Integrators Make the Digital Connection Points Linking AV Technology and Higher Education


Commercial Integrator’s 40 Influencers Under 40 list is a distinguished recognition, spotlighting young professionals propelling the Pro AV and integrated technology industry forward. This year’s cohort is a blend of visionaries, each with a unique narrative, yet collectively converging on the history of innovation and integration, especially around the intersections of AV technology and higher education. They hold diverse roles ranging from AV Systems Engineer and Sales and Marketing Manager to Director of Event Technology, manifesting their prowess in projects that span the spectrum of AV solutions and integrated technologies.

Digging deeper, one finds a common theme of transcending conventional boundaries to foster innovation in AV solutions. They are not just responding to the contemporary needs of the market but are foreseeing and shaping the future trajectory of the AV domain. Their endeavors resonate with the broader industry trends, emphasizing a user-centric, value-driven approach toward AV solutions.

So, what does it feel like to be a CI 40 under 40? Hunter Stacey, an AVIT Facilitator at the University of Southern California, takes the honor in stride and with more than a handful of modesty. Still, he recognizes the distinction and looks forward to continuing his work on providing solutions for AV technology and higher education.

Hunter’s Thoughts

“It feels super honored to be a part of like such an amazing group of people. I wasn’t expecting it. I don’t necessarily think that I’m fully deserving. I know there’s a lot of people out there that would be even more qualified and even more deserving of that recognition. But it’s just extremely humbling to know that some people think that what I’m doing and where I’m headed is important enough and valuable enough to be included on such a prestigious list.

Current work that aligns with industry trends…

A couple of the projects that we’ve been working on and kind of have wrapped up recently are just simple classroom upgrades, providing technology for the students to be able to enhance their learning experiences as well as professors’ abilities to teach the students. But we also finished something that was really cool recently called the Digital Creative Lab. In the Digital Creative Lab, we kind of incorporated a variety of different ways for students to digitally express themselves since that’s the age that we live in. And we took some really neat technology that is kind of taking a step forward in our industry right now. So, we have a hologram machine that can bring speakers from anywhere in the world to come and talk to students or advertise for them, provided podcast spaces with the newest technology, 3D printers, a full production studio for producing video content, as well as an e-sports area for all students to have access to gaming technology, but also for the computing capabilities to do high-end 3D modeling and different things like that with video editing. So, we have just taken a lot of really high-end technology and brought those into some spaces to enable students to kind of express themselves in a digital manner. I was responsible for managing that project and making sure that it was delivered well and on time.

Cutting-edge work that stands out…

Project management is kind of the area that I specialize in, and that’s been around for an extremely long time and everything. But I think specifically in the AV world and in the higher education world, it’s not quite as common in higher ed. A lot of times, schools don’t have the resources or abilities to kind of take projects internally and, build them out and run them. A lot of times, they have to depend on integrators, which takes a lot of the control away from the customer and away from the universities and colleges. So basically, I’m able to kind of come in there and be a new type of role where I’m the liaison between internal resources and those external resources, kind of drawing everybody together and making sure that our university and other schools and things have their voices heard in the higher ed world, as well as the AV world, which hasn’t been as prominent. So that’s, I think, something that I’m trying to do and do that through HETMA as well, through Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance, giving a voice to higher ed and AV.

The most interesting intersections between AV technology and higher education and how to stay ahead of the trends…

The kind of the trend that I’m seeing with higher ed and AV specifically is a lot of AV manufacturers, integrators, media companies, and everything are starting to kind of notice higher ed a little bit more because of HETMA and organizations like that. We’re able to provide a voice for the higher ed community and influence the higher ed community in the way that we’re able to do that. And kind of influence the way technology is manufactured and where it’s headed as to what kind of needs are needed for learning spaces or hybrid spaces and starting to influence that a little bit more. And I think, you know, with our design team, especially at USC, we’re just kind of able to have really good connections with those manufacturers to give them ideas of where we want to go with our classroom spaces and our novelty spaces and things of that nature and work more collaboratively not just to get ahead of those trends, but also start influencing and creating those trends.”

Article by James Kent

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