How Jon Whitwell Brings an Athlete’s Dedication to His Career in AV

Published: 2015-12-10

When Jon Whitwell does something, he doesn’t do it halfway. It’s an approach that’s served him well in his 45 years of life and comes from the teachings of his father as a youngster.

Whitwell, who started Audio Visual Project Management (AVPM) in Buford, Ga., with his wife Janet four years ago as a way to fill gaps he found during his 20 years in the industry, is all in, whether that means closing out a punch list on a massive project or crossing the finish line after a half-marathon/obstacle course.

“You have to solve your own issues, not wait for someone else to figure them out for you,” he says. “You have to use your hands and your brain to figure out the task at hand. That’s true of any technology business and true of life in general. People expect you to finish the job, not walk away in the middle of it.”

Management Maven

Whitwell started his career in the AV business at Ancha Electronics, where he got his first taste in the professional space of integration, installation and programming. From there, he moved on to AEI Music, a sound and video company, where he met Ron Prier, who runs RPAV in Georgia.

He moved on to a handful of other companies, including Baker Audio, where the seed for AVPM started to grow particularly strong. Whitwell learned during his time in the industry that customers lacked trust in subcontractors and that lack of trust was costing some AV companies that couldn’t supply their own project managers business in the long run.

“A lot of AV companies need an outside source they can trust, but don’t want to have those people on staff the whole time,” he says. “We’re here to help other AV companies succeed. We’re the release valve for other AV companies.

“I wanted to stay in a management role, but didn’t want to have to buy all the trucks and ladders and tools. We typically like to be brought in early but it sometimes happens in the middle of a project and we’re fine with that too,” adds Whitwell.

AVPM offers construction management, project management and more to some of the industry’s largest integrators, including Ford AV, Technical Innovation, AVI-SPL and Baker Audio, to name a few, and work all over the U.S. and internationally as needed.

“They hire us to complete their big jobs,” says Whitwell. That doesn’t mean AVPM tries to overwhelm itself, since Whitwell and his wife are the only full-time employees. “I don’t take on work I can’t handle. When I take on work, I’m all in,” he says.

Up for a Challenge

When he’s not working or traveling, Whitwell is keeping himself in top physical condition and testing his endurance through Spartan Races, which combine running with obstacle courses. Whitwell, who went to college on a swimming scholarship, started the unique endeavors as a way to stay healthy, he says.

Whitwell is also an avid sport shooter and has a shooting range at his house. He progressed from 5K races to sprint triathlons to mud races such as the Warrior Dash to an event called the Fire Breather to Tough Mudders to Spartan races. He completed a Spartan Beast half-marathon about two years ago.

“It helps to keep your head straight and keep you healthy,” says Whitwell.

To learn more about the unsung heroes of the AV industry, check out our Back Stage profiles here.

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