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Synigize Sales’ Patty Wanzer: AV Living Legends #32

Published: November 6, 2023
Photo courtesy of Patty Wanzer.

This week, Commercial Integrator is delighted to induct our 32nd #AVLivingLegends honoree: Patty Wanzer from Synigize Sales. Wanzer is a ubiquitous presence at AV industry events, frequently waving the flag of major client Aurora Multimedia. Even apart from her work with Aurora, Wanzer is a beloved figure in the industry community. Indeed, she is among the most active participants in the #avtweeps online community and a source of support and encouragement for many.

In this exclusive Q&A, Wanzer reflects on her remarkable, 30-plus-year career, including 17 years in the AV industry. She harks back to her time working with InfoComm International (now AVIXA), and she shares stories of the whole team coming together to ensure that an InfoComm show could hold the desert heat at bay! A people person, Wanzer also touches on how relationship-centric the AV industry is, and she celebrates the close personal friendships she has cultivated along the way. Plus, she reflects on her numerous accomplishments, explains why she has no regrets and shares some hard-won wisdom about why things are almost never as bad as we fear.

Patty Wanzer from Synigize Sales most definitely deserves her place among the #AVLivingLegends, and we are pleased to induct her today!

And if you’d like to read even more coverage relating to our #AVLivingLegends, check out our hub page, which includes direct links to every living legend, including Patty Wanzer from Synigize Sales!

Commercial Integrator: What motivated you to join the commercial AV industry?

Patty Wanzer: I had my first experience in the AV industry when I began working for InfoComm International, now known as AVIXA, in 2006. My sales experience catapulted me to reaching goals within the trade show account team, and that’s where I thrived. I was eager to learn about the AV industry; what the CTS certification program meant to #avtweeps; what/how customers bought, managed and secured projects…all that goes into decisions. And AV quickly enthralled me. Initially, I had no idea of the breadth that AV spanned, like digital signage, lighting and staging, or what video distribution meant. This industry has a unique draw like no other, and it’s now become my passion. I’ve built a lot of relationships over the years, and I now call those people close personal friends.

Commercial Integrator: What has kept you motivated and engaged in the decades that followed?

Patty Wanzer: From the start, InfoComm (now AVIXA) embraced their employees and encouraged me to educate myself in AV terms and technology certification programs. From the start, I had mentors and supportive colleagues. My desire to engage with my clients directly led to me supporting them on how best to target and reach our buyers in the AV market throughout the year. I enjoyed working with each planner, director or CEO on what they wanted to achieve. And I enjoyed providing the “how” as I strived to deliver ROI successfully, year after year. Truly, the relationships in AV are so meaningful that it has become a large part of who I am today.

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?

Patty Wanzer: I have more than 30 years of association experience. In each association I worked with, I had a mentor. My first managers at InfoComm were Mike Doolittle and Jason McGraw. I learned the importance of managing multiple tasks at once, achieving goals, doing the best for our clients and always going the extra mile. Up to now, I don’t think I’ve ever met people more dedicated to their position. They were avid communicators. They resolved what seemingly could have been potential problems and, in the end, turned them into opportunities. I really try to impress upon others how important is to have patience, maintain a calm attitude and look for resolutions versus seeing obstacles.

I use many attributes to mentor others, which is something that I strive to do. I offer advice to break things down before concluding that something is a disaster. I advise that patience gets you to a positive resolution before anger does. I strive to be a good example to the industry as a woman in my career. That means respecting others’ thoughts/beliefs, respecting their (personal) space and being willing to speak up. We, as women, have a voice. I encourage young women to be vocal, to be heard and to be recognized. It’s special to me when I have the opportunity to watch an individual grow over the years.

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

Patty Wanzer: Many years ago, at an InfoComm show in Las Vegas, during setup, a few days before the show was opening, I received a call from a client. The company explained to me that his equipment “was sweating” and the hot temperatures were causing his equipment to fail. There were a multitude of calls from companies setting up their booths/equipment, expressing concern about the heat and the condensation that was occurring. We tried to resolve the matter, and it was all hands on deck! All of us —  InfoComm show management, Freeman, booth builders and the Las Vegas Convention Center — were working to cool the air. Meanwhile, we also continued to pass out as many water bottles as we had in our coolers! Planning for the InfoComm show is ongoing all year long, but you could never predict that type of experience!

By show opening at 9am, none of the attendees knew that anything had occurred because the entire team had done such a great job of working together to ensure that the show could open. It was a crazy, nerve-wracking experience. But now, looking back, it was “just one of those things” you can’t predict and never would think could happen. It took many moving parts to get everything back on track — and the amazing part is that the attendees were none the wiser.

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

Patty Wanzer: My biggest professional accomplishment is starting my own company, Synigize LLC, eight years ago. After 20 years of association trade show experience, as well as sales and marketing management of events, I was empowered after my tenure at InfoComm. Most recently, I was ranked top sales rep firm for one of my favorite clients, Aurora Multimedia Corporation. It’s rewarding both personally and financially!

I always will respect the AV industry and the people who build their lives into lifelong careers. I am blessed for the relationships I have as a result. I could not have done this alone.

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

Patty Wanzer: I have no regrets, honestly. I have learned lessons — even if it was the hard way — throughout my life. This has resulted in favorable lessons learned.

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

Patty Wanzer: What’s the worst-case scenario? Often, we unnecessarily overthink and overstress. Our attitude about change/discovery can impact the results we experience. A person must delve deep to truly understand if a perceived threat is real versus just made to feel real. Step back. Write down the pros and cons. This might seem elementary; however, it really will open your eyes as you toggle between the choices. The bottom line, it’s never as bad as you think. It really isn’t.


Would you like to nominate a peer or colleague — or perhaps yourself! — to be featured in this #AVLivingLegends series, just like Patty Wanzer from Synigize Sales was? If so, just email Dan Ferrisi, group editor, commercial and security, Emerald, at dan.ferrisi@emeraldx.com.

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