The Nine 2023: Adrienne Knick

Adrienne Knick, The Nine 2023
(Image credit: Future)

Title: Senior Director, Certification

Company: AVIXA

Location: Fairfax, VA

Overtime: If you don’t see Knick working, chances are she’s in the air working on her pilot’s license.

Why You Need to Know Her: Adrienne Knick has long worked on improving the AVIXA testing and assessment space, and was a driving force behind making the CTS exam available through online exam proctoring.

Though one of the industry’s brightest young stars, Knick is already a seasoned AV veteran, spending her entire career in the certification department at AVIXA. Beginning her journey in 2009, the testing and certification process has come a long way while she climbed the ladder to senior director of certification.

A life in Pro AV wasn’t necessarily in the cards. Knick graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in psychology. She worked at Best Buy’s Geek Squad, which piqued her interest in technology. (It’s also where she met her husband, so it turned out to be a great job for her future.) However, finding the right career after graduation in 2007 was no easy task, so Knick patiently waited, temping until the right position came along.

I don't shy away from a challenge and even if it doesn't work out, you've learned something that's going to make you stronger for the next thing that you try.

That position was certification coordinator for AVIXA. “I'm actually one of the very lucky people who got a psych degree and actually get to use it,” Knick said. “A big part of [the certification program] is industrial organizational psychology, the science of human assessment, and what makes something statistically valid and what makes something a good test question, and how you actually measure reliably and validly the knowledge you're trying to target.”

As Knick looked back at the past 14 years with AVIXA, every new position presented a new challenge. Getting up to speed on accreditation standards and how to administer them were not taught in Knick’s psychology classes. Nor were the thousands of pages for her annual audits once she was in a managerial position (audits AVIXA always looked very good in, mind you).

“I don't shy away from a challenge and even if it doesn't work out, you've learned something that's going to make you stronger for the next thing that you try,” Knick said. “And I think that was a really hard lesson to learn, to not be afraid to fail. But failure is only temporary, and it improves your odds for next time.”

Knick is most proud of helping AVIXA maintain its relevance. She was the force behind getting the CTS exam proctored online. Of course, COVID-19 accelerated the process—but Knick looked another challenge in the face and once again conquered it.

“It really opened up the opportunity to take the CTS exam to just a huge number of people across the world,” Knick said. “There are going to be some places around the world where it's still cumbersome to have to go to a test center. It might be a day of travel. And now we have removed that barrier to entry for them, which is so important for workforce development.”

After more than a decade in the industry, what parting advice does Knick have for the next wave of Pro AV talent? “Be ready to learn,” she said. “AV is constantly evolving. We saw a huge jump in evolution with the pandemic when everyone was suddenly like, ‘We have to figure out how to make everything online now.’ We were here for that. And there is going to be something else. There's always going to be something else that is going to be that kick to have the next round of innovation.”

Meet the rest of The Nine.

Wayne Cavadi
Senior Content Manager

Wayne Cavadi is the senior content manager of Systems Contractor News. Prior to taking a leap into the Pro AV industry, Wayne was a journalist and content lead for Turner Sports, covering the NCAA, PGA, and Major and Minor League Baseball. His work has been featured in a variety of national publications including Bleacher Report, Lindy's Magazine, and The Advocate. When not writing, he hosts the DII Nation Podcast, committed to furthering the stories and careers of NCAA Division II student-athletes. Follow his work on Twitter at @WayneCavadi_2 or the SCN mag Twitter page.