From Education to Events, One Teacher’s Journey into a Career in AV
AV Tech Jerome Palmieri Shares His Story
Corporate AV is a growing field in a sometimes uncertain job economy! We sat down with AV Tech Jerome Palmieri to talk about his career journey from education to events and how COVID catalyzed his career change.
Why did you consider an audiovisual career?
“My experience is somewhat long and varied; I have been into audiovisual production ever since high school… I was doing video projects for school, in bands where I was setting up equipment for shows,” Jerome shares. “I did my undergrad studying media production at Quinnipiac University’s Little Small School out in Connecticut and went into the media production industry for a little bit. After I graduated there, I did an internship with MTV and wasn’t really psyched about the kind of work … so I went back to school!”
Jerome got a master’s degree in educational technology and then began working in private schools.
“I was able to help schools build and teach digital art programs.” This included things like learning how to do Photoshop, video, edit, and animate. “I did that for about five years on the East Coast before I moved out here to Seattle,” Jerome says.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jerome questioned whether or not he wanted to be a teacher anymore. He started working for a small company that did web streaming for conferences and found his way to Live Oak AV.
What has surprised you about a career in corporate AV?
Compared with life as a teacher, Jerome talks about having a better work life balance. Especially being a parent, he likes the schedule at Live Oak and the consistency of knowing what his days will look like.
“There’s a lot that goes into planning the event, but once you’re there, set it up, do what you need to do, and clean up, then you’re done. It’s nice to be able to go home at the end of an event and say, we made a decent amount of difference at this event and our client’s life,” Jerome shares.
What skills transfer from other careers to corporate AV?
“I think my ability to quickly pick things up and adapt is definitely something I use a lot here!” Jerome says. As a tech teacher, Jerome had to quickly learn, set-up and use all the new equipment and gadgets that were brought into his school.
In addition, communication was a big transferable skill. Often, AV techs need to quickly communicate what they are doing to their clients without getting too technical.
“In teaching, you learn to communicate with people at whatever level they are. If I’m working with a bunch of eighth grade kids I’m going to talk to them about how to film something much differently than I’m going to talk to college kids. Being able to differentiate and figure out where a person’s knowledge is and communicating with them at the level they’re comfortable with is a great transferable skill.”
What are pros and cons of the AV industry versus others?
“As a teacher, summer vacation was awesome… but again, I think the work-life balance in general now day to day is much better here in the AV industry.”
Jerome also shares that he really enjoys having a clear goal working in the AV industry. Everyone he works with, from the Live Oak staff to their clients, have the same goal: to make each event a success.
“When you’re working in education, you have so many different parties. [As a teacher], I’m trying to do things that are good for my students, but also their parents, and the administrator. Whereas in the audiovisual industry, we know we’re all on the same team. We know what we want to accomplish. That’s a huge, huge difference.”
Additionally, he enjoys the variety of tasks and skills that are needed for the AV industry.
“It’s fun being able to work an event where I’m setting up all of the video and sound equipment. Then we’re filming the event and I get to come back and edit it for the client. I get to stretch and flex all those different skills!”
What do you appreciate about working with Live Oak AV?
“Many others in the space work freelance or contract work. It’s really awesome that Live Oak takes care of us and gives us a full-time position. One thing I really like about Live Oak now is that our clients are really grateful and thankful that you’re able to help them with their events.”
Jerome also mentions that it’s nice to work in a place where you can feel appreciated and where the events are important and impactful.
He also mentions that the level of determination, service, and care that Live Oak provides is inspiring.
“At Live Oak, we’re working hard to create new relationships and clients. We’re hungry in that way and we’re making sure the clients we do have are satisfied to a very high standard. As opposed to a larger company that may have contracts in lots of places, but there’s no kind of personal dedication,” Jerome shares. “We all really care.”
What would you love to see in the future of AV?
“Hybrid events! Definitely, 100%. Obviously the pandemic was horrible, but it forced people to stress test the capability of doing things virtually. Now that people can see the capability of it, there’s a growing demand. They want in-person live events, but they still want to be able to offer the event to people who can’t get there,” Jerome says. “It’s giving the clients the opportunity to offer what they are doing to a wider audience.”
“I’m also really excited about virtual reality as far as the event space, even if it’s just a part of an event. There’s a lot of cool stuff that could be done.”
Jerome also laughs that he wishes for much lighter TV screens. “That’s the future trend that I think we’re talking about dreaming big is having TV screens that are under 10 lbs!”
Stay connected with Jerome and the rest of the Live Oak AV team on LinkedIn.