Name: Rashid Skaf
Position: President, CEO, and Co-Chairman
Overtime: In addition to helping cultivate Biamp’s philanthropy and community volunteer programs, Skaf is an avid reader and enjoys spending time on his ranch.
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
RASHID SKAF: I’m the president, CEO, and co-chairman of Biamp. At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to define a vision for the company, then free up the amazing group of professionals we have at Biamp to do what they do best: leverage technology to create solutions that enable our customers to communicate more freely and effectively.
SCN: How long have you been in this position?
RS: I was with the Dallas-based private equity firm Highlander Partners for 16 months looking for the right opportunity and found it in Biamp. We purchased the company from its previous owners about two and a half years ago, and I joined Biamp immediately thereafter.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?
RS: I’m passionate about building great businesses, and have a particular fondness for ones that are technology-driven. My career reflects that interest. I’ve had the privilege of pursuing it at some excellent companies including large, established ones like Ericsson, Nortel, and AMX, as well as a couple of startups that we successfully excited.
In each position, I gained invaluable experience dealing with the many challenges you confront in fast-moving technology markets, including corporate strategy development, product innovation, acquiring and integrating companies, operational excellence, building and managing global sales and distribution systems, and even crisis management. By the time I took over at Biamp, I was confident that I, and the team I’d assembled, could guide it to achieve the aggressive growth and performance targets we set for ourselves.
SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
RS: I’d say that for most of us—not just in the AV industry, but in all industries in all countries—the short-term goal is to make it through this tumultuous period of uncertainty and disruption brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hard to judge what lingering impact it will have on the way we live and work, but it’s safe to say that its effects will certainly persist well beyond the period of most serious infection.
Long-term, we’ll pursue the objective we set for ourselves when I first began leading Biamp, which is to become a premier global supplier of open, but complete, communications solutions for all spaces within an organization.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face?
RS: In good times and bad, the greatest challenge in building a great company is finding the right people and getting them in the right jobs. This matching task is critical. I’m fond of saying that there is no such thing as a bad employee, only an employee in the wrong job. Most people put in the right job with adequate support will flourish, but even fantastic people put in the wrong job can flounder. Once you’ve got the right team in place, then providing a clear, consistently reinforced statement of direction—the company vision, if you will—and removing roadblocks to reaching it will let your team achieve some amazing results.
SCN: Where do you see the pro AV market heading?
RS: Pro AV is becoming ubiquitous. What was once a specialty capability is now being deployed in any and every space. It is an exciting time for our industry. The benefits of well-designed AV systems in all environments—measured by the improvements in the quality of participants’ experiences as well as the effectiveness of communications within those spaces—is well understood by buyers now. As they seek to gain these benefits throughout their organization, it’s essential that the industry can provide it consistently and cost-effectively. That means we, as manufacturers, need to build products that are easier to install and commission and include features for auto-setup and configuration that contribute to more consistent and repeatable behavior. This will also help integrators deploy large numbers of systems efficiently, letting them hit aggressive cost targets while still making a good profit.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Biamp?
RS: Of course! Biamp is constantly innovating. We pride ourselves on regularly releasing new products that delight our customers and enhance their ability to communicate.
Since acquiring Biamp, we’ve aggressively pursued a strategy to expand our offerings to provide complete system solutions in all the spaces we target, with a goal to make designing, installing, commissioning, and maintaining systems in those spaces as simple as possible. At the same time, we commit to maintain an open, easily integrated architecture for which Biamp has been known for decades that lets integrators build unique systems that include a variety of components. We want to give you a Biamp option, but not a Biamp mandate.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you offer?
RS: It’s easy, just become a Biamp integrator. We offer a comprehensive set of training and certification courses that teach you how to use Biamp products in virtually any situation and to solve any problem, and that help keep your skills at their peak over time—all free of charge.v
Once on board, you’ll find we support you before, during, and after the sale with consistently high-quality products delivered fast and reliably and backed by a technical support organization that is regularly recognized as among the best in the industry. Customers tell me Biamp is the company that won’t let them fail. When you work with Biamp, you’re working with a partner that’s as passionate and committed to delivering great outcomes for your customer as you are.