In my biweekly blog series, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who work for the Audio Video Industry. In this post, we are profiling Alberto Ayulo. Here is his brief introduction.
Alberto Ayulo is Regional General Manager – Northeast at AVI-SPL
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
This step in my journey has been a relatively recent one – joining AVI-SPL and this industry at the end of 2017. My passion has always been to be an agent of change, which began while I was enlisted in the Air Force. A mentor pulled me aside and encouraged me to get my Six Sigma Green Belt certification (which at the time I thought was karate). Using these skills as a baseline, I then went into the private sector to become a business consultant working alongside public and private organizations on turn-around assignments. This was a pivotal point in my career as I was able to learn about various industries that ranged from healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and enterprise. However, the industry I was most drawn to after four years of consulting was construction. This landed me a job with Johnson Controls (JCI) where I started as an internal consultant helping to turn-around office locations throughout the west region. I then worked multiple jobs within JCI throughout North America in various profit & loss turnaround assignments – most recently as the Regional General Manager running the commercial retail and distribution for the tri-state region. A few years into that role, fate introduced me to AVI-SPL and I have since been fortunate for just over two years to oversee the GREAT Northeast region.
2.What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?
This really is a relevant question as we need new people in the industry. One challenge I faced my first year was having a team with a predominantly AV background – which really did not bring an objective viewpoint to our team. I believe that hiring both employees with backgrounds outside of and within the AV industry is key. With this way of hiring, we have been very successful in bringing new ideas to our team and made us stronger. As an example, we have emphasized hiring Project Managers with PMP certification and experience in the construction industry – specifically with a general contractor or property management companies. These individuals typically have a “large firm” pedigree and hundreds of years-worth of project management disciplines engrained within the company DNA. As a result, the majority of the project managers we now hire are from other industries bringing a modernistic viewpoint and helping to better execute projects.
3.What are the positives of working in this industry?
The technology! This past year I attended my first Infocomm and was blown away by the technology displayed. It’s truly fascinating to be a part of an industry reshaping the way that we do business and live daily. A big part of what we do in the AV industry is better facilitating communication. Anything from trying to reach your client base or inter-business communication can be enhanced through the utilization of AV. Being in a technology focused industry, I’m witness to cutting-edge products designed to make our business-to-business communication more efficient, therefore allowing us to focus on our end-goal. I’m proud to be part of a company working to make “work” more efficient and effective.
[RELATED] : If you have missed any of my previous interviews, please click here.
4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?
Although I’ve only been in the AV industry for upwards of two years, I’ve noticed how much it needs a pipeline of talent. Currently, there is little knowledge of the industry among young people, and it would help all of us to have high school and college courses geared toward educating our youth about audio-visual. AVI-SPL is in the beginning stages of initiating some on-campus development courses in order to create this pipeline. The AV industry is full of growth opportunity as technology is becoming more prevalent in our lives.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
Our external clients vary from end users, consultants, and general contractors, each demanding a slightly different expectation. Our team prides itself on working with each client to understand their goals and what needs to be achieved. So the ideal situation is that our client(s) allow my talented team the flexibility to utilize their knowledge of technology to design (when applicable) and install the optimal solution and then continue to work with us on day 2 solutions, which include our managed services capabilities. Our team is humbled to have partnered with many clients, both domestically and globally. Each time we’ve been able to achieve or exceed their goals.
6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently ?
I’m very proud of my career and the things I’ve been able to accomplish at a relatively young age. I find this question difficult to answer as I’m not one to live in the past and don’t believe in starting over – we start from where we are today and continually work towards self-betterment. However, one piece of advice I can give is to start working towards success young. Don’t wait until you’re 25 (like I did) to start setting goals and getting specific on your strategies to achieve them. Start saving young, start educating yourself young and remember that the only person you’re letting down by not achieving your goals is yourself. If you are 25 or older and haven’t done so – start today. Don’t worry about starting over because no matter where you are at in life, you’ve already gained some skills. They may not be the skills you hope to have, but use these skills and focus on how you can get to your next level. And never give up.
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
My philosophy is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. I don’t use the phrase, “I don’t have time for that”. We make time for what’s important to us and, for that reason, I’m very strategic about my daily routine – I prioritize my wife, health, and company. The first thing and last thing I do each day is kiss my wife and tell her I love her. Our time together is spent “phone free” and we really cherish every moment with each other. My next priority is my health. If you’re fortunate enough to be healthy today, be grateful and work every day to stay healthy. Good health is not a guarantee in life, but it is something we have a great deal of control over. I’m naturally an energetic person, so daily workouts are necessary to expend some of that energy. I spend 6 days a week at the gym totaling about 10 hours per week. I eat clean. Investing in your health will pay off in so many ways – you’ll be operating at your optimal level, fighting off disease and preventing ageing. My team and company take the remainder of my day. While on the train, driving or in between meetings – I find ways to productively fill the time. When you stop to think about all the time you waste doing things that aren’t productive to your personal and professional life or health, you instantly add hours to your day. I take calls while driving or on the train. If I don’t have any calls lined up, I listen to podcasts like Money Talks. Fill your time with things of value and remember you are always representing yourself. Be a servant to those around you no matter where you fall in the hierarchy. As a manager, I am a servant to both my managers and employees. Act accordingly – respond to emails, return calls, be engaged. After your family, health and company, allow yourself time to learn. Be smart enough to know that you’re never as smart as you can be. Keep learning. In my free time, I read, listen to podcasts and have a yearly goal to take a new course. This past year I took a course on negotiating. Show up every day for those that are important to you.
8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
With a bit of humor (as we all need that in our life) and seriousness, my most used apps are the Long Island Rail Road and Uber. I am fortunate enough to take the transportation to/from NYC for work and these apps dictate when I leave and return home. I plan my day ahead of time and knowing that one less thing to worry about is getting to and from my destination is essential in doing so. Secondly, I use technology whenever possible in my home. Apps such as NEST and other smart home devices help me feel more secure leaving my home and family, while at work or otherwise. Transportation and security are really just two ways you can use tech apps to your advantage, but these are what I most utilize.
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
Through people – both employees and manufacturers! I am at the advantage of having more than 160 exceptional individuals needing no coaching on relevancy in the industry. I am simply here to support them. Any relevancy I can bring beyond their expertise, is continuously meeting with both our clients and leaders in the market. Also, AVI-SPL has the largest preferred partner network in our industry and as a result, am very fortunate to consistently get training for our team members that make an effort to attend.
To know more about him, please connect with him on Linkedin.
Also please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.