ProAV Industry Mourns the Loss of Brad Sousa

ProAV Mourns the Loss of Brad Sousa

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, industry leader Brad Sousa died in Austin, Texas. Sousa was chief technology officer at AVI Systems and was in Texas for the company’s AVI LIVE – Austin event at the time of his passing. He was a long-time company employee who served in various roles including regional vice president and sr. vice president of enterprise technologies. Prior to joining the company, he had worked at various other integration firms, even co-founding Icon Networks where he worked from 1992 – 2000.

“This tragic news affects so many people, including Brad’s loved ones, our AVI Systems family, and the entire audiovisual and unified collaboration industry,” said Jeff Stoebner, CEO, AVI Systems. “Brad joined AVI more than 15 years ago and has been instrumental in elevating our industry and the work our employees do across industries and around the world. He is an irreplaceable, amazing human being, a father, grandfather, and a person who truly cared about everyone he worked with or spoke with. Our hearts go out to his entire family at this difficult time.”

Sousa has been a member of AVIXA’s board of directors since 2021 where, according to the organization, “he was a consummate contributor of brilliance and creativity among his fellow board members.” In 2022, he also served on AVIXA’s Financial Committee where he provided oversight and guidance for the association’s finances. In addition, Sousa served on the board of directors for the AVIXA Foundation where he was involved in the scholarship program, which encourages and enables students from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in the AV field. A frequent industry speaker, Sousa was a three-time recipient of the Smithsonian Award for Technology in Academics.

Sousa was an incredible industry talent and beloved by many. We asked AV professionals to share their thoughts and memories of Sousa — here is what they had to say:

Jatan Shah, President and COO, QSC

Jatan and Brad

Jatan and Brad.

You should consider yourself lucky if you get to meet someone like Brad Sousa. He was a visionary and inspiring, and at the same time he had immense empathy, appreciation and had an innate ability to care for people.

From the moment I met Brad, he extended a genuine and strong friendship. Several of us had the privilege of working with him on the AVIXA board and regardless of where you met him, you most likely looked to him for unique insights that were consistently thought-provoking. He was dedicated to his commitments and, despite his senior role, he always made time to mentor and coach others in the industry. Despite his extensive knowledge, he always approached conversations with humility, often asking, “Can I pick your brain on…?”

Brad played a crucial role in strengthening the connection between AVI Systems and Q-SYS, and we are grateful for the partnership we have. The loss felt by Janele and the Sousa family is immeasurable. AVI Systems also mourns a significant loss, and the AV industry faces an irreplaceable void.

Dave Labuskes, CTS, CEO, AVIXA

Brad was a friend and mentor to me as he was to so many others in this industry. Any of us who were lucky enough to know or work with Brad are richer for that gift. I can’t personally express how deeply sad all of us at AVIXA are to abruptly lose such an amazing man and leader of this fine industry. He was taken from us far too early, and we seek some comfort in knowing that his legacy will live on in the countless individuals whose lives he enriched, careers he enhanced or simply the days he brightened with his smile and passion. We will all miss his ready laugh, quiet wit and gentle, kind nature. Our sincere and deep condolences are extended to his wife, children and grandchildren.

Renee Benson, Sr. Regional Account Manager, Sony Electronics

Renee and Brad at the AVI National Sales Meeting in MN, 2017

Renee and Brad at the AVI National Sales Meeting in MN, 2017.

I’m still in shock as I try to write a few words about a man who did so much for so many in our industry. Brad was kind to everyone he met and you felt like old friends after just one conversation. He spoke with such passion on how to move to the next level in our industry. All ears were open when he presented, you couldn’t wait to hear his message. I’m not sure I ever saw him without a big genuine smile. I will always appreciate his honesty and support over the many years. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Thank you for the lessons, wisdom and guidance. To his family, thank you for sharing him. Hearts are heavy from all over the world. Until we meet again, rest in peace my friend.

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Scott Banks, Sr. Director of Sales, 22Miles

Brad Sousa was not just a highly intelligent individual, but a kind and funny man. You knew when Brad entered a room, because you saw that bright smile and infectious laughter. It was a true pleasure to work with him and his team over the years, and he will truly be missed.

Iffat Chaudhry, Senior Bid Manager, Involve

I knew Brad was well respected in the industry, but what I didn’t know until I met him at InfoComm was just how warm, funny and excited he was about where the industry was going. He was so passionate about esports — he had a sparkle in his eyes whilst talking about it! I feel lucky to have spent a very short amount of time with Brad, and can only imagine how devastated his colleagues, friends and family must be feeling; my sincerest condolences to all!

Rich Ventura, Vice President, Professional Display Solutions, Sony Electronics

Rich, Brad and other AV professionals at InfoComm eSports Live earlier this year

Rich, Brad and other AV professionals at InfoComm eSports Live earlier this year.

Hearing and seeing the news that such an amazing person left us was so painful. I have had the amazingly fortunate opportunity to feel and view and experience the energy that Brad Sousa delivered. He impacted and elevated the lives of so many in our industry, including mine.

Brad was always there with a smile, a laugh, words of encouragement and true partnership and friendship. A few weeks ago, Sony had our Quarterly Business Review with the team at AVI Systems and Brad was there encouraging every single person on the call and celebrating what we are doing great and teaching where everyone can grow. That was Brad. And he did this with a smile, a laugh and just pure energy. I will miss his strong words of encouragement and his true love of his people and the journey we are all on together.

Susan Wilhite, Sr. Business Development Director, Bluefin

I will always remember Brad by his big smile, his hospitality and generosity. I last saw him in September at an AVI event. As we were sitting around a lunch table, he was inquiring about myself and a couple of fellow industry colleagues. He was curious how long we all have been friends and how we met. He said something like “Yup, that’s the industry — lifelong friends.” I will always remember that conversation and am so grateful for the true friendships this industry has brought me, including my treasured friendship with Brad. He will be missed by many, myself included.

Gary Kayye, Founder, rAVe [PUBS]

Gary interviewing Brad at InfoComm 2023

Gary interviewing Brad at InfoComm 2023.

I had an opportunity to tour the U.S.A. with Brad from 2015-2020 at various AV Live events and co-keynote with him. He was sooooooooo good at understanding what people needed and the right mix of tech with a people-centered approach to systems design. But, more importantly, he was just a really nice guy. I am sad today about the loss of Brad as our industry lost an amazing guy, AVI Systems lost a leader with passion and kindness and his family loss a dad and husband. RIP Brad.

Joe Pham, Chairman and CEO, QSC

Brad Sousa was an extraordinary soul — a man who effortlessly embodied both keen intellect and immense kindness. When we first met, we quickly bonded over our shared love for technology and music. We were both passionate technology geeks and musicians, and in fact, we were really excited to play on stage together at an upcoming AVI event.

Brad, you will forever be remembered for the kindness, brilliance and warmth you exuded. You’ve made a lasting impression that will be felt for years to come, both in the industry and in our hearts. Sending my love to his family and all those mourning this tremendous loss.

Kelly Perkins, CTS, Marketing Director, THE FARM

Brad had such a larger than life personality. Nobody could translate technology on stage like Brad. I remember when we asked him if he’d keynote the first AVI LIVE events and he was giddy with joy. It’s all very devastating to lose someone like Brad.

Sousa will always be remembered fondly by the ProAV industry as a passionate leader, teacher and friend. The entire rAVe team would like to extended our deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and anyone who is grieiving the loss of this incredible man.