Sometimes people just end up working in the AV industry by accident. Maybe their family has worked in the industry for years, maybe they came in through the guidance of a trusted friend or mentor, or maybe they had a passion for something related to AV.
For Andrew Brickman, service department manager at Logic Integration, it was pretty much all of the above.
“My AV career started in high school,” recalled Andrew. “I was attending a school called New Hampton School in New Hampton, New Hampshire. I was under the study of my music teacher at that time. I grew up with an a show production family and my father did a lot of music producing in recording studios. I was surrounded by all forms of media. And in high school I became intrigued with what makes it all work — the wires, the power, the speakers, the processing. That’s what really sunk the hook for me.”
Growing up Andrew was like many teens and extremely passionate about music, but he took it a step further and continued to pursue his love of music and playing bass. His music career was going strong. However, having grown up around recording studios and knowing a lot of older and famous musicians, Andrew knew that he would have a tough time doing music the rest of his life. He knew he needed a backup plan.
At the time, his music teacher and his counselors encouraged him to get his music degree, but also encouraged him to get a degree in some type of low voltage area or some type of trade so that he would have that to fall back on. During this time in 1996 and 1997, media began to blow up so Andrew felt that it was a safe route to take.
“I went to Hartwick College to study music and then went to Full Sail University in Orlando, Fla. for my Advanced AV Engineering degree,” explained Andrew. “All the while, I still had dreams of being a rock n’ roll star… I was at Full Sail in 1998 when the music scene began to blow up in Orlando. So I thought, ‘This is great! I’ll get my AV Engineering degree and then I’ll be in the hot spot for music all at that same time.'”
The move for Andrew was easy and comfortable and he knew that he was in the right place at that point and time to possibly make his music dream happen. However, the challenge of the curriculum at Full Sail was no joke.
“Full Sail is typically a 24/7 school. I started with 168 people in my class and I graduated on time with 32,” said Andrew. “It’s very demanding, but it really breaks you in to how the industry really works. You may get called and have to be on the job at 1:00 a.m. So that really set the mind frame that I have now to carry forward with my work.”
In addition to the education Full Sail provided, it also had a high end studio on campus so Andrew was able to do a lot of studio work there.
“Being a bass player and having the ability to play all styles of music along with the fact that I knew how to market myself well, furthered my music career,” said Andrew. “I began to play on the same stage as some of the biggest names out there.”
Andrew was living his dream.
He began touring, playing bass, sharing the stage with bands including Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie, Pantera, Damage Plan, Lacuna Coil, Static X, Drowning Pool and others.
Since he was also trained in the AV aspect of things, he began to do live sound and audio on the road for even bigger names like Willie Nelson, Redman and Method Man, Bob Marley and the Wailers, R. Kelly, Sevendust, Creed and even Blue Oyster Cult. (Andrew did add that the best prescription for a fever was more cowbell.)
Andrew continued to play with his own band in addition to working with recorded and live audio. You could say that a music career was going fairly well for Andrew. But he knew he couldn’t keep it up forever.
“You know, going through like, getting married, having kids, at the age of 27, 28, I knew it was time to slow down and put the backup plan into effect,” said Andrew.
He wanted something more. He wanted the bigger picture from life. So he decided to pursue high-end AV more exclusively. He began working with Show System Integrators in Orlando doing installations for Walt Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios and even a $2.5 million surveillance contract for Orange County Public Schools.
He’d been doing install work his whole life and so he was comfortable, but it was a different aspect of the business that he wasn’t as familiar with. There was a lot of bid work so Andrew was always trying to be on his toes and forward thinking. It was that which made Andrew even more comfortable with AV and gave him the confidence that he could do anything. He knew that this was the industry that he could end on. He had found his place in AV.
As his career in AV advanced and as he continued to form relationships around the industry, a series of events eventually led Andrew and his family out to Colorado. He began looking for work and eventually ended up working at Logic Integration where he is now.
“I pride myself on the fact that I am the ‘I’m here for you, I’m the ‘can answer any question kind of guy’,” explained Andrew. “We are dealing with all this new stuff coming out — VGA is going away and there’s only HDMI and now we’re looking at Cat7 and 4K and the truth is, everything is different. There’s always a problem and always something you have to fix. I don’t work off of paper, I work off of what I see.”
In addition to his job in AV, Andrew is passionate about his family. He is married to Angela and they have two children, Austin (18) and Ashlynn (4).
At the end of the day, Andrew is an AV guy and a family man. His experience in the industry has given him the drive to encourage others, too.
“For people that want to go into AV, you have to understand that you have to be comfortable with what you do, and always know that there’s people out there to support you,” he explained. “No vendor wants their equipment to fail in the field so never be nervous about what you’re walking into. Walk in with confidence, because 99 percent of the time you are going to have more knowledge than them. Be confident, pride yourself in your knowledge, know how to ask for help, find support, create relationships. Always put your best foot forward.”
It’s clear that Andrew not only speaks that, but lives it.