It doesn’t matter how big your integration firm is. You’ve still got to prove yourself on every job.
That’s what Whitlock found out a couple of years ago when they won the RFP to provide staffing help for Blackrock, the world’s largest investment manager.
The companies have seen their relationship grow as they move toward their third year as partners and Whitlock now is Blackrock’s A/V integration partner and serves as its “boots-on-the-ground” representative for events and conference bridges in New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, London, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The teams are talking about having Whitlock add remote capabilities as they move forward, says Anthony Diaz-Matos, director and global head of multimedia services and engineering at Blackrock.
“They allow me economies of scale by letting me have one global partner,” says Diaz-Matos. “That gives me one phone number to call, or as I like to say, one throat to choke. Working with Whitlock means we have a partner, not just a provider. The tools and philosophy they bring are forward-thinking and pro-active. It’s a good story of finding the right partner and evolving with them.”
Photos: 4 Great Whitlock Installations
2012 Integrator of the Year Coverage
Integrator of Year: Applied Visual Communications
Service Integrator of Year: Whitlock
Hospitality Integrator of Year: Kelley Technologies
Marketing & Proposals Integrator of Year: Adtech
IT Integrator of Year: Atrion Networking
Security Integrator of Year: Aronson
Consultant of the Year: AV Helpdesk
That’s just about exactly how Whitlock CEO Doug Hall envisioned the company’s managed services offering when it launched more than a decade ago. In addition to more than 40 Whitlock employees working at companies around the world and helping them manage their massive A/V systems (with many more to come in the future), its worldwide A/V network operations center, in Dallas, allows for remote monitoring for some of its larger clients, such as Blackrock.
“What we realized is every piece of equipment we offer is going to become a commodity, so the value was going to have to be around the services we offered around that piece of equipment,” says chief operating officer Roger Patrick. “As we’ve built up the managed services side of our business, it’s only increased our equipment sales.”
Whitlock has continued to grow every year without gobbling up companies as it does. Many of its most recent hires have come from companies that struggled to survive or didn’t make it through the recession, but company leadership prides itself on its organic growth model that has netted more than 520 employees. The model has worked well, landing Whitlock on the Inc. 5000 for the second consecutive year in the year it celebrated its 56th birthday.
“Growing organically has allowed us to control the quality of people we have and the culture,” says Hall, who is especially proud of Whitlock’s place on the Inc. 5000 now that the company is so much bigger than it was when it made appearances there more than a decade ago.
“It was easier to get on the list when we were a smaller company,” says Hall. “Being on the list now is an acknowledgement in our ability to scale up, both here and overseas.”
Let’s tell it the way it is; A/V has never had the same level of management attention, resource allocation and budget as IT and telecoms. Guess what? That’s all about to change.