Widgets Magazine

Transitioning from Tech Manager

As I write this the AVNation team is about 24 hours from landing in Amsterdam for ISE 2015. We have talked extensively about it. For all the coverage we will be doing over the next week you can go to our ISE 2015 page.
Today, however, I have some of my fellow technology managers on my mind. As opportunities like ISE come up I am struck by where my beginnings in AV were; a technology manager. This is the sometimes thankless job of supporting faculty, managing budgets, staying up on the latest changes in technology, and staying current on certifications. Technology managers design, install, program, and maintain vast swaths of rooms; everything from a simple 20 person classroom to auditoriums. There are some great ones out there. Ernie Bailey from UAMS, Greg Brown of UCLA, Scott Tiner of Bates College and more. These people do what they do at their institutions plus volunteer to give InfoComm International the insight they need to help the tech managers.
There are some tech managers who have moved on to other endeavors. Matt Silverman who worked for George Mason University now works for Crestron. I went from Lewis & Clark Community College to Innovad, and independent programming and design consulting firm. Now my friend, Mike Tomei, has made the switch as well. Mike has ventured out on his own to start a consulting business of his own. Here’s why you should hire a tech manager, or former tech manager.
Design Breadth
Tech managers have seen nearly every use of AV in their schools. Educational institutions have board rooms, VTC, audio conferencing, classrooms, gyms, stadiums, and broadcast facilities. These tech managers need to be able to assess what the end user is trying to accomplish in their space and create a design that meets budget and performance requirements. They are some of the most creative designers I have run into.
Technical Education
This group is in an environment that values education, certifications, and degrees probably more than most. That being the case, most are encouraged to further their knowledge which means they are on top of the latest education AV companies and organizations have to offer.
Value Engineering
Most of us hate this word. However, tech managers have learned to use it to their advantage. This is why I say they are the most creative designers out there. They know the tricks to get what they need out of a room while balancing the budget arm of their institution.
Work Ethic
You want someone who knows the meaning of a deadline? How about a group of people who will work all weekend before a semester starts because “all these classrooms have to be ready by Monday”? Yeah, these are the folks. More than once the story has been told of starting on a Friday night and walking out at 12:01 Monday before a semester. These people know how to get stuff done.
Now, are there some tech managers who aren’t so great, sure. For the most part every tech manager I have encountered is a hard working, talented AV professional. If you get the chance to bring one on your staff you should at least have a conversation with them.
I am off to Amsterdam to get to know ISE better. 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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