“The company has been around a long time and the history was beginning to disappear and the truth is the only person who really had first-hand knowledge of the whole company’s history is Bob Simpson so he was not the best choice, he was the only choice,” says Bowie.
“I was hoping to get a 10- or 12-page kind of condensed history of Electrosonic. Bob went off to see what he thought he could produce and he came about with an outline for this and I was blown away,” he says.
Simpson was able to gather much of the information for his book from the bi-annual newspaper-style publication called Electrosonic World, which the firm started putting out in 1980.
Embracing Partners in Innovation
Among Electrosonic’s most loyal and longest-lasting allies is Christie, with a relationship that dates back more than 20 years, when Christie was building film projectors.
“As time went on, they moved away from products and that was where we became very tightly associated,” says Christie president and CEO Jack Kline. “The fact they came from products and solutions was something that helped us understand each other.”
Christie works with many integrators, but it sees Electrosonic as unique because of its emphasis on service and ability to design.
“They have the capability of working on complicated projects,” says Kline. “That’s helped to differentiate them from other integrators and given them a keen knowledge on how to partner with someone.
“They know our products, our capabilities, our offerings. We’ve developed that mutual trust that allows them to bring us in and they know we’re there to support them,” he adds.
Among the most high-profile projects Electrosonic and Christie have worked on together is the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios in Orlando. That project was originally done with film projection, but later moved to 4K digital projection when the ride was updated, says Kline. Electrosonic did both installations with Christie’s help.
“That showed their ability to really take care of the customer,” says Kline. “The magnitude of the projects they can do sets them apart from anybody else. They’ve set the benchmark on what an integrator needs to be.”
Traversing the Obstacles
In his thick Scottish accent, Bowie tells the story of his long, strange journey that eventually landed him as the leader of Electrosonic, highlighting his work as a lighting consultant in London before landing with his current company.
“I’ve traveled and relocated a lot. I’ve been in lots of different places and had lots of different jobs,” says Bowie. “When the door opens, you have to walk through it. You can really make a career here.”
Bowie is proud that he’s never thought about Electrosonic as a company that’s solely focused on the bottom line, a legacy that dates back as long as he can remember. Electrosonic works in several vertical markets, but Bowie believes the company has truly set itself apart with its work on museums and theme parks.
Museum installations, says Bowie, “offer you an opportunity to do something very meaningful. That can be pretty fulfilling.”
Bowie and the Electrosonic leadership team aren’t afraid to fail. Sometimes that means trying things that they’ve never done, but Bowie says there’s no better way to learn your strengths and weaknesses.