Name: Michael Bridwell
Position: Vice President, Commercial Sales
Overtime: The moment I’m able, I try to get outside. Between building up mileage for my second marathon this year and hiking whenever and wherever possible when on the road, outside is almost always my down-time focus.
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
MICHAEL BRIDWELL: My title is vice president, commercial sales. My top-level responsibilities include setting the structure, strategy, tone, and measurables for the Sonance commercial channel. Day-to-day, I guide our team to success through precise direction, clearly-stated expectations, and open exchange. I also spend a fair amount of time developing ways to introduce those who don’t yet know Sonance to our culture and people. Sonance changes lives, and I want as many people as possible to experience that firsthand.
SCN: How long have you been in this position?
MB: I’ve been at Sonance for nearly two and a half years, and I’m looking forward to many more.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?
MB: My father was an entrepreneur who owned his own business, and I saw at a young age the respect he extended to the people around him. Seeing how he treated others had a profound effect on who I am today. Later in my life, I started my own marketing and business consulting company, and had to navigate both the best and worst of times. Very humbling, to say the least, and a very important part of my professional education.
I discovered the AV industry by accident, as Digital Projection happened to be located nearby and had posted a job description that I found intriguing. I immediately took to the team and the opportunity, and they took a chance on me, as I had no significant hardware or AV experience. We were the underdog against much larger competitors, and waking up each day knowing I had to work harder than my peers was a great fit for my somewhat hyperactive energy. It was a real “us against the world” mentality, and together we achieved some inspiring milestones. The mentorship, freedom, and trust I received there was absolutely critical to who I am today, and I will forever be thankful for that.
In general, I like to take care of others. In both personal and professional roles, I am at my best when I’m helping others. That helps keep me grounded and focused.
SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
MB: My short-term goals are focused on my people: Every day we carry the water, and by that I mean we work the plan every day. I want my people to have a sustainable, high-quality, fulfilling life. Our team will both embrace and model the Sonance humble/hungry/emotionally-intelligent ethos, and serve as role models for others. Our team members will have opportunities for professional advancement.
The penultimate long-term goal is to create a sustainable, repeatable channel of business that will dramatically diversify Sonance as a company. Everything we do should point toward that goal, or at least make sense when looking through that single lens.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face?
MB: It’s my job to worry, to remove my team’s hurdles by taking the hardest situations on my own back. As long as I’m taking care of myself physically and mentally, I’m able to attack those challenges each day. So, prioritizing my own needs within the wall of external requirements is my own personal challenge.
SCN: Where do you see the pro audio market heading?
MB: What’s more immersive than sound? Our industry’s overdue prioritization of delivering experiences aligns incredibly well with the benefits of a well-designed audio application. Sound experiences that can be curated around the individual, even when in a populated environment, seem inevitable, whether it be consciously prohibiting sound in some instances, or immersing and changing a sound experience in real time for others.
There are presently so many spaces we visit daily where the audio is either a barely-present afterthought or, much worse, a detractor from the space itself. There is a huge opportunity to revisit these spaces and redesign them with the user experience in mind. That opportunity alone is compelling enough.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Sonance?
MB: Product-wise, Sonance lives by the premise that hardware should blend into the space where it’s installed, letting the design of the space take center stage instead of detracting from it. You’ll see us innovate around that idea for many years to come. Additionally, we tend to lean in and get excited when we can make major improvements to existing options. As early as ISE 2020 in Amsterdam, watch for Sonance to radically redefine and set a new performance standard for some specific long-established audio solutions.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you offer?
MB: First of all, if you aren’t an authorized Sonance commercial dealer and want to learn more, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The integrator channel is our preferred path to market, and we focus on integrators with our shipping, sales, and support programs. On that note, our design services group and application support are hugely beneficial to consultants, end users, and integrators alike, so make sure you’re taking advantage of those.
We have a vast and experienced manufacturer’s rep network, proactive technical support, and so much more that allows an integrator to win business, design a compelling space, and retain revenue throughout the lifetime of the job. I don’t know of another company that is more customer-focused than Sonance today.