AV People: Anthony Coppedge

coppedge-0115“I’ve tried to escape the AV industry multiple times… but I just can’t,” laughed Anthony Coppedge as he talked about his life in AV.

Anthony needs no introduction, but instead, deserves one. For nearly 20 years, Anthony has worked in the secular world of AV, the ministry world of church staff, and the para-church ministry of three companies that serve the church space.

He’s been a pastor on staff at a church, but he’s also sold, designed and consulted as an integrator in the AV space. He’s also consulted with manufacturers on products in the AV space. The fact that he’s consulted AND sold AND designed AND worked in churches has given him such a breadth of experience, while also giving him an incredibly unique perspective when it comes to AV… especially in the house of worship arena.

Currently, Anthony focuses on consulting with churches about leveraging appropriate systems, processes and technologies for a more effective ministry.

But, like many people in the industry, he didn’t grow up wanting to work in AV. In fact, he, like many others, got into AV by accident.

“I started my college degree at the University of Texas – San Antonio (UTSA) on a soccer scholarship. I played semi-pro for a while when I was 18 and then I decided I didn’t want to pursue soccer anymore,” Anthony explained. “So I quit and suddenly I realized that if you quit on a scholarship, you can’t go to school there anymore.”

After Anthony left UTSA, he transferred to San Antonio College (SAC) for the “meantime” to figure out what he wanted to do. He took an elective called “Audio Editing” — and it was during the time of taking a tape and some razor blade and cutting audio together.

“I took the class and realized I really liked it. I really liked the technical side… and one of the deans [at SAC] told me to take this television production class,” said Anthony. That class only furthered Anthony’s interest in AV.

He started working his very first church job volunteering at a church in San Antonio, where it was very much trial by fire. He was learning the basics of AV… hands on. And as he learned, he realized that he had a penchant for the technical side of things. Between his experience at the church and his experience in the classroom, Anthony realized he had a gift for working in broadcast television, with cameras and editing, and he went off to Dallas to finish his degree at the University of North Texas.

Most, if not all, of his early training was on the job. It wasn’t until he went to his first InfoComm that he started to get formal training.

“The thing is, I pick things up easily and so a lot of these things weren’t hard for me,” said Anthony. “The hardest thing for me was slowing down and making sure that I was doing things the best and most efficient way possible.”

It was during this time that Anthony really began to see the possibility for what could be for his life. His passion for wanting to learn and improve and not accept the status quo has never diminished.

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“My favorite questions are and have always been, ‘Why?’ and ‘Why not?’,” Anthony said. “It’s all about learning to ask the right questions.”

So from there, Anthony threw himself full throttle into the industry and he’s thrived ever since. And while he has worked in the “secular” part of AV in addition to working on staff at a church, his passions have really combined in so many ways and he focuses solely today on being a consultant for the house of worship market.

He is so passionate about bringing the two together and making sure it’s a strong fit.

“I think people [in AV] often assume the ‘church market’ is dumb, and that the technicians there don’t know what they’re doing,” explained Anthony. “The church market is made mostly up of volunteers, but they aren’t stupid. They’re completely capable. It’s just that for most of them, it’s not their full-time thing. Ignorance is remedied if we do a good job of defining expectations and understanding their specific needs.

“We need to remember that many of the people we are working with [in the church space] are volunteers and we need to not talk down to them or at them, we need to talk with them. We need to figure out what volunteer-proof systems need.

“In a lot of smaller churches, there’s a need for simplified maintenance and operation. We need to focus on making the technology volunteer-friendly and we define that expectation with the leadership. Because less really is more.”

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Outside of his work in AV, Anthony is passionate about his family. In fact, they’re the most important thing to him in the world. He loves spending time with his wife Babs, and children Teighlor, Alec, Marian and Savannah. His faith is also a huge part of his life and truly is what he feels defines him most.

“The fact is, I’m a man that truly believes that a life changed by God through Jesus is the ultimate thing,” Anthony said. “Life is different now [for me] and that’s so important to me. If there are people I hurt or offended along the way… I’m sorry.”

Anthony’s personal growth and development over the years has greatly impacted his life – personally and professionally.

His goal is to impact, inspire, and to teach people. He loves seeing change, development, and growth – all around him.

Anthony ended with this thought… and while he stated it in reference to the house of worship AV market, the sentiment is honestly something that could be applied in any aspect of business… and life. “Rather than more stuff, it’s about focusing on doing the basics exceptionally well and building a lot of education and training around it. It’s about taking the time to educate through value proposition and understanding the user’s need. After that, I guarantee you’ll have repeat sale, after repeat sale, after repeat sale.”