SCN: How long have you been with this company, and what are your responsibilities?
Norm Carson: I’ve been the CEO of Covid for 24 years. I spend the majority of my time working alongside my team in order to build a great company culture and ensure we’re hitting our goals. I also enjoy focusing my energy on connecting with customers, whether at trade shows or personal onsite visits, so I can hear about the projects they’re working on and what their needs are in order to ensure they’re successful and profitable.
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SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?
NC: I've been in the industry for 30 years and lucky enough to have worked on both the dealer/system integrator side and the manufacturing side. I believe that experience provided me with a very extensive view of the industry. I was able to glean an in-depth understanding of the challenges that our dealers face, and I love working with them to solve those problems.
SCN: I really don’t want to ask this, but about that name…?
NC: Obviously, our company name has brought a lot of attention and questions, mostly from those outside the industry. We’ve experienced everything from people asking us if we’re a test site to people looking for assistance or wanting to take pictures of our building. Of course, we’ve considered changing our name in the last two years, and even asked our dealers for their input. Despite the current situation, it has led to some positive rapport and new opportunities with new and existing customers, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. Based on their feedback, we’re sticking with our name. I’m still proud of what the name represents, the trust in our products and customer service, and the 40 years that we've been in business.
SCN: How is Covid, Inc. celebrating its 40th anniversary?
NC: We wouldn’t be anywhere without our customers, so our main focus is thanking everyone that has been part of our long history. We’re looking forward to continuing to serve them in the best way possible for the next 40 years (opens in new tab) and beyond.
SCN: You’re known for your custom wall plates. How easy is it to create a custom wall plate (or several dozen) for a project?
NC: Custom wall plates have been a large part of our success at Covid. We have a full machine shop, which is where we make just about any custom panel a customer might require, and we have thousands of stock plates. Using our intuitive cloud-based Panel Spec design software, customers can literally design a plate, get a quote, and place an order within minutes. They can choose from numerous sizes and hundreds of connectors in a variety of colors. In addition, designs can be saved and edited, stored with other designs in customer-defined projects, and shared with others. Plus, our engineering team is always available to assist customers with more complex designs or answer any questions.
SCN: Based on the inventory you move, what’s more popular for Pro AV: HDMI or DisplayPort?
NC: Hands down HDMI in every sector of our product offering, followed closely by USB.
SCN: What new initiatives are we likely to see from your company?
NC: One initiative that we are working on as a company in the coming year is employee training, not only on our products, but also on the industry. We want to deliver stronger resources to our customers, and to do that, our goal is to have all our sales support and technical teams obtain their CTS certification over the next year.
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SCN: Where do you see the Pro AV industry heading?
NC: We're seeing strong growth and activity at least through the rest of this year. In our sector, we see the demand for 4K products booming, which has been driving increased sales for both our HDBaseT extenders and switchers as well as our active optical cable line. We are also seeing a few inquiries about our 8K offering, but for many, that's still on the horizon. I think we will continue to see the convergence of AV and IT and the introduction of products in that space. Overall, I'm very excited about the coming year in the AV industry.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer?
NC: Our goal at Covid, Inc. is to help systems integrators conquer the challenges they face, while performing both routine and complex installations. This approach is taken from the products that we offer to the services that we provide. One of our most popular services is our ONE SKU program, which allows customers to create their own customized package of products that are identified by a unique part number of the customer’s choosing. Customers can then order using that unique part number and receive the items in a single package. This ensures a more efficient and cost-effective ordering and project management process.