Dave Hakes' – A/V Life


"I must do something!" will always solve more problems than "Something must be done"

Catchin’ Up?

D.V. “Dave” Hakes II, that’s me, started in the A/V Business (show business) at the age of 16 (1985) as a reel-to-reel “pancake platter” projectionist for United Artist Theatres, in Southern California. At the time there were only four of us in the entire area, which encompassed L.A., Long Beach, Orange, and San Diego Counties. Basically the other projectionists and myself had to do the upkeep and repair on all of the theatre projectors for this vast area – it was a busy job, and a great experience (it got me hooked on the business) – my main area was North San Diego and Western Orange County (if there was a “special event” we all had to be there no matter where it was). It was a nice area simply because we got to do a lot of screenings for cast & crew of different movies, pilots for T.V. shows, and, of course, the “ever important” movie premiere. I did this until 1987 – at that time, I went into the U.S. Navy…

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I got back from being stationed overseas in 1993 and began freelancing almost immediately (April Fools Day, 1993) in Maui (thanks to my cousin Mark Lowell). In September of that year, I moved to California and started concentrating my energy toward school – all the while, freelancing as often as I could to pay for school…

I started DeltaV Technology in Monterey, California, in September 1995. DVT started out as an “umbrella” for both A/V Freelancing and my Network Security business which slowly started to encompass the entire spectrum of Computer and Network planning, creation, installation, configuration, and repair…

In 1997, now free of the U.S. Navy, and wanting to consolidate my life, I took another of my businesses (Primalnet) and “brought it over” to DVT – this business was the planning, creation, hosting and online advertising of websites (your typical ISP)…

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In May of 1999, I came back to Maui for good – bringing DVT with me. It didn’t take long to discover that the A/V side of DVT would be the better side of things. Almost immediately, my cousin (Mark) hooked me up with Greg Hoover and Doug Paulson (they were both with AVHQ at the time). Up to this point (from 1985-1987 and 1993-1999), I had a lot of Graphics Operator and (film, slide, digital) Projectionist under my belt with a little Rigging, Lighting, and Audio to top it off…

Greg and Doug were the perfect hook up for me – they both believed that the more I knew, the less they would have to do. The coolest thing about working with these two guys was that I got to learn the business side of things on Maui: the venues, the equipment/gear, and the freelancers. All I had to do was come to work and be a sponge – all the information was there. They shoved so much information down my throat, and kept me so busy that by the end of the year (1999) I decided not to take on any new clients for Web Work or Computer and Networking. I was slammed with A/V work – and totally loving it (this is just around the time that PSAV and AVHQ had their “merger”)…

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On September 11th, 2001, as I watched the Twin Towers come down on CNN, both my (soon-to-be) wife and I were booked solid for about 6 months. 24 hours later, every show on the island had been canceled. We were married November 1st, 2001. By that date, there was absolutely no work here on the island, so I started looking into going back into the military…

Anyway, right around the day of our marriage, I worked a gig at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and Rusty found out I knew computers (B.S. in Computer Science & Technology from CSUMB). A few days later he called me in to fix a few, and offered me a job the next day. My wife and I really wanted to stay on the island, so we took the job (if not for that job offer, by mid-December we were on our way to South Carolina for my processing back into the military)…

I was the “System Administrator” & the “A/V Utility Guy” at the MACC – which means I did whatever had to be done to get the show running. Anyone who has ever worked in theater knows that that means the job description is “Everything” and what that word doesn’t cover, the words “…and all other duties as required…” does cover…

To make a long story short, in September of 2003 I bought a few laptops, and monitors, for rentals – and started freelancing on the side. October 1st, I turned in my resignation at the MACC, my last day was to be December 31st, 2003. I stayed until replaced, which made my last official day at the MACC March 15th, 2004… I continued to work there as a freelancer until September 2014 (when we moved to Virginia)…

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From September 2003 to December 2008, most of my time was spent working with PSAV, Rhema Services, Staging Solutions, and the MACC:

