness, and extreme networking skills. The 29-year-old has been working in audio her whole life, but made a conscious decision to get more involved in the industry in late 2016. She began reaching out to industry influencers via social media and asked them for their top tips. The rest, as they say, is history.

Read The Nine: Alesia Hendley

Luke Jordan

Luke Jordan

Luke Jordan

Title: Account Manager

Company: Electro Acoustics

Why You Should Know Him: Luke Jordan, PMP, CTS-I, age 29, is a friend to all in the AV industry. While his company is regional, he’s known for making connections across the entire industry, and is passionate about sharing lessons learned and tips for success.

Read The Nine: Luke Jordan

Scott Kelley

Scott Kelley

Scott Kelley

Title: Design Engineer

Company: TEECOM

Why You Should Know Him: With a degree in electrical engineering from UCLA, you’d be forgiven for wondering how he’s come to working with DSPs instead of engineering them. In fact, he really didn’t even know much about the AV industry until some friends introduced him to the integration firm TEECOM, where he landed one, then two, internships during college. But then he never looked back.

Read The Nine: Scott Kelley

Hailey Klein

Hailey Klein

Hailey Klein

Title: Director of Marketing Communications

Company: PSNI

Why You Should Know Her: Don’t be fooled the first time you meet Hailey Klein. Underneath that genuinely low-key and modest persona is a consummate professional determined to see her clients succeed. The 28-year-old native of Two Rivers, WI landed in the AV industry via a unique route. Just the second person in her family to go to college, she earned a degree in marketing, communications, and journalism from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. “I’d always wanted to be in journalism, but quickly transitioned to marketing,” she said. “I realized marketing allowed for a very creative outlet that appeals to me.”

Read The Nine: Hailey Klein

Kaleo Lee

Kaleo Lee

Kaleo Lee

Title: Vice President of Sales and Business Development

Company: The Audio Visual Company of Hawaii

Why You Need To Know Him: Kaleo Lee has deep industry roots. His father bought his first AV company in 1978. When Lee was five, his father bought The Audio Visual Company (AVCO) of Hawaii, and Lee spent his entire life around the AV industry. His strong family background combined with his energetic vision for the future and strong leadership skills means Lee is primed for success in the AV world. But Lee didn’t always want to innovate the AV industry. In fact, just the opposite—spending summers vacuuming the sales floor, cleaning restrooms, and cutting ceiling tiles for AVCO led Lee to believe the industry the business was, well, boring.

Read The Nine: Kaleo Lee

Chase McCloud

Chase McCloud

Chase McCloud

Title: Senior Technical Designer

Company: Solomon Group

Why You Should Know Him: Chase McCloud never gives up and has created his own story. At 32, his incremental rise through the labyrinth of AV has led to a burgeoning career at a prestigious company. “I’m ambitious, especially when my heart is set on something,” he said.

Read The Nine: Chase McCloud

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton

Title: Live Events Account Manager

Company: Cory’s Audio Visual

Why You Should Know Her: Elizabeth Newton goes above and beyond all day, every day. At age 30, she’s already figured out that AV is more than the equipment. She aims to provide everyone with an exceptional experience, which keeps her customers coming back time and time again.

Read The Nine: Elizabeth Newton

Emile Van De Coevering

Emile Van de Coevering, Socialure

Emile Van de Coevering

Title: Creative Director

Company: Socialure

Why You Should Know Him: If you haven’t seen Van De Coevering’s work yet, chances are you will very soon. Currently providing digital signage, creative development, and brand experience solutions for clients throughout Las Vegas and beyond, he’s also worked on such projects as American Idol, Germany’s Next Top Model, Vegas’ Drai’s Nightclub, and what would constitute a music lover’s must-see list of festivals and events in the U.S. and abroad.

Read The Nine: Emile Van De Coevering

Want more of SCN The Nine?

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SCN The Nine 2018

SCN The Nine 2016

SCN The Nine 2015

SCN The Nine 2014

Megan A. Dutta
Megan A. Dutta is the content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta puts her passion for the audiovisual industry on each and every page, whether print or digital. Prior to Future U.S., Dutta was the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. In this role, Dutta was an active supporter of the AVIXA's InfoComm Exhibitor Steering Committee; she chaired the committee for the 2017 show, a prestigious honor that allowed her to provide leadership and support to both the InfoComm tradeshow and its exhibitors. 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.