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Spicek, NewTek’s President and GM on Company’s Growth Surge

NewTek president and general manager Barbara Spicek
(Image credit: NewTek)

With nearly three decades of experience in the tech industry, Barbara Spicek is no stranger to shifting market trends or the various channels of bringing a product to consumers. So, when the video production innovators at NewTek needed help navigating the challenges of a global pandemic, she was uniquely suited to step in. In fact, since Spicek’s appointment as NewTek (opens in new tab)’s president and general manager in 2020, the company has seen an unprecedented growth of nearly 40 percent globally (opens in new tab) and shows no signs of slowing down in 2022.

Meeting a Rising Demand

The past two years have highlighted—and even increased—the ubiquity of AV solutions in our daily lives, according to Spicek. “The need for professional broadcast and video production is everywhere,” she said. “We have the classical markets like education fueled by the pandemic, with remote learning and remote teaching—so they grew tremendously as a customer base, as did houses of worship. All of a sudden we had to create remotely, so there was a big increase.”

From small-scale podcasters looking to polish their production quality, to corporations in search of enterprise-wide collaboration solutions—NewTek has been able to accommodate and provide for the diverse technology needs of professionals throughout the pandemic. “The great thing with NewTek is we’re not a broadcast company,” Spicek said. “We have products that go from the entry level—sub-10K level—to higher for whatever the business needs. We really cater to this broader mid-market and all segments these days.”

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And despite the ongoing supply chain challenges that have plagued every industry for two the past two years, NewTek’s San Antonio-based R&D team has, more often than not, been able to act quickly in order to keep price points and products accessible for their customers. “We operate fast,” Spicek explained. “If we get a warning on a graphics card or a motherboard or whatever—the team acts immediately, sits together, and looks at alternative sources, saying, ‘What can be done, engineering-wise?’ We've really mastered the waves pretty well the last two years.”

Agile in the New World

In addition to their broad appeal across market verticals and AV technology budgets, Spicek attributes much of NewTek’s recent success to their ability to remain flexible and creative in the face of adversity. “I think one of the keys to the success we’ve had over the last two years is because we were super agile in adopting to this new world,” she said.

For example, at least one of the operational changes—initially viewed as disruptive to business as usual—brought on by the pandemic has become an indispensable part of the way NewTek interacts with potential customers. “In the beginning, I think it got on everybody's nerves staring into their screen all the time; but once you get used to it, it proved very effective,” Spicek explained. “We had our entire engineering team move to remote demos and really professional setups so that they could remotely demonstrate to the customer.”

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This adjustment to virtual interaction appears to have paid off—both for NewTek and its employees. Spicek continued, “Our engineers gave me feedback and said, ‘I would fly to New York and be able to do two TriCaster demos. Now I'm sitting in my home office professionally and I can do 10 or 15 a day.’ I think companies have realized that it can actually work very effectively.”

NewTek TC1-Pro

NewTek's TriCaster TC1 is the iconic product that has help define the industry. (Image credit: NewTek)

Growing Global Partnerships

An area of tremendous growth that Spicek has overseen during her tenure at NewTek has been international engagement with their array of AV solutions. One thing that initially attracted her to the role, she emphasized, was an opportunity to flex “that knowledge of global market—the channel partners thing and so on, and my tremendous background on channel programs,” she said. “So the moment I came on, I actually launched a complete new global channel program for NewTek.”

Spicek’s insider knowledge of the global market has paid in dividends for the company over the past several years. “Out of the 39 percent growth—a huge part was international,” she said. “That business has actually grown even faster than the US one. We also launched global support for the first time at the beginning of last year. We now have support infrastructure in Europe and APAC 24 hours, around the clock and all of these good things. And then we’ve obviously been adding partners across the globe, so it's been exciting.”

A Passionate In-House Team

But while the past several years have been marked by growth and visibility of NewTek solutions on the world stage, the true secret to the company’s success, according to Spicek, ultimately lies in its own people. “The strengths of NewTek, I would definitely say—one is product, and an extremely innovative team that just keeps on bringing out world-class, leading switches,” she said. “NewTek is an incredible company. Everybody is passionate and committed, and I was amazed when I joined to see that they've been really able to maintain that vibe.” 

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This longstanding vision of providing people with tools they need to express themselves—without compromising on quality—serves as a guiding principle for employees at every level. “I can tell you, the one thing I've been impressed with at NewTek is the power of innovation and the dedication of the R&D departments, because they really live and breathe live production. The story of NewTek was always give storytellers a voice, no matter where they are,” she concluded. “That passion across all the departments is really still there.”

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology. Davis enjoys exploring the ethos of experiential spaces as well as diving deep into the complex topics that shape the AV/IT industry. In 2012, the TechDecisions brand of content sites she developed for EH Publishing was named one of “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 20 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. From 2000 to 2008, Davis was the publisher and editor-in-chief of Electronic House. From 2009 to present, as the principal of CustomMedia.Co, Davis developed content plans and delivered content for associations such as IEEE Standards Association and AVIXA, content marketing for Future Plc, and numerous AV/IT companies. Davis was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners, and sampling local IPAs.