Former American Audio Visual Center Pioneers Launch Artists of the Industry: A Content Marketing Agency Built on Emotional Intelligence and Local Talent

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Former event technology leaders and partners Jim Carlson and Duane Tornquist create and launch Artists of the Industry, an emotionally intelligent and collaborative content marketing agency on the North Shore of Chicago with upcoming promotional coverage in New York City, Times Square, on May 4, 2017.

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When the owner of American Audio Visual Center (AAVC) Jim Carlson sold his successful and rapidly growing event technology company to competitor PSAV just over two years ago, he knew the journey was not over. Duane Tornquist, his then SVP of Creative and CMO, envisioned a top of the line agency built on community and emotional intelligence that caters to the lifestyle, hospitality, and corporate event planning industries. On April 24, 2017, Artists of the Industry (A of the I), a collaborative and futuristic content marketing agency, was born.

A of the I is a full-service content producer, sound design studio, and promotional agency built on the very values that grew AAVC exponentially into a leader in the event technology industry. Founders Carlson and Tornquist built A of the I on the six pillars of emotional connection, which touch every creative concept and human interaction of both A of the I and its clients.

The six pillars include:

  • See - Connecting emotional content via brand messaging in an optimized way.
  • Hear - Composing and recording soundscapes through the best-in-class people, technology and equipment.
  • Feel - Applying visual and audio storytelling to engage customers and evoke emotion.
  • Think - Practice brain trust (thought leadership, marketing, public relations, and social media) to go beyond the traditional agency approach.
  • Trust - Building both A of the I and client brands with honesty and integrity.
  • Dream- Using Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) individually or together to engage in new ways.

Where founders Carlson and Tornquist go beyond producing emotionally engaging content is with applying rapidly growing technologies, such as augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). Staying competitive, fresh, and original is essential to building brand recognition and customer engagement across the lifestyle, hospitality, and event planning industries, those near and dear to the hearts of these visionaries.

“We created emotionally engaging content before, and we did it well. It is what set us apart at AAVC. Where we take it a step further is to apply today’s technological advancements to storytelling and keep our clients’ brand fresh and exciting. And, if they want a custom soundtrack to become their signature, we can now make that a reality,” said Carlson.

A of the I’s philosophy is that success comes directly from its people, making the team a fundamental agency focus. Inspired by Tornquist’s favorite book, “Creativity Inc.” by Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Disney Animation, Carlson and Tornquist purposefully dedicated a vast majority of time selecting the perfect blend of passionate, artistic, and diverse-minded professionals to help launch the agency and build “brain trust.”

With Tornquist being a former musician and Carlson a transformational business leader and entrepreneur, they knew it was the hard work and networking that led to their successes today. Creating a collaborative space for musicians, songwriters, and singers to help grow their careers was always at the forefront of the business plan. Every aspect of A of the I’s physical studio, creative production, and original music composition was born from a locally-sourced team of creative talent in the Chicago area. The sizzle reel (demo) is a perfect example of how a majority of local talent came together to create content that is not only imaginative but beautifully crafted.

“Chicago is our new hub for introducing local talent to the nation and the world. They helped us build A of the I, and for that we are grateful. There is an abundance of professionals that practice emotional intelligence and want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Those are the types of individuals we want to attract,” said Tornquist.

A of the I will feature and promote its agency story on May 4, 2017 after 10:00pm EST (times may vary slightly) in the heart of Times Square in New York City. The A of the I story will be broadcast on the largest promotional space located on the side of the Marriott Marquis, Times Square. Additional coverage will be available on A of the I social media channels.

In June 2017, founders Carlson and Tornquist will host the A of the I grand opening at its Northbrook, Illinois headquarters.


About Artists of the Industry (A of the I):
A of the I is a collaborative and creative content marketing agency delivering emotionally intelligent, technologically advanced, and innovative content programs for companies that want to grow market share and expand their culture and legacy. We provide businesses with the world’s most visionary, creative professionals in every facet of event production, presentation design, sales and marketing technology, audio-visual media, and content marketing fulfillment. For creative professionals, we offer a cross-discipline, collaborative environment coupled with the opportunity to employ thought and visionary leadership with global leaders across business and industry. Visit to learn more.

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Radha Hemmige-Erickson