Last month, Installation was thrilled to unveil its first ever Pro AV Power 20 list, rounding up the most inspiring and influential figures from across the AV and installation market. To get to know them a little better, we’ve sat down with each of our Pro AV Power 20 inductees for an in-depth chat, starting with No. 20 on our list, former director of WAVE UK, Cary Green…
How did you first get involved in the AV marketplace?
I had previously spent four years working in IT recruitment and business development for a software company. In January 2005, a friend who still worked in recruitment suggested I apply for a sales role at Maverick Presentation Products. I got the job and it launched my career in AV where I have been ever since, enjoying various roles with resellers and distributors.
What would you say are the most significant changes/developments to have taken place in the industry during your time?
AV technology has become much more affordable, which has meant that our industry is changing and progressing at an ever increasing rate. This has added a lot of pressure to profit margins, but also means that we now need to really focus on delivering value, in order to be successful.
What personal and professional achievements are you most proud of?
Personally I am most proud of my two boys. Now aged 13 and 10. Working hard and doing well in my career is an important part of how I’m bringing them up to hopefully be hard working and responsible human beings, that understand the value of hard work and the importance of treating people properly.
Professionally, the thing I am proud of is the work I have done with Women in AV to support and encourage the women in our industry, and to achieve their true potential, and improve our industry for everyone.
Do you have a philosophy that you live by professionally? If so, what is it and how has it helped you in your career, the businesses you’ve worked with, and the wider industry?
I have always endeavored to go above and beyond the constraints of my job role and contribute more widely to a company’s success. I’m not afraid to ask questions or suggest changes to processes. This is the same as my input in the wider industry as I’m an avid networker and keen to share relevant news and information on LinkedIn and Twitter, so that everyone can benefit and grow.
Prior to the outbreak of the global pandemic, what would you say were the biggest areas of technological or operational challenge for the AV industry?
Our industry is continually changing and adapting, which makes it very exciting, but also continually challenging. The biggest threat is to the skills and expertise of our professionals, from the availability of products online, and the ever present trend of DIY end users, who try to bypass the skills and experience of the AV industry in order to save money. Often resulting in a poor user experience, which reflects badly on the image of the technology we bring to market.
What impact has the pandemic had on you and your business, and what do you think will be the longer term impact of this extraordinary period on our sector?
I have been on furlough since 1st April along with many of my colleagues. Without being able to access customer sites the vast majority of our projects have been put on hold. We are hopeful to bounce back as strong as before but it will be dependent on how quickly customers are able to start spending money again. The chance to see more and more people, from all sectors, working from home and the increased use of video technology to keep in touch both professionally and with family and friends will almost definitely influence the video conferencing and meeting room arms of our industry. I think digital signage will also see growth due to employers, retailers and service providers needing to share important information with employees and customers.
What needs to change in the industry? What do we as a community need to get better at?
We need to increase our focus on delivering value for money, so that we have a much better offering compared to the ‘buy it online and do it yourself’ price. Our key levers in this are education and diversity.
Education: we all need to learn more, to understand more, so we can explain to our customers clearly and simply, so that they have no doubts as to why they are talking to an AV professional.
Diversity: we are still a long way from mirroring the market that we serve, and with the future emphasis moving towards a more personal AV and communications experience, as home working increases, we need to ensure we are aligned with those that will be purchasing the technology that will enable this new wave of technology adoption and usage.
In your opinion, what will be the biggest driver(s) of change for the AV market in the next five years?
Beyond the current changes from Covid-19, I can see that increased personalisation of technology will be a big driver; by this I mean that we will be much more in touch with making technology our servant rather than our master, as we work more flexibly and on our own terms and timings. Home offices will be more than just a quiet corner of the house that we make do with while not working at the office. The home office will become the communications centre of the home, where we are in control of our working environment, rather than just adapting to our home environment and making the best of it.
Finally, what would be your message to those starting out their careers in the AV community? Welcome to a fascinating, frustrating, exciting, rewarding, and sometimes even dysfunctional family. It won’t be an easy ride but it will be the making of you, in return for your blood, sweat and tears. Build your network, seek opportunities to learn, be coachable and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Buckle up, dig deep and get ready to shape the future.
I started in the AV industry in 2005 as an account manager at Maverick. Since 2012 I have worked for integrators and I really love the variety of end users I have worked with from law firms to charities, global brands and primary schools.
I’m an avid networker and have been involved with Women in AV since the early days of it being set up in the UK. When Abigail Brown so sadly passed away in November 2019 I was adamant I didn’t want all of her hard work and success to go to waste and was keen to ensure her legacy would live on by encouraging women to achieve more in the audiovisual industry.
Who’s had the greatest influence on your career?
Who did/do you look up to as a role model professionally?
I am lucky enough to have a number of mentors both within the industry and outside of it who I can turn to for guidance and advice.
How do you measure success?
Respect from my peers, and other people seeing value in consulting my advice.
What’s your biggest professional regret?
That when my children were younger I did not put more pressure on making the industry take a more flexible approach to working parents.
If you were a teenager today, what profession would you go into?
I continue to love my career in AV, but I wish I had felt the confidence to follow my heart and do something with one of my passions of cooking, craft or the outdoors.