Grad Ryan Tolley’s Upscale A/V Gigs

Full Sail University Grad Ryan Tolley's Upscale A/V Gigs

Full Sail Music Business and Entertainment Business Master’s grad Ryan Tolley’s job at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida is not your typical event tech gig. Besides the spectacular locale—The Breakers is a palatial, 540-room Italian Renaissance-style resort—this luxury, AAA Five Diamond oceanfront property is renowned for its lavish events created for a very discerning clientele.

“I started in April 2011 as a technician and now I am the Operations Manager for Palm Beach Staging and Production, a wholly owned subsidiary of the hotel,” Ryan says. “The separation is good because people often think of in-house A/V teams as being jack-of-all-trades but master of none.”

Not so with Palm Beach Staging and Production. “We are really good at taking our ballrooms and creating really unique experiences for our guests,” says Ryan, who works on everything from intimate weddings to galas with a thousand attendees.

“We’ve staged events where performers such as Jay Leno, ZZ Top, Dave Matthews Band, and Elton John were booked,” Ryan says. “We’ve also had a lot of speakers come through, including astronauts and adventurists, as well as magicians and aerialist acts such as Cirque du Soleil shows.”

Every day is different, Ryan says. “But there are always challenges. We are at a luxury property with high-end guests. We need everything to look perfect and the guest experience to be absolutely seamless. With A/V, challenges happen.”

In recent months, Ryan produced an anniversary party involving four days of events for 400 guests. Logistically, lots of varied audio and visual needs spanned several events, all of which needed to be coordinated with the design team, who was in charge of the décor for each event.

“We needed to piece all the elements together into one seamless experience. It took a lot of pre-production, a lot of pre-planning, but once it all came together it was worth it. The family loved it.”