The Nine 2022: Shane Springer

Shane Springer
(Image credit: Future)

Title: Technical Sales Architect

Company: Zoom

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Overtime: With three daughters, three dogs, and a small farm in Michigan, it's not very hard for Springer to keep busy. Assuming there is ever an end to the chores on the farm, he’s also a musician and plays as often as possible.

Why You Need to Know Him: Shane Springer is a tireless tinkerer, who is constantly discovering many new ways to operate, innovate, and create in his field. "I'm a chronic improver. I'm always looking for ways that something can get 1% better,” Springer said. “If you do that every day, there's no limit to the progress you can make."

Springer began his career in live production 20 years ago. As he rose up in the live production industry, life set in. When Springer’s first child was born, he decided to “give up the road” and stay home. So he went into systems installation, working for ZDI/RoomReady, Diversified, and One Workplace as a programmer and a design engineer.

My first patent was an unbelievable feeling—just the feeling of having contributed to such an amazing industry.

Over the years, Springer has designed, installed, and supported dozens of multi-million-dollar projects across industries such as financial services, healthcare, and enterprise. He has gained invaluable experience and insights that have influenced his approach to AV in the process.

"I have always loved to create something new that truly pushes the boundaries of the state of the art,” he said. “Every new headquarters, amphitheater, or medical simulation center is a new opportunity to combine the existing tools in new and exciting ways that enable these installed systems to look better, work better, and feel better to those who interact with them day-to-day."

Now that he works for Zoom, Springer spends his working days solving real-life problems. In collaboration with many of Zoom's most imaginative and demanding customers, he designs, develops, and deploys solutions that enhance how the world does business with Zoom. These solutions help make the videoconferencing experience more natural and comfortable for users, at a time when Zoom conferences have become a regular daily occurrence for employees, managers, and clients worldwide.

"It's hard to overstate how fortunate I feel to be able to truly make a difference at scale.  I've been a part of continuing development on Zoom Rooms' Native Room Controls, Smart Gallery, NDI integration, and many more,” said Springer. “These are some of the pivotal features allowing conference spaces to feel natural, new, and usable. As we all continue the journey back into the new workplace, we need technology that meets us where we are and lifts us up. I'm proud of Zoom Rooms for being just that."

Although Springer has taken part in some major AV technological advances during his career, improving user experience remains his primary focus. "I like working on projects that create better moments for the system's users,” he said. “For example, I worked on the first AVIXA APEX certification that enabled more consistent deliveries and user outcomes. I also serve on the Board of Directors for AQAV, which enables me to regularly help improve the status quo and education in the industry. And a former end user, I am always stepping back to look at how the user will actually live the choices I make."

In addition to his daily duties, Springer is also a successful inventor with multiple awarded patents in the UC space, and he continues to innovate and invent while working at Zoom. "My first patent was an unbelievable feeling—just the feeling of having contributed to such an amazing industry,” he said. “I think all of us have at least one unique idea to offer, and I'd adamantly encourage anyone who hasn't spoken up yet to start telling people about their big idea. Someone out there wants that problem solved just as much as you do."

Asked about his plans for the future, Springer plans to keep doing what he’s doing now. "My approach has led me on an incredible journey so far, so I hope to double down on the core of what's been successful: putting users first, looking for opportunities for continuous improvement, and never taking an eye off of the art of the process," he said.

Springer attributes much of his career success to the mentors who have helped him along the way. He advises others in the industry to find this kind of support structure so that they can achieve their own career goals, and to provide the same support to people coming up the ranks below them.

"A solid mentor is truly priceless,” he said. “Find people that exemplify the way you want to work and the impact you want to make; then just reach out. If they're passionate about the same things you are, they'll be happy to forge a new connection."

At the same time, self-improvement, hard work, and dogged problem-solving are also key to career success. "While it's way more enjoyable to have someone hold your hand through every issue, you learn a whole lot more about the problem and yourself when you are painted into a corner alone,” said Springer. “It's critical to create space for trying things that are new or things that you're bad at. And failure doesn't have to be bad: That pinch you feel when you fail is growth, so take time to feel it in places where you can recover and learn from it."

Meet the rest of The Nine.

James Careless

James Careless is an award-winning freelance journalist with extensive experience in audio-visual equipment, AV system design, and AV integration. His credits include numerous articles for Systems Contractor News, AV Technology, Radio World, and TV Tech, among others. Careless comes from a broadcasting background, with credits at CBC Radio, NPR, and NBC News. He currently co-produces/co-hosts the CDR Radio podcast, which covers the Canadian defense industry. Careless is a two-time winner of the PBI Media Award for Excellence.