Hey Everyone! My name is Heather ‘Stitch’ Holm and I thought I would start my first blog telling you a little bit about what I do and myself. I am in my late 20’s (first time I’ve had to admit the late part of my 20’s… yuck). I graduated with a minor in Photography, bachelor’s in Broadcast and Digital Media Communication, and just last year a master’s in Organizational Change Leadership. I have spent more of my life in school than I have in my career, however, as a young professional with a dynamic job I believe I have some good stories to tell and advice to offer all while I continue to develop and learn my craft.
I work at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse (UWL) as the Event Support Coordinator; I have been at UWL for 5 years in my current role and spent two years before that working as an Event Support Student Staff Member. I also spent some time working with a local production company and still freelance whenever I can. There is no average or normal day at work for me. There are things I do repeatedly, but I rarely see the same band or artist, and regularly need to navigate academia standards that don’t necessarily correlate with the production world while managing four venues around campus and 18 meeting rooms.
Currently, I have a student staff team of ten, none of which plan to work in the production world (most of the degrees they are working toward are in the Science or Health fields). Maybe I’ll convert them to audio technicians before they graduate, but for now I regularly work from the ground up teaching students everything I can. We start with signal flow, gain structure, equipment names, and cable wrapping. Yes, cable wrapping – someone has to teach that right?
Other aspects of my job include production management for national acts that are contracted through the school; which includes subcontracting production companies as needed for lights, staging, and sound, coordinating ticket distribution, event safety requirements, hiring security, and developing and deploying the day of show plan. The ultimate goal on these types of days is to make sure the show goes off without a hitch and to get in and out of the venue within 24 hours.
Within the last 365 days I have worked a variety of events, but some of the most memorable ones have been a surprise visit from President Obama this July, video switching for The Fray and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (Jack-of-all trades remember?) managing a Juicy J show resulting in UWL’s first completely sold out concert of 2500 attendees, teaching six new students all about the production world and graduating with my Master’s Degree. My future holds, training another 4-6 students this year, expanding my department to possibly house an usher team, furniture setup crew, and supervising another full time staff member to assist with teaching students and running events, opening a brand new student union with 15 new meeting rooms and four more venues, as well as continuing to grow myself within my career and life goals.
In my free time I enjoy taking photos, riding my Harley, freelancing, and traveling.
This year I had the best time traveling to Hawaii by myself during my slow season as well as adding in freelance shows. My slow season is the summer, although I do work year round for UWL, it’s easy to fit in a few extra shows. You may wonder why I would spend my free time taking on more shows, but there is a very different dynamic from working in the academic world to working in the road crew world. I enjoy setting aside my supervisory responsibilities and just working a show, long hours and all. I get to focus on honing my skills, I get exposure to new equipment, new practices, and I get to meet amazing people; all in which allow me to learn and grow for my ‘day job’.
Well that’s enough about me for now. I’m looking forward to blogging for SoundGirls.Org in the future and explaining more about the dynamic audio/production world of working for a university and teaching/training new blood for the audio world.
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