- Paul Fussner’s father, Bill, started SoundCom in the late 1960s, targeting the healthcare market in Cleveland— a Mecca for clinics and hospitals. But in the last seven years, Paul has doubled the size of the company by expanding the services offered and exploring other vertical markets.
- Now a second-generation business, SoundCom had its roots in healthcare, as Fussner explained. “My father started a company in the late 1960s doing integration work. We didn’t incorporate until 1974, which is when we became Sound- Com. We started targeting primarily the healthcare
SoundCom integrated the executive conference room at Cleveland’s University Hospitals. market, mostly nurse call, and Cleveland being a big healthcare area, with the Cleveland clinic and several other hospitals, we grew steadily.”
While the healthcare market was strong in the area, Fussner saw the need for expansion into other markets to keep their reputation growing. “We then expanded by doing intercoms at schools and doing more professional sound systems at stadiums and similar facilities,” he said. “In the last 10 or 15 years we’ve gotten into a lot more video integration and control systems as well. So the first 20 years were roughly nurse calls and intercom systems, and then we grew from there.”
While the company has grown steadily, Fussner noted that the last few years have been especially fruitful. “In the last seven years we’ve double the size of the company. We’ve maintained superior relationships with key vendor partners that are progressive, and we understand the changing needs of our clients. We’ve improved the quality and our attention to service. We’ve invested a lot of money in training and we’ve retained quality employees for years. Learning to respond to market conditions as a company while developing a management team that helps us support our growth objectives has been important as well.”
While expanding the company’s methods has been important, doing more work outside of the immediate area has been important as well. Fussner noted, “We’ve tried to position the company for growth. We’re doing more corporate work, and we’re doing more work outside of our area. We’re in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati currently.”When working with different vertical markets, SoundCom has been designed to handle any type of job with the proper personnel. Fussner explained, “We have resources dedicated to each market the company. We’ve got sales resources targeting our healthcare market. Those efforts are supported by engineering resources that work specifically in healthcare. We also have project management and technician teams aligned by vertical market. We’re very vertically staffed, from top to bottom to provide a consistent level of support.”
To keep its staff on top of the changes in each market, SoundCom has increased spending on training for its team. Fussner said, “We’ve increased our spending on training quite a bit. We have in-house and manufacturer training that we send our employees on to keep their knowledge of technology current. We also do a lot of customer service training and internal systems training.”
SoundCom has also increased its training efforts for its end users, as Fussner noted. “We’ve got several dedicated trainers for end users. We’ve targeted former educators to fill those roles, and we try to select people with those backgrounds. Instead of sending a technician or project manager out, we send out a trainer that specifically works to help them understand better. They bring handouts and user materials, and have a focused training program. They’ll do the teacher or nurse training, but they can also do training with the IT guys as well because they have technical backgrounds.”