Meet Matt Koehne: IPR's lab master

Like many IPR employees, Lab Manager Matt Koehne is an esteemed studio vet, having worked here for 11 years. In fact, his time at the school goes back to when IPR was just a dream.

“I was interning for Master Mix Studios when the idea was forming,” Matt said. Master Mix was a professional recording studio in Minneapolis’s north loop neighborhood that became the centerpiece for the brand new IPR.

Right as IPR was emerging, new technology industry wide was emerging, too, Matt says. Pro Tools was just beginning to become the industry standard, and studios all over were converting analog to digital tools.

Photo by Jessica Hegland

“There had been Pro Tools before, but that’s when studios started gravitating that way,” Matt said.  And IPR was right at the forefront. Matt and the lab team were busy remodeling the old building into a cutting-edge school, adding new equipment and new technologies.

“It was the work hard, play hard attitude,” Matt said.

IPR began using Pro Tools 5.1 and has since gone through the software’s 11 version updates, even acting as a beta test site for one version. But other than improvements in the technology, Matt says the lab has changed very little — its function is still to help students and faculty with gear, speakers, lab equipment and programs.

“We give tutorials and competency tests to allow access to rooms and studios,” Matt said. “I like to think of the lab office as the heart of IPR because we’re there 24 hours a day. I like to think every student will work with lab office at least a few times while at IPR.”

IPR’s lab staff is usually made up of about nine employees under Matt, who became manager of the lab in 2008. Without Matt’s guidance, Dean of Education Rebecca Buller says, it’s hard to imagine where IPR would be.

“Matt is that quiet, steadfast guy who keeps us together,” she said. “Very few people here care more about students really getting educated than Matt.”

In fact, Matt is happy to lend a hand whenever. “He’s always there when you need him,” said Students Account Representative Jason Koskovich. “He even helped take apart my huge, heavy desk just because I wanted my office set up a bit differently. He helped me hang up all my framed posters — he’s just always helpful.”

As manager, Matt says he relies on his staff to be the experts on site; he’s become more of a facilitator than a hands-on guy. But still, he says he loves his job.

“My favorite part of the job is it’s different every day,” he said. “I could never do a regular desk job — I couldn’t be in a cubicle. And the type of person who comes here is what I gravitate toward as far as being an artistic person … I like to think the people and the community we have here is what keeps me here.  We’re one big family.”

HOBBIES: Hunting, camping year-round, yard work

3 ARTISTS ON HIS IPOD: Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, Wilco

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS: “Don’t be afraid to strive for what you want out of this business, but definitely don’t be afraid to expand on that and try something different. Most people that walk through our doors realize that there’s more than just the one or two things that they thought they would do.”

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