Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 67

" They want to see Crestron lead the way
in this, " Fitzpatrick explains, " and we're
excited that there are other organizations
that will also do this. " There's much still to
do, he acknowledges, but he takes pride
in Crestron making strides to seed the next
generation of talent.
When ANDREW SHAMIS, a computer engineering major at
Stevens Institute of Technology, showed up for his first day of
working in the school's IT department, he noticed
Crestron-branded boxes piled up the school's tiny IT closet.
" I've never heard of Crestron until then, " he recalls. " I
became very familiar with some of the product lines. When
CTI's Growing Internship Program
The internship program at nationwide integration
firm CTI has grown about 15% to
20% each year since CTI started it around
10 years ago, Brandon Conick, COO at CTI,
reports. Putting things simply, Conick explains,
" When you can't find the talent you
want, you have to develop your own. "
CTI looks for students near the end of
their two- or four-year program and brings
them in for 10 weeks over the summer to
give them hands-on experience; introduce
them to the different roles that exist in the
industry; and have them practice and,
eventually, take the CTS exam.
" The curriculum changes from year
to year where, sometimes, they'll have
a special project to work on, " Conick
remarks, using the examples of redoing an
internal room or programming. The interns
also get to travel to client locations and
see other CTI branch offices. According to
Conick, " The ultimate goal is for the intern
to become a full-fledged employee, as long
as they are interested [in this career], and
they're culturally the right fit. "
Are We Doing Enough?
When CI asked Conick whether we, as an
industry, are doing enough to help seed
the next generation, he had a ready answer.
" I think we're getting better at [recognizing
the need], " he says. " We're way better now
than we were seven or eight years ago,
but we still have a way to go. We embrace
the challenge to recruit, attract, train and
retain talent. This is the same challenge and
opportunity [for many integration firms]. "
He notes that, as the industry is shifting
toward more software and network-based
solutions, it's attracting a different, much
younger generation. That generation,
of course, grew up with the internet,
computers and software-based solutions.
" The way the industry is going is creating
an influx of new talent, " Conick states. He
commercialintegrator.com
Chris Fitzpatrick showed up at one of the career fairs, I talked to him. It was my
freshman year of college. I didn't end up interning at Crestron that year, but the
following year I did. The vibe is extremely approachable [at Crestron]. Everyone
that I've interacted with is very friendly; very willing to offer their advice, it's not
just in one department that you get this sort of feeling. I don't think that's something
you'll get in other corporate environments. "
He continues, " I returned to Crestron for a second-year internship because
I've gotten to explore a technical field that I had an interest in in school, but [I
had] never got to be really hands on with it. It's been a great experience for me in
terms of learning what I would be doing on the job, what it takes from an academic
standpoint, how it differs from what I do in the classroom. I think what really
speaks to Crestron is the fact that I've learned more in the last two months than I
probably would have learned in an entire year of school. All the homework and
exams for my courses, doesn't amount to what I've actually been able to learn at
Crestron, both in technical and soft skills. "
Shamis concludes, " I'm very grateful to Crestron for the last two years in
figuring out what I want to do professionally; the connections I've made and the
people I've interacted with. It's made for two unforgettable experiences that I'm
going to carry with me for the rest of my life. "
adds, " The new talent coming in is young,
[and] they're excited. " Those generational
differences, he argues, also represent, in
microcosm, the importance of divergent
perspectives in circles of power. " [Integrators]
are good at doing the same things, "
he opines, " but I don't think that's going to
be what carries [the industry] forward into
the next 10 years. Diversity of thought is
going to be super important. "
Ultimately, Conick says, every integration
firm should get on board with developing
an internship program. He believes
it's imperative for us, collectively, as an
industry, to come together and get better
at developing young talent. " There's a lot
to like about the AV industry, " he declares.
" The more we can expose talented people
to our industry, the stronger it's going to
be five, 10 or 20 years from now. And that's
good for everybody. "
At Mechdyne Corp., the Marshalltown,
Iowa-based global technology service
provider, the mantra is simple: " Hire for
attitude; train for skill. " Certifications are
not a requirement.
Not About Your Major
Mary Clover, coordinator for organizational
development and training at Mechdyne,
says that, when she goes to career fairs
across the state, many event organizers
ask what majors Mechdyne would like to
see. " We always tell them we're looking at
all majors, " she says. " It doesn't matter to
us what their degree is in. We're looking
for someone who fits our culture and our
core values. " She continues, " Sometimes,
universities and students who have a
specific major don't necessarily think of our
industry, when, in reality, it is very multidisciplinary. "
And that's absolutely correct: Everyone
from engineers to human-resources
specialists to marketers to salespeople and
even communications professionals can
thrive in commercial AV.
Clover does believe it's critical for interns
to identify what they like and what they don't
SEPTEMBER 2022 Commercial Integrator 67
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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
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