Widgets Magazine

The Best of the best

This week, our friends over at Commercial Integrator announced they were looking for the 40 most influential AV professionals under 40. As someone who reached this milestone this year, this is a particularly interesting idea and I have been thinking about it ever since they announced it. This week, I want to put forth a few names and my reasons behind them.
AVNation Board
This is a little self-serving, but hear me out. Everyone on our board except one could qualify for this honor. George Tucker is the most experienced for the group, so let’s just say he can win with them. Dawn (and Harry Meade) , Matt D. Scott, and Michael Drainer are all influential at least to our little group here. They help guide the direction of where we take AVNation. From the success we experienced at InfoComm 2014, I would say AVNation has influence in the industry, so the board does by extension.
Jennifer Willard
Jennifer has spearheaded the Women in AV group for the past three years. She has brought women and men together to champion the cause of getting more women in the industry. She and I have not always agreed on subjects, but there is little doubt that she is an influential member of this community.
Tom LeBlanc
As editor of Commercial Integrator and Tech Decisions, Tom is at the reigns of a couple of influential publications. Their media reaches from manufacturer to integrator. He is connected with InfoComm and NSCA and is respected by both organizations.
Chris Neto
This guy is a juggernaught in the social and online world of AV. Chris brings together thought leaders from around the industry and gets them to write for him in an unfiltered, real way. His connections continue to amaze me and there are few people who don’t at least know of him. The fact that he came up with the #AVSelfie idea and drove that to the number 2 spot with all posts mentioning InfoComm 2014 is enough to win him this honor. Just so you know, he’s already working on InfoComm 2015. So, look out Orlando.
Kelly Perkins
Kelly was instrumental in the foundation of Women in AV, along with Jennifer Willard. She is an AV pro with years of experience. As the head of marketing for Vaddio, Kelly was behind some of the most whimsical and memorable InfoComm booths over the last few years. Now she has taken her talents to an integrator, AVI Systems, and is driving their efforts.
Dan Newman
Dan was head of one of the largest integrators in the Midwest, United Visual, for a number of years. He has taken his experience in AV and business and developed into a rather prolific writer for places like Huffington Post, Forbes, and Commercial Integrator. All the while, he keeps his hand in AV.
John Lamberson
Some of you may not know the name but, trust me, he has had influence on your AV life. John was one of the main technical staff at Crestron for a number of years. A few months ago he moved over to Biamp Systems. He is a huge proponent of AVB and AV over networking in general. He continues to be a driving force for pushing the technology forward.
Gina Sansivero
Gina’s love of education and sustainability leads her into this category of influential AV professionals. She was owner at Relampit for a number of years; encouraging integrators and end users to recycle their projector lamps and use the re-purposed ones from Relampit. Recently, she has joined the team at FSR and continues to educate and lead in the AV space.
Justin Kennington
I met Justin for the first time during InfoComm 2014 and genuinely like the guy. He’s smart, funny, and full of himself just enough to let you know he knows how smart he is. Justin was one of the recipients of the Young AV Professionals award from InfoComm this year. He comes from the land of Google, but currently is the head of Crestron’s Digital Media line and is a driving force behind pushing AV over the network.
Sara Abrons
Sara is flat out one of the hardest working people I know in AV. Yes, she works for our competition over at rAVe. Regardless of our competitiveness with rAVe, they are pretty influential in the industry and Sara is the editor of that publication. Her contacts and contributors make her an important voice in AV.
This list is by no means complete. I’m sure there are people I have left out inadvertatly. However, these are the ones that come to mind when I think of the future of AV. These are the leaders and influencers of today and tomorrow who will help guide the industry in the years to come. If you have any others you would like to add, email Craig MacCormack to nominate your favorite under 40 year old AV professional.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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