Each week, I am highlighting on some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling Rich Pierro .
Here is a brief intro about him.
Rich Pierro has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 15 years. He is currently co-CEO Premier Mounts, and also run their Engineering business unit as President, Premier Dedicated Solutions.
Please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.
1. Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
In 2005 I met an industry pioneer (which I didn’t know it at the time) Len Dozier, owner of Premier Mounts. I met Len through one of my custom motorcycle clients, Travis Hill at Xtreme Cycle Design in Orange, CA. At that time I was living in Colorado and operating my engineering and manufacturing company Motorsports Machine. Motorsports Machine developed and manufactured specialty products for the custom motorcycle and offshore race boat industries. While I was visiting Travis, he invited Len, (who has “engineering” running through his veins, and is a custom motorcycle enthusiast), over to the shop to meet me. Len and I spent a few hours discussing his vision for Premier Mounts, motorcycles, and manufacturing topics. The discussion ended with an opportunity to work with Len in integrating custom design and manufacturing into the Premier Mounts model. I suddenly found myself facing this huge decision with the opportunity to work with Len and his team in CA and walking away from my business in Colorado. For those of you who know Len, you can understand why the decision was simple. Len pointed at a 45,000 sq ft empty building and said “go for it”. That was 12 years ago and the rest is history. In the end, we all need that 1 person to crack the door open and “give us a chance”, Len is one of those guys for me. Since then, I have been involved with every aspect of the business, formed hundreds of new relationships and partnerships, I’ve been involved in literally thousands of new product solutions, and today I find myself leading the company towards new horizons.
2. What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.
Endless info to learn, limited hours in the day…..takes time to get up to speed, but for the tech savvy person who is passionate about the industry, its such a great industry for those willing to put in the time, they will surely find opportunity. Find the right mentor fast – You can’t know everything, so surround yourself with those who do – and learn
Product saturation – identify truly unique companies on the move who are adding value and differentiating. Lots of “me-too” in this industry so the sooner you get on a path where you can differentiate and add value, the sooner you can put yourself on a trajectory to meet companies and managers who place more value on you as an individual contributor.
3. What are the positives of working in this industry.
It’s such an exciting industry to be in. Technology to some people might mean that it’s a luxury in the form of a home theater, but to others such as corporate, retail, and transportation, it’s a necessity and a way of the future. They must adopt some form of AV whether it’s to drive revenue growth, cost savings, or the ability to communicate around the world. Where industry is providing a necessity, not a luxury, talented job seekers can find longevity in a career.
Also, having access to an industry where you can apply your creativity and capabilities, combined with technology and industry experts to envision something that hasn’t been done before and then actually do it! In 2008 we installed a 4×4 flat video wall at the Luxor hotel in Vegas, it had 1\2” bezels! Today we are installing giant 130’ SEAMLESS sub-0.9mm pitch LED displays in custom mosaics and curved shapes. It’s truly awesome!
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4. What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?
There are some very talented companies who don’t get access to opportunity because of buying groups or on-line purchasing practices. Cost advantages raise the stakes in a market, which can deter and delay entrants into the market. On the upside, buying groups are forcing innovation, but that innovation is focused on customer acquisition, which is a great thing, but the things the industry will complain about, may indeed be caused by some of the barriers to entry that are forming today. We hear too often that manufacturers are selling direct, or they lower their price in order to compete. Expect that problem to grow when very competent and sometimes better suppliers\partners are excluded from the opportunity. Only the strong companies will survive this very competitive industry and the more barriers to entry there are, the more we will see innovative thought leaders develop new ways to get their shot at “earning” the business by adding more value. Premier Mounts is committed to selling through the channel and I can’t tell you how many times we have had customers come to us after a project has gone bad, only to realize the benefits of a newfound partnership with us, where before they were buying on price, or habit, or because they are a member of a buying group and “the products are already sku’d up”. In some cases, barriers to entry for integrators can be overcome by leveraging value-add partners to drive the total cost of the project down. At the Daytona International Speedway, we literally sold a more expensive product, that supported Peerless displays (a friendly competitor who became a partner on this project btw), and decreased the installation time of more than 1200 mounts by 40% – That’s bottom line profit for the integrator, or great savings to pass on to the end user! Or both! That’s a partnership!
5. Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you.
Clients need to know that we bring together the scope, know-how, and determination to transform our clients project economics. Our culture of innovation drives us to challenge industry practices and establish new ones. It is how we think and how we act. Our ideal client is somebody who needs our expertise in connecting a device to a structure. They are designers, consultants and architects who rely on our knowledge. They are buyers and facility planners who depend on us meeting their schedule. They are AV Systems engineers and installers who leverage our technical capability as part of their sales and installation process. Our clients are OEM manufacturers who look to us to develop a product that will enable their device to function in its intended environment, whether it is outdoors in hurricane alley, or indoors spanning 130ft of seamless digital displays. Our core focus is “connecting” technology to systems integration and our people are some of the best you will work with.
