Meet one of AVI-SPL Experts: Jay Paul, VP of Quality Control

Jay Paul is AVI-SPL’s vice president of quality control. Working from AVI-SPL’s Columbia, Md. office his tenure with the company spans 14 years and cumulative industry experience stands at 35 years.

What did you do before you joined AVI-SPL?

I started my career in the live sound industry as a front of house/monitor engineer and system technician with one-offs, tours and club dates for about five years. Then I took a position as a house engineer for two casinos in Atlantic City.

At eight years into my thirteen-year tenure, I found that system design was more interesting and challenging than my live sound duties, so I made a conscious decision to migrate away from operating systems to sound-system design as a full-time vocation.

I started consulting as a side from 1990 to 1994 and worked as an integrator from late 1994 to early 1996. I went back to consulting until 1998 and then joined Signal Perfection Limited, (now AVI-SPL) as a full time project engineer and promoted to my current position in 2002.

What are you working on that would be of interest to the consultant community?

I am a founder and co-chair of an internal group, known as the AVI-SPL Technical Council, responsible for technical standards and operational procedures. We chartered the Technical Council shortly after the merger of AVI and SPL to develop and disseminate technical standards and practices. Our current incarnations of councils are two 7-member bodies, one each dedicated to policy and operations.

Jay Paul, AVI-SPLOur first objective was development of a companywide standard for our engineering/shop drawings, followed by a Fabrication Standard to define the requirements for wiring, labeling and dress of cabling in equipment racks. Our role was expanded this year to include development of metrics, and in person evaluations of our regional offices.

In addition to my role with the Technical Council, I collaborated with our training department and other individuals to develop curriculum for a 5-day training session for project managers. Since its inception in 2010, we’ve trained over 180 project managers, senior engineers, technicians, and/or managers. Students “graduate” by passing two 100 question exams with a minimum grade of 80%

We’re proud of the fact that after a review of our curricula by Infocomm, our graduates earn 35 credits towards renewal of CTS, CTS-I or CTS-D certification. The Project Management Institute, responsible for granting the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification just granted one of our graduates 16 PDU’s towards renewal of their PMP certification.

While we are happy to be able to grant the credits, we’re happier that our offices are seeing improvements in communication and execution by our training graduates.

What are some of projects you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of? What was special about them or the process of working on them?

It’s hard to pick just a few, but two in particular were particularly satisfying. Hard Rock Live at Universal City walk was a very satisfying project. The opening show, featuring Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh was the best mixed, best sounding concert I’ve ever attended.

I was very pleased with our installation at the United States Naval Academy, Bancroft Memorial Hall. Memorial Hall is a physically large space and historic space that is largely constructed of marble, plaster and glass. We were expected to deliver intelligible speech in a room with a 4 or 5-second decay, without detracting from the esthetic of a historic and beloved gathering space. We were able to deliver on both criteria.

What are the most important things you’ve learned as an engineer?

I’ve learned how to find information, how to ask for assistance, how to collaborate, when to lead, and when to step back and follow. I’ve learned, and try to teach others, that it is not an engineer’s job to squander time and resources on solving every problem on their own.

How has that knowledge influenced your work as VP of Quality Control?

It encouraged me to collaborate with others to build standards; to reach for the phone or email before I waste time trying to solve a technical problem that has been solved by others and to proactively share what I’ve learned by teaching.

AVI-SPL’s collaboration with ArtsQuest upgrades audio, video and digital media system

Jay Paul played an integral role with the expansive and complex sound system at ArtsQuest™ Center at SteelStacks™. Watch the video to learn more.

If you have any questions for Jay, please contact him at jay.paul@avispl.com

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