Thomas Bethel

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Thomas Bethel

Interview by: Melissa Cabat

Thomas Bethel is the Mastering Engineer/Managing Director of Acoustik Music, Ltd. Prior to starting his own business, he served as Oberlin Colleges Director of Audio Services and Concert Sound for 26 years. During his time working for Oberlin College, he recorded over 3,000 concerts and did live concert sound for hundreds of live events.

Q: We talked earlier about how Oberlin has changed since your arrival. If you could look 20 years into the future, what would you want to see? What would be similar or different?

A: I think that the town and the college need to work closer together. I think this green initiative is a good idea, especially if theyre going to use local farmers to help supply the towns food.

Q: What advice/tips would you offer to other business owners who are interested in adopting sustainable initiatives?

A: Talk to somebody who they can get advice from. We talked to OMLPS [the Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System], and they were very helpful; they came out and did an energy survey of the house and gave us suggestions about how to reduce our energy usage.

"We work very closely with OMLPS (the Oberlin Municipal Light and Power System), and weve done most of the things that theyve suggested to make us more energy efficient."

Q: What words/images would you use to describe Oberlin?

A: Green. The town is green; there are lots of flowers, grass, and trees. Green also describes how everyone here seems to be conscious of the environment and their own resource usage.

There are people from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds who are all living in the same town and all getting along well.

Q: Do you think there are ways to combine thinking about sound and thinking about the environment?

A: Definitely. I think the intersection of these topics is noise pollution. Noise pollution isnt rampant in Oberlin. Ive had friends stay here from New York and say they have trouble sleeping because its so quiet. I think the one major thing about Oberlin thats pretty amazing is that there are people from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds who are all living in the same town and all getting along well. I think something people dont realize is that weve got professors and college administrators, but also 35% of the town is below the poverty level. Considering youve got that huge range, its incredible that Oberlin inhabitants get along as well as they do.

Q: The word sustainability can be used to describe actions that promote the economic, social, and environmental well-being of a community. What does sustainability mean to you as an Oberlin resident and business owner?

A: We try to be very eco-friendly; we have a skylight, we use CFL or LED bulbs in all our lighting fixtures. The bulbs are low in power consumption and eco-friendly, and we dispose of them properly. We work very closely with OMLPS, and weve done most of the things that theyve suggested to make us more energy efficient. In so doing, weve significantly cut our energy usage. We try to be very eco-friendly and we do a lot of recycling with our technology as well.

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