One of the foundation stones upon which any organization stands is effective communication. It is a crucial aspect for any business that ensures smooth and efficient running of a company. Firms always experiment with different ways to improve communication.
For example, whenever a new employee is getting trained for their job, they are introduced to the work culture by means of projectors. But what if the trainer only gives them audio instructions and asks to get the job done? It will become very complex and confusing for the new employee.
Hence, all-inclusive communication is much needed for any enterprise. This is where Audio-Visual (AV) solutions come into play that are designed to make communication more interesting and more productive. To achieve this very objective, companies today are keener on adapting AV business solutions.
Realizing the rising demand of corporations for Audio-Visual solutions, SPINITAR picked up the baton to attain to this need. In the following interview, we interacted with Jeff Irvin, the Principal, Chairman, and Founder of Spinitar.
Please brief our audience about SPINITAR, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a leading player in the audio-visual solutions niche.
Spinitar was founded in May 1986 as primarily a provider of audio-visual technology for corporate, government, and education customers. The development of an integration practice really began in 1999, when Jay Rogina, Principal and CEO, joined the company. Today, we have fully developed into a highly respected AV integrator providing design, integration, and support services to our customers throughout the world.
Shed some light on your solutions/services and how are these making an impact on the industry and your clients?
We’ve adopted a ‘services first’ approach, where we lead with what happens after the AV system has been built the user experience going forward. We have a terrific support team, providing customized support for varying user requirements. Our support motto – ‘A quick response from talented folks who care about you!’ Our focus is to assure an ongoing terrific user experience that will yield better outcomes for stakeholders using the technology.
Jeff, please brief us about yourself, your journey in the industry, and how you have contributed towards the company’s success.
My background is all sales and marketing. I started the business as a provider of uninstalled, simple, mobile AV gear to help presenters of every variety to be more effective communicators. As the transactional selling of AV gear became more and more competitive, I was smart enough to realize that much more of our revenues needed to come from services, and we could no longer compete with the internet and big box stores also selling AV gear.
We needed to break ‘intellectual capital’. So, I began that migration in the late 90’s, bringing on people that knew AV integration and could help us transform the business. Jay Rogina, now my business partner of 22 years, really made that happen. I just needed to stay out of his way.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on what impact has the adoption of modern technologies had on the audio-visual solutions space and what more could be expected in the future?
I’m not wrapped up as much about the specifics of the technology but more interested in experiences and outcomes for the stakeholders. If we can deliver and continue to support a simple and stable AV system that accomplishes the communication objective, our customer has won.
While requirements will continue to pivot amongst many of the verticals we support, most recently because of demand shift due to work and learning space adjustments from the pandemic. Simplicity, stability, and flexibility will be even more paramount moving forward.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face, and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
This is and continues to be a big challenge. For the last one and half years of the pandemic, it was all about flexing to where and how people work. While we officially welcomed our people back to the buildings on June 21, we’ve had many that choose to continue to work from home. To date, we haven’t mandated a return to the office but have tried to be flexible with our staff who’ve chosen to not frequent the building.
It’s interesting! We don’t dictate these people to return because that doesn’t seem culturally right for us to do so. But, on the other hand, not having our folks back in the building diminishes culture. So, this is quite the dilemma. Now, our next challenge is dealing with the staff that has chosen to not be vaccinated, while more and more of our customers are requiring our staff that visits their sites to be vaccinated.
Talk about a scheduling nightmare! Again, we haven’t mandated vaccinations yet, but it appears our current government administration might do that for us. Toss in supply chain issues and related product availability problems, manufacturer price increases and lack of labour resources, and we certainly continue to be challenged and forced to be humble.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the audio-visual solutions market?
I would tell them that there is very little margin for error and to watch the big projects as they can easily put you out of business. Your delivery model must be terrifically efficient. Project management should be the most important discipline in your company, and you should have great depth in that position, or you will fail.
Finally, everyone on the team – sales, project management, design, foreman, etc., are accountable for assuring a terrific customer experience while also making sure you as the integrator have a profitable outcome. All stakeholders (the team) must be bought into the project prior to even presenting and proposing it to the customer.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in the future?
We initiated a five-year plan to double the size of the company. We strongly believe that scaling is a survival strategy and remaining a mid-market AV integrator into the future is ‘no man’s land’. We have to scale to be competitive against the biggies in our business and to be able to invest in other value-added services that create ‘stickiness’ with our customers.
This plan calls for further investment capital to facilitate two acquisitions and organic growth that will move the needle from $50M to $100+M in 5 years. We must grow!
We’ve consistently been a member of SCN’s Top 50 Integrators; we hold an AVIXA APEX (Audio Visual Provider of Excellence) certification, Jay Rogina has served as President of InfoComm (now AVIXA), Jeff Irvin has served as President of PSNI (a network of about 90+ best in class AV integrators around the world).
Spinitar was recently acknowledged for the industry’s ‘Annual Giving Back Award’ for our efforts over the past six years for helping to raise more than $500K for cancer research at City of Hope.