I grew up surrounded by sound and music.
My mother played the piano and was a choir director. My father was a musician and recording engineer who sometimes used our living room as a studio. As a young child, it wasn’t uncommon for me to step over microphone cables and audio equipment that lined the floors of our Miami home.
It wasn’t a surprise that I became a musician. At age 7, I picked up drumsticks for the first time and later drummed in several bands. Later, I followed in my father’s footsteps and became an audio engineer. I engineered audio for a variety of musicians, including working on the platinum-selling album Me, Myself and I by rapper Fat Joe.
I left the music industry to pursue other career options with a more mission-based focus. St. Jude was the perfect place.
Several years ago, my parents moved from Miami to Memphis to work for a Christian radio ministry. A few years later, they went to work at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. I joined my parents in Memphis and played gigs in downtown spots to earn money.
In November 2013, when an audiovisual tech position opened on the hospital’s Audio Visual (AV) Services team in the Enterprise Informatics division of Information Services, I joined St. Jude. My parents still work at ALSAC, and now my wife does as well.
I’ve learned so much here at St. Jude. When I came here, I knew live audio, but I’ve learned so many aspects of telecommunications working with my colleagues. I enjoy the closeness of the AV team, which includes eight members and is overseen by Harvey Smith. We know each other so well and rely on each other. One of my favorite parts of the job is liking everybody that I work with.
A typical day might include setting up laptops for presentations, working the control room for large meetings in our conference center, assisting one of my fellow technicians or working a live event or performance on campus. If a vocalist or band is performing, I preset audio levels and cater to the artists to make sure the event runs smoothly. Once the performance begins, I monitor audio levels and microphone placement if the artist takes it off the stand.
Since our department is service-oriented, I stress preparation and asking the right types of questions when working with other departments. Each event is a learning experience, and we play a vital role in transmitting the flow of scientific and medical ideas to internal audiences at St. Jude and around the world.
My favorite thing about St. Jude is you can’t really have a bad day. You walk around and see the kids smiling or playing given what they are going through. This aligns your perspective. You really can’t have a case of the Mondays working here.
Eddy Garcia is an AV technician in the Information Services department at St. Jude.