Commercial Integrator Dec 2014 : Page 30

CI Profile Integrator of the Year ELECTROSONIC By D. Craig MacCormack, Photography by Rafael Ortega E DIDN’T CHOOSE Electrosonic as Commercial Integrator ’s 2014 Integra-tor of the Year because the global firm is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. We chose it for the annual honor because of what it’s done in and for the industry during that half-century. From its humble beginnings in 1964 to a family-owned company with $111 million in revenues in 2014, Electrosonic has been at the forefront of innovation in the AV systems integration space for a integrator of the year: It’s celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, but leadership has its eyes on ensuring the firm lasts at least another half-century. W Electrosonic | PRIMARY LOCATION: Worldwide headquarters in Burbank, Calif. ADDITIONAL LOCATIONS: EMEA Headquarters – Dartford, U.K.; Offices in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, UAE and China PRINCIPALS: Jim Bowie, President Electrosonic Group; Scott Meyer, CFO; Sarah Joyce, VP, EMEA; Chris Conte, VP, Entertainment; Todd Miller, VP, Control Rooms YEARS IN BUSINESS: 50 EMPLOYEES: 435 2014 TOTAL REVENUES: $111 million 2014 COMMERCIAL REVENUE: $81 million NUMBER OF COMMERCIAL INSTALLS LAST YEAR: 641 TOP 3 MARKETS: Entertainment, Control Rooms, Corporate Solutions TOP 5 BRANDS: Christie, Extron, Crestron, Samsung, NEC “My company does customer service better than any other company.” In the interest of improving the industry, advice can you offer other integrators? Choose your consultants wisely. CI SNAPSHOT 30 | Commercial Integrator December 2014 long time — and still sits on that lofty perch today. “When [Electrosonic] started, there wasn’t really an AV indus-try,” says president and CEO Jim Bowie, who came to the company in 1987 as an engineer and was named the company leader in 2008. “We helped to shape the direction.” In the early days of Electrosonic, “you couldn’t go to the store and get boxes” for an AV installation, says Bowie. So, instead of watching the new company fizzle almost as quickly as it began, “we made the equipment ourselves,” he says, noting a trend that continued until a few years ago, when Electrosonic spun its manu-facturing arm off to Extron. “That gave us a unique perspective and a unique role in the industry,” says Bowie. Electrosonic also has “a heritage” thanks to its five decades of essentially unparalleled success in installing AV systems at some of the most high-profile locations around the world, including Univer-sal Studios in Orlando, Fla., and the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. That heritage includes Bob Simpson, one of the company’s founders, who’s still on the board of directors. It stretches to the present day, in which Bowie and Electrosonic find new ways to innovate and satisfy customers every day under the watch of Finn-ish family ownership (the Aminoffs). “When you hit that 50-year milestone, there’s a bit of a self-sus-taining energy that comes along with that,” says Bowie. “Everyone wants to be a part of that.” Bowie recalls when he applied for a job as an engineer at Electrosonic just before the company had hit its 25-year mark, and “I thought that was incredible.” Bowie views his role as president and CEO as “setting the direc-tion financially and strategically,” in addition to other less tangible aspects. “I’m very interested that Electrosonic is a good place to work,” he says. “We’re constantly changing and updating the way we do things. I try to make sure we’re healthy. Lots of little things play into that.” Among those, he says, are updating terms of con-tract scope on a regular basis and the creation of an apprentice program a few years ago (see sidebar, page 34) .

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