The ATG course curriculum will address issues which are not of the Basic Installation 101 level, says Schmitt. It is deeper, more intense, and not for novices. “This is not the same course as we teach on the road. It’s designed for someone who’s already an industry professional who wants to enhance their skills and take them to the next level. It’s more than just a fabrication class; we want to offer ways on how to run your business and the kinds of procedures and recipes from proven track records of other companies we’ve done business with.”
Management skills may not seem like a top priority for someone involved in fabricating a speaker enclosure, but installers can benefit from “beyond Bondo” education, because of the way the business has evolved, he says. “If you do good work as a specialist, then you’ll attract a lot of clients,” Schmitt explains. “But you need to change your business model, too, from wide and shallow to narrow and deep. That’s what we really like to teach. Also, along with that we’ll talk about how to manage labor jobs—how to track them and make sure they’re done on time. We’ll also teach some electrical integration techniques and lots of fabrication as well.”
In the five-day course, the first day and a half, he says, is devoted to business management—including “how to charge for what you do.” Second- and third-day topics will cover integration, and the fourth and fifth days will delve into advanced fabrication and router techniques, including integration with factory equipment. A truncated course runs over a Sunday-Monday period and is strictly on OEM integration—“how to tap into the audio and video sections of vehicles, do level setting and tuning, and also some fabrication techniques relating to texture painting and integrating to make things look like they’re stock.” Eight sessions are being offered in 2007, he says, staggered over months, such as the fall, that dovetail with installers’ traditional “down” times but that avoid summertime, when Arizona is not the friendliest destination, climate-wise. Part of the grand plan also includes a Fall 2007 specialists summit featuring industry luminaries such as Scott Whitehead of Seattle’s Benchmark Motoring, Chris Yato of Composition Soundworks, Artesia, Calif., and Garry Springgay, of Arizona’s Cogent Audio Labs.