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Two Okanagan College students have launched an innovative new business to help the world sound a little better, one room at a time.
A common interest in recording technology led Alex Pfeifer and Josh Mulloy to the Audio Engineering & Music Production diploma program at Okanagan College from very different paths. Kelowna-born Pfeifer has a fascination with all things technical, while Mulloy, a musician who hails from Calgary, enrolled to better understand the intricacies of studio recording in the hope of amping up a career in the music industry.
The two young men quickly noticed their complementary skill sets came in handy in the studio and out in the field. While conducting an exercise in acoustic analysis (studying how the design and arrangement of a space affect the overall sound experience) a bold idea began to take shape.
“We instantly knew this was something we were passionate about, and brought two very different perspectives to,” says Mulloy. “We looked at each other and said: ‘How can we make a career out of this?’”
They set about founding their own company, first reaching out to the valley’s business owners for feedback.
“We pounded the pavement, knocked on doors, and had extensive conversations with local business leaders in audio and a ton of different other fields,” says Pfeifer. “During that time, and since then, there hasn’t been a single person in the community who hasn’t been supportive and offered advice or encouragement.”
Buoyed by the positive response to their idea, Mulloy and Pfeifer launched Perception Audio Inc. in February. Their website, www.perceptionaudio.ca is currently under construction.
“We specialize in acoustic treatments and analysis for commercial spaces, but that’s just scratching the surface of what we do,” explains Pfeifer, noting that live sound and studio recording is also among their areas of expertise.
“At the end of the day, we want to bring something new and truly unique to the audio scene in BC,” says Mulloy. “We want to change the way people think about sound during all stages and aspects of putting a space together. We spend our lives in these spaces and the way they sound hugely impacts our experience of them.”
One of those offering constant support and encouragement along the way has been instructor Corey Bell, a widely respected audio engineer and musician who, in addition to teaching at the College, remains extremely active in the audio production and recording industry.
“There are so many avenues you can pursue in audio,” says Bell. “Josh and Alex picked an avenue in starting their own business – doing what they love – and their drive to achieve that goal has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
Both students are quick to acknowledge Bell’s support as a factor in their successful startup, which already boasts several projects in development in the coming months.
“We wouldn’t have gotten to this place without Corey’s help,” says Mulloy. “This program has really brought a profound change to both our lives very quickly.”
“We’re very grateful for the opportunity to do what we do, and appreciate the way people have supported us to this point,” says Pfeifer. “We love what we do and get to go to work each day not feeling like we’re going to work but going to do what we’re best at and enjoy doing.”
According to Pfeifer, the short-term goal is to continue to grow the business, while a long-term priority will be to support those following in their footsteps, whether it means mentoring students at the College or assisting other small business startup owners.
“When you build somebody else up, you build yourself up,” says Pfeifer. “That has been the ethic other business owners have instilled in us and we plan to carry that on in the way we conduct ourselves and our business.”
Pfeifer and Mulloy will join their fellow graduates at Okanagan College’s convocation ceremonies in June. While running their business, both entrepreneurs plan to return to the College to pursue additional business training, Pfeifer in project management and Mulloy in business administration.
More information about the Audio Engineering and Music Production program at Okanagan College is available at Okanagan.bc.ca/aemp