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AVI-SPL Employees Team up to Stomp out Breast Cancer

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, several employees threw on their tennis shoes and hit the pavement in order to raise money for the cause. For many who have had personal battles with the disease, their stories are very near and dear to their hearts.

Brenda Curry, producer for Creative Show Services, joined the American Cancer Society (ACS) Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k walk for her first time ever. She led her team “Adventurous Hearts” which included employees Ivy Peterson, Stephanie Cobb, Lisa Nieto and Leisha Fotopoulos among other friends and family.

They gathered Saturday, Oct. 23, and began their walk at the St. Pete Times Forum on Channelside Drive, trekked down past the Convention Center and onto Bayshore Boulevard and then routed back to The Forum.  Through donations from friends, family and colleagues, the “Adventurous Hearts” team raised $855 for the American Cancer Society.

Brenda Curry shares her experience:

“I am a Breast Cancer Survivor (9 1/2+ years).  My diagnosis totally changed my life. But through the love and care of my family and friends, the amazing support of AVI (now AVI-SPL), the excellent care of four great physicians and their staff, and through an internal strength that I wasn’t even aware I had within me,  I made it through the hard times, and now see my 10 year anniversary approaching in February 2011. I have lost a lot, but I have gained much more.  I am here today because others came before me and helped to find treatments and ways of coping with the cancer diagnosis that helped make my road an easier one.  I will always be eternally grateful and hope that my efforts will do the same for others.  

Today, there is more hope than ever for people facing breast cancer. However, there is much work to be done. Every day, the American Cancer Society is helping people stay well by taking steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer or find it early when it is most treatable; helping people get well with information, day-to-day help, and emotional support to guide them through every step of a breast cancer experience; by finding cures and promising new treatments through funding and conducting research; and by fighting back by working with lawmakers to help all women get access to screenings and care. 

I have hope that one day we will live in a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. That’s why I walked in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. Not only was this my opportunity to join my community to fight back against breast cancer, it was a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease and save more lives.”

Vivian Sola, sales consultant for Creative Show Services, also participated in the ACS 5k walk. Also her first year joining the walk, she was asked to recruit five team leaders and ended up becoming one herself.  She led of team of about 45 people made up of family, friends and church members.

Vivian Sola shares her story:

“I have friends that have been affected by this disease and could only hope for the day when we celebrate that a cure has been found.   It was a great experience to see the world come together as one (regardless of race, religion and age) for such a great cause. Hence, I called my team “Caring Friends.”  Everyone in the team got a white shirt and painted the name of the team on the back so that we could be recognized in the crowd!  Everyone in my family played an active role in the process.  My husband and daughter helped me make some bows to give to those that had contributed towards the team goal.  My 9-year-old boy collected $50 from school.  He went to teachers and friends asking for anything from coins to dollars!  My parents recruited other walkers who also helped in the fundraising. Ultimately, our Caring Friends team ended up raising more than $2,600 dollars which far surpassed our original goal of $1,000.”   

Gail Fitzsimmons, benefits manager for AVI-SPL, joined 1,600 others in the Tampa Bay Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60-mile fundraising walk to benefit breast cancer research Oct. 29-31. Participants walked 20 miles a day (from around 8 a.m. to nearly 6 p.m. each day) and camped overnight in local parks. There are 15 3-Day for the Cure walks nationwide each year, and this year’s Tampa Bay event raised $4.5 million for breast cancer research.

Gail Fitzsimmons shares her story:

“I was personally touched by breast cancer in 2008 when my younger sister Laura was diagnosed.  Laura would share with me the horrible experiences that she went through and it just broke my heart.  That’s when I felt the need to get involved and help in the fight to end breast cancer.  I saw a commercial for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event and signed up and joined a team called “The Breast of Times.” This year’s event was even more special to me since my last walk in 2008, because I knew what to expect and the emotions that I would experience during the 3-days– lots of crying and laughing.  These are three days full of an overwhelming outpouring of love, kindness, sadness, but also hope.  The Tampa Bay Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event raised $4.5 million to be used for community outreach and research so someday soon we’ll be able to say we have found a cure for breast cancer and all cancers.  A lot of people don’t know that when you sign up for this event, you don’t just have to walk 60 miles in three days, but you’re also committing to raising a minimum of $2,300.  I am thankful to have very generous family, friends and co-workers.  I can’t wait for next year so I can do it again; this is my small part in the fight to eradicate breast cancer.”

Congratulations to everyone who teamed up for this wonderful cause.  Whether you donated to a walker or sweat your heart out for 60 miles, you’re making a difference in someone’s life.

