To refer to Futter’s full-time position as an audio video technology engineer as a “day job” would be a bit of misnomer considering he’s often working on campus on nights and weekends as well, but it seems a necessary term in order to distinguish it from his other role at Ursinus: a part-time Campus Safety officer.
A graduate of the University of Southern Maine who holds a B.A. in industrial technology management, Futter organizes and runs technology for events of all sizes for academic departments, administrative departments and student groups. This means a typical day might involve moving equipment in preparation for a coming event, or working with event contacts and his team of student event technicians to discuss logistics. He also assists tech support with classroom technology and supervises classroom reservations that involve new technology.
Futter, who spent the first 14 years of his life in England before moving to Connecticut, says he started working in the events industry even before college. Over the years, he has set up power systems, lighting and rigging in venues including museums, theaters, sports arenas and large-scale tents.
“James makes seemingly impossible projects possible,” says Jordan Scharaga ’17, assistant director of college events and signature programs. “His energy, creativity and problem-solving skills help all of us think outside the box. His talent for audio and video brings a new level of professionalism to all of our events and programs.
“Through his leadership, the event technician program has grown over the last few years because he helps provide a lot of practical, hands-on experience that the students will continue to build on after they leave Ursinus.”
Working with students is his favorite part of the job. “Teaching them how technology and systems work—and what it is like to have a job that has responsibilities—lets me see them grow as people in skills and character.”
Ray Stitt, who—as a tech support technician, Campus Safety officer and UC EMS adviser—is another of the many Bears on campus who wears multiple hats, collaborates often with Futter. “Whenever I have been in a bind, I could always count on James to respond to a faculty, staff member or student to help out. I have also watched him jump to help others on campus throughout the virus epidemic and even before it.”
“James is a key player in supporting all of the college’s signature events,” says Scharaga. “While events on campus look a lot different now, James has really utilized technology so that all of our students, faculty and staff can still feel connected even if they are physically remote. He continues to go above and beyond to make the campus a vibrant place this semester.”