Name: Amanda Hopp, 30
Company/title: Crawford Broadcasting Denver, Chief Engineer
Certifications/memberships: Society of Broadcast Engineers, Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer
This is one in an occasional series highlighting engineers in their 20s and 30s, men and women who are building the “next generation” of technology leaders.
Radio World: How did you get into the field?
Amanda Hopp: I actually grew up around it. My dad [W.C. Alexander] has been with Crawford Broadcasting for 32 years. I would go with him to work sometimes, even went on a trip to St Louis and as a young kid helped punch the wires down to the blocks during a studio buildout. When I turned 16, I needed a job and was hired on part-time working for one of the stations. I did a lot of production, ran live shows, and once high school was out of the picture, I got more hours. Finally, when I finished school at Cleveland Institute of Electronics, I was promoted to the engineering department. I’ve worked my way up to being chief engineer. It’s been a fun ride.
RW: How do you think your age affects your approach to your job? Or do you think it doesn’t have an impact on how you work?
Hopp: I really don’t know. A lot of kids my age have a “who cares?” attitude. Think about it — how many 30-year-olds have had one job their whole life? The only other person I know of is my husband, actually. ... I learned from the mistakes of others, so I don’t make them myself. I work hard to learn the things I need for my job, I try to treat others with respect and approach my job with a sense of gratitude. Mr. [Donald] Crawford took a chance on me years ago, and I want to show him, through how I work, my gratitude.
RW: What do you see as the most important industry trend affecting broadcast engineering today? How might it affect the profession?
Hopp: I think the biggest issue is the fact that most engineers are older. My dad is 55, many of our engineer friends are in their 50s or 60s. You see very little when it comes to young engineers. At some point, these guys are going to have to retire and when they do, who will take over? If we don’t find a way of attracting younger people to the broadcast engineering field, then radio will be crippled in the next 15–20 years.
RW: What advice would you give to other young or aspiring engineers?
Hopp: Keep at it. Education is never over. Find groups such as the Society of Broadcast Engineers to join and participate in the courses they offer. Also, have fun! This is a fun job! Don’t let the people you work with get you down.
RW: What’s an important thing that you’ve learned from an industry mentor?
Hopp: Everything! Haha. Seriously. My dad has taught me so much over the years. He is always someone I can go to for advice and to learn new things.