Michael W. Banks, our professional of the month, is clear: education is fundamental in the audio and video industry.
by Héctor Gómez Pérez
On December 27, Michael W. Banks will celebrate his 60th birthday. That experience, added to the 33 years he has been in the telecommunications, audio and video market, is what allows him to say that the main challenge facing the AV industry today is the education of the technical staff that works in it.
"Truly large and important AV technology fairs and seminars are held in the U.S. This implies walking visas and fluent command of English, which makes these events unaffordable for many members of the industry," says Banks and emphasizes the fact that in the industry courses are rarely taught in Spanish, with the exception of Infocomm, "which has come to realize the importance of the Latin American market for the development of AV technology in that region of the planet and that has acted accordingly."
Banks, born in Atlanta, United States, is the president and chief officer of Nutech Engineering Systems, Inc., in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Nutech Engineering, Inc., in Miami, Florida. This electronic technology engineer ventured into the industry as an independent acoustic consultant and as an interior designer, but faced with the impossibility of end users finding qualified personnel to materialize his designs, he surrounded himself with a human team that since 1988 is dedicated to the design and implementation of audio and video solutions in theaters, auditoriums or any other collective space. This is how Nutech Engineering Systems was born, but over the years it has become what it is today: a company that is dedicated to AV and related services, electronic security and intelligent building automation.
Banks, the family man
The home of our professional of the month is a matriarchy. His family consists of his wife Cristina and their three daughters: Michelle, Patricia and Denise. As for his hobbies, Banks, a fan of the Atlanta Braves, enjoys photography, reading a good book or watching movies or action series, an activity that he can develop for hours. Although there is an event that makes Sundays the best day of the week and, in the end, it is banks' main hobby. "The Sunday activity that is most enjoyed in my home is my pork ribs to the BBQ. For my friends and family everything stops when I prepare BBQ ribs; it is even said that one of my nephews (Eric) smells my barbecue about five kilometers away, since when I prepare churrascos or ribs it always appears in my house just when I am taking the meat off the grill, "says Banks as an anecdote.
Banks, the manager
When asking our professional about the goals that a manager of an AV company must pursue, he was emphatic in pointing out that they should always be aimed at ensuring that the objectives of each project are achieved as quickly as possible, but without sacrificing quality and aesthetics in the installations of equipment, wiring and peripherals; He also added that "the technical management of a company that ventures into AV activities must be exaggeratedly detailed and perfectionist, supervising the work in the field without allowing the mediocrity that characterizes low quality companies and with empirical technicians."
On the current situation of the AV market in his country, our guest considers that one of the indications of the expansion of the industry is the emergence of new companies; however, it states that this growth is also accompanied by the lack of credentials that qualify them as leading players in the market. "Many of these new companies are versions and affiliations of other businesses whose main activity is not VA. This fact makes it difficult to tabulate how many companies are truly integrators of AV technology. The Dominican Republic does not have an organization or association that regulates or certifies the legitimacy of a company that is dedicated to the activities of AV integration and consequently, many companies arise and disappear quickly, "said Banks.
On the other hand, Banks considers that in the Dominican Republic AV solutions have gradually evolved towards state-of-the-art technologies based on IP and that most of the customers of these solutions represent a portfolio limited by their purchasing power, which does not look at the cost, and that this feature benefits the use of super high definition equipment in video, the super high intelligibility in the sound and perfect acoustics in its spaces.
"The education, training and constant updating of the personnel working in the AV industry turns out to be the cornerstone of any company that is dedicated to these activities. Without the fundamental and advanced knowledge of communications, AV and networking knowledge, IP technology and program development based on the languages and protocols of personal computers, any company engaged in AV services is destined to become obsolete, outdated and imminent failure," said Banks.
In that same sense, he added that although the future of the industry looks stable, at least in the Dominican Republic, those empirical companies will inevitably disappear as the market demands more and better technology in communications.
On the success factors of the company he leads, Michael W. Banks said they can be described as: "our trust in God to be able to fulfill our dedicated dedication to the needs of our customers; our firm conviction that there are no large or small customers, all are equally important and deserving of our best attention to perfection and details; we are, above all, a service company and consequently provide an incomparable after-sales service; respect and honesty with customers and have a group of collaborators, employees and technicians truly professional, responsible and with total dedication to their commitments to the company and customers.
Banks points out that any project, whether it is AV solutions for an arts theatre, a sports palace or a cinema system with surround sound in a home, has offered him new learning opportunities; all this because these projects have forced him to consult, to document himself about new technologies and their impact on the end user because in his view "the process always begins with the development of the project and culminates in a satisfied client. Every customer wants something better and newer, that represents state-of-the-art technology and that is superior to what their neighbor (or other similar space) holds."
Finally, if for things of fate you ever visit Santo Domingo and an enveloping smell makes you deviate the way, there is nothing to worry about, most likely it is because Michael W. Banks is in front of his grill cooking some BBQ ribs.