No, not THAT Quincy Jones. AVI Systems’ Quincy Jones is based in the Sioux Falls Office in the Technical Services Department where he has been for almost a year designing and installing solutions for AVI Systems customers.
Last month we sat down with Quincy to discuss his role at AVI Systems, some of his favorite projects he has worked on as well as the all-important question of his favorite ice cream flavor.
Hi, Quincy. How long have you been with AVI Systems?
I have been with AVI Systems, 10 or 11 months now. Before that, I was with Workplace Technology Center, who was bought out by AVI Systems. I was with them for 10 years.
What do you do at AVI Systems?
I am a Design Engineer II in the Technical Services Department. The majority of the work that I do is based around programming Crestron control systems and designing AV solutions for customers. Generally, I work with the sales team and try and come up with unique solutions for our customers.
And can you tell us about your average day in the Technical Services Department?
On a typical day I’ll spent a half hour to an hour with the sales guys on different sales projects that they have going. Typically I’ll also work with the service guys on any open issues. Much of the rest of my time is spent working on projects, either on programming or designing projects to be put into production.
Can you discuss what the Technical Services department does as a whole?
The department as a whole does everything from designing the solutions to actually installing the equipment, pulling cable out in the field -- so you have different team members that are part of the technical services. As well as sales support. So, within the Technical Services Division there are probably 4 or 5 different titles that encompass the whole division.
We’ve heard that you are pretty proficient at creating iPod and iPad apps. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Well, yes we used an iPad app and created interfaces for that app. We are using iPads as an alternative to your usual touch panels -- it’s kind of been our niche lately. We have got 60 or 70 out in the field to different customers.
Do you have a favorite project or a favorite solution that you’ve provided for your customers in your 11 months at AVI Systems?
We did some very neat projects; notably, the work we have done with first responder training vehicles that are out in the field. These are very large, almost semi-sized, vehicles. They are all controlled to have 5 or 6 TVs inside the vehicle that they use to train people. We control them all from an iPad, so it is all mobile.
Similar to that project, is a one we are wrapping up for the University of South Dakota. They have a simulation center there where there’s probably ten exam rooms, a couple of debriefing rooms and simulation labs. The system is miked-up and has cameras that can basically record everything that they do there for training purposes. It’s a fairly large project.
Can you tell us a bit about the Sioux Falls office where you are based?
We’re in the Western Mall. The front part of the Western Mall is your traditional mall, with your normal store fronts and what not, and the back side is used it for kind of different office/business set up. We had a place here prior to the buyout and we’re currently here. I think they are working on a new space.
There are probably 14 of us here. We also have a salesman out in Pierre as well. All of the Technical Services Department is located here in Sioux Falls.
How did you get into audio visual integration?
I actually come from a microbiology background. And I started basically doing microbiology work with viruses, looking at the DNA and RNA that made up most viruses. In the process of that I discovered that I really liked the IT stuff that I was involved in. We were doing a lot of database work in analyzing the viruses so I decided to come back to Sioux Falls and get a degree in IT. In the process of doing that I got hooked up with my former boss, Joe Zueger. I started in the IT help desk at their company and we spun off the AV division. We had a lot of clients that were coming to us asking about conference room technology and that kind of stuff. So, we kind of broke off and started a new division within that company and we just kind of grew and expanded from there.
With that, what do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working with the customers. It’s always fun to finish a project and go out and do training. A lot of times they are just blown away with the new technology they have in their room. They’re always happy to start their new meetings or use the new solutions that we’ve provided them. So that is probably the most enjoyable part of the job.
So you work on projects from start to finish?
Yeah, I’ve typically been involved at the start with the sales guys and helping design things and then usually the middle to the end. I’ll work with the clients and with the install and Technical Services guys to help wrap everything up.
Do you have any mentors in the business that inspire you?
In business, probably my former boss, Joe, has been a good inspiration. I came to him when I first applied for a job and kind of said, “you don’t really have a reason to hire me. I don’t have an IT background, but I’m looking for somebody to give me a chance.” He took a chance on me and it’s really grown from there. Also, I would say that one of my colleagues here who I’ve worked with the longest, Mat Nelson. He has been a good mentor as well. We’ve kind of worked through things together. It’s been fun.
We'd like to ask a few questions about how you are outside of work.
Well, I really like to knit (kidding). **laughs** We have a cabin in the Black Hills and we spend a lot of time up there when we can -- going fishing and what not with my family. We have a 5 year old daughter and a 7 month old son, so I spend a lot of time with them. I’ve also recently started running again. I don’t know if that is the most enjoyable activity, but I do try to do it.
What is your favorite Summertime activity?
Well, this summer it has been staying indoors because of the heat. Other than that, this summer has been a lot of running around with my daughter. She had a lot going on like swimming lessons and that kind of stuff. So I really enjoy doing that with her. We (AVI Systems, Sioux Falls) are typically really busy in the summers with schools being out so we tend to not take a lot of vacation.
What is your favorite sport?
I am more of a geek, so my favorite sport is probably golf. My dad is an avid golfer, so a lot of times I will go out with him or watch golf with him. That’s probably my favorite sport.
And your favorite type of music or artist?
I am a big fan of Coldplay as well as Jack Johnson. My wife and I have gone to a Jack Johnson concert and really enjoyed ourselves.
What would your dream car be?
It would probably be a Mustang. I had a Mustang before I got married, and I tend to hold that over my wife because we got rid of it shortly after we got married. So maybe someday I’ll have a Mustang again. It doesn’t work out too well with kids.
What is your ideal vacation?
My wife and I have been talking about going out to California and visiting a lot of the wineries and stuff out there. So I think for now, that is our ideal vacation. My wife also studied abroad, so we wouldn’t mind going to visit some of her friends in Germany.
What is your favorite ice cream – chocolate or vanilla.
Strawberry, but vanilla between the two.
Mac or PC?
I actually have both. I use a PC at work but home we have a Mac. Technically, I Boot Camp it and also run Windows.
Thanks for your time Quincy. We’ll be rooting for you to get that Mustang back some day. Keep watching the AVI Systems Blog for next month’s Employee Spotlight.