AV Insider Spotlight : Victoria Ferrari, CTS , Account Executive at Synergy CT

av-insider-spotlight-victoria-f-2-1116Each week, I am highlighting on some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling Victoria Ferrari .

Here is a brief intro about her.

 

Victoria Ferrari has worked in the Audiovisual industry from the year 2000. She is currently working as Account Executive at Synergy CT

Please drop your questions in the comments below and i will make sure that she sees them.

1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?

The summer after high school I went to work at Boeckeler Instruments in Tucson, AZ as the receptionist. I worked for the Pointmaker division. After a few months I was promoted to Sales & Marketing where I also took on technical support calls. I learned audio video technology by helping others figure out issues in the field. Talk about hands on work! I’ll never forget my first day taking calls. I had a stack of manuals on my desk, and the phones just started ringing! I guess you could say I got the hang of it pretty quick. Pat Brey, the VP at the time, would take me into the conference room every so often and help me learn about a particular technology within the suite of products. I found it very interesting and really enjoyed learning.

After 5 years I moved to Houston, TX and worked in the IT industry in inside sales. I was promoted to Insides Sales Manager within just a couple years. After 5 years there, Pat called me to come back to Tucson to be the North America Sales Manager.  I also got to be involved with product development at the component level. I would travel and meet with integrators & consultants to get a pulse on the industry needs/wants/changes and then go back and meet with our development team to discuss how we were going to roll out certain products with particular features. So not only was I doing sales, but I had a big part in R&D. I used to love to bench test beta products. They called me the exterminator because I usually found and replicated bugs and even came up with ideas on how to fix them. I was heavily involved in developing HDCP compliance and getting our chips to be compatible with the resolution 1920 x 1200 by altering the blanking. (Even though the specs on the chips said they couldn’t do it) Very interesting, fun, and challenging work!

My husband’s family obligations forced us to move back to Houston, and I’ve now been with SynergyCT for a little over 3 years. For the most of my career I worked for AV manufactures. (I did a short stint at Stewart Filmscreen before moving to Houston.) When I moved to Houston I took a few months off and applied for some manufactures, but I really sought out Synergy. After calling on this territory I knew they were an integrator I wanted to work for. They stood out from others as being a true design/build firm and I liked the company culture cultivated by the executives. I love being on the integration side. It has its’ own set of challenges and the sales environment changes day to day, client to client.

2.What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.

I think probably just the breadth of knowledge that is required to really be successful, and then it is always changing as well!

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3.What are the positives of working in this industry

Well for one, we get to “play” with some of the coolest latest technology, and the people are just great! Taking into consideration other industries, it really is small. It makes it quaint, in a good way. AV is just filled with lots of nice people that all have known each other for years and years. It kinda feels like a secret society!

4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent?

I wish more people knew about us. Although there is novelty in being small, the general populous doesn’t even recognize that we are an entire market segment with specialists that are the only people in the world that can do what we do. I feel this is changing though as more and more technology gets into the workplace and into the home and as the younger generations are growing up into higher positions, our industry is definitely becoming more a part of the big picture. It really is an interesting time right now. I see two main possibilities, or maybe some sort of a combination of the two; either we get completely swallowed up by IT, and IT figures out how to be experts in audio/acoustics and custom control programming, or AV starts to take over the parts of IT that affect us.

Having worked in both industries, I hate to say that IT definitely has a head start on us. Their documentation as a whole in every way is better; they have real standards that everyone actually adheres to, they do real monitoring & management, and they’ve been involved with business mission critical aspects for decades. 15 years ago, the projector goes down in the boardroom, not that big of a deal, “Let’s take out the old paper chart,” but email goes down and the company can’t function. Look at Cisco. Cisco account managers want an IT integrator to sell their VC codec, because they know that integrator will also sell Cisco phones, Cisco network infrastructure, Cisco security, etc. They don’t really care what the end result is in a conference room with video conferencing. VC is a tiny fraction of the whole deal. They don’t care that the room needs acoustic treatments, or real microphones. I’ve lost a good amount of deals to Cisco IT integrators, but then end users end up coming to AV companies like Synergy to “fix” the room later. We’re definitely at an interesting apex, and time will tell how things are going to shake out. I really hope more and more AV companies begin to really understand IT, but more importantly know how to sell it and support it as it relates to AV.

5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you.

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My ideal client has no budget. LOL! I mean really imagine the cool rooms I could build if money wasn’t a factor! I would love to do a gigantic 5 projector rear projection blend one day, although the direct view LED walls are also really giving 2-piece projection a run for the money. Still, there will always be something I love about the science and physics behind projection, and with AR becoming a possible useful technology in the future, I think projection could make a big come back.

For now, I’ll just keep playing PokemonGo on my phone for “research” purposes….
I wish clients really understood the cost of AV. I feel like sometimes they base their pricing on Best Buy black Friday deals, and don’t really capture the grasp of all the true engineering it takes to properly design and integrate a custom room. I put in a lot of effort justifying pricing, but luckily most clients do end up understanding and once they start using their custom room they get it, and they love it.

6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?

I don’t know that I would do anything differently. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and my experiences (good or bad) have shaped where I’m at, and who I am.

av-insider-spotlight-victoria-f-5-1116[RELATED] : If you have missed any of the previous interviews, please click here.
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?

So I have two types of typical work days. I office from my home, so some days are spent in my PJ’s, at my desk, in my office, with my 3 dogs, where the sun shines in my window all day and I call, email, blog, tweet, put together proposals, follow up, etc. I love days like that. I have a set TO DO list, with minimal distractions, and I get through it. I feel so productive on those days!

My other typical work day is up early, do my hair, do my make-up, and drive around town visiting prospects and clients. Those days go by so fast! I drive about 10,000 miles a year just for work, and my territory is only Houston! I love those days too.

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8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?

It may sound clique, but Outlook is my number one daily software that I use for so much. Email & calendar obviously, but I also use the task feature as my TO DO list and for all my sales follow up. For example, I’ll create a task for a particular proposal I sent, and I’ll type in the notes the day it was sent, and then set it out for a week to follow up with the client if I don’t hear from them, then I’ll make another note with the next day/time I follow up, and continue that until I close the deal, or they tell me to go take a hike!

As far as apps go, I would die without Google maps. Houston is a big sprawled out city with multiple highways and intersects. One wrong turn, and you could easily be 30 minutes out of the way. Even if I’ve been to a client site many times, I still always turn on google maps for traffic conditions and potential alternative routes.

For more information about Victoria Ferrari, please find a few links.

Twitter: @victoria0429
Blog: http://blog.synergyct.com/
Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/victoriaferrari

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Ajish Raju

About Ajish Raju

Ajish Raju is co-founder and Chief Evangelist of Favante. He loves traveling, trying new cuisines and gadgets. Reach him at ajish@ajishraju.me