IPR Graduate Spotlight: William Hensley

William Hensley is a 2010 Graduate of the Institute of Production and Recording whose career is off to an electrifying start. Hensley, a double major in Audio Production & Engineering and Music & Entertainment Business, has travelled extensively and integrated Audio/Visual technologies at some of the biggest sports venues in the nation, including Minneapolis’ US Bank Stadium.

Hensley explains that his success comes down to two words, “Signal flow. Everything I learned in quarter one and quarter two at IPR, I use on a daily basis at my job. I use hundreds of IPR taught skills every single day.”

Hensley did not find this success immediately after graduating from IPR. There were very tough times, but he just kept on working. He obtained a residency as a DJ at First Avenue, a step in the right direction. Still, he had not yet found the career stability that he was seeking.

A Career Defining Turning Point

Hensley tells the story of how his career began to take shape: “About two years after I graduated, one of my friends got a job installing speakers, projectors and TVs for Buffalo Wild Wings.  I saw this as my chance, so I pushed and pushed and got an interview. They thought I was cool and hired me.

“I closed 8 million in AV jobs in the next two years and ran the company from all over the world. I developed a team of six IPR grads on my crew, all making 60 grand or more during those years. They went out of business and I got hired the next day by another company doing the same thing out of Ohio. My title was head of AV Engineering and Lead Integrator.

To go Lateral, or to Take the Leap

This is when things really began to sizzle for the IPR grad. William explains, “next step was that I could move lateral again or go for the leap. Now that I had the experience and the confidence, I decided to really go after something great.

Taking the Plunge: US Bank Stadium

“My resume is stacked with experience at this point, so I decided I’m going after the company that does US Bank Stadium. One nicely authored cover letter and resume later, they created a position for me when they were not hiring. I am a lead installation integrator for Alpha Video. We are huge contender in all stadiums, casinos, schools, capital buildings and government, courtrooms and digital signage with our proprietary web based software. On top of all this, Alpha does the broadcast rigs in the stadiums also. They love my skills and experience and I love being around super smart corporate business people that also love Audio/Video/Media.”

Defining Success: Lessons in Patience

Hensley says, “We hire kids with these degrees, this field hires kids with these degrees.” He believes that students graduating from IPR need to think in terms of  a seven year return on investment, and not to leave IPR thinking that they deserve a job. A bad attitude and ego will not be good for anyone’s career.

He adds, “Never say no to media situations. Be ready to work for free and embrace the experience of it.  Surround yourself with media any way you can for two years. Intern, freelance, do shows, find your media niche and attack it. Hustle long and hustle hard, never say no and I promise an opportunity will come. Your skills will show and someone will need your skills. IPR isn’t a two year thing, its a 7 year thing to get the career.”  

Teaming Up With Walter Chancellor

Things have come to come full circle for Hensley. Besides his top notch job with Alpha, he is currently working on a musical collaboration with beloved IPR Instructor Walter Chancellor. William says, “Walter was one of my many mentors at IPR. We have become friends and business partners over the years. Currently, we have a group called Klusterphunk and it could be the most proud that I’ve ever been in being asked to join something. He is the producer/musician and I am the promoter/business side.

“The artist almost always needs someone to get them heard. Walter believes 100% I am that guy. To me, this is the definition of success. Being recognized by a mentor/idol on that level where they want me to join their projects. Walter means the world to me, he challenged me at IPR to be better, and he still does.”  

We can’t wait to hear what’s next on William’s journey in the media world!