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AVI Systems’ Don Mastro: AV Living Legends #44

Published: February 26, 2024
Photo courtesy: Don Mastro.

AVI Systems’ Donald (Don) Mastro is a perfect choice to join Commercial Integrator’s #AVLivingLegends series. He is our 44th inductee into this distinguished group of changemakers. Thus, Mastro joins fellow industry members whose careers truly distinguish them.

Currently the chief revenue officer at AVI Systems, Mastro previously served as the EVP of global sales and was also the overall leader of global sales teams for GPA. Through his varied roles, Mastro established himself as a professional industry expert with executive sales leadership experience and a specialization in business development of multinational organizations.

In this exclusive interview, Mastro, in a full-circle moment, acknowledges the mentorship of the first AV Living Legend, Joe Stoebner. He also expresses his immense gratitude for the wealth of knowledge gained during his decades-long career.

And if you’d like to read even more coverage relating to our #AVLivingLegends, like AVI Systems’ Don Mastro, check out our hub page. It includes direct links to every living legend!

Commercial Integrator: What motivated you to join the commercial AV industry?

Don Mastro: My motivation to join the commercial AV industry started with my desire to research companies in “computers” when I was graduating from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., where I was born and raised. I researched and discovered a corporate recruiter who placed me in my first inside sales position in Minneapolis with an AV company, Blumberg Communications. Blumberg was eventually sold to GE Capital/Caribiner.

Commercial Integrator: What has kept you motivated and engaged in the decades that followed?

Don Mastro: I enjoy the thrill of winning in sales and the challenge of pursuing new business, which is still what drives me today. I am a growth sales contributor and leader. The sales leader should be the main rainmaker and leader in any sales organization. I was an individual contributor for years and gained the respect of the sales organization I worked with because I carried a bag and understood how to win new business. This mentality stems from my highly competitive spirit, which goes to back to being a college athlete. The work ethic and discipline that is inherent in me continues to push me today.

Commercial Integrator: Reflect on your role as both a mentee early in your career and as a mentor later in your career. Who helped shape the trajectory of your professional life? How have you tried to help shape others’ careers?

Don Mastro: An important relocation I made early in my career was to accept a role with GE Capital, leading a $135 million hotel outsourcing, rental and staging business. I learned so much from leaders at GE Capital, who helped teach me how to lead and manage a profitable business. At that time, I had closed several large hotel contracts to lead the business to profitable growth. This was a tremendous learning experience.

The position at GE led me to relocate back to Atlanta with SPL Integrated Solutions. The leadership team taught me how to work on large construction AV projects in the U.S. An added benefit in this role was learning how to work with private equity — a tremendous learning experience for me.

Working at AVI Systems

I also give credit to both Joe and Jeff Stoebner, the founder and CEO at AVI Systems. I have developed so much respect for Joe and Jeff and the Midwest, financially sound, conservative business model they have created — along with a terrific reputation for AVI. AVI Systems is the largest employee-owned business in our industry, with 1,100 employee owners. Joe had the vision of selling the company to the employees over a 20-year period. My Midwest roots fit perfectly with AVI Systems. Our reputation is the best in the industry, and it has been for the last 50 years. I was thrilled when Joe Stoebner became the first #AVLivingLegend featured by Commercial Integrator, and I’m honored to be added to the list with Joe and so many others.

I enjoy mentoring others and it’s satisfying for me to watch people grow and succeed in their roles. It takes everyday involvement in a day in the life of a sales professional, to build the sales enablement process and tools to “teach and coach.”  A sales leader gains so much respect from a sales organization, building a solid playbook and foundation to gain the momentum and buy in for growth. Developing compelling content that wins is another key component and it’s why our turnover on our sales team is so low. We hire the right people and give them the best tools — then mentor and coach them for success.

Commercial Integrator: What’s the most memorable story/anecdote of your career in commercial AV?

Don Mastro: Having the vision to see the future of growth in an AV integration business. I see it here today at AVI Systems where we have worked to expand the business strategically. Becoming a global operation with GPA; building an eastern U.S. business and expanding to serve the public sector — this all requires vision and investment, along with the ability to convince those around you that these moves are the right moves for the company. I am in the middle of the most memorable story of my career right now!

Commercial Integrator: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Don Mastro: The strategic moves I have made over my career made me what I am today. Those experiences have taught me so much.

  • Stay focused on the daily priorities and tackle the tough decisions immediately. I have relocated from Minnesota, to Atlanta, to Denver, and back to Atlanta. My family was so supportive in my professional growth.
  • I must give Kim, my wife of 40 years, so much credit for my professional success. As an attorney, she’s always made time for us — from the physical relocations and supporting those decisions to so much more. It takes teamwork. Today, both of our adult children are active in the AV industry.

My greatest professional accomplishment has been achieving the chief revenue officer role at AVI Systems, a position I earned through challenging work and applying all the learnings from my career to double the company in revenue since I joined right through COVID-19. AVI Systems has come out of each challenge it faced bigger and stronger. We built a sales playbook and created a continuous sales development process that is world class. And my role as VP of global sales for GPA is another career milestone along with my service on the NSCA board of directors and past board role at AVIXA years ago. All of these accomplishments have made my career in the AV industry extra special.

Commercial Integrator: What has been your biggest professional regret to date?

Don Mastro: I have no regrets, as all my experiences have built me into who I am today. If I did have a regret, it is that I did not join AVI Systems earlier in my career. This was my time in my career to provide all my experience to AVI Systems. I get daily gratification in what I do today, and I want to leave a legacy to those in my past and my future.

Commercial Integrator: What’s the best advice or pearl of wisdom you either received during your career or came to realize on your own?

Don Mastro: This came from the first corporate recruiter when I was placed at Blumberg Communications in Minneapolis: “If they ask you to sweep the floors, be the best floor sweeper they have ever experienced.” That statement is always in the back of my mind. Show up and work harder and smarter than everyone else in the room. Continuously educate yourself. Always be learning and never accept the way things used to be done. Maybe it is the athlete in me, but the daily discipline to succeed; to push for the next new client win; to develop an exciting, new compelling sales strategy or the latest sales playbook; or to inspire a sales team on stage or through a remote meeting — all these moments equate to winning in my book.

Every successful sales professional shares this competitive drive to win, but the key is to always be graceful in both winning and losing. Listen with your two ears and do not speak with your one mouth until you have something to really say that is compelling. Be responsive with respect and detail. Control your emotions and channel your work into a positive outcome. Sit on an idea or a reaction for a day, tackling especially tough decisions the next day. Spend quiet time thinking and developing a sales growth mindset with a plan to execute whether you are an individual contributor or a sales leader.

Every interaction ultimately requires a call to action; otherwise, it is “just a cup of coffee.” Clients, prospects and employees all seek and desire an outcome-based action. It’s up to each of us to use these opportunities to engage and to build great relationships. That’s when you know you’re making an impact, and I strive to do this every day.


Would you also like to nominate a peer or colleague — or perhaps yourself!  in this #AVLivingLegends series just like AVI Systems’ Don Mastro was? If so, just email Dan Ferrisi, group editor, commercial and security, Emerald, at dan.ferrisi@emeraldx.com.

Posted in: Insights

Tagged with: AV Living Legends

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