On Scott Sharer

Like many of you, I’ve known Scott Sharer for many years. He developed the first videoconferencing classes more than 20 years ago and taught them for 15 or so years. He and I served on numerous committees together at InfoComm and we taught at InfoComm’s and PETC Institutes for 20+ years all over the world.

My fellow AV industry friend, Steve Thorburn, sent me the note below about Scott and asked us to share it with all of you. Says Steve:

Many of you have asked me about Scott over the past few years, while at InfoComm and other events.

Last month when I called his cell to check in that he and Sandie were ready or if they needed help with Irma’s predicted landfall in Savannah, Sandie answered said all was well, then let me know why the collective group has not seen or heard from Scott lately.

So here it is: Scott has been diagnosed with moderate to severe atrophy of the brain and dementia caused by vascular degeneration of the brain. He has also had a stroke in the left pons area of the brain. Both Social Security and his long term disability insurance provider the date of the disability as 5/31/2015.

In Sandie’s note to me after our call she said:

He knew there was a problem for quite awhile before that, part of which I’m sure, is why he stopped teaching for InfoComm [now AVIXA]. They say the highly intelligent people are the ones that develop the best coping mechanisms (or is that the ability to hide it?). There’s a great movie called “Still Alice” which pretty much tells the story. She had early onset Alzheimer’s but dementia is dementia regardless of the physical cause. Scott has a lot of trouble reading now and has become dyslexic when responding to email. He has visual and now auditory hallucinations, some trouble walking, and has started losing parts of every day. Probably the hardest part of all of this is when he says, ‘I still remember that I used to be smart.’

But he is still the kindest, most generous man he’s always been, articulate and independent. We take every day as it comes and try to make the most of it.

She also suggested that we send a note to her that she can share with Scott describing a memory of his interaction with you or how you learned something from him. Email and phone calls are hard for Scott, so Sandie asked that we send them to her so she can share them with Scott. Please send them to scott.r.sharer@gmail.com.

I am heartbroken to be the one that is passing this on, but I have so many fond memories of IPDs, InfoComms, Install Schools and Design Schools where I was privileged to rub shoulders with Scott for 20 plus years.


Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (www.amx.com), a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (www.extron.com), rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at gary@ravepubs.com..

  • Betsy Jaffe

    Socrates once said that “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” If that is the case Scott Sharer was in danger of sparking a 5-alarm blaze at many InfoComm events. He did more than teach — he inspired and amazed thousands of AV professionals over the years. I recently spoke with a member who recalled taking a class from Scott more than 20 years ago in vivid detail. He said that he owed most of his career in videoconferencing to this amazing instructor. Scott was more than a teacher, but a loyal friend to many. A brother-in-arms to his fellow instructors, a mentor to his students, with a touch of sorcery, mad-scientist and magic thrown in. A Willie Wonka of the AV world. He was, and is, an original — whether he was donning his trademark Spongebob tie, whirring around on his Segway, or explaining complex topics in his one-of-a kind way, he was alwaysunforgettable. Scott’s presence has been missed, but his legacy to the industry will live on forever.

    Betsy Jaffe
    Senior Vice President, Member Services

    • Gary Kayye

      Betsy, no one else could’ve said that better. Thank you for adding that and for your incredible memories and appreciation

  • Frederick Ampel


    I took classes from Scott, helped him with classes, and generally
    stood in awe of his knowledge, willingness to share and ability to
    talk to anyone about almost anything. He never said no when asked
    a question and always gave far more than he got. It it with great
    sadness that I have learned of the current situation and wish you
    both the best outcome possible. May you find peace!

    Dr. Frederick
    J. Ampel – MSEE, PhD, AES Life Member, CEDIA

    President & Principal

    Technology Visions Analytics

    Best Regards,

    Dr. Frederick
    J. Ampel – MSEE, PhD, AES Life Member, CEDIA

    President & Principal

    Technology Visions Analytics

  • Joel Rollins

    When Cortez reached the New World, he burned his ships. He did this to signify that there was no going back.

    Scott has set fire to his ships, and ours, more than once.

    I will abandon the metaphor before I get carried away, but it is a fact: Scott is a pioneer in every sense of the word.

    It has been a great privilege to know Scott for the last 30 years or so. I first met Scott in the early 1990s, when we were both among the “new kids on the block” among the Institute instructors. I was teaching AV rental and staging (Fundamentals of Rental Operations) and Scott was a young telecom evangelist, teaching our first dedicated courses in videoconferencing technology. Our classes were next door to each other, and we had each driven there with a van load of gear for our classes, so at lunch we began comparing setups, With a lot of folks from both classes mingling while we all looked over the gear. Scott immediately suggested an experiment after class with hooking an early BT videoconferencing system up with the CRT projector, tube based camera and titling system in my class. This was all new stuff at the time, but Scott has always been a ringleader in testing and stretching the possibilities of new technologies. That experiment started after class that night, with most of both classes hanging around and participating. All the while, Scott worked on hook up and adjustment while simultaneously delivering a lecture on the next generation in telecom technology and how it was going to change our industry. As I recall, the last of us left the room very late that night.

    I learned two things that night: first, not to get in Scott’s way when he is working on an experiment, and that trying to learn just a little bit from Scott is like trying to get a drink from a firehose.

    in all the time I have known him, Scott has pushed the edge of technology in order to understand its potential, and has been determined to make sure that the rest of us understood it too. He helped change the way our industry sees digital technology, and along the way influenced a new generation of instructors for the industry.

    We all owe him.

    Joel Rollins

  • Chris Gillespie

    i will just add one thing… much has been said and will be said about the depth and breadth of Scott’s knowledge. there is no disputing that.

    But in the end, my fondest and most vidid memories are of how much of a “character” he is. from the surf shop, to his “boardroom” to many many interesting analogies and more. he brought color to things. and it was good to find out over time that he actually was a real person and not just some sort of teaching Max Headroom.