You haven’t been reading or listening to much industry news or chatter if you haven’t seen and heard discussion around the idea of getting more young people into the AV industry. It’s an effort that both InfoComm and the NSCA seem to be heavily involved in. There have been various outreach events at schools and peripheral trade shows etc to manufacture excitement around future careers in AV. I am excited to see what these programs yield and love to see new approaches being explored on all fronts.
So in the spirit of perhaps attracting a few more young people into AV, I propose a national “Take Your Child to Work Day” for the AV industry.
For the few of you that follow me on Twitter (@AVPhenom), you may have seen that a couple weeks ago, my son came to me at dinner and asked,
“Do you know where I want to work when I grow up dad? Milestone!”
To be honest I was more than a bit surprised at first. Not because Milestone isn’t a great place to work, but more because my 9 year old son was so excited at the prospect. I have never formally talked to him about what I do every day. However, after some brief reflection, it all made sense.
You see, when I get new projection materials, or holographic rear projection glass, or ideas for projector mapping projects like the “WhiteBox Challenge“, he is there. When the weekend comes and I’m playing with all the new tech and trying new scenarios, he helps put things together and hook things up, and then sits in wonder as images dance around the room.
When I was in residential AV he would come into our showroom and watch a movie in the latest 7.1 THX surround on a Sony SXRD projector.
When I was at Horizon display, I once took all the kids to AV Concepts in San Diego one evening, where we were treated to a full stage show complete with Peppers Ghost effects and custom lighting and content. (They are the team responsible for Tupac appearing at Coachella a few years back FYI).
So even though I hadn’t talked to him specifically about what I do, or explained my job in detail, he actually has a memory bank of AV experiences that have him excited about the potential opportunities.
As I think back, I loved going to work with my dad when I was a kid. He has worked at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company, now Boeing, for 33 years. He fixes the pipe benders, wire strippers, composite machines, etc that build the Apache attack helicopter. I remember vividly sitting in the Apache and wearing the gunner’s helmet as the co-pilot explained to me how the pads behind the seat tracked little lights on the helmet so wherever he “looked” with his head, the cameras and gun on the helicopter followed. It was amazing. (It’s also actually how a Nintendo Wii works.) I also remember firing the 35 mm bushmaster in the artillery tunnel, and watching Apaches do spriraling takeoffs from a ditch at the end of the run way to impress potential customers.
Now I didn’t end up at Boeing like my dad, but I did develop a curiosity for how technology and mechanical objects worked together that I dare say has served me well in my AV career.
So armed with two personal anecdotes, I propose we come up with a date that we deem as an industry as “Take Your Child to Work Day.” It may just be the step in the right direction in recruiting new talent. You know what they say. One Million starts with “One”.