Alumnus helps rewire McEwen studios for HD broadcasting
If you tripped over lines of wire in the main hallway of McEwen communications building this week, blame Troy Senkiewicz.
The 1998 alumnus returned to campus on Aug. 30 to help the School of Communications rewire its television studios for high definition broadcasting.
Senkiewicz, whose television career began nearly two decades ago as a production assistant for Elon Student Television, was more than happy to leverage his industry contacts and abundant expertise to push Elon students closer to the cutting edge of broadcasting technology.
"When I went to Elon, we barely had equipment, and I always wanted more," he says. The station, Senkiewicz recalls, was located in Mooney Building, and going "on location" meant taking apart the studio's single set, hauling it and setting it up again at the venue where they wanted to film.
"Having access to the best equipment in my career has helped give me the knowledge to do what I do now," says Senkiewicz, whose company, DigiMax Consulting, provides technology solutions for some of the world's largest entertainment companies, such as DreamWorks. For the past several years, he worked with Christopher Waters '94, Elon's assistant chief information officer, to find an on-campus project he could help build from the ground up. The McEwen HD conversion, Senkiewicz says, was a perfect opportunity.
"I spoke with some of my suppliers and they were willing to donate the equipment to Elon," he says.
The yards upon yards of cable, installed in both studios A and B in McEwen, was provided by Gepco International, a division of General Cable Technologies Corporation. Gepco supplies cable for a significant portion of the world's broadcasting and entertainment industry. The donation of the cable, plus Senkiewicz's services, which also were provided for free, bringing Elon's total savings to more than $20,000.
"I want Elon students to have access at the professional level, not the consumer level. They need that hands-on experience," he says. "Textbooks only teach you so much. Then you have to have practical experience."
Senkiewicz hopes that this collaboration with Elon and the School of Communications isn't his last. Looking around the studios and the control room, he's already making plans.
"In a couple of years, I'd like to replace half of the equipment in here," he says. "These students need to work with the best equipment to get the best experience."
He adds that, during his wiring work, he came across some items in the studios that were emblazoned with a familiar name spraypainted in orange: "Troybuilt." Those are pieces of equipment that he helped put together as an Elon undergraduate. Over the years, many of those pieces have been replaced, leaving fewer traces of Senkiewicz and the impact he made on Elon's communications programs. But after this installation - and, he hopes, more in the future - the studios' equipment will carry a new name, "DigiMax," allowing Senkiewicz to leave his mark on Elon television again.
"Only this time," he quips, "the name will be laser engraved."