Name: Chase McCloud
Title: Senior Technical Designer
Company: Solomon Group
Location: New Orleans, LA
Overtime: McCloud volunteers at his church, playing piano and singing. And he likes to run. “I started running in 2006 to lose weight three months before my wedding, and I lost 80 pounds and got addicted to running. Now I take my kids and push a double stroller.”
Why You Need to 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.
Cut to the Chase: It’s hard not to grow up around music when that growing up is in New Orleans. McCloud got into guitar and drums as a teenager, writing songs, starting rock bands, and playing in church in the pre-Hurricane Katrina days. To date, he has a music video and two albums with a band under his belt.
Performing often entailed running sound and lights on his own, using whatever AV equipment could be had. Eventually, a day job in sales at Guitar Center led him into the arena of rental and staging for a small, local company where he managed lighting and audio for weddings and special events. “I managed the AV department; it was a trial-by-fire experience in live production, but I learned a lot,” McCloud said.
His next move was to the NOLA office of Swank (which merged with PSAV) where a mentor, Scott Buford, entrusted McCloud to become a tech director, running a crew and gaining an overview of project management and operations for mainly corporate events. “I moved up quickly after Katrina because so many industry people left New Orleans and there was a need,” he said. “So I had an opportunity to learn 3D modeling and rendering for events, learning the design side of things and configuration for lighting and audio placement. It was exciting and a little scary and I fell in love with it. I could use my brain to come up with ideas.”
In 2013, a systems design job with Interstate Electronics Systems opened the world of installations for him. There, McCloud learned about what InfoComm offered and began his successful certification journey.
Then, in 2017, McCloud joined the storied Solomon Group. Associated with live events such as Voodoo Fest and Lollapalooza, Solomon also works with museums on the integration side of the house, where McCloud is now senior technical designer, with some crossover into the company’s custom fabrication side. “Coming to Solomon and being introduced to our custom fabrication group opened another whole world to me,” he said. “Growing up I was pretty disorganized, but working in design has given me the desire to keep everything in order. Now I am task-based and write down everything I need to do for weekly goals. I try to take advantage of webinars and free education; there’s so much that I didn’t even know existed before.”
Into the Future: One task for McCloud is in keeping on top of what manufacturers are doing that will affect his work. All the network-centric talk necessitates more learning about distributed audio and video. “There’s a lot of planning that needs to be done, what I call the ‘in-between stuff,’ with CobraNet and Dante-enabled products,” he said. “Sometimes that planning is overlooked so I focus on it. I like to tell everyone that there is so much information readily available that people don’t always take advantage of.”