Hi, I’m Dawn… And I’m an AV Professional

The SingOffI’ve gotten a lot of fantastic feedback from my last blog, Preach It – including having the blog featured on last week’s AVWeek podcast by AVNation. And every word is honest truth… As an AV pro, you have to be passionate about your field and about the technology and about the work you do.  However, there can be a downside to this passion for the industry. It can become an obsession, an addiction that impacts your life.  Hi everyone.  My name is Dawn.  And I’m an AV Professional.

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Preach It, Brothers and Sisters, Preach It!

Evangelize AV!

The AV industry has existed a very long time now.  Our trade association, Infocomm, itself celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2009.  Yet, despite this long history, and despite the fact that products from our industry are integral to daily life around the world (mics, speakers, TVs, computer monitors, etc), we are still widely unknown and overlooked by many.  It took until the release of MasterFormat2004 before we got a place of our own for AV specs in construction documents. There are still no AV Design Engineer or AV Installer degree programs in the United States, possibly the world, and only a few related degree programs out there that are similar – acoustical engineer, communications, broadcast degrees, etc. And, the public at large has no clue what we do, for the most part.  Heck, I’m AVDawn for pity’s sake, yet my own mother thinks I “sell TVs or something like that.”  (Bless her heart!)

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C’mon Over Baby… A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On

The East Coast Earthquake and Social Media’s Omnipresence

So, I’m sitting here in my living room this afternoon, working on an upcoming rAVe article on Safety Standards when suddenly the entire house starts shaking. The windows rattle, as do the plates in the china cupboard and the frames and decorations on the walls. Having experienced a 3.6 magnitude earthquake here in Maryland last summer, I recognized the rumbling and rattling, so I put down the laptop, grabbed my phone and headed to the nearest doorway. I was joined moments later by one freaked-out West Highland White Terrier who’d been digging around the backyard when the backyard apparently took umbrage!

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Little Fish Tales, volume 2: THE SKY IS FALLING! Well, maybe…

The Economy, US Credit Downgrade and Little Fish

I was working on a new Little Fish Tales (on dealing with manufacturers as a Little Fish… stay tuned!) when news broke on Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the US Credit Rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time ever. As the economy has been on everyone’s mind for the past, oh, 3 or 4 years anyways, I felt it important to postpone the other topic and address this one.

So, how has the economy been treating us Little Fish?  Anecdotally, we’re taking a beating. Corporate installs have slowed to a trickle over the past two years and competition for the government and education projects has skyrocketed. Big Fish who never bothered with some of the smaller projects that kept Little Fish fed are suddenly circling them with a hungry gleam in their eyes, while new players join the battle from other ponds – residential AV, security, telecom, IT.  One #AVTweep who participated in the February 2011 #AVChat on ‘The Economy’ said, “(We) started doing smaller jobs we normally wouldn’t have messed with.” It is becoming harder and harder for the Little Fish integrator to get a nibble.

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Mid-Summer Mélange

As we begin the hot, steamy month of August, here’s a hodge-podge of observations that’ve been on my mind thus far this summer:

  • Infocomm (the show) is an entirely different world for exhibitors than it is for attendees! This was the first year I worked a booth, and it was crazy. Late nights setting up the booth, early mornings and long hours manning it, late afternoon tearing down. Not to mention, missing almost the entire rest of the show while focused on one tiny bit of real estate on the show floor. Seriously, I have sooooo much more respect for all of my manufacturer friends after this experience! Of course, I also hope to never have to go through that again! Me, I’ll take integration any day. *nods sagely*

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A Busy Spring…

So, another hiatus for AVDawn, but this time, I tell ya, I had a few darned good excuses!In March of this year, after fighting through the brunt of the recession, MrAVDawn and I decided to cut our losses and dissolve the partnership we made two years ago that made us part-owners of a small mom-and-pop AV Integrator. MrAVDawn immediately went to work for a larger integrator in the MidAtlantic region that specializes in government contracts, particularly secure VTC centers. Exciting stuff, as he joined the firm right off the bat as a Senior Design Engineer. He loves the new gig, and the new gig seems to be loving him.

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10 Years Later – OH C’MON! Did You Not Get the Memo??

As an AV pro and a social media enthusiast, I tend to keep an eye on the Twitterverse throughout my day. We’ve developed quite the community of AV professionals on that platform, and you never know when something profound, beneficial or earth-shattering will come across the Twitterfeed that can impact our businesses – a link to an article, research, video or even just a statement that resonates. A couple of weeks ago, one such statement came across my Twitterfeed and it utterly stunned me. With permission from the author, here goes:

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Twitter’s Top 5 Badass AV Women

The other day, I read a blog by Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting) called “Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women.” This wonderful article – which can be read at http://tinyurl.com/Top75Women – detailed 75 great ladies on Twitter who have a passion for their jobs and share it well. As Ms. Adams wrote:

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Little Fish Tales, volume 1: Size Matters

Welcome to Little Fish Tales.

I have decided that I will periodically devote some of my blog space to real world tales from the small integrator – some rants, some raves, some random observations – all from the perspective of the little guy. In future editions of Little Fish Tales, I’ll share some of the vexation of dealing with manufacturers, the heartburn of bidding against the big guys, the struggle of differentiating oneself from the more disreputable little guys, and the frustrations of trying to grow and thrive in the big pond without getting eaten by the big fish. Of course, I’ll also talk about some of the benefits and blessings of being the little guy that the big guys might envy. Before getting to all that, however, let’s talk about the word “little.” After all, size matters!

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