To view a gallery of photos from the walks and our Breast Cancer Bake Sale, click here.

Polycom Announces Expansion of UC

Today, Polycom announced plans to expand video communications solutions to the masses through its new product and service offerings specifically for mobile users, small and medium businesses (SMB), and consumers (who, up ’til now, had all been relatively left out of the video communications market).

This announcement is based on Polycom’s new vision of “Unified Communications Everywhere” and its plan to open video communications to everyone on any device.

John Vitale, our director of product management for Video & UC commented on the announcement: “I like what I’m reading in Polycom’s announcements. To me, this is saying Polycom is expanding its  product and technology reach beyond the enterprise market and is looking to position itself as a formidable player with Service Provider grade solutions, strengthening its relationship with Microsoft and addressing the ever growing mobile device market needs. With Smartphones dominating 50%+ of the market and still growing, and the constant improvements in 3G and 4G wireless networks, high-end applications like video calling are becoming more desirable and something that mobile users will eventually expect to be on their mobile phone.”

Read more about Polycom’s plan to bring unified communications to everyone.

What do you think?

AV Week 2010 Wrap-Up

…And just like that, AV Week 2010 has passed. Here’s a quick look back at all of the fun we had this year.

AV Week Projector Giveaway

In honor of AV Week 2010, AVI-SPL teamed up with NEC Display to award a brand new NEC M260X projector to a K-12 school here in the United States. We received more than 40 entries in total and, after a close race, Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School in Okeechobee, FL, was named the winner. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who submitted entries and voted! We’ll post photos of the winner accepting the projector soon.

AV Trivia

AV Week isn’t just about giveaways — it’s about educating everyone about the AV industry. In keeping with this theme, we asked our online followers and employees various trivia questions all week. To keep it fun, we gave away cool prize packs, too!

Click here to see all AVI-SPL Employee Trivia »

Click here to see all other AV Trivia »

AV Spirit Days

AVI-SPL employees showed their AV pride all week with our themed Spirit Days. We posted all of the entries (nearly 60 in all!) on Facebook and let our fans pick their favorites. Click the thumbnails to view full-size photos of our winners!

In keeping with the educational focus of AV Week, we posted relevant facts on our employee portal for each day, including tidbits about manufacturer partners, products, company history, training and certification. Our CEO John Zettel wrapped up the week with an employee address about his vision for the future of AVI-SPL and the AV industry.

Manufacturer Monday

On Monday, employees sported manufacturer attire. AVI-SPL’s Denver office put on a great show and was our clear Manufacturer Monday winner! One employee didn’t have any gear from his favorite manufacturers (Revolabs & Biamp), so he grabbed some boxes and jumped in the photo!

Team Tuesday

We’ve got spirit – yes we do, we’ve got spirit – how ‘bout you? On Tuesday, we asked employees to show their AVI-SPL pride by wearing our signature blue and green. Our winner was Phil from our Dubai office, who paired a blue & green tie with a sharp black suit. Our employees are lookin’ good all around the world.

Geek It Up Wednesday

Horn-rimmed glasses, pocket protectors, bowties, oh my! AV is typically seen as an industry for geeks, so we decided to embrace the stereotype for Geek It Up Wednesday! A few of our employees proved that geek can be chic in this challenge. Jessica in Tampa took home the prize.

Throwback Thursday

AV people just love technology. On Thursday, we challenged employees to show off their most prized vintage piece of equipment. We were blown away by the 30+ pieces of old tech that were submitted! Slide projectors, record players, Apple computers from the 1980s, and even an 8-track of the original Star Wars soundtrack were submitted (along with LOTS of other stuff!). The voting was tight, but Frank from our Boston office won with his entry– a stereo amplifier that he bought with money earned from his paper route in 1965. Cool!

Future Friday

On Friday, we asked employees to submit photos of their most high-tech piece of equipment. Dave from Creative Show Services submitted a photo of his new iPad and took home Friday’s prize.

Click here to see more AV Spirit Days entries on Facebook!

AV Week Proclamation

Much to our delight, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio signed a proclamation declaring October 17-23, 2010 to be officially AV Week across the city.

“Mayor Iorio’s proclamation further solidifies the immense impact the audiovisual industry has on the public,” said John Zettel, CEO, AVI-SPL. “With companies looking at ways to reduce travel costs and be more environmentally friendly, we’re seeing more and more adoption of videoconferencing and Telepresence solutions.” Zettel added, “We’re very proud to be headquartered in Tampa. The region’s diverse industry landscape combined with the abundance of talented professionals makes Tampa an ideal place to lay down a company’s roots.”

