Andy Szikla of Szikla Technical has had a long association with the AV industry and early on worked repairing faulty gear and designing odd bits of equipment.
Eventually, that turned into a proper contract, design work and his own Szikla Technical product lines where he has been designing and manufacturing electronic products for almost 20 years. Now, Andy takes on a new adventure as he passes on vital knowledge to JMC Audio Engineering students working as a JMC lecturer for Applied Electronics.
Melbourne-based electronics designer, Andy has recently created his well thought out and ambitiously feature-rich dual channel strip and monitor station offering, the Prodigal.
The Prodigal is a comprehensive dual channel strip featuring mic and line preamplifier, DI input, high and low pass filters, three-stage EQ, frequency adjustable de-esser and stereo linkable compressor/limiter.
We caught up with him to find out more about his inventions and lecturing at JMC.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far in your career?
There have been many personal highs. Early on I developed the world's first way of advancing and reversing Powerpoint Slides via a radio remote handset. The Cue King became standard equipment at all the Major Australian Convention Centres, and a staple of the AV industry. But possibly my proudest moment was the first time I listened to Elton John's recording of 'I Love You All The Time' on which my Prodigal Dual Channel Strip was used for his Lead Vocal and Piano. It's exciting to have something I designed used by an artist of that stature.
What are your favourite things about working in the Industry?
I pretty much work alone, and everything I make is more or less hand built. My favourite thing is that I have the opportunity to do work that I truly love, and that the gadgets I invent are popular enough to allow me to keep doing it. I feel blessed, and lucky.
What are you most looking forward to about teaching at JMC?
I enjoy explaining things to people who want to know stuff. Most of the students I have met so far are creative and driven individuals who are looking for clues that empower them. It is always satisfying to take part in a dynamic like that.
What advice would you give to students about the industry?
Be entrepreneurial. The world is changing, and it is becoming more common that when you apply for a job the other candidate is a robot. So it can be hard to get started. If you can start your own thing, then you have started. If somebody asks you to help them set up a sound system at a party because they are no good at it and you are, then do it. Activity like that eventually lays down a thread you can follow... and then you are on your way.
If you are one of those students who are already following a thread of some sort, my advice would be to keep following and don't lose heart. Things usually get easier.
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