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Meet the… vice president of research and development

Marco Lopez, vice president of research and development at Clear-Com, explains why he still loves being a part of the entertainment industry.

Talk us through an average day in your role

A CEO of mine once told me that there are three primary stakeholders within every business: the customers, the investors/owners, and the employees. For a business to succeed you must strike a symbiotic balance between each of these. Therefore, I try to spend a proportionate amount of time each day catering to the needs of each stakeholder. That said, there is some seasonality throughout the year that may pull favourably toward one over the other. For example, Q1 is all about employee reviews, setting objectives, and kicking off the year to ensure alignment of what needs to be achieved within the year across teams. Q2 and Q3 are typically packed with trade shows and customer-specific events. Q4 is more about end-of-year business reviews, strategic planning, and budgeting for the following year.

How did you get started in the media industry?

My first job in the industry was with Matrox Electronics.  I was part of the video products division and focused on OEM accounts. Matrox would sell PC-based hardware devices along with a software development kit allowing customers to build editing systems, CGs, DDRs, and instant replay systems.

What training did you have before entering the industry?

I graduated with a degree in computer engineering and it provided a good base for addressing the challenges that were present at the time. Networking was only beginning to be deployed, and 1 Mbit/s connections inside the workplace were a luxury. Moreover, compressing video to store on SCSI drives was becoming possible, and fine-tuning motion JPEG CODECs for S-Video resolution was all the rage.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

The entertainment industry has so many facets to it that you never have a dull day at work – i.e., being part of the Olympics, a presidential election, the last Rush concert, the coronation of the King of England, and the SpaceX launch. Not only do you not think of these sorts of things as being possible when you’re in school but knowing that you were part of the creation of content that is distributed and consumed in some cases to millions of people humbles you. And, you realise how serious and impactful the work that we do actually is.

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of appeal to being part of this industry. In addition to travelling the world, you may even get to meet a movie star or two. However, remember that this is not a 9 to 5 industry. Premier content is created and aired during evenings and weekends. So, while your family is home from work or school, you are out supporting a production or event. Work-life balance is a real challenge; therefore, you must love what you do.