Don’t Talk About It; Be About It
How Platform Five and NOW community will help the AV industry — and the local community — for years to come.Leave a Comment
Happy New Year, #avtweeps! Yeah, I know, I’m a month late. But, trust me, 2023 is kicking off with a big bang, setting a solid foundation for greater opportunity and inspiring fresh new blood to be part of the AV industry.
To round off 2022, I took my last trip of the year, to Easton, Pa., for the grand opening of Platform Five. Platform Five is a boutique real estate management company whose name echoes Easton’s past as a bustling hub for train travel. At one point in time, five major railroad lines passed through the city of Easton, providing passenger and commercial service going virtually anywhere in the country.
That’s how I found myself out in the cold, freezing, in 30-degree weather. But, somehow, as soon as I stepped into 915 Northampton St., I was fired up with passion. That address is home to Platform Five, which is owned by Hagai Feiner, a technology evangelist, forward-thinking entrepreneur, #avtweeps community member and dear friend of mine.
Initially, I was overwhelmed with emotions, as I knew what this building represented. However, quickly, familiar faces greeted me, and I told myself I wasn’t going to cry. (If you know me, you know I’m a crier.) As the night began, the Platform Five team delivered their speeches, which were filled with backstories, with giving of thanks to all the people who helped bring the vision to life and with mentions of exciting future plans.
Creating the Space
Platform Five isn’t just a new office and coworking space for teams to operate and run their business, though. Located just alongside it, at 923 Northampton St., will be a school currently code-named NOW community. Feiner’s plan is to create a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that will be the school, and it will be managed by Platform Five with full financial and operational transparency.
Right now, there is a massive shortage of talent in the commercial and residential AV industries. Thus, when the former NAPA building came onto the market, Feiner knew it would be the perfect fit for his mission to create the change he wanted to see within our industry, within the community in Easton and within the world in which we live.
With fewer than 30,000 residents, Easton, a small city, struggles with low income, lack of housing and limited opportunities to grow past these challenges. Creating a space for opportunity and change was a vision that occupied Feiner’s mind from the very beginning, and it formed the foundation of his unwavering belief in what NOW community would become.
Creating the Opportunity
The old building has now been gutted and fully renovated into a modern masterpiece for Platform Five. Next up is bringing NOW community fully to fruition. “In the space next door to us, you’ll find a beautiful shell of what can and will be a platform for good,” Feiner declared.
His team and he have put their heart and soul into this project. So, I asked Feiner, what does success look like? “For me,” he began, “when I came to America, I used to think success was being able to provide for myself. Through Access Networks [Feiner’s former company], I learned that success is being able to provide for myself and my team.” That brings him to the present. “My final iteration for success is that my greatest success is being able to provide for myself, my team, people I don’t know and people I haven’t even met yet — people within my community,” Feiner said. “And, for that reason, we’ve embarked on the NOW community school journey.”
Once the ribbon was cut, we all got to tour the space that will soon be the NOW community. Though the space was literally just a shell, you could intuitively sense and envision how it will change lives and extend a whole new world to many who don’t know that the AV industry exists.
Creating the Change
For Feiner, the idea for NOW community arose from many emotions, questions, one-on-one talks, heart-to-heart conversations, and the want to not only talk about it but also be about it. The intent of NOW community is to create a program, which is free to the community, where students can learn all the great trades in the AV industry: audio, video, lighting, shading, controls, surveillance, power management, IT, networking and business. With Feiner and his team already being so well connected with organizations like Crestron, Lutron, CEDIA, Snap One, Ruckus Networks and Access Networks, Platform Five has already begun reaching out for — and finding — support for this project.
The school will be divided into a large classroom and a lab, so the students can not only learn but also implement what they’ve learned. All the technology will be used and demonstrated at the Platform Five office. So, you can see what the school is “about” through the storefronts.
Let’s all do our part to create the change we want to see and push our industry forward. What are some action steps that we, as individuals, can take to create the change we want to see in our industry and impact people’s lives in a truly positive way? Let’s all be more intentional and strategic this year as we strive to do more and say less.
If you’d like to learn more about NOW community and how you can get involved, please reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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