-> For PSAV, I spent most of my time working on the South Side of the island (The Grand Wailea, The Four Seasons, The Marriott, and The Kea Lani), but I did spend a fair amount of time on the west side (mostly The Ritz, The Westin, and The Hyatt). I did everything with PSAV (Rigging, Lighting, Audio, Video, Graphics, Computer Rentals, etc…). If working on the South side, I was usually called in as a Video Engineer or Graphics Op; If working on the West side, I was PSAV’s “Single-Op-Man” – meaning, when they need just one guy to Op the show (Audio, Lighting, Graphics, and Video) they called me…

-> For Rhema Services, I did a lot of Stage Hand work, as well as being a General Audio Guy for the mid-to-large concerts…

-> For Staging Solutions, I was Jim’s “Video Utility Guy” which means I really just jumped in and went for it. My show position with Jim was usually Handheld Camera Operator, Tape/Playback Op or Record Tech…

-> At the MACC, whatever position was needed, I filled. Aside from what I did in the Castle Theatre and A&B Amphitheater, I was usually the guy the Rusty called to be the “Single-Op-Man” for the McCoy Studio Theater gigs…

I did work with many other people and at many more venues, but the guys above were about 80% of my income and kept me extremely busy. Besides, I love working with all these guys – good people who know their stuff and work their cabooses off…

Most of my time, as far as show positions go, was taken up as Handheld Cameraman, Graphics Operator, Video Engineer, Rigger, Flyman, Stationary Cameraman, General Audio Guy, Projectionist, Tape Operator, and Spotlight Operator (in that order)…

For load-in and load-out, I just let everyone argue over where they wanted me. Just kidding. If I had a choice, I unloaded the truck/s, forked whatever needed to be forked, rigged whatever needed to be rigged, and jumped on a show position. When the show was ready for strike, just reverse the order of that last sentence…

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I “fell” into Technical Directing & Project Management around mid-2004. After working with the same clients every year, Greg moving to the big Island, and Doug travelling so much, the clients simply started calling me to TD their shows. I have a pretty broad background in all the technical aspects of the business; I know all the venues on Maui like the back of my hand; I know who has what equipment; I know the best person\s for specific jobs; I know where to find just about anything…

From January 5th, 2009 to December 31st, 2012, I was the Technical Director for Swank Audio Visuals in the State of Hawaii, based out of the Grand Wailea…

Some of the clientele I’ve worked with since Jan 2009 (this is not a complete list, generally this is a list of shows which had 1,000+ participants):

2009
SAP (every year)
Estes Park (every year)
Maui Humane Society (every year)
Hilton
Federated Insurance
Flowserve
CND Global
HMSA
MACC Concert – Aerosmith

2010
Apple – iPad announcement
NAPA
NFL Players Association
Healthnet
Clearwire

2011
TruGreen
IBM
Boeing
MACC Concert – Chris Isaak
MACC Concert – Steve Miller Band

2012
Sungard
Forrester Research
Pennacle
MACC Concert – Jimmy Buffett
MACC Concert – Ziggy Marley
Mutual of Omaha
Toyota
Gartner
Allstate
Roto Rooter
American Express
Lexus
Hyundai Tournament of Champions (every year since)

2013
Terminix
Texas Roadhouse
Mutual of Omaha
MACC Concert – SANTANA
MACC Comedy – Bill Cosby
MACC Concert – SOJA
MACC Musical – Sesame Street Live
MACC Concert – Earth Wind & Fire
MACC Opera – Les Miserables
MACC Concert – David Crosby & Graham Nash
MACC Concert – Tony Bennett
ADP

2014
Kal Tire
ABC (Association of Builders & Contractors)
MACC Comedy – Dave Chapelle
Google – Hawaii Get Your Business Online

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In September 2014, my family and I moved to Virginia where I got a full time gig with PSAV as a PM in Washington D.C. Although many of the gigs were with extremely High Profile Clientele (such as POTUS, VPOTUS, various Senators and Congressmen), the shows themselves were very small (on average 250-500 folks per venue). I became bored rather quickly – lots of talking heads, very few Awards Banquets or any real chance to be creative. I love to WOW folks and the opportunity just wasn’t presenting itself…

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Hindsight 20/20, moving to the mainland opened many doors… In August 2015, I became a Project/Production Manager for PSAV’s Premier Global Events (aka “PGE” or “National Ops” for you old timers). Now my job is to do what I love to do – I get paid to WOW folks. General Sessions, Award Banquets, Concerts for Corporate Events, you name it!