BY SUSAN ERWIN – Home technology expert Seth Johnson grew up in Orange, Texas. His father owned an HVAC company and taught Seth all about the intricacies of running a business and also much about the technical side of the company.
“I learned a lot about service work watching my dad while growing up,” Seth said.
Seth currently works as a senior sales designer in the audio-visual field for a company called Bright Sky based out of Sarasota. He has done several residential and commercial jobs here in Boca Grande, and continues to service those contracts when needed.
“We have done wiring work at The Gasparilla Inn and Club and inside the depot building, and we also installed a large screen at the Mote Marine office at the Railroad Plaza,” Seth said.
He has a vast amount of computer networking experience and that’s what led him to his current position.
“I was working a job in Tallahassee, and what led me into the kind of work I’m doing now is the big demand for what they call ‘structured wiring’ during the housing boom about 12 years ago. The networking industry and the AV industry kind of collided. Before that time they were two completely different things.”
Seth said installing speakers and screens was one thing, but when a network is brought in it adds a whole new aspect to the field.
“It’s extremely complex now,” he said. “The products are getting easier to use now a days, but there are still complex behind-the-scenes issues, and when something goes wrong it can get very frustrating to troubleshoot – and that’s when we come in to help.”
Seth has been with Bright Sky for about six years and has a total of 15 years experience as a technician. The company services areas from Boca Grande to Anna Marie Island. They also offer some remote support to others areas around the country.
He relocated to Florida to attend Full Sail University and study recording arts.
He met his wife, Erika, while living in Orlando.
The couple lived and worked in Tallahassee for a few years and then moved to Sarasota.
“My wife has family in the area so we decided to move down about twelve years ago,” he said.
Seth said the work he does is about 90 percent residential and 10 percent commercial.
“We do a lot of smaller businesses, like installing speakers in board rooms or televisions, and digital signs and sound systems in coffee shops and other small places like that.”
Seth said the company is currently working on a couple of jobs in Boca Grande right now.
“There are definitely some fun projects going on right now in Boca Grande, and a lot of them involve retro-fitting. There are a lot of homes here that are very big and really nice and no one wants to tear them down, so they call us to put updated systems in the current homes,” he said.
Seth said the biggest problems he gets on the island are related to the internet.
“Some of the homes are very large and if you put just one access point at one side of the house, by the time you need to connect at the other end of the house you can’t get a connection. So that’s one of the things we have learned to specialize in over the past few years on the island. We use a system that allows us to use a cloud-based software so we can log in and check settings remotely before sending someone out to the location. That way we can make sure everything is set up correctly. If we can solve the problem before having to go out there we can save time, money and resources.”
Seth said one of the fun contracts he has done recently in Boca Grande was installing a mirror TV, which basically looks like a mirror and then when you turn on the TV it lights up.
“The hardest thing about that job was the logistics, Seth said. “It was 65” by 65” and we had to have it shipped and crated in. The first two showed up broken.”
Seth said another popular request he gets from Boca Grande residents is installing lift televisions, which are stored inside the foot of a bed frame and remotely rise at the click of a button.
He said since many of the homes he services in Boca Grande are second homes or vacation homes, the owners usually want their networks set up to run as simply and efficiently as possible.
“People want to arrive and have the security of knowing that everything will be working,” he said. “We also have systems in place that let us know when things are not working correctly, that way we can call the owners and let them know that we will need to get in to fix any problems. We do a lot of preventative maintenance like that. A big part of our job is to educate and train.”
Seth said he gets most of his new work on Boca Grande by word-of-mouth and direct referrals.
When he is not working, Seth enjoys doing podcasts with a colleague at Hometech.fm, which he has been doing for about a year now. He said he records a lot of Do-It-Yourself programs as well as informative videos that include how to utilize the latest technology.
Seth said he became interested in doing the podcasts after reading some writings posted online. He found them so interesting that he decided to reach out and ask the author of the articles if he’d like to partner up on a podcast project, and the rest is history.
“We’ve covered everything from what I do for a living to interviewing CEOs of companies – anything we think our listeners would find interesting. There’s a good catalog of things we posted over the past year online. We’re listener-funded which is nice – it keeps things fun,” he said.
Some of the things posted on the site include, “The Top Five Tips to Fixing Your Wi-Fi” and, “What to Expect at the Next Big ‘Apple’ event.”
Seth and his wife just purchased a home last year and he said that has been keeping him very busy.
“It’s an older home so there is always something to do. We recently bought new furniture, and there are always more projects that we want to do.”
As our interview was drawing to an end, ironically enough, Seth received a phone call from one of his co-workers about an install job in Boca Grande.
“All in a day’s work,” he said with a smile.