|Student Organizations Helped Prepare Him for Success: A Q&A with William Saltzer '95
William Saltzer ’95 is the owner and president of East Shore Sound, Incorporated, which provides audiovisual design and installation services to the commercial and educational markets throughout the Mid Atlantic region. Capital One, Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and Harford County Public Schools are among the company’s many clients. East Shore Sound also provides engineering support, including communication solutions and wireless frequency coordination services, to live events and television productions throughout the United States. Recent projects include the Oscar’s Red Carpet Broadcast, Times Square New Year’s Eve, The Disney Christmas Parade, Christmas in Washington, and Telemundo’s Latin Billboard Awards, as well as numerous concerts and events broadcast on PBS including The National Memorial Day Concert and A Capital Fourth on the West Lawn of Capitol, The Mark Twain Prize for Humor, and the In Performance at the White House series.
How did you acquire your competitive spirit?
I grew up as the youngest of five kids and played several different sports through high school, so a competitive spirit became part of my personality at a very early age. Through scouts and various musical programs, I was afforded the opportunity to succeed at a variety of different things, but only by personally working toward various goals. My family was always a great support network, but in the era I grew up in, you didn’t get a trophy just for participating, you had to work hard to succeed, and that process instilled a competitive spirit in me.
What motivates you?
The potential for success motivates me, or conversely, the potential for failure. I take great pride in my work. I have found the adage “you’re only as good as your last job” to be very true. While you build a career on past successes, there is a difference between resting on your accomplishments and continuing to be accomplished at whatever your passion is.
I would also say that what motivates me has shifted over the years. Initially out of college, I was in search of personal and professional success. Shortly after I started my company, my wife and I also started a family. While I find my work very rewarding, I am more motivated these days by the example I am setting for my kids, especially the balance I try to achieve between my work, my family, and the other priorities in my life—not always easy when work can take you out of town for weeks at a time.
What activities, people, or courses at LVC helped you prepare for success?
There is no question that my time at LVC provided me with the building blocks for professional success in life. One of my first recording class lectures focused on preparing for a live remote recording. There was a single question on the test—list everything you need to take for a successful remote recording. In my world, it can be a two-dollar part that holds up an entire production, so I often think back to that lecture as I am preparing equipment for an event.
Another fantastic opportunity I had while I was at LVC centered around the Spring Arts Festival [now called ValleyFest]. At the time, this event was entirely student run and the planning occurred year round, culminating in a weekend of juried arts exhibits, craft vendors, and live music. Participating in the planning for this event provided me with real world experience in variety of disciplines at a very young age. It was truly a group effort, and everyone involved considered the success or failure of the event as a personal reflection of their efforts.
In my first year at LVC, I chose to continue my earlier success as an Eagle Scout and joined Alpha Phi Omega. I found their principals of leadership, friendship, and service to be a great fit for me. Aside from the lifelong friendships that were formed, the ability to develop leadership skills that centered around a greater objective of service to others is something that has stayed with me. In my career, personal success is often tied to the success of others, so being able to see the bigger picture is essential. This is perhaps one of the most important things I was able to take away from my time at LVC.
How has global competition changed your field?
We don’t compete in the global market, but the global market has changed the way we work. Technology has become less expensive and the quality of what is available to the consumer has improved drastically. The chasm between the home studio enthusiast with their four-track recorder and the professional recording studio with $2 million worth of equipment disappeared 15 years ago. However, access to quality equipment is only part of the picture in the world of audio. Without extensive training and a willingness to work hard toward being the best at what you do, success can be elusive.
What’s most important to remain competitive in your field?
For me, staying up to date with current and emerging technology is very important. I’m always thinking about how advances in technology can allow us to do something better. However, equally important is maintaining healthy relationships with my clients and my peers. This allows me to provide a great product at a reasonable price.
How do you prepare physically and mentally for competition?
To prepare for an event, I try to ask the right questions up front to ensure that we will be providing the right solution for the job. From there, I try to think through the event and prepare for the unexpected. Mentally, I always have a contingency plan in place so that if something does go wrong, there is minimal impact to the overall production.
What is your favorite book about competition?
I don’t know that I have a favorite book about competition, but I’ve read a couple of good books recently, including “The Creature from Jekyll Island,” about the monetary system in the U.S., and I’m currently reading “Life Inside the Bubble,” written by a former secret service agent.
Who is your favorite competitive role model?
I don’t know how competitive he is now that he is retired, but I would have to say that my biggest role model is my dad. He is a very principled yet compassionate man who has made countless sacrifices during his lifetime for the benefit of his family and other people.
Do you have a guiding philosophy about competition?
You have to live with yourself, so choose accordingly. The old adage that you only get to make one first impression is very true. A good reputation is hard to earn but easy to destroy.
Which leaders inspire you? Why?
Principled leaders who stick to their beliefs regardless of the consequences inspire me because they are true to themselves. They can get up each morning and look at themselves proudly in the mirror not questioning who they have become over time. Rick Santorum would be one example of this type of leader.
What makes LVC competitive?
I believe that its small size coupled with its high standards are what make LVC competitive. The small college environment spawns lifelong relationships and provides opportunities for success that are not available to most students at larger universities.
What advice would you give to current LVC students?
Make the most of an internship. Professionally, I have made it where I am today due in no small part to the things I learned and the relationships I made while interning and later working at Sheffield Remote Recordings. This was an opportunity that was made available to me by Jim Boyer, an adjunct professor who was willing to use his professional connections to make a phone call on my behalf. The door was opened, but it was up to me to make the most of the opportunity. My work ethic as an intern led to a job offer, which led to other connections in the entertainment industry. With the support of my wife and my family, I have been able to build a successful business and a career around these early opportunities that all began at LVC.