5-Minute Interview: Sam Taylor

President, Electrograph Systems 5/29/2006 8:06 AM Eastern

5-Minute Interview: Sam Taylor

President, Electrograph Systems

Sam Taylor is President of Electrograph Systems. In February, the Hauppauge, NY-based display technology solutions distributor acquired Poulsbo, WA-based display technology distributors ActiveLight and CineLight as part of an expansion plan to service more market segments.

Pro AV:What factors contributed to the decision to acquire ActiveLight and CineLight?

Taylor: What was most attractive to us was that there was less than 10 percent overlap of our top customers with ActiveLight's and CineLight's customers. We'd each developed a fairly unique set of customers, which made this a very synergistic acquisition. It's also good to have operations on both the East and West Coasts. Electrograph had sales on the West Coast, but never had credit, finance, IT, etc., so it enables us to offer a higher level of support to our customers.

Pro AV:What new opportunities will this acquisition present for Electrograph?

Taylor: One of the main ones is digital signage. While we had participated in it in some pro AV spaces, digital signage had been a very big focus for ActiveLight. It definitely puts us in a stronger position in the digital signage world, and brings another strong vertical market offering into our company. CineLight had reached into some CEDIA customers that we weren't reaching, and in analyzing its customers, we also found that ActiveLight had some very good pro AV customers that we hadn't reached.

Pro AV:Electrograph's sales and service staff is InfoComm certified. Do you plan to extend that certification to these new employees?

Taylor: Yes, we feel that when our salespeople are engaged with our resellers, they need to be able to speak the same language and offer solutions that our customers can use to better serve their end-users. One of our key value-adds is to have a highly-trained, InfoComm-certified sales staff.

Pro AV:This acquisition brings Electrograph closer to becoming a single-source provider. Do you think it's risky for smaller AV systems integrators to rely on a single AV equipment supplier?

Taylor: No, we see more and more that our customers want to place one purchase order for a job. They want all of the equipment to arrive at the same time. I think this makes them more efficient. If they're trying to source from 10 different companies to do a job, they have to write 10 different purchase orders, deal with 10 different accounting departments, and coordinate the logistics. If they're placing a purchase order with one company, it saves them a lot of time. It's not a risk because our interests are aligned with our reseller's interests. If they're not profitable and successful in doing their jobs, then we won't be around in the long term either.

Pro AV:Just as some large IT technology distributors are moving into the AV space, does Electrograph plan to eventually move into IT technology distribution?

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5-Minute Interview: Sam Taylor

President, Electrograph Systems

Taylor: We want to maintain our core competency, and remain strong there. I don't think you'll see Electrograph selling printers, laptops, desktops, or any of those types of products. We're going to stay focused on pro AV and high-end home custom installs because that's were we're strong. We're not going to try to be all things to all people.

Pro AV:How will the recent ActiveLight and CineLight acquisition affect your current customers?

Taylor: We're going to take the best practices of both worlds, so they shouldn't see anything but positive changes. There are certainly things that they've done better than we have, and vice versa. ActiveLight and CineLight customers will see a better company to deal with.

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