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 Ellen Simich. Here is her brief introduction.
Ellen Simich, CTS, is Senior Director, Project Management at Prysm Inc
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
I entered the world of AV probably the same way a lot of other people in this industry did – accidently albeit with a little bit of luck.
By my formal education and professional experience, I was always connected to the world of art and media, initially as a content producer. I made my first professional steps at the back-stage of the National Repertoire Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, one of the most renowned theatres in Eastern Europe. Love for Drama lead me to Broadcast TVin the capacity of line producer. I worked closely with the technical team in OB trucks and they sparked my interest in AV technology. Not long after, Digital Signage software began to ascend as the next big thing and I decided to join a software start-up as a Content Production Studio Manager. I enjoyed the software and creative side of things for a while but once I deployed the content in an interactive exhibit at my first ever Museum Project (which happened to be in Brooklyn, New York where I live today) I fell in love with “the magic” of technology behind the scenes.
I gradually learned more about the technical aspects of AV and started to travel around the world working on meaningful, thought-provoking and in some cases also cutting edge projects, at times challenging yet utterly fun. I was fortunate enough to have been able to see the industry from all sides – as a consultant, integrator and manufacturer and to have contributed to some of the most brilliant and way-ahead-of-their-time AV designs.
With hundreds of projects of various scope and sizes under my belt, if I would have to pick a few, these would most certainly make the top of my list.
The “Nurai” Sales Interactive Sales Center in Abu Dhabi, UAE with AV&C (https://www.av-controls.com/#/nurai/) because of the ground breaking technology utilized at a remote international location and simply breathtaking AV design;
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York, USA with Electrosonic (https://resources.electrosonic.com/customer-success-stories/national-september-11-memorial-museum) because of so brilliantly unassuming design that made the imagery and artifacts that much more impactful;
The Interactive Video wall At Under Amour with Prysm (https://www.prysm.com/customers/stories/under-armour/ because of what I like to call “Thinking outside the Aspect Ratio”. Prysm has done this with the tiled video wall systems and nowadays with our Prysm LPD 6K 190” and 225” displays, a large canvas coupled with the software that makes data easy to view, grasp and use.
2.What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?
“I am not technical enough” is something I often hear when interviewing candidates for my team. I was more of an artist myself when I entered the world of AV but once fully engaged I never stopped learning. This is what work in technology is all about, embracing the tomorrow. Never be afraid to start something new because you think you don’t have the tech know-how. You will learn. To this day I like to say about myself “I know just enough to be dangerous…”.
3.What are the positives of working in this industry?
It’s all about the team. I am privileged to work with some of the most amazing people in this Industry, both in the States and Internationally. Most of them I get to call my friends. Working long hours while brainstorming solutions brings people together. You truly are as strong as the weakest member of your team. I was always very fortunate to be surrounded by superstars.
[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?
One thing: Diversity. The AV industry has the tendency to access the same talent pool I think it’s time to start looking “outside the box”. The more different we are, the more relevant we are, not only for our teams but for our clients too.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
All clients are ideal clients – and I really mean it. Its all about finding the right solution that will benefit the client in more than one aspect of what they do. Making them more successful is what make us more successful.
It is very important for me to be in a company where my voice is heard. If you have a great new idea or want to do something to help the customer, bring it on! our leadership will always listen.
6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing. All my successes and yes, my failures, made me who I am today. They are intertwined with my experience, my personality and forward-thinking outlook. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying. I have lived and worked in 8 different countries, most recently about 10 years ago I moved to the United States. Change is hard but it is the only way to keep going forward.
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
I feel like no one anymore has a “typical” workday. It’s all about what is the hot item of the day.
Customers are always the number 1 priority. And yes, I first answer the customer email and then my CEO’s – and I know he knows and appreciates this.
In any given day I am a mediator, a leader, a follower, a student, a teacher, a fixer, both a champion and a loser. That is why I love to work for a company that keeps reinventing. To be honest, a company in growth may not necessarily be a good fit for everyone but it works great for me. The creative team and brilliant groundbreaking ideas keep me engaged and energized. I held a few different positions at Prysm, sort of always doing what was the most needed at the time. I guess I am lucky like that.
8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
Prysm is an international company and one of our most important goals is to stay connected, aligned and involved with our teams and customers around the globe.
We are fortunate to also benefit from the collaboration solutions we offer to our customers. Our mission is to deliver a seamless individual productivity and a team-meeting experience that drives employee engagement, streamlines communications, and helps you make the decisions that matter. Active engagement from all meeting participants ensures that ideas are shared and accelerated, so you can get to market and to your goal before the competition.
A mini-plug: if you haven’t seen the Prysm Application Suite in action before, check it out here!
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
This is probably the most important question during a job interview. Both to ask and to answer. The AV industry is in constant move upward. Not only that we make things bigger, faster and smarter, we are also making them future proof. The best designs to solve any given customer problem are the ones that will not only serve the customer today but will carry on into tomorrow AND help them transition between the two periods.
I try to stay on top of the new trends, always with a pulse on things that are not yet “robust and professional” AV but will end up being that tomorrow. A lot of what we do today is influenced by consumer markets. While it is important to visit trade shows, follow interesting twitter accounts and read the industry magazines – Latest TED talks, knowing the apps the teenagers are crazy about and understand the ways today’s kids use technology are also a must.
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P. S.: Apologies for the long break in posting new interviews as i was on paternity leave. I just had my second beautiful baby girl and so i am back to changing diapers and sleepless nights!! Hoping to get back on track with interviews from other wonderful people, biweekly.