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The Nine: Sharath Abraham

Name: Sharath Abraham

Title: Technical Director

Company: Crestron

Twitter: @SharathSAbraham

Location: New York, NY

Overtime: Every year, Abraham and his wife each challenge themselves to learn a new skill. This year he’s throwing himself into becoming a great disc jockey. He also loves playing and coaching basketball.

Sharath Abraham, Crestron

Why You Need to Know Him: Sharath Abraham has merged his strong skill set in IT, his big personality, and his passion for mentoring into the perfect role. As a technical director at Crestron, Abraham is learning to shift his mindset from always being in problem-solving mode to a higher-level, more strategic perspective on projects. He’s had to learn a lot.

“My biggest challenge was moving from post-sales to pre-sales. I was used to having to fix everything,” Abraham said. “I had to learn to listen to the customer’s needs and problems, and then mediate the solution in the right channel. That took some time, and I was fortunate to have some great mentors help me along the way.”

 

The Broken IT Road: Abraham began life halfway around the world in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. He spoke three languages by age 7. He was attending an English-speaking school when his parents made the decision to come to the United States. After being introduced to basketball, his dream was to be an NBA star.

Once his mother convinced him he wasn’t going to make the pros, his initial interest at college was IT, a field he pursued for a while. With an undergraduate degree in IT and a master’s degree in information systems, Abraham started training on network systems to understand how everything connects. His first job was doing SAP programming, and though he excelled, he became bored and frustrated with his job and abruptly quit.

After reaching out to friends, one suggested he apply at Crestron to work in tech support. “When Crestron found out my background was in IT, they recognized I could bring some expertise to the table,” Abraham said. “I just wanted the chance to learn and grow.”

Coming Back Around: Today, Abraham has combined his expertise, and he is passionate about making sure AV is introduced to new platforms. He discusses the AV industry with people who might not normally know about it. He leverages his involvement in his fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, and connections with industry colleagues to mentor kids and introduce them to AV as a viable career path.

Abraham views himself as somewhat unique in the AV industry. He is vocal in asking questions and leveraging social media, especially Twitter, to learn from people industry-wide. His outgoing personality is an asset here. He doesn’t want to be siloed with only Crestron technology, so he pushes himself to learn other technologies and platforms as well.

He believes in strong mentors, and named Starin’s Chris Neto as someone who helped him early on. He also learns from sales team members who have varied backgrounds. In fact, they all learn from one another; he brings his IT background to the group to teach them as well.

“I have the ability to socialize in a way that doesn’t get too deep in the woods, unless the client asks for that,” Abraham concluded. “I’m also good at training people up to the ability of tech they have. I like to read the room when I do presentations and demos, which helps make meaningful connections.”

Get to know the rest of The Nine. 

Learn more about Sharath on this episode of AVNation.