6. If you were going to start over, what would you do differently ?
Try out for the NBA coming out of college because I swear I could have made the Denver Nuggets team in 1990. I’d be watching my new NPP LED home theater rather than installing them today J. But really, I think I would put some earlier attention on educating myself on the technology side of the business because those who truly understand the full scope of any 1 AV system has the chance to add more value, whether that value is applied to clients or employees, I believe you have to constantly educate yourself, and finding the right mentor early enough can point you to the things you need to learn 1st.
7. Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
Clarity in running the business usually happens for me at about 3:30am so I will usually make notes about what I will get done during the day, send some emails, communicate with our global partners and projects and catch up on the news. I’m in the office by 7am where I make my rounds to interact with the people. Because of my background in manufacturing, I tend to have a keen eye for risk and opportunity so I enjoy getting time to work with engineering and manufacturing. I spend about 37% of my time meeting with managers or executives, 20% of time with customers and 15% of my time with prospects. I spend the remainder of my time with finance, legal, operations, sales, and marketing. Because we have been constructing our brand new headquarters, much of the last year has been spent on the property acquisition, facility planning, and management of contractors. Off to bed at 11pm….. I believe that the passion I have for my work far outweighs the sleepless nights and I do find time for family and some of my extracurricular activities in real estate and custom motorcycles.
8. How do you stay relevant in this industry.
I think my relevance is measured by the relevance of our people, our customers, our partners. I give 2 books to our people “The Ultimate Selling Machine” and “How To Win Friends and Influence People” – In a nutshell, understanding buying criteria, and getting what you want by helping others get what they want. It’s that easy.
People: I want our people to be relevant and stay relevant. To do that, they have to be able to win at 3 things…..innovation, relationships, and marketing. If our people can be successful at these 3 things, they grow their value, opportunity finds them, and that’s good for company, customer, employee, and their family. These 3 things apply to every person in every department, not just sales.
Innovation: In the words of my good friend Alan Brawn, “you have to do something your customer will remember”….In order to do that, you have to solve a problem, improve a condition, or lower total cost, that’s innovation. From the process of equipment maintenance, to the process of invoicing and delivery, everybody plays a role in innovation.
Relationships: If you are successful at #1, then #2 becomes somewhat easy, or easier, and in today’s market, relationships are hard to earn, and harder to keep. Let’s face it, there are a lot of expert relationship people out there and this becomes some of the hardest stuff we do as professionals.
Marketing: You have to tell your story. Too many times have I heard….”Oh I didn’t know you did that”. Let me repeat…. Tell your story, and there has never been more tools available than we have today to get the story out there. For the janitor, show your manager the amazing work you did. For the sales person, show your customer what you’ve done that solves their problem. Market your results no matter where you are in the organization.
Customers: Simply stated, apply 1, 2, and 3 above for your customers and they become more relevant (and valuable) to their clients. That builds synergy and in return, future opportunity is a result. They come back to you if you are helping them succeed.
Partners: I never underestimate how important a partner who you “don’t sell” things to can be. Help them succeed, connect them to your relationships, and have their best interest at heart, and expect NOTHING in return…..that pays dividends.
9. How does your product stay competitive in the market.
The question of the day – well it’s no secret that the entire industry fights commoditization and margin compression. The product life cycle suggests that, as product categories mature, they become more susceptible to the forces of commoditization and the speed from launch to maturity is faster than ever. We went from 20 competitors in 2003 to countless competitors and globalization today. In short, I look at the market as if all things are equal (in my case, bent metal is just bent metal right?) and I say, how will WE win? Our strategy embodies an intense focus on building value around our core product line and that alone drives the forces of innovation and opportunity. Vertical integration of engineering and manufacturing compliments our “single-source” model and brings economies of scale that can be passed on to our customer in form of cost savings. Being a single source supplier of both stock product, AND fully customized solutions allows customers to consolidate their supply chain and accelerate project performance. I’ve always embraced the saying “the only constant is change”, and if we constantly adapt to the changing forces of the industry, the changing technology, and the changing needs of our clients, we are able to leverage our core capabilities of solving problems and our core product line finds ways to add value beyond just price. And to keep pace with “change”, as of 2017, at the request of our partners and integrators, our engineering affiliate PDS (Premier Dedicated Solutions) now offers installation services for large scale LED and LCD Video Walls.
For more information about Rich Pierro , please connect with him on LinkedIn.