InfoComm 2021: The Real Impact of the Pandemic on AV’s Work and Workforce

The pandemic left lasting impacts on industry demographics and workflows; the AV industry is no exception. Our team on the ground at InfoComm 2021 wanted to get a pulse for some of the ways COVID left women in AV with less work and resources, as well as whether AV design work itself has shifted in 18 months. We spoke with Rebecca Sullins, Senior Design Engineer for Pro Media Audio Video, for insights. Rebecca, nominated for AVIXA’s CTS Holder of the Year and actively working to start an AVIXA Women’s Council chapter in middle Tennessee, shared her thoughts on how the pandemic impacted women in AV, her work around major stadium integrations, and how both work and workforce will benefit from an industry return to form.

Abridged Thoughts:

The Women’s Council has been doing a whole lot of data research into this kind of thing. And for the last 10 years, female involvement in the AV industry has been steadily growing. It stopped and is declining now, and I’m lucky in that I have a job where I work from home anyway, so that helps. And I also kept my kids at home when they were really young, so I’m used to working with my kids at home. I’m also really good at managing time and working odd hours, stuff like that. But if you’re thrown into that situation, it’s almost impossible to manage. And it is. It is very difficult, and I do see women leaving at a higher rate. And I’m in the South where there weren’t that many to begin with.

I am seeing just vast amounts of networked audio over fiber. That’s a huge one for us because of distance limitations. It allows you to have fewer pieces of gear in more concentrated locations, which helps. It helps with cost. It helps with install, it helps with changing out cables. Now we only have to change out one six pair of fiber, you know, as opposed to rerunning 15 speaker lines if something gets cut. That has kind of changed the game for large scale installs, which is really nice, and it’s really cool to see that become more robust and more just readily accepted. You know, 10 years ago, people were really hesitant to put audio on their network. Now, not so much.

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