The Nine: Stanton Helms -

The Nine: Stanton Helms

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 Title: Intern
Company: ZDI
Location: Normal, IL

Why You Should Know Him: Helms is not your typical musician-turned-sound engineer. While music has always been a hobby, it was a volunteer role that exposed him to the AV industry: “I was at AT&T previously, and decided I wanted to change my career. I got interested in this field by working with the media ministry at my church. I did that for two years before deciding to leave my job at AT&T and pursue Columbia College’s program.”

Transitioning From Old to New: “My background started in telecommunications, which parallels a lot of what AV does—the foundations are pretty much the same, so it’s easy for me to translate my knowledge to what I am working on now,” Helms said. “I wanted to use my talents and skills to pursue something larger and more innovative, which is why I went back to school.”

Why He Enjoys AV: Helms’ newly developed skills in audio and video display technology have led him to see the importance of proper AV design, and the practical uses for each product. “The AV industry as a whole is amazing to me,” he said. “Before, I had no idea that this technology existed—as an outsider, we see projectors and presentation walls as part of our everyday lives. We take that technology for granted.”

Helms also loves the fast-pace of the industry. “Once you start in AV, you need to be prepared to be in a field where anything can change on a dime. You can create a design and 20 minutes later something is added and you need to change your whole project. You need to be flexible in this industry, accept constructive criticism, and never be afraid to speak up.”

Diving In Head First: One week after joining ZDI as an intern, Helms said he flew down to Orlando to attend InfoComm, an experience that he found both overwhelming and rewarding. “The experience allowed me to gain exposure to the industry and bring it back to ZDI. I spent a lot of time at vendor booths looking at products and learning about their purpose and real-world value. I’m a very visual learner—I like to plug-and-play and pull things out, so to see that happening in front of me was so valuable,” he explained.

A Proud Mentorship: Helms credits much of his success so far to being mentored by his teacher and boss, Jeremy Caldera of ZDI: “Not only is he my supervisor, but he is also one of my instructors at Columbia College. He is willing to share pieces of information I request, and helped me study for my CTS exam. The fact that he is so willing to teach me here at ZDI and on the college level shows me his overall character. He’s a great guy and I really enjoy working with him.”

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