By Chuck Ansbacher On July 03, 2012
NAME: Steve Cohan
COMPANY: Liberty AV Solutions
TITLE: Vice President of Business
OVERTIME: Former CEO of Intelix,
Cohan started making the transition to
wearing his current title last year when
Intelix merged with Liberty. Today, he is
a driving force behind continuing efforts
clearly demonstrating that Liberty is not
just about wire and cable anymore.
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your
STEVE COHAN: I played a founding role at Intelix. As of June 1 last
year, Intelix became a division of Liberty AV Solutions. I’m now Liberty’s
vice president of business development. First and foremost among
my new responsibilities is to support a variety of marketing efforts
regarding Intelix. These would include training, product development,
and interaction with designers, installers, and industry groups like
InfoComm and CEDIA. Beyond that I’ll be involved with special projects
that are part of the One WESCO initiative. Liberty AV Solutions is a
subsidiary of Communications Supply Corporation, which is owned by
WESCO International, a publicly-traded Fortune 500 holding company
headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. WESCO is involved in a number of
ventures involving AV, lighting, high and low voltage electrical systems,
security, and data communications. The One WESCO initiative actively
supports the entire portfolio of WESCO products and services to all of
its customer groups.
SCN: How long have you been at this position?
SC: I officially took upon this role as of June 1 this year, but I started
transitioning toward the job when the company was merged with Liberty
last year. I’m still based in Middleton, WI at Intelix headquarters.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for this role?
SC: As an entrepreneur, I’ve dealt with managing the daily activities of
a business at all levels. Now I’m bringing all the wide-ranging discipline
and experience I’ve gained in the past to bear upon very specific tasks.
Things I had to do before as an owner are being taken over by other
people: The accounting functions, operational issues, etc. We have a
top-notch support staff that is very good at what they do, and that
allows me to focus all my energy on building for the future. Things
are going more smoothly here than ever before. I have more time to
interact with individuals within our industry. That’s the part I really
love—getting out in the field and talking with designers, working with
projects, helping people that need something that doesn’t exist in the
market and finding a way to build it for them… I did all this before,
but now I have more time to really roll up my sleeves and dialog with
customers and industry people at an even deeper level. Everything in
my background has prepared me for this moment.
SCN: What are your short and long-term goals?
SC: My short-term goal is to continue to grow the Intelix
brand in the world market. Secondly, I want to further
integrate with related markets such as security, IT , and
other crossover markets. The evolution within our industry
is happening so rapidly that when we focus our attention
on six months to three years
out, that’s fairly long-term.
Yes, we are cognizant of five
and 10-year plans, however,
we’re at a crucial moment
industry-wide where the
rubber really has to meet the
road in terms of clearing up
some questions concerning
things that are currently
incompatible or challenging
to make compatible.
SCN: What is the greatest
challenge that you face?
SC: Trying to make sense
of the multiple standards
that occur within our space.
What I mean by that is all
the industry standards
out there, most of which
currently fall among three
groups: Those supported by
organizations like InfoComm
and CEDIA, those our
customers have come to feel
are the best to use, and those
that have been adopted by
overlapping industries such
as those found in the data
communications world. Given
the realities of this current
situation, there are three
different perspectives on how to solve problems. Our biggest challenge
is to make sense of it all for the AV consumer and insure that they aren’t
bewildered by all the options available to them.
SCN: Where do you see your market heading?
SC: Like everyone else within the AV industry, our market is in a headlong
rush to converge with the crossover markets I mentioned. Distinctions
between these markets is becoming increasingly blurred.
Savvy manufacturers going forward are going to be the ones
who can adapt and help their customers make the transition
successfully as well.
Chuck Ansbacher is the managing editor of SCN.