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AVI Systems Celebrates Elevation Learning Center Grand Opening

Minneapolis May 26, 2017

After Betsy Jaffe had time to walk through AVI Systems’ newly renovated headquarters on Thursday, she said that the facility is an inspiration to the industry.

“This is amazing,” Jaffe said, who is the senior vice president of member services at InfoComm. Jaffe, and about 150 others, came to the headquarters for the grand opening of the Elevation Learning Center.

This time last year, she visited the Eden Prairie-based headquarters to meet with President and CEO Jeff Stoebner and Manager of Training and Development Brian van der Hagen about learning initiatives that were — at the time — still in their early stages.

“What they had to say was so exciting to us,” she said. “We really felt that it was very much in line with what InfoComm is trying to tell the industry, about the need to invest in employees, about the need for training, about bringing in the next generation into the industry.”

The concept itself was enough to foster excitement over what the future could hold for the facility and its potential impact on audio-visual professionals who are looking to further their education. InfoComm partnered with AVI Systems and provided educational material, including online classes, books and more.

“It seems like a really happy place," Jaffe said. "I’m sure a lot of the industry will draw inspiration from it.”

“Just the fact that they’re investing in their employees in this way, and that the company is trying to train others in the industry and train their customers, it’s fantastic,” she said. “We just want to be here to raise our glass and celebrate the success of AVI and the industry, and also see how we can continue to work together as the industry changes.”

Tour groups explored the building in the early afternoon, before moving to the Prince and the Revolution room — the cafeteria — for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a pig roast, and a raffle. As the afternoon progressed, people wandered around, weaving in and out of classrooms and workspaces, while others took a closer look at the technology installed around the building.

Zack Stewart, regional sales manager with BP Marketing Group, and Joe Super, marketing manager also with BP, stopped near the employee lounge to talk specs about a Dual-view Flat display by LG. Aside from the tech itself, though, Stewart and Super said the building’s layout was ideal for collaboration.

“It looks like a futuristic workspace,” Stewart said. “I like the writable walls and the ideas that it’s very collaborative, flexible.”

Super said, “It’s nice that you have an open concept, but you have the ability to privatize it, without feeling constricted.”

Near the employee lounge are comfortable chairs and bicycles for check out. In the same area is a classroom, called Soul Asylum, with large, wall-mounted displays and flex seating.

Looking at the room, Stewart said he’s always trying to expand his industry knowledge, and that he would attend classes at the headquarters.

“You always have to be on top of what’s going on in the industry,” he said. “If there are more chances to learn, I’m all over it.”

There are multiple classrooms and training facilities throughout the headquarters. Many of the meeting spaces and classrooms are enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass walls that allow natural light to flow.

Walking around, you’ll also find the company’s values on the walls, sometimes flashing on mounted touchscreen displays that are meant for meetings. And, some walls are coated with dry-erase paint, so you’ll see meeting reservations or pictures in different colors drawn on the glossy white paint.

The rooms and spaces are all designed in a way to encourage collaboration and active learning.

“A room doesn’t have to be a boring box to be a training room,” Jaffe, with InfoComm, said. “Class doesn’t have to be the enemy.” Jaffe pointed over to the Semisonic classroom -- a glass-enclosed space bordering the cafeteria -- and said, “I can see CTS Prep being taught here.”

Later in the afternoon, people gathered in the cafeteria to listen to live jazz played by Joel Lehman, COO at AVI Systems, and a pianist who was hired for the event. The crowd thinned out around 3 p.m., as the grand opening was coming to an end.

“It seems like a really happy place," Jaffe said. "I’m sure a lot of the industry will draw inspiration from it.”

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