Steve LooneySound Technician
The life and times of Steve Looney: The very, very, very short version.
I was born in the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base Hospital in San Diego California in 1953. Seven months later my dad was discharged from the Marine Corps. My parents loaded up the 1946 Hudson Commodore 8 and started the journey from San Diego to New Orleans. My dad says that after having work done on the Hudson they were only left with $60 to make the trip. He was afraid we wouldn’t make it, but we did. New Orleans was a great place to live at that time and I loved it.
My first job was working in the car dealership that my dad owned where we sold and serviced Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Alfa Romeo, BMW and Maserati. I was the head mechanic over 13 other mechanics. The dealership was right on Canal Street about four blocks away from French Quarter. I didn’t much care for being a mechanic. My interest was more in electronics, so I went to night school where I studied electronics. About three years later I took my first full-time job as an electronic technician. I felt much more at home in the electronic field. I had tinkered with electronics since I was a kid. I taught myself how to solder when I was about 10 years old and my room had wires running all over the place. My mother used to tell me to clean up my room, I didn’t understand because to me everything was where it should be.
In my early 20’s I worked for Kohen Electronics where we built sound systems for nightclubs. That was a booming business during the Disco days. There were some Sundays where two other guys from Kohen Electronics and I would pack up a truck with speakers and amplifiers and bring all that out to Audubon Park, right on the Mississippi River. We set the equipment up for a free concert where this up and coming band called the Allman Brothers would play. I had no clue where they would go. Also, at this time I was a Disk Jockey at night where I spun records in nightclubs and I owned one of the first mobile discos in New Orleans.
In 1986 some things had taken a turn for the worst in New Orleans so I decided to move…but where… the Orlando area was booming because of Disney so I decided to move there. I had jobs as an electronic technician and also a traveling Maserati mechanic. I was self-employed at this time. In 1991 I opened my own electronic shop in Daytona Beach on Nova Road and 11th Street, which changed its name to LPGA Boulevard. There I repaired VCRs, stereos, camcorders and other electronics. That lasted a few years but then the price of those items came down so much that it didn’t make sense to repair these things anymore when buying a new one was so cheap. So I chose to close that shop and I took a part-time job in manufacturing. One day at lunch time I snuck into one of the welders booths, put on his helmet and tried to weld. A few minutes later I felt a tap on my shoulder… I lifted the helmet and who do I see but my supervisor. I thought for sure I was fired. He told me if you want to learn to weld come in an hour early, stay an hour late, practice welding and if you can pass the welding test in one year, we will put you on as a full-time welder. I passed. I did precision welding for the next 11 years.
This is also around the time that I met my wonderful wife Karen. I’m sure most of you know her. After 11 years of welding I got bored of the same old thing every day and went back into electronics. My most recent job was at a company called Germ-Free Industries where we built mobile and modular chemical, biological and pharmaceutical laboratories. I think that was about the best job I ever had. I worked with a lot of good people, had great bosses, and what more could you ask for? That’s the job I retired from. It was really nice ending my work career with a great job and good people.
Shortly after the time that I met my wife I was looking through the help wanted ads in the Pennysaver. I came across an ad which read “Sound technician wanted for Presbyterian Church in New Smyrna Beach”. I worked both this and my full-time job until I retired in 2015. It continues to be a pleasure working for First Presbyterian. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to serve such wonderful people and I continue to enjoy serving you.