The Nine 2023: Meet 9 Next Gen Trailblazers

The Nine 2023
(Image credit: Future)

They take risks. They forge new paths. They bring professionalism and positivity to the workplace. They are The Nine—and the future of Pro AV is the hands of individuals like these young leaders.

Mel Baglio

Mel Baglio, AV Chicago

(Image credit: AV Chicago)

Title: Director of Operations

Company: AV Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

Overtime: When she's not spending time with her husband and pets, Baglio enjoys architecture and landscape photography.

Why You Need to Know Her: Don't tell Mel Baglio, 36, she can't do something. She might just make a career out of proving you wrong.

Learn more about Mel here.

Karen Castaño

Karen Castano

(Image credit: Exertis Almo)

Title: Director of National Business

Company: Exertis Almo

Location: Dallas, TX

Overtime: While she enjoys photography and writing, you’ll most likely find her chasing around her two-year-old triplets in her spare time (which she photographs and writes about in her blog).

Why You Need to Know Her: Her own ambitions are secondary to her team’s where she is a strong advocate for promoting the future talent of Pro AV. “My joy is seeing other people succeed,” Castaño said. “It's far more important than my personal glory.”

Learn more about Karen here.

Jeremy Codiroli

Jeremy Codiroli, AVI-SPL

(Image credit: AVI-SPL)

Title: Vice President, Process Improvement

Company: AVI-SPL

Location: Richmond, VA

Overtime: Codiroli loves football and played defensive end on a state championship-level team. He also loves spending time with his wife and two kids, mountain biking, and watching as many movies as possible.

Why You Need to Know Him: Jeremy Codirol has the ability to put a strong focus on complex calculations, data, and processes—but also can transition to more creative thinking to come up with unique outside-the-box solutions. Combining that with his extensive process improvement and supply chain experience allows him to focus on transforming AVI-SPL’s supply chain model, improving consistency as well as the quality of what they provide for their customers.

Learn more about Jeremy here.

Brandon Heinz

Brandon Heinz, Renkus-Heinz

(Image credit: Renkus-Heinz)

Title: Product Manager

Company: Renkus-Heinz

Location: Los Angeles

Overtime: Heinz organizes dance music events with a group of best friends, highlighting domestic and international artists and record labels, and produces his own house and techno music.

Why You Need to Know Him: With a formal education in biology, Brandon Heinz brings a unique perspective to systems-level thinking. This approach allows him to dissect and analyze how various parts of an AV system work together, allowing him to identify the appropriate trends that will enable Renkus-Heinz to connect with a broader market.

 Learn more about Brandon here.

David Kaszycki

David Kaszycki, Beam Dynamics

(Image credit: Beam Dynamics)

Title: Co-Founder and CEO

Company: Beam Dynamics

Location: Winston-Salem, NC

Overtime: In his off hours, Kaszycki can be found cooking, writing, trying local craft beers, or golfing.

Why You Need to Know Him: David Kaszycki, 33, is an entrepreneur at heart who likes to solve problems. That combination led him to co-found Beam Dynamics, a company that is bridging the information gap between Pro AV manufacturers and end users.

Learn more about David here.

Adrienne Knick

Adrienne Knick, AVIXA

(Image credit: AVIXA)

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.

 Learn more about Adrienne here.

James Knight

James Knight, Xilica

(Image credit: Xilica)

Title: CEO

Company: Xilica

Location: London

Why You Need to Know Him: James Knight had little prior experience in the AV industry before joining one of the leaders in collaboration technology, Xilica, in 2020. But he leveraged his extensive management consulting experience to bring a fresh perspective to the business, increasing value while deploying solutions that are easy to implement. 

Learn more about James here.

Justin Lachovsky

Justin Lachovsky, Telecine

(Image credit: Telecine)

Title: Director, Sales and Marketing

Company: Telecine

Location: Montreal

Overtime: Lachovsky is a massive fan of DC comics, especially Batman. His fandom is so large that he even has a half-sleeve Batman tattoo on his right arm. You could say the Dark Knight is always with him.

Why You Need to Know Him: When it comes to digital signage, Justin Lachovsky focuses on content first. It’s a concept that Telecine, the innovative digital signage company where he serves as director of sales and marketing, continues to provide education on for the industry. He also approaches everything with the customer and their needs first, helping them to find the best solution to achieve their desired effect rather than pigeonholing them into a pre-built solution.

Learn more about Justin here.

Katie Murphy Khulusi

Katie Murphy Khulusi, Meyer Sound

(Image credit: Meyer Sound)

Title: Engineering Director, Acoustical and Mechanical

Company: Meyer Sound

Location: Berkeley, CA

Overtime: What doesn’t she do in her free time? Along with snowboarding and backpacking the Sierras with her dad, she is the neighborhood coordinator for the Berkeley Food Pantry, makes candles, and moonlights as a bar trivia host.

Why You Need to Know Her: You would think that being the driving force behind Meyer Sound’s PANTHER loudspeaker system would top the list, but that is just part of Katie Murphy Khulusi’s story. She’s not just part of the youth revolution in Pro AV, she is likely your strongest ally and advocate, using “every platform that is available to me to do that.”

Learn more about Katie here.

Mark J. Pescatore
Content Director

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News. He has been writing about Pro AV industry for more than 25 years. Previously, he spent more than eight years as the editor of Government Video magazine. During his career, he's produced and hosted two podcasts focused on the professional video marketplace, taught more than a dozen college communication courses, co-authored the book Working with HDV, and co-edited two editions of The Guide to Digital Television.