Spotlight : Andrew Hill, Engineer, AVCON, Inc.

Every week, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who work for the Audio Video Industry. In this post, we are profiling Andrew Hill . Here is his brief introduction.

 

Andrew has been working for the Audiovisual industry for about 17 years. He is currently working for AVCON, Inc., Cary, NC as an engineer.

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

I got my start in the world of A/V as a “Cable Guy”. Working as a contractor to a national cable provider was just a job, but I happened to get really lucky. The company had a separate department that specialized in residential/commercial A/V systems, and the supervisor had been a middle school teacher of mine. I had a good rapport with him, (young people, remember to treat your teachers kindly; they might be your boss someday) and he invited me to be the lone installer in this department. The commercial side only accounted for about 20% of the workload, but it set the ground work for the future.

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

A/V, as an industry, has a cadence that is very quick. New technology and client needs are ever-evolving; that isn’t going to stop anytime soon. My observation is that most companies really do try to give internal training, but because of this pace, scheduling quality training in can be troublesome. This leads to many newcomers being left to the wolves. Another factor is the cost associated with training. Not only the cost of “out-of-field” time but the cost of some training classes. I have seen and been a part of training seminars that cost hundreds of dollars. The industry as a whole needs to reassess the costs for training classes.

3. What are the positives of working in this industry?

The possibilities in today’s A/V industry compel me and keep it fresh. The creative challenge is to use the tools at hand to create an experience that meets the client’s needs and “wows” them in some way.

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

As mentioned earlier, our industry’s technology is always evolving, providing us with new solutions. However, these frequent changes make it difficult to keep up with the training that goes along with those changes. Integrators on the local level need to be careful not to bite off more than they can chew by diving head first into every new tech that comes along. Effectively training a skilled tech group means sampling the new flavor before you buy a gallon.

[RELATED] : If you have missed any of the previous interviews, please click here.
5. Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?

An ideal client is knowledgeable enough to know what their use cases are but will allow you to be the guide to the solution.

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

I’d go back and tell my 18 year-old self to stop living like I have unlimited income. I’d save and invest so I didn’t have to learn hard financial lessons later in life. I learned a wise motto from Dave Ramsey: “Live like no one else now to live like no one else later”.
I would also concentrate on making sure my career direction was well-defined to my prospective employers. Too many times I would accept a position with the idea that I would start in one position and transition to another later. That day would never come, and I would feel stalled.
Treat your employment contract not only as something your employer expects from you, but also what you expect from them. For example, outline specific dates and requirements that, when met, will allow you move into another position. This helps both sides stay honest and objective in the process and provides some accountability.

7. Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?

My day starts with 15 to 30 minutes of general education. I use LinkedIn’s Daily Run Down. It keeps me up-to-date not only on the A/V industry, but on current affairs in general. A story from a seemingly unrelated field might impact our business. I then spend 30 minutes with A/V industry specific publications, like rAVe. I might pick an unfamiliar tech and take a 10K foot look at where it can be a solution. Next, I spend time at manufacturers’ websites that we use often, getting familiar with new products. Lastly, in-house manufacturer or distributor sit- downs, preferably over lunch, are indispensable. This gives us the one-on-one time we need to address positives and negatives we have been encountering with field deployment.

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

I use AutoCAD and D-tools for our design process. D-tools, more than any other utility, provides a seamless way to put together a project.

9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?

This goes back to my statement about daily disciplines. I was once told to spend 30 minutes a day researching your field. I try to find opportunities to get in the field and work hands on with products we specify. It’s tough juggling the timeline, but it’s important for engineering professionals or those separated from the day-to-day field activities to keep a finger on the pulse.

Please connect with him on Linkedin.

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

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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

  • steve wanke

    I worked with Andy at two different AV companies over the years. I can tell you, that this interview is absolutely true to who he is (except that he does not mention his crippling addiction for fixing old cars)

    I also agree with his assessment of training. Too many companies want their techs to profitably install something with which the boss KNOWS they have no experience, but then refuses to make time for getting them trained. One of the biggest issues in the field.