SCN: How long have you been with this company, and what are your responsibilities?
Joe Oliveri: I joined Corbett Technology Solutions, Inc. (CTSI) in May 2021 following more than two decades at Johnson Controls and Tyco International. CTSI was looking for someone experienced in the audiovisual, security, and fire and systems integration business, with a history of reorganizing, streamlining, and strengthening corporate, operational, and business processes while delivering a best-in-class customer experience. As president and CEO of Pavion, I’m responsible for our company’s growth strategy across our Integration, Security, and Fire business units through the execution of four major business priorities: integration, synergy, mergers and acquisitions, and cross-sales.
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SCN: Why did the very successful CTSI relaunch itself as Pavion back in October?
JO: The shift from CTSI to Pavion is the result of significant and unprecedented growth. Since 2020, CTSI has grown by more than 400% and acquired 10 companies. We were looking ahead and felt it was time to introduce a new brand and vision that more accurately represents the direction we’re heading and the business we’ve become. Uniting as Pavion at this moment allows us to do just that.
Pavion is a combination of two words: pavise, a full-body shield used by warriors in the 14-16th centuries to protect themselves while moving forward in battle, and ion, an electrically charged atom that drives forward momentum. Together, the two words represent protection and connection in motion, which is exactly what our company stands for. We are a shield for the people we serve, protecting life and connecting customers to better outcomes, opportunities, and growth. We connect students to teachers, patients to doctors, employees to customers for collaboration and communication, and technology for improved performance and growth.
SCN: What’s the secret to your successful growth?
JO: My team knows this about me: I love the phrase, “Be fast and good, not slow and perfect.”
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Our private equity firm, Wind Point Partners, originally had the goal of three or four smaller acquisitions per year. That was never my goal. Mine was to grow at a much faster pace. I’d say we’re off to a great start with much more to come!
Some of our growth was due to timing and opportunity. The right companies became available to us at the right time. That’s not to say our growth has been haphazard or unintentional. There were specific business verticals we wanted to build up: fire, security, and critical communications. Every company we approach has to pass that initial “smell test” of whether their technology, services, and solutions mesh with the company we’re trying to build.
Having a great team in place is another secret to our success. The people aspect of our business can’t be understated, either. We aren’t just acquiring a company; we’re acquiring a culture. It’s one of the reasons we want the original owners or senior management to remain in place—and why we’ve managed to keep 98% of employees with the company as we’ve grown.
Finally, I live by the credo that customers are hard to get and easy to lose. We take good care of the customers we have and grow with them as they expand into new service areas or geographic locations. As Pavion, our customers now have a single point of contact and seamless start-to-finish experience—one hand to shake, so to speak.
SCN: What is your strategic vision for Pavion?
JO: The core of our business remains the same: fire protection, video surveillance, access control, emergency response coordination, audiovisual systems, physical and cyber security, IT integration, and more. Connect and protect human life, business assets, and physical space; that end-to-end technology is what our customers both demand and have come to expect.
Of course, we are still very much in acquisition mode and expect to close additional deals by the end of the year. We continue to invest in strategic acquisitions that provide greater depth of technical capabilities to support and enhance new and existing global and enterprise accounts. We have the East Coast covered and we have a solid global presence. Now we are moving toward growing in specific geographies throughout the Midwest and West Coast.
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We want to build the biggest and best integration company out there, while also giving our employees the right experience, taking care of our customers, having the right culture, and making sure we have fun.
SCN: What new initiatives are we likely to see from your company?
JO: We remain laser-focused on driving increased recurring monthly and contracted services revenue. We’ll deliver on that by continuing to invest in providing radical service, training our team, and optimizing our tools.
We’re in the process of tiering our suite of maintenance and management services as well. You’ll see us rolling out new a la carte services, such as managed cybersecurity services and virtual, proactive systems support. We’re also excited to introduce cloud-based enhanced video monitoring and video verification services, access control management, and enhanced conferencing, collaboration, and IoT monitoring and management capabilities for audiovisual systems solutions. Finally, we plan to enhance our customer portal to provide additional self-service benefits, as well as make and track support requests and work orders.
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SCN: What are some of the major challenges Pavion expects to face in the next 12-24 months?
JO: Once we get past COVID-19 and the associated and ongoing supply chain challenges, the number one challenge anyone in our industry faces is the aging technical workforce. We want to be an employer of choice, and that means doubling down on our efforts to recruit from technical and trade schools, the military, and other industries. We want to invest in reskilling and upskilling our existing employees and opening them up to new opportunities. And, of course, we must continue to invest in a meaningful way in our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, as well as environmental and social governance policies and procedures.
SCN: Where do you see the Pro AV industry heading?
JO: It’s a really exciting time to be in the industry. The rapid pace of innovation—in artificial intelligence, machine learning, hybrid solutions, and virtual and augmented reality technology, to name a few—gives us more opportunities than ever to help our customers solve critical problems.