Location: Fairfax, VA
Overtime: When he’s not in the office, you’ll likely find Hansen enjoying the outdoors and nature. He is a master naturalist who helps with local nature center events for kids.
Why You Need to Know Him: Peter Hansen is a man of action. Since 2018, he’s been an economist with AVIXA, the association that produces InfoComm. But he’s not content with crunching numbers—he wants to conduct research that makes a difference for Pro AV professionals.
After graduating from William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, Hansen began his career at the Federal Reserve Board, which he described as “finishing school for the curious mind.” He found it to be a very thoughtful place, with people working with data using all kinds of metrics and techniques. There was also access to formal internal classes, the opportunity to see different presentations, and the potential to get exposure within the Federal Reserve.
“You get this tremendous breadth and depth of technique and skills,” he said. “That was a place where I strengthened and broadened my economic skillset.”
The problem, however, was that Hansen realized he preferred to move quicker with research; after all, the one published paper he co-authored during his time at the Federal Reserve was a three-year project that was published one year after he left. “That is not me,” he explained. “I like to do research and get it out there so people can act on it.”
Rather than tying up every possible loose end of a research question, Hansen’s approach is to collect data that speaks to the core of the question, provide actionable information, and move on to the next question. “AVIXA is a really great place for that,” he said. “I can help an integrator get their plans right. That can lead to a little more growth, maybe more hires. These are all good things I want to have happen.”
Hansen’s research is already making a difference. In his very first quarterly report for AVIXA, he explored the relationship between Pro AV installations and new construction. While conventional wisdom had considered new construction as a primary indicator for the Pro AV market, his research found that only about 20 percent of installations were a function of new construction. Instead, he found the Pro AV industry was tied much closer to GDP, a useful piece of information that can help companies make plans in what is still a volatile international business market.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hansen was able to apply his skillset to produce some of his most impactful research. With his knowledge of past recessions, he was able to pinpoint economic indicators that proved quite useful for the industry. “The moment in time when you want an economist on hand is during an economic crisis,” he said.
Some of Hansen’s more recent research has focused on supply chains. He has found the problems are about more than a chip shortage. In fact, a spike in demand has pushed global chip production 20 percent higher—but more chips are needed than ever (and not just for Pro AV products). There is still uncertainty in the market, which is impacting projections, as well as border issues. Plus, while the pandemic fears appear to be fading, companies are still adopting risk aversion strategies, such as underproducing products, to avoid taking huge losses. “All these little pieces are adding up and creating big supply problems,” he explained.
For Hansen, the appeal of the Pro AV industry is its long-term impact on so many different vertical markets, such as museums, entertainment venues, churches, hotels, and more. Hansen is excited to see how Pro AV will help continue to transform the corporate boardroom and drive the hybrid office future. “Videoconferencing is great when all individuals are in separate offices,” he said. “But when it's five people around a conference table and five in their remote offices, creating a great experience for everyone is a challenge."
Currently, Hansen is creating an innovative salary survey, an updated tool that will help employers and employees to understand market rates. He also continues to drive research that will help Pro AV businesses avoid unnecessary risk and spend more wisely. And he keeps looking for action: “There are always lots more important questions out there.”