Alumni Review: Galen Trafford, Audio Production & Engineering 2007

Galen Trafford graduated in 2007 from the Audio Production and Engineering program. Currently, Galen is working at Roland Systems Group as Technical Sales/Customer Support. Recently, Marketing and Promotions Coordinator Sarah Konowal caught up with Galen to ask him a few questions about his exciting job:

What is your title at Roland and what are your responsibilities?

I work for Roland Systems Group, which is the Pro AV division of Roland Canada.  My position is Technical Sales/Customer Support, which makes me, in many cases, the first point of contact within RSG Canada. Some of my responsibilities are pursuing new contacts with customers in various markets including production companies, schools, churches, AV integrators etc.  I am also responsible for onsite demos for anyone interested in RSG gear, I attend trade shows around North America and handle incoming calls from current and perspective customers.  Finally I am also responsible for tech support, which can come in the form of emails, phone calls, or even attending events for real time support (my favourite type).

So far, what have been the highlights of working for Roland?

Working for RSG has been an amazing experience.  I think the biggest highlight has been the ability to work with a great group of guys, and also work with gear day in and day out that I truly believe in.  I don’t just give a sales pitch as part of my job, I really do believe in the products that we offer, and use them frequently myself.  This makes it a joy to work with.  I also love having the ability to meet people from around the industry, and do extensive travelling around North America.  I have had the chance to work directly with some great artists and industry professionals.

How has your education from the Institute helped you?

My education has helped me tremendously in two main ways.  The first is obviously the technical skills that I learned.  With RSG being very strong in audio, having all the technical knowledge of audio production and engineering has helped me to truly understand and convey to others the benefits of the various components of the systems.  Likewise having that knowledge, and being able to apply it myself, gives me insight into the variety of applications which helps instill confidence in customers and end users alike. The wide education of everything from Acoustics to electronics, production, entertainment business etc. gives me a tremendous advantage when speaking to clients.

The second way that my education has helped me, is that the level expected from Metalworks is consistent with the level expected in my career.  It was a tough school, and requires a high level of commitment to succeed in.  This was perfect training for my career which demands the same level of commitment.  Working with the professionals at Metalworks definitely prepared me for working with professionals today.  In all reality, these life lessons learned have probably proven more important than even the technical education.

Which class has turned out to be the most useful?

My audio engineering theory, and also the practical studio courses have probably helped me the most.  They have helped me not only in understanding audio, but the theory that I learned there are transferable into many other aspects of Audio/Video technology.  Trouble shooting an entirely digital system would be nearly impossible were it not for having specific courses based on digital audio theory, and having that knowledge has proven invaluable.  It is this level of education that allows me to speak and act intelligently, which gives me a certain level of credibility when working with people that have 20+ years in the industry.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I’d like to tell an abridged version of the journey I took to get here to encourage current and future students to be bold when looking for work after school.

When I graduated, it did take a few months to get steady work, but before that happened, I did a lot of work for people for free, including mixing live for a band that includes the national sales manager for RSG Canada.  Not being able to pay me, he instead invited me out to an event to unveil the first Roland V-Mixer.  This invite put me in a room with 30+ high level industry professionals, where I came armed with cards and resumes.  There I met the vice president of one of the largest staging companies in Canada, and spent the next three years working there before this job came up at Roland.

I said that to say this, never underestimate the importance of networking.  One of the lessons that I remembered more than any other was to always treat every situation as a networking opportunity.  I never expected to be working at RSG, but pro bono work and networking years earlier has now lead to me having the coolest job I could ever ask for.  I learned this line at Metalworks, and remember it well, “Life is a contact sport.”  The contacts you make starting early, WILL define your future.

Congratulations Galen, we wish you all the best!