This week’s Integrator of the Week is Justin Schwartz. Schwartz is the CEO of Sage AV, a New York-based audio/visual integration company known for standing behind their work, maintaining it, upgrading it and adapting it to whatever new technologies or functionality come into play. Connected Design talked with him to find out more about how he got to his current position, his favorite current products and what he likes to do when he’s not working with tech.
What made you decide to go into technology?
Schwartz: “Like most in our industry, it was always a hobby. While in college, I quit the job I was working at, that was in the field of my major, and started working at Best Buy. After college, a good friend and I used to chat over drinks about the AV company we were going to start together. We were on separate career paths at the time but after working as an electrical contractor for several years I was looking to make a move. My friend ended up getting me my first job in the industry and I loved almost every aspect of it. After working with his firm for a few years, it was time to move on. With the help of a very supportive wife, I decided to go at it on my own.”
What is your favorite product or solution right now in the industry?
Schwartz: “Ketra Lighting. I appreciate the wellness aspect of human centric lighting, however what I love is how it removes the ambiguity of sunlight and artificial light in the home. Regardless of how many windows you have or their sizes, it truly feels like you are getting natural sunlight throughout your home. It is also great having the flexibility to adjust color temperature to the scene you want at any part of the day. Another amazing feature is what Ketra calls “vibrancy”. It allows you to tweak the way certain colors appear and it truly makes artwork pop.”
What is the best part of your job?
Schwartz: “The problem solving. When integrating so many devices into a single solution, there are always going to be issues. It is like trying to solve a puzzle to make everything work seamlessly. Definitely stressful at times but the wins are nice when you figure it out.”
What has been your favorite installation to date?
Schwartz: “We recently completed a lounge for a client in their New York City apartment. This room would put most night clubs to shame. A Pro-audio setup complete with two (2) PMC Active BB6-XBD systems, d&b audiotechnik subs, Pioneer DJ rig, Planar LED Video wall, built in LED lights throughout the walls and ceilings all connected to a customized Music Visualizer with curated content. When not in “club mode”, it also doubles as a 9.4 Surround Movie Theater outfitted with a Barco Balder Projector in a retractable Future Automation lift along with a motorized Stewart film-screen and custom in-wall Leon speakers. It is hands-down the coolest room in any NYC apartment.”
What is one fun fact about you that isn’t industry related?
Schwartz: “I am a golf junkie. A few years back a friend and I decided we are going to try and play all of “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses” ranked by Golf Digest. Whenever we have an opportunity to get on an exclusive course, we have to be ready to jump on it. We have knocked off just about 40 so far. Some courses are a lot more difficult to get on than others. Speaking of which, if you have any connections at Augusta, let me know.”