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 Max Kopsho. Here is a brief introduction.
Maxwell Kopsho, RCDD, CTS-I/D, PMP is currently working as Executive Account Manager at DASCOM SYSTEMS GROUP.
1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
Technically speaking I started in the AV industry when I was in High School. I installed car stereos for a hobby and I got really good at it. So good that friends started having me do it for them. It grew from there to where I had my own car stereo installation business (Max Sound). My dad was an Electronics Engineer so whenever I got in a bind, I could call him. I did all kinds of weird installs. CB Radios in big rigs and truck beds full of sub-woofers with bridged amps and water cooling. Lots of things the pro shops didn’t touch at the time. Then it came time to leave High School and start making a real living. Around that same time I got married. The most logical thing to do so that I could support a family and still go to college was to join the military. There was also a huge desire to serve in some manner or another and since police forces didn’t accept 18 year-olds, I was off to basic training. Luckily, I picked a military job that included a lot of electrical training and even had electro-optics in it so 10 years later I could come right back into AV. After the military that is just what I did, I came back into AV after having been an IT guy in the military. I rejoined the AV force through Proxima and worked in their collaboration and conferencing division helping them sell Polycom. 30 years has gone by like the blink of an eye.
2.What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?
AV still doesn’t have a formalized training or degree program. A new person has to know coming into AV that most managers and leaders really don’t know exactly what to expect of you. Nor do they know how to measure what you are doing very well. As a new person in AV you should be ready to chart your own path and set your own goals along the way. Learn to check your own progress and ask for feedback. The industry is getting there, but my recommendation to new people right now is to bridge that gap yourselves.
3.What are the positives of working in this industry?
AV is so much more than AV. It is all about the experience we provide. We touch so many different industries and so many aspects of communication that every day is so very different. There is a popular phrase that people say: “don’t take it so seriously, we are not curing cancer.” But, you see, we are. We are in the hospitals with displays and in the patient areas in children’s hospitals making their stay just a little brighter. We are in schools making education a little more connected, we are in courtrooms showing evidence and ensuring justice, we are in Houses of Worship making people’s lives a little happier, we are in law enforcement and military training centers making us all a little safer, and we are in amusement parks giving everyone a little more joy. So what are the positives of our industry? We make a difference in the world around us.
4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?
AV doesn’t give ourselves the credit we deserve for changing the world. We take a backseat and we do it to ourselves. We shouldn’t be marketing ourselves as the nice to have products that enhance the way we do things. We should be shoving it in the faces of the fortune 500 all the way to the Ma and Pa that we make it all happen. I envision a video that shows a world without AV. And that world looks almost apocalyptic. We are always comparing ourselves to IT and we shouldn’t we are above IT. Without IT we can still present and view. We can even have a whole live concert and be moved to tears of joy and sorrow. IT is like copper AV is the endpoint and it is mission critical.
[RELATED] : If you have missed any of my previous interviews, please click here.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
AV’s ideal client knows their goals and their strategy, but they don’t try to solve their problems. They know that you are their expert and they leave the problem solving to you. They are part of your team and they are constantly engaged, but they do not tell you what equipment to use. Instead they offer relevant information regarding the usage model and business strategy. They make the entire group of stakeholders available to you including the people who will use the system the most.
6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently ?
If I were going to start over again I would have done a lot more field work and I would have spent more time with mentors and coaches. The wealth of knowledge that I wish I would have taken advantage of from the hands-on experiences that were available to me around the world are mind-blowing. And the people I have had the chance to work with are of equal mind-blowing caliber. My experience with AVIXA/InfoComm particularly has exposed me to some of the greatest minds in our industry. Given the chance, I would have those people formally mentor me for as long as I possibly could have.
7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
I work from home and I travel a lot (when I have a job). So, my work day is different from most. I usually wake very early (5AM or earlier). I go through the typical routine and I get dressed (business casual – it is important to me to dress for work even when at home to help remind myself – I am at work). After coffee (A MUST) and breakfast, I go to my office in the basement. Work includes meetings, webinars, emails, content development and such. When on the road I do the same (up really early) and I like to prep the training room really early so that I am not in a panic when the students arrive. Training days are long (9 to 10 hours) and I will sometimes host a study session in the evening. Then we host social events in the evening during these trainings. Back to the room. Catch up on emails, content development and such. Bed. Lather, rinse and repeat. These classes are usually three days long so weekend travel is a common occurrence and then it is back to it on Monday.
8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
I still love my daily planner (the paper one). I do use outlook religiously and Teams has become my friend. For training Zoom is awesome and I have really started to love Articulate for content development. My Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch has been a lifesaver at times and lastly, I have really become dependent on my laptop being able to convert so that I can use it like a tablet. I think I see a surface in my future…
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
I stay very active in the industry social media and I am a lifetime learner. I have several industry (AV, IT, Project Management and Process) certifications and keeping those up to date forces me to take courses on a regular bases. Taking webinars to keep up on emerging technologies is also key. I also read A LOT.
To know more about him, please connect on Linkedin.
Also please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.