PEOPLE PROFILE: JERRY MASON
As part of our ongoing campaign to introduce some of the talented people in our team, we spent a few minutes talking to Jerry Mason, a consultant in our AV team.
Jerry joined MiX over two years ago and has worked for many of our key clients across several sectors, including public, legal, media, and leisure, on projects from 25,000 ft2 to 275,000 ft2.
Tell us a bit about what keeps you so busy at MiX:
AV Consultants are subject matter experts on all things relating to AV. My role includes design, project management, and, most importantly, working closely with clients to understand their specific needs and then design the right solution for their budget. I’m working on multiple projects at any one time and need to keep up to date with technology, so there is always lots to do.
How did you find yourself in the AV industry?
I had a real fascination with electronics and how things worked since a young child. Although this continued as I grew older, I went on to study and obtained a degree in medicine. I discovered that a career in medicine was not what I wanted to do, and I took a break to try other things. I set up a home studio and worked with musicians and bands as a sound engineer in venues and on the road and doing equipment repairs. Later I concentrated on conference and event work.
It was when I started work at an AV Integrator that I found an industry that I could settle into. When I first started, I was designing and running projects and programming and commissioning, so it was quite a mix. After spending twelve years as an integrator, I moved on to an AV Consultancy role. The balance of technical, project management, and people skills required in consultancy keeps things interesting.
What appeals to you most in the industry?
I am fascinated with how things can be integrated. Taking different elements that are not specifically designed to go together and integrating them in creative ways to develop a solution that will add more value to the client. Technology is always changing, so it never gets boring!
What do you think the biggest challenges in the AV industry are today?
Now, more than ever, there is an ever-increasing pressure on costs but with an expectation to still deliver the same level or more functionality. Being able to add real value and maintain high standards can be challenging. AV is an exceptionally fast-changing industry; it is essential to keep up with the latest innovations and developments to offer clients the right solution to meet their needs. Because project timescales can be quite considerable, the challenge is often to see far enough ahead. We need to stay relevant as an industry and keep sight of the need to add value. A lot of what was seen as specialised a few years ago is now run of the mill – most people now have conferencing capability at home, and many have some degree of home automation. The value we add to the work environment has to go way beyond this.
You have been a judge at the AV awards for many years. How did your first get involved, and can you tell us more about it?
I was invited by AV magazine to be one of the judges for the awards, and this year will be my 8th or 9th time. The judges are chosen from a wide range of roles and sectors with a connection to AV, and I am very happy to give some of my time to support our industry in this way, and especially to recognise the creativity and amazing results that can be achieved. Due to Covid restrictions, AV awards 2020 will be a virtual event. It will be a very different experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we use our own technology and creativity to make this happen.
What kind of skills do you need to have to succeed in a role like this?
Having to manage multiple projects and deadlines means that you do need to be very organised in this role. You must be able to work as part of a team, including the client and other consultants and project managers, as part of the design team and fit-out contractors and the AV contractors. Therefore, communication is a crucial skill as you need to draw out what the need is and then explain complex solutions to others that are easy to understand. Having the right mix between technical and project management skills is important, as is the ability to produce well-written documents.
Spill the beans; what do you like about working at MiX?
It has been said before, but it is a great company to work for because the people are approachable, enthusiastic individuals with a fantastic team spirit. It is also the first company I have worked at where there is transparency in how the business is run and where it is going.
With such a busy day job, what do you do to unwind and relax?
I have a very active six-year-old, so not much free time to relax! One day I will get back to other hobbies such as playing guitar and maybe get the band back together. But I do still enjoy being able to fix things and get them working again. There seems to be no shortage of household items to repair – and people bring me things to ‘just have a quick look at.’