Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 55

Honor Roll
C llab rati n
TODAY and TOMORROW
Celebrating Outstanding
Industry Members
Across age ranges, backgrounds and
lived experiences, members of the
commercial AV industry reflect on
the pandemic, working from home
and their unique personal journeys.
By Marla Suttenberg
and Lainie Mataras
THE PANDEMIC DID ONE amazing thing for our world: It shed
light on the fact that we can successfully work from home.
According to the Pew Research Center, six in 10 U.S. workers
say their jobs can be done from home. Sixty-one percent who
had worked in a workplace outside their home are choosing
not to go back into that workplace.
This edition of the Honor Roll spotlights some great people
in our industry who are at different stages in their careers,
and it highlights what the pandemic and the work-from-home
experience has been like for their companies and them.
Relatively New To AV
Matthew Boutte,
acoustic consultant
at Arup - Los Angeles,
Calif.
Boutte grew up listening to
music. His parents always had
commercialintegrator.com
music playing at home, and
he took various music lessons
throughout his school life. He
started with the piano and,
eventually, came to focus on
the drums, which he played
in his high school jazz band.
Having an ear for music and
sound eventually led him to
become interested in sound
recording. It was only natural
that Boutte's passion turned
into his major at the University
of Michigan - namely,
sound engineering. His major
was a great blend of performing
arts and technology, with
half of his focus on recording
engineering and the other
half on electrical engineering.
His degree required a lot of
technical expertise, as well as
a creative proclivity. All this
helped Boutte hone his skills
in sound engineering.
In 2018, he was still going
to the University of Michigan
when he started his summer
internship in Seattle for Arup,
a global built-environment
consulting firm. The following
summer, he interned in
Arup's Los Angeles office,
leading him to secure an
offer for a full-time job upon
his graduation. Despite the
COVID-19 pandemic hitting
in early 2020, Boutte started
as a full-time acoustic consultant
in Arup's Los Angeles
office in September 2020.
Lost Learning
Boutte admits that, at the
beginning, it was challenging
to work from home. " There is
lost learning not being able
to turn around at your desk
and ask someone next to you
a question, " he observes. So,
instead, he relied on Microsoft
Teams chat to get those
answers. On the positive
side, his sound-engineering
passion gave him an advantage
in his work-from-home
office setup. After all, he
already had a large monitor, a
standing desk and a webcam
setup, allowing him to settle
in at home quickly.
As a new hire, Boutte
feared having his Teams icon
turn yellow (for " away " ), so he
always tried to be available
and keep busy. His supervisor
realized this and let him know
that he was trusted to get his
work done. He offered Boutte
simple advice: Just clearly
communicate when he was
planning to take a break.
Wellness was a major
emphasis for Arup during
the pandemic. Boutte cited
examples of colleagues
posting dancing penguins in
their Teams chat to symbolize
a half-hour walk. Pretty
soon, that image became
the group's visual cue to
take a break. To keep the
team camaraderie going, the
acoustic group would have a
daily 15-minute Teams lunch
call to catch up. What's more,
every Friday, Arup would host
a virtual happy hour.
While working from home,
Boutte was able to store test
equipment to take to job
sites, always strictly observing
standard COVID-19 safety
protocols during visits. Now,
however, things have really
opened up, and that meant
Boutte was able to attend his
first InfoComm show this year.
" It was great to see the brands
that I specified at the show,
and I was surprised at all the
video and lighting manufacturers
that exhibited, " he says.
Rediscovering Passions
Boutte feels that more people
will want to continue the hybrid-work
model far into the
future - in particular, those
in Los Angeles, who must
contend with bad traffic.
While he realizes the value
of social interactions in the
office, Boutte also recognizes
that his colleagues are fellow
humans and would like to
save a couple of hours a day
SEPTEMBER 2022 Commercial Integrator 55
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Commercial Integrator September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator September 2022

Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 1
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 2
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 3
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 4
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 5
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