Avocor’s Ashanti Long: AV Living Legends #43

Avocor’s Ashanti Long shares his perspective in the latest iteration of Commercial Integrator’s #AVLivingLegends series.

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Avocor’s Ashanti Long: AV Living Legends #43

Photo courtesy: Ashanti Long.

When Commercial Integrator created the #AVLivingLegends series, we had people like Ashanti Long in mind. Long, who is director, enterprise accounts, with Avocor, boasts an AV career that started at AMX. Then, he moved on to Black Diamond Video, Optoma Technology and ClearOne, before finding a new home at Avocor. Along the way, Long has earned his peers and colleagues’ respect as a bright mind, a person of integrity and a mentor to many.

Here, we present a candid conversation with Long. He reflects on his first two mentors in sales, as well as the valuable lessons they taught. Long also reminisces about his first InfoComm, which was a seminal moment in his career. Plus, he shares the three things that have been instrumental in his success professionally and personally.

We hope you enjoy this wide-ranging discussion with Ashanti Long of Avocor, a man who capably exemplifies what it means to be an AV Living Legend.

And if you’d like to read even more coverage relating to our #AVLivingLegends, like Avocor’s Ashanti Long, check out our hub page. It includes direct links to every living legend!

Commercial Integrator: What motivated you to join the commercial AV industry? What has kept you motivated and engaged in the decades that followed?

Ashanti Long: I actually joined the AV industry by mistake. I confused AMX with American Express (AMEX). I thought I was interviewing with AMEX. When I got there for the interview, I discovered that AMX was indeed a player in the world of AV technology that I had no idea existed. I always knew what AV was, but never knew that it was a completely separate industry, with thousands of companies developing cutting edge technology. The constant change and innovations have kept me in this industry year after year. I have met some of the most amazing customers and created lifelong friendships with colleagues and customers alike.

Commercial Integrator: Reflect on your role as both a mentee early in your career and as a mentor later in your career. Who helped shape the trajectory of your professional life, and how have you tried to help shape others’ careers?

Ashanti Long: My early engineering career was spent outside of the AV industry. Being an engineering mentee was quite different than being one in sales. As an engineering mentee, you basically learn the shortcuts to help make your designs as robust as possible, while leveraging existing code or designs. Basically, don’t recreate the wheel. My sales career was spearheaded once I got into the AV industry.

My first two mentors in sales were John Hanby and Tom Shaw. They both played a major role in not only giving me the opportunity to start my sales career but also teaching me valuable lessons about how to be the most effective salesperson I could be. Learning to become a trusted advisor for my customers, and making sure to maintain my integrity were lessons that have been invaluable for me.

As a mentor, I have tried to exemplify those same things that I was taught. The biggest thing for me about being a mentor is not so much what I say but, rather, what I do. I have found that I helped mentor people without even knowing it, because people are watching what I do and find that helpful in their career. I have learned even more over the years, and I do my best to pass those lessons on as well.

Commercial Integrator: What’s the most memorable story/anecdote of your career in commercial AV?

Ashanti Long: My most memorable story would be my first InfoComm. Previously being an engineer in other sectors, I had never been to a trade show or had never been exposed to such a large-scale event. I can still remember walking into the Las Vegas Convention Center and being overwhelmed by the sheer size and broad scope of technology in one location. As a “tech nerd,” I was in heaven. There seemed to be a company showing any and everything you could ever think of. From the smallest widget to the most grandiose solution — it was all there. This still holds true every year, as I can’t wait to see the new innovations that are introduced.

Commercial Integrator: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment to date? What has been your biggest professional regret to date?

Ashanti Long: My greatest professional accomplishment was becoming the vice president global commercial/federal sales and marketing for Black Diamond Video. As a minority in this industry, I know that ascending to the VP level of major player in this industry is a very big accomplishment. I credit all those who helped groom me along the way. From my mom and grandparents teaching me that hard work is the key to any success, the college professors at North Carolina A&T State university teaching me more than just the content in the books, but valuable life lessons, to the mentors and colleagues challenging and encouraging me to be the best version of me.

My biggest professional regret would probably be not entering sales sooner. I was told by friends many years before that my personality and talents were well suited for sales, but I was hesitant to change my career path away from engineering. I have found that using my technical knowledge helps me to be a better salesperson. However, I would not change any of my decisions, because they have made me the person I am today.

Commercial Integrator: What’s the best advice or pearl of wisdom you either received during your career or came to realize on your own?

Ashanti Long: One of my mentors, John Hanby, told me three things that have been instrumental in my success professionally and personally.

  1. Sense of urgency.
  2. Attention to detail.
  3. Keep it simple.

Additionally, the advice to focus on what you can control and maintain your integrity, regardless of the outcome, resonated strongly. I must look at myself in the mirror and like the person who is looking back.


Would you also like to nominate a peer or colleague — or perhaps yourself!  in this #AVLivingLegends series just like Avocor’s Ashanti Long was? If so, just email Dan Ferrisi, group editor, commercial and security, Emerald, at [email protected].

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