“I swore I was never going to join the business or become part of the AV world,” said Angela Nolan, CTS, COO, Vistacom. That was 33 years ago.
Vistacom was founded in 1954 as the Daveland Company by Nolan’s father, Jack Ferlino. In 1985, Nolan’s father and brother, Jim Ferlino—who is now Vistacom’s president—needed some help running the office and convinced Nolan to come aboard. “We were very small back then, about 10 to 12 people. I worked with my brother and my father to grow the business, and I haven’t looked back,” she said.
Today Vistacom has more than 75 employees. Over the years Nolan has worn many hats: “As we grew, roles shifted and changed,” she said. “I started in accounting and took on some marketing.”
As the company continued to expand, so did Nolan’s responsibilities and technical acumen. “I realized that I needed to more fully understand the technical part of what we do, so I got my CTS certification and took a lot of other industry training classes to make sure I fully understood the technology behind what we do as a company.”
Nolan took on the role of building out and managing operations at Vistacom. “We do full design, engineering, integration programming, service and maintenance, and have a control room division,” she said. All those departments, from sales through operations, are under her umbrella. And she still manages the accounting team as well. “Somewhere along the line, I learned to love it.”
Nolan sees several changes taking place at Vistacom that will help the company provide more value to its clients. “We have specific initiatives and divisions that we’re growing to move toward the future where we see the industry and our company going,” she said. The control room division has been established and was the first pillar added for the company.
Nolan’s relationships extend outside of the Vistacom family and into the AV world—she currently serves on PSNI’s board of directors (opens in new tab) as the organization’s secretary/treasurer.
Nolan sees working in a family-run company as a blessing. “I could balance bringing up my kids in a way that I had a lot of accommodations. I would bring my kids in here as little ones after school, and they’d sit in my office and color. They grew up here with the company to the point where our employees who have been here 30-plus years, my kids grew up with them as part of their family,” she said. Nolan’s daughter is now Vistacom’s marketing manager.
That strong family culture included Vistacom’s employees. “It was important to me to develop a culture where employees know we are invested in them and their growth and their careers here, and that we consider them an extension of our family,” she said. Nolan credits this philosophy for the company’s very low turnover rate. “You spend more time [at work] than anywhere else, and we want this to be a place where they can grow personally and professionally.”
As for Nolan’s father? The 97 year old still comes into the office. “I am hugely blessed,” she said of her relationship with her father, crediting him with being “an exceptional role model of how to run a business with integrity, honesty, hard work, and also making sure that you treat people fairly the way you would want to be treated. He instilled that in all of us, and we’ve tried to carry that forward in a way that we feel he would want us to.”
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