Name: Lex Peters
Title: Learning Environments Support Analyst
Company: University of Southern California
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Overtime: In her free time, Peters enjoys leveraging her AV knowledge and equipment connections to help throw “extravagant” events for friends and family, such as a recent bridal shower. She also enjoys cooking and baking.
Why You Need to Know Her: Lex Peters is bringing a new perspective to the AV industry. A people person with a public relations background, she is working to evangelize technology and promote its usefulness in ways that everyone can understand.
“I want to bring our industry into the light in terms of communications in ways that it’s overlooked, especially in higher education,” she said. “Being that ‘middle man’ has been fun. I’ve come to understand a lot of the AV talk, and I like translating that for other people. Explaining what our systems can do in layman’s terms, I think that helps a lot.”
Fresh Slate: While many of us got into AV via technical inroads, Peters found her way to the industry purely by chance. A student at California Baptist University, she saw a posting for a part-time job in the IT department and took a shot in the dark. In her interview with Joe Way, Ph.D., CTS, the college’s director of multimedia services at the time, she was candid about her lack of experience.
“I told him, ‘I don’t know anything about technology,’” Peters recalled. “I didn’t even know what ‘AV’ stood for. I said, ‘Honestly, I just need a job.’” After a good conversation, Way recognized Peters’ penchant for customer service—the skill he was seeking in a candidate—and assured her he’d teach her all the technical aspects she’d need.
She got the job, and over two years during college she helped Way establish the school’s audiovisual department as an entity separate from IT. Together, they created a servicing system, installed Extron systems throughout campus, and led a BrightSign digital signage initiative.
Finding a Home: Though she enjoyed her time working with technology, Peters graduated with a degree in public relations and decided to pursue a career in the field of her major. She worked in the PR department for a local government organization in Riverside, CA, for a year. Then she happened to hear about a job opening from Joe Way, who had just began heading the Learning Environments team at USC. “Just because I knew Joe so well and trusted him, I decided to give it a go and ended up getting the position,” she said.
It turns out that Peters was exactly the person the department needed; prior to Way’s arrival, it had really lost its way in terms of servicing customers. “They didn’t come to us, they didn’t trust us,” she said. “The tickets would say that we solved the problem, but it was a terrible experience.” Since joining the Learning Environments team in October, Peters has helped restore its reputation to excellent standing, and is working on a major overhaul of the technology in the 280 classrooms the team services.
Peters feels that she has truly found a home in her current role, one that combines her love for PR and her newly cultivated AV skills. “I came into this industry during college just like, ‘OK, it’s a job,’” she said. “And now it’s something I geek out about. I’m so excited about where it can lead and the possibilities of what it can do, and I want to share with everyone just how much it can be used for communication and for helping the general population.”
Learn more about Lex on this episode of AVNation.