How It Started

Vining Electrical Contracting, LLC was started by Dan Vining in 1994 and the dba of Vining Audio & Video, VAV, was formed a few years thereafter.

Attending high school from 1974-1978 at Henry Abbott Technical School in Danbury, Connecticut Dan studied graphic communications which may be where his appreciation for graphical design, interior designs, photography and the visual aesthetics of rooms and buildings started.  During his senior year he was employed at Photronic Labs as an artwork technician creating Rubylith film masters of integrated circuit designs using an XY plotting table, pictured top right.  A short time later, still just 18, he was promoted to head of the artwork department, all be it after the person holding that position left the company and Dan was just about the only one left.

Dan joined the US Navy in 1981 to further his education and to see the world and spent the next six years doing just that as an Electronic Warfare Technician .  During his tour of duty he ran the EW work center, the closed circuit TV system, the "Snoopy" team and the ships intelligence collection, tracking and reporting team.  Some of those tasks Dan took upon himself because they were being inadequately performed by others during training exercises at GITMO .  They were being graded on various areas of competency and a failure in any single area was still a failure for the ship and for Dan that was not acceptable.  Most of his six year tour was onboard the USS McCandless FF-1084 also pictured to the right.  The two pictures below the ship are of Dan (middle) with a few ship mates.  Dan was honorably discharged in 1987 at the rate of E-6, the rating of Electronic Warfare Technician 1st class or simply EW1 .  He later recieved the Navy Achievement Medal for his performance and contributions while onboard the Big Mac.

The navy is where Dan found his passion for electronics but after being discharged in 87' he couldn't imagine himself working in a factory or office environment day after day so he decided to become an electrician so he wouldn't be constrained by the same four walls everyday or deal with the corporate bureaucracy which would have been similar to that encountered in the Navy.

Using his Navy electronics training to accelerate his new electrical career Dan received his Connecticut electrician journeyman license, E-2 in 1989 and then his Connecticut unlimited electrical contractors license, E-1 a few years later in 1993.  In 1994 Dan formed Vining Electrical Contracting, LLC.

While wiring some of the finest new homes in Connecticut Dan was exposed to the field of residential audio & video installations and immediately knew that he could do it just as good if not better so the dba of Vining Audio & Video or simply VAV was formed.  This allowed him to use and expand the skills he learned in the Navy and since being an electrician didn't provide much in the way of cerebral stimulation he figured taking on the AV integration world would.

It wasn't long before VAV was ready to commit to the challenges, training requirements and discipline needed to take on some of the AV industry’s premier brands like AMX and Lutron HomeWorks.  Brands that every AV dealer wanted but seldom could acquire.  A brand like AMX requires a company to have personnel that can program and willing to do what it takes to become a competent AMX certified programmer.  Most companies can’t fathom the dedication and time required to become a proficient AMX programmer and of the companies that have tried, most have failed.  Fortunately for them there are systems like Control4 and Savant that don’t require programming, just data entry.  These systems allow AV dealers to feel like programmers and systems integration dealers when actually they're nothing more than installers of someone else’s cookie cutter designs and programs.  It's configuring not programming and that's fine if that's all the project requires.

Not every project requires an AMX system but when they do, would you want a dealer selling you a lesser system simply because that’s all or the best they can "configure" or sell.  A project's needs & budget should dictate the control system used, not the limitations of an AV dealer's 
skills or product lines.  A responsible AV dealer should know when to step down for the sake of the project.

Areas of expertise: 
  • AMX certified programming, design & installation
  • Lutron certified HomeWorks, RA2 & shades & drapery systems 
  • Connecticut licensed E-1 (unlimited electrical contractor)
  • HAI certified Five Star Dealer
  • Cisco certified partner (ex SMB specialist)
  • Axis Communications partner
  • Coastal Source certified dealers/installer
  • and more.....

Would you prefer theirs on the left or ours on the right?

We had the unfortunate pleasure of cleaning up the left system, ripping it apart, replacing inappropriate equipment and putting it all back together the VAV way.