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Roadshow Manhattan Wraps with Record Attendance

Roadshow Manhattan Wraps with Record Attendance

Andre LeJeune, CTS, InfoComm University Staff Instructor, and long-time rental & staging industry show producer/stager, presented on “Front Work for Live Events”.

Almo was one of the Roadshow exhibitors, demo’ing some of their extensive product line.

At Wednesday’s Roadshow stop in Manhattan this week, over 300 industry professionals were on hand to network, see new gear demos, and attend business and technical seminars. It was the third year we’ve held the Roadshow in Manhattan, and we topped previous attendance—as the event at the Metropolitan Pavilion drew a diverse crowd of staging pros, AV rental companies, and this year for the first time—installed AV pros. WorldStage (formerly known as Scharff Weisberg) was co-host of the Manhattan Rental & Staging Roadshow. InfoComm International is the official co-sponsor with NewBay Media of the Roadshow events.

Tom Stimson’s Keynote on “Ethics, Trust, and Your Value Proposition” kicked off the day, and Stimson explained how the erosion of trust has lead to a confrontational bidding process for AV Services. In order for companies to change the customer's perception of value, Stimson explained, sellers must abandon thirty years of traditional AV sales practices and embrace a truly consultative approach that begins with building trust that is free of obligations.

Andre LeJeune, CTS, InfoComm University Staff Instructor, and long-time rental & staging industry show producer/stager, presented on “Front Work for Live Events”. LeJeune explored how time spent on pre-show planning can save stagers pain on showsite. The more information stagers have regarding the client's requirements, the infrastructure of the venue, and how both relate to your technical operations, the less time will be spent dealing with unknowns.

The Roadshow also of course featured hands-on product demos from exhibitors, Almo Professional AV, Analog Way, AV Stumpfl US, Broadfield/Green Valley, Christie, Conference Rental, Da-Lite, Digital Projection, Drape Kings, Flex Rental Solutions, InfoComm, IntelliEvent, Interspace, Kramer, Nationwide Wholesale Video, Panasonic Solutions Company, Premier Mounts, Sonic Foundry, Sony, Take 1 Insurance, and Video Equipment Rental (VER).

Platinum Sponsor of the New York Roadshow was Immediate Connections—the staging industry staffing resource company. Drape Kings was the drape supplier.

Five exclusive Manufacturer Training sessions took place, with Flex Rental, IntelliEvent, Premier Mounts, Sony, and Panasonic.

And, new this year, the Roadshow featured an afternoon Integrator – Consultant Panel, moderated by Duffy Wilbert, senior vice president of Member Services, InfoComm International. Duffy led the panels in a discussion about smart buildings, youth in the AV industry, digital signage, and sustainable AV. The panelists were Val Loh, associate partner/operation manager, Syska Hennessy Group, Inc.; Glenn Polly, president/founder, VideoSonic; and Felix Robinson, vice president, Strategic Accounts, AVI-SPL. More on the lively discussion that ensued, including some surprising findings,in next week’s news.

Another important industry milestone occurred at the July 25th Roadshow. Patty McGoldrick, owner and CEO of Immediate Connections, was introduced by Tom Stimson, to explain the purpose of the new Independent Technical Service Providers (ITSP) Council to Roadshow attendees. The ITSP Council had its coming out party at InfoComm 2012 in Las Vegas. The group has been more than four years in the making and represents companies in the business of selling only AV services to dealers, distributors, vendors, consultants and others.

“We’re not dealers and we’re not VARs,” explained Mark DelGuidice, CTS, the council’s chair and owner of Wire Wizards Integration. “I get 20 calls a week from manufacturers, but we don’t want to be resellers. We train our people; we carry insurance. We’re sub-contractors providing services to larger AV companies.”

DelGuidice described attending meetings of the Systems Integration Leadership Council (SILC) during prior InfoComm Shows and feeling like he didn’t belong. Wire Wizards has been in business since 1994, hiring out AV technicians to work on everything from boardrooms to studios. At one time, the company was listed in the InfoComm directory in the dealer category, right below AV integration firm Spinitar, because there wasn’t another category that described Wire Wizards better. DelGuidice’s firm had actually done work for Spinitar and it was Spinitar principal and former InfoComm President Jay Rogina who first took an interest in Wire Wizard’s business model and invited DelGuidice to join SILC.

“Eventually, I noticed I wasn’t being contacted by any InfoComm dealers because, typically, dealers don’t outsource to other dealers for labor,” DelGuidice explains.

Having witnessed the emergence of the InfoComm Independent Programmers Council, Delguidice and others began a quest to achieve the same recognition for service providers.

“We finally have a home,” said Patty McGoldrick, owner and CEO of Immediate Connections, which has been staffing live events since 1986. Along with DelGuidice, McGoldrick and Scott Welsh, CTS-D, of AV In-Source, are considered the ITSP Council’s co-founders. Members of the ITSP Council are in the business of selling technical support, service and expertise to contractors, system integrators, and other companies responsible for integrating audiovisual, network, voice-data, security systems and related low-voltage technologies. They’re distinguished by their business model, which is typically limited to the supply of technical services, intellectual expertise and skilled labor resources and does not include revenue generated from equipment sales. ITSP members are required to maintain liability, workmen’s compensation and insurance policies commensurate with the services they provide.

Some of the services an InfoComm ITSP council member might provide include installation labor and field supervision; engineering services and project management; network testing and calibration services; system commissioning; sound system engineering; and live event staffing and event management.

“We’re at the forefront of a change in the industry,” DelGuidice says. “Outsourcing is a huge factor in many industries as companies confront the expense of full-time employees. We continue to find a wide variety of clients and applications for our services, and we’re finding that it’s growing in ways we didn’t even expect, especially as IT, which has some different business models, integrates with our industry. We’re finding all sorts of niches where are our services are needed and appreciated.”

As the ITSP Council formulates its agenda going forward, DelGuidice and McGoldrick say they’ve looking at InfoComm initiatives that their members might contribute to. Both encourage AV training and certification for their technicians, so expect to see ITSP involved with both through InfoComm. DelGuidice says ITSP will work with SILC’s Labor Unit Guidelines Subcommittee to create a best practices guide for describing the work involved in discrete AV tasks, including how long each task should take to complete. “We think that could be a very valuable tool for a lot of people in the industry,” DelGuidice says. “Especially for salespeople and project managers who may never have gone into the field and terminated a cable. These guidelines could help estate labor on a project.��

For information on ITSP: Mark DelGuidice, CTS, Wire Wizards Integration, 619 992 0549; Patricia L. McGoldrick, Immediate Connections, Inc., 888 783-1599 x1302 (USA).

David Keene is a publishing executive and editorial leader with extensive business development and content marketing experience for top industry players on all sides of the media divide: publishers, brands, and service providers. Keene is the former content director of Digital Signage Magazine.