Giving Back, Getting Back Through NSCA

Published: May 15, 2015

That Michael Hester chose to “semi-retire” around the time he assumed his role as NSCA president is a sign of his commitment.

The founder of Denver-based Beacon Communications emphasizes that NSCA has supported him during his career in AV. When the longtime NSCA board member was elected president in 2014 he saw it as an opportunity to reciprocate that support to other NSCA member companies.

“It’s my association. What I want it to be is your association,” he says. Hester is very much the right voice to put in front of members, says NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson. “He is a strong and companionate leader, which makes him the perfect role model for younger NSCA members launching their career.”

The semi-retirement thing doesn’t hurt either, Wilson adds. “He’s at a place in his career that allows him to give the time he wants to the organization and has set up a leadership team at his company to run the day-to-day operations. He also believes as I do that we have such a strong organization that can truly help the members become more successful and learn from one another.”

Hester, for his part, has picked up some best practices that he likes passing along to fellow NSCA members. For instance, given the nature of the business, integration firms often struggle with cash flow, but under Hester’s watch it has not been a problem for Beacon.

Read More: Hester Semi-Retires with (Almost) No Regrets

In terms of payment for projects, Hester says, “we get 40 percent up front, 40 percent when their equipment hits our dock and 20 percent when we’re finished.”

Like most integration firms, Beacon has struggled with recurring revenue but Hester can share with NSCA members Beacon’s subsequent successful transition. It’s an area that Brad Walsh, president and COO, says he and Hester regret not committing to earlier.

Since then, “We’ve made great strides and it’s become a substantial part of our business,” Walsh says. “It probably makes up in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 percent of our [$14 million] business.”

Hester’s new role at NSCA has also had a positive impact on Beacon, according to Walsh.

“The exposure of the company was elevated. I was introduced to more and more individuals who’ve been in this industry for a long time [and] I’m like a sponge. I always want to be learning from individuals that have been doing this longer than me, and many have done things differently than I’ve done. For me, it’s a win-win.”

Next: 4 True Measures of a Good Career, Inspired by Michael Hester

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