|Two Music Students Create a Business That Lasts
It is not that common for students to start full-fledged businesses while they are seniors in college, especially with the workload and obligations of a music degree at Lebanon Valley College. However, JJ Gammache ’05 and Mark McGuire ’06, ’07 pushed the envelope and wound up creating something great. During their senior year at LVC, the duo founded a business that would later become known as Triforce Pro Audio Solutions LLC.
The business began very simply: Gammache and McGuire combined their gear to create a larger inventory, and began handling the sound engineering for their bands and doing small DJ events for schools. As the years went on, the two worked with other music recording technology majors recording recitals and handling the engineering aspect of audio production. This helped implant the idea that an audio solutions business could be possible in the future.
“It never dawned on us before we started recording recitals at LVC that other schools and groups needed audio work done, too,” McGuire said. “We branched out and started recording shows and recitals off campus to hone our skills and develop a client base. Soon enough we were super busy with off campus work.”
McGuire and Gammache continued to compile gear, gain knowledge from undergrad courses at LVC, and perform more jobs for clients extending their network. To help expand their market, the team started running sound for musicals of various sizes on top of their other projects.
After graduating from The Valley, continuing to acquire more equipment, and extending their client base, Triforce received a major helping hand. In 2010 they leased a structure in Lancaster, Pa., that could be used as a home base for storage, recording, and repair. After renovating the building, Triforce Pro Audio now had a place to call home.
Today, Triforce is a full fledged organization recording artists and groups from all over the United States, performing system installations for schools, churches, venues, bars, and theaters, as well as hosting shows, and repairing and renting gear. The full time staff includes Gammache and McGuire, as well as contracted sound technicians and the occasional intern.
As graduates of LVC, they are extremely welcoming to interns from the College. Matthew Miller ’13 was their first intern last year. Triforce looks for students with huge amounts of initiative and a willingness to learn. Gammache remarked how important it is for student to be open to the possibility of trying news things and expanding their knowledge of the MRT program out from behind the mixing board and into the vast world that sound engineering encompasses.
Triforce interns can expect a variety of experiences from day to day. One afternoon could provide studio work with an artist, then later that day could involve installing a complete sound system, and then wrap up the day running sound for a live show.
McGuire and Gammache commented on how important it is to develop a sense of competency with the trade in which students are majoring. They advise that troubleshooting skills and thinking on your feet can be extremely valuable assets, and recommend getting involved with the Audio Engineering Society (AES) on campus and helping with live sound. “It’s the same signal flow as recording, but it’s all in front of you at once. This really puts pressure on your skill set,” said Gammache.
Lebanon Valley offered a lot to Gammache and McGuire that aided in the forming of Triforce. From the obvious provision of bringing the pair together to begin a friendship and business partnership, to the subtler offering of vast amounts of knowledge, both agreed that the experiences at LVC directly correlate to the success they have today.
“The great thing about the MRT degree at LVC is that it’s not just a recording degree…it’s a music degree and a recording degree,” McGuire said. “This lends a great helping hand in the industry because it shows that we know what we’re doing when it comes to music. We have performed in ensembles ranging from choir to marching band. It shows that we know more, and gives us knowledge to back it up.”
McGuire and Gammache see nothing but growth for Triforce: more staff, more clients, more gear, more projects and no intent of slowing down. The team remains very positive about Triforce’s role and ability to succeed based on the diversity in their offerings to potential customers.
As the two joked about their perfect day of work (including a few rounds of golf on the simulator, a vocal warm up reminiscent of Dr. Mark Mecham’s teaching, and some light email checking), Gammache and McGuire both landed on one thing in particular: helping people. They concluded that getting out, connecting with people, and helping clients get exactly what they are looking for is what makes their day better. What makes this so exciting for them is that the business was started accidentally based on a shared interest in music recording technology and helping people find a solution.
Finally, McGuire and Gammache urge the importance of passion and never limiting oneself in life. “Step outside your comfort zone a bit and find things to use as resources later in life. Nothing says that you have to keep tunnel vision on the major you’ve chosen! Feel free to branch out to neighboring subjects to help diversify what you as an asset bring to the table. But most of all keep the passion in it. The second you lose that, it becomes a job instead of a love,” Gammache added.
As an internship partner with Lebanon Valley College, Triforce offers a position that grants students an opportunity to sharpen their skill set and experience work in the industry. Internships are required for both music recording technology and music business majors, and are usually completed during the student’s senior year of undergraduate study. For more information about the internship programs offered through Lebanon Valley College, visit the career services page at http://www.lvc.edu/career-services/internships.aspx.