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Celebrating 75th Anniversary: An Interview With Barry Sato, CTS-D, AV Design Specialist for The Audio Visual Company

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Barry Sato, AV Design Specialist

Tell us a little bit about your company.

The Audio Visual Company (AVCO) is located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, serving corporate, government/military, K12, higher ed, and HOW clients on all Hawaiian Islands and select foreign locations throughout the Asia-Pac region such as Guam and Korea. AVCO is a full-service AV integration company.

How many years have you worked in this part of the industry?

Five years in integration, five years in live sound and staging and five years in non-commercial radio.

What are the reasons you became an AV professional?

My passion and interest in music, live audio and broadcasting led me to develop my skills for AV integration. Prior to joining AVCO, I had no formal education in audio or AV integration – only the experience I gained on the job. Looking back, I might not have developed my interest if not having had the experience, which started as a volunteer for my college radio station, even if there were formal courses available at the time.

Are you an InfoComm member? How many years have you been a member? Why did you join InfoComm?

Yes, I’ve been a member through AVCO since 2008. AVCO values its InfoComm membership for the enhanced industry awareness, training/certification and networking opportunities. InfoComm as an organization stands alone; there really is none other like it for our industry.

How has InfoComm impacted your career?

The biggest impacts for me personally have been the eye-opening experiences at the InfoComm shows in 2010, 2011 and 2012, along with the spectacularly executed Design Boot Camp series and achieving my CTS-D. Having the chance to learn from the most respected and established veterans of our industry is immeasurably valuable, and the small group format of the boot camp gives great perspective into how other design professionals do their jobs and handle the unique challenges of our industry.

Why did you choose to obtain certification?

It was largely encouraged by our company management that all applicable sales, technical and design staff get their CTS, and for lead personnel to aspire to CTS-D and CTS-I. My commitment mirrored the company’s at the time, but now that I hold a CTS and CTS-D, I am starting to realize the potential of the standard and the importance of industry-wide and inter-industry recognition.

Do you attend InfoComm trade shows? What is your most memorable experience?

Whenever I have the chance to. Our geographical location and travel costs prohibit participation in the east coast shows, with the one exception being 2011 when I was fortunate enough to win free airfare (thank you InfoComm). The expo unto itself is something to behold if you have any serious interest or passion for AV communications. The training opportunities are excellent, if not too short. In fact, with the size that the expo has grown to, I think two and a half days is not enough either.

My most memorable experience was taking the onsite Design Boot Camp level 2 and 3 classes in 2012. The instructors, attendees, content, discussion and exercises were all excellent, in my opinion. Though the timing did not allow me to actually see the expo except for the last hour that year, it was a great career experience. I’ve recommended in prior show surveys that the Expo be at least a full three days, if not three and a half, and the training opportunities could be spread out over 10 to 14 days instead of seven to eight.

What is your favorite InfoComm resource?

The Update newsletter is a good regular reminder of what’s coming over the horizon, but the LinkedIn group is great for peer exchange.

Which latest technologies interest you the most? Which have you used in your operations and which you’d like to use but have not had the opportunity to use?

Mobile collaboration is catching on quickly and reminds me that the days of specialized AV integration are numbered. AVCO has a ClickShare demo, but some of the other software-based solutions would be interesting for us to use internally.

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