Name: Sam Taylor
Position: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Company: Almo Professional A/V
Overtime: Taylor is an avid swimmer. In his spare time, he is a volunteer assistant coach for the Johns Hopkins Men’s and Women’s swim teams.
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
SAM TAYLOR: I’m the EVP and COO for Almo Professional A/V. I am extremely proud to lead an incredible distribution team comprised of the some of the best sales, marketing, and technical experts in the industry. We take pride in providing customers with the full distribution experience on a local and a personal level. Our company is a division of Philly-based Almo Corporation, a 72-year-old, family-owned distributor of consumer electronics and appliances.
SCN: How long have you been at this position?
ST: Nine years—since Almo Professional A/V formed in June of 2009. Almo Professional A/V may be the youngest distribution company in the industry, but we’ve quickly grown to become one of the largest with global reach.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?
ST: Before Almo, I was president of Electrograph Systems. We grew from a small distributorship of 13 employees with an annual revenue of about one million dollars to a company with 250 employees and 500 million dollars in annual revenue, making us the largest ProAV distributor at that time. When Almo Pro A/V formed in 2009, we started at zero and, less than a decade later, we are experiencing revenue near 500 million dollars. We know what it takes to grow and we are just getting started!
SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
ST: Well someday, I’d like to visit Antarctica…but that’s a different Q&A! Short-term, our business goal is to exceed that 500 million in revenue this year, which we are on track to achieve. Our long-term goal is to continue blazing the trail by always delivering new opportunities for our partners to advance, learn, and become more successful and profitable.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
ST: We are always looking for ways to make our resellers and integrators more successful—because when they achieve success, we achieve success! Margins for hardware continue to drop at the distribution and reseller level, which has been happening for some time now. That’s why we focus on providing entire solution systems at Almo. We are always looking for ways to empower our partners.
SCN: Where do you see the AV distribution market heading?
ST: Currently, the AV distribution market is healthy and thriving. I see distributors playing an increasingly important role in the industry—in doing so they must provide more than just AV products. Almo Pro A/V offers technical expertise, global reach, ongoing training and education, design support, managed services, and much more, all of which strengthen our partner relationships and help bring more business to the channel.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Almo?
ST: We just announced Almo’s acquisition of Insteo, a well-respected content creation company. Through this acquisition, we can accelerate what can be offered in terms of expanded content platforms for digital signage installs, including proprietary cloud signage and custom content. We now have a team of in-house experts on staff to offer expertise and expedited service throughout the U.S. and into Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean—with plans underway for further geographic expansion.
We also just launched our new “No Hassles/No Questions” return policies, which give us some of the best return policies available today. This makes it easier for our resellers and gives them almost instant credit when things go wrong. My good friend Alan Brawn always says, “How you respond is what separates the great companies from the rest of the pack.”
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer?
ST: Almo Corporation has been in business for more than seven decades. We have and always will guarantee 100-percent customer satisfaction. The relationships we build and the positive outcomes are what are ultimately most important to us.
At the same time, Almo is one of the first distributors in the industry to create a path for resellers to expand their reach through managed services, which we’ve just greatly expanded through our acquisition of Insteo for content creation. We also offer installation, bandwidth and surveillance, and control systems services. All of these are designed to give our partners the ability to grow their businesses while enjoying the resulting recurring revenue streams.
Many integrators are already using our services to improve their bottom line. Others just need to reach out to us to see how we can help them grow and deliver a better end user experience for their customers.