So, what did you think about AV Week at
AVI-SPL? Please share your thoughts and
suggestions in the comments below!

AV Week Factoids

We’re getting our employees in on the AV Week fun with special activities and contests just for them! Thanks to some of our AV industry experts, we’ve created a list of AV Trivia to put our employees to the test. Winners will receive a pack of AV Week and AVI-SPL branded prizes! We’ll be posting the trivia Q&As and winners throughout the week right here…

Monday’s Trivia:

Q: What does the 7 and 1 stand for in a 7.1 sound system?

A: Seven discrete channels of audio (Left, Right, Center, Left Surround, Right Surround, Left and Right Back) and one subwoofer.

Winner: Chip Garrett from Atlanta

Q: 3D has brought new excitement to the movie industry. There are two types of 3D that require the use of glasses. What are they? BONUS: There is one type of 3D being sold today that does not require any glasses at all. What term describes it?

A: Passive and Active

Bonus: Lenticular

Winner: David Harris from Tampa


Tuesday’s Trivia:

Q: What does USGBC stand for? What does LEED stand for?

A: U.S. Green Building Council, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

Winner: Jacob Ayers from Atlanta

Q: In order for a commercial building to achieve the highest level of LEED (Platinum), how many points must they earn?

A: 80+ points

Winner: Alex Rodriguez from Ft. Lauderdale


Wednesday’s Trivia

Q: Before being renamed InfoComm, what was the AV industry organization called?

A: ICIA (International Communications Industries Association) was the name prior to InfoComm

Winner: Lisa Berry from Ft. Lauderdale

Q: How many levels of InfoComm CTS certification are there? List them all.

A: CTS (general), CTS-I (installation), CTS-D (design)

Winner: Craig Hertzler from King of Prussia, PA


Thursday’s Trivia

Q: What was Panasonic’s first home theater projector model?

A: PT-AE100U

Winner: Mary Lovett from Atlanta

Q: What is the origin of the word “codec”?

A:  Compressor-decompressor, coder-decoder

Winner: Mark Cretella from Columbia, MD


Q: When did go online? (To be eligible, your answer must include the correct month and year.)

A: January 1999

Winner: Vicken Aghazarian from Philadelphia


Friday’s Trivia:

Q: What product gives you 1080P video conferencing at home?

A: Cisco Umi

Winner: Michael Kaether from Tampa

 Q: There is only one projector on the market today that uses a single chassis unit with a single lens to project Passive 3D; which company manufacturers this unit?

A: LG Electronics

Winner: Ben Elliott in Atlanta

Win Prizes with AVI-SPL Trivia!

We quizzed our customers and online fans in honor of AV Week. Winners recieved fun AVI-SPL branded prize packs!

AV Week Trivia

Q: What year did Audio Visual Innovations and Signal Perfection Ltd. merge to form AVI-SPL?
A: 2008
Congratulations to our winner – Melody from Dallas!

Q: What college did CEO John Zettel attend?
A: Florida State University

Q: AVI-SPL has nearly 40 offices around the world. Name one international office location.
A: Dubai, UAE & Mexico
Congratulations to our winner – Janice O.!

Q: AVI-SPL’s President retired last month. What is her name?
Stephenie Scanlon
Congratulations to our winner – Linda from Massachusetts!

Q: At AVI-SPL, what division does CRG stand for?
A: Control Room Group
Congratulations to our winner – Kimberly from Tampa!

Q: At AVI-SPL, what division does CS2 stand for?
A: Creative Show Services
Congratulations to our winner – Penny from Indiana!

Q: What do the “AVI” and “SPL” in AVI-SPL stand for?
A: Audio Visual Innovations & Signal Perfection Limited
Congratulations to our winner –  Gregory from Tampa!

Q: What is the name of AVI-SPL’s education e-newsletter?
A: Bright Ideas

Q:What are the names of AVI-SPL’s Executive Chairman and Vice Chairman?
A: Martin/Marty Schaffel and Chad Gillenwater
Congratulations to our second winner –  Sarah from New York!

Q: Name one stadium/arena project AVI-SPL (or legacy AVI / SPL) has worked on.

A: Yankee Stadium

Congratulations to our winner Harry from Maryland!

Q: In what city is AVI-SPL’s corporate headquarters located?
A: Tampa, Florida
Congratulations to our first winner – Natalie from Minnesota!

Trivia Prizes

Bag o’ Goodies for our winners includes AVI-SPL-branded:

  • Soft-sided cooler
  • Tumbler (for hot or cold beverages!)
  • Recycled notebook and pen
  • USB memory stick

Winners: We’ll be mailing your prize packs later this week!