Absen’s Commitment to Integrator Investment

Published: April 15, 2024
Underscoring not only Absen’s but also Electro Acoustics’ commitment to genuine partnership, this photo, taken on a Saturday, shows an Absen videowall that Martin Urbina and Alex Lopez installed over the weekend to ensure that North Davis Church of Christ’s needs were met.. Photo courtesy of Electro Acoustics.

The commercial AV business is all about partnerships. Integrators must be genuine partners to their clients — not mere contractors or resellers. Likewise, integrators need vendors whose support and care extend far beyond box delivery. That’s one factor that sets Absen, a leading LED display products and service supplier, apart from the competition. Simply put, Absen genuinely cares, and it’s willing not merely to say it but also to show it.

To learn more about Absen’s partnership ethos, Commercial Integrator spoke to Luke Jordan, CEO and co-steward of Electro Acoustics, a mid-sized AVL design/build integrator. The second-generation, family-owned business just celebrated its milestone 40th anniversary. We also spoke to Lisa Peveler, president of Mizzen Marketing, an independent manufacturer’s representative firm. Mizzen has worked with Absen for about seven years, covering Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Working Only with Absen

Given the number of LED providers, it’s notable that Absen is the only LED manufacturer that Electro Acoustics has worked with since 2016. Jordan reflects on Electro Acoustics entering the market that year, first working with a competitor vendor and then trying Absen. “Absen provided just a ton of support, knowledge and education,” he recalls. “As we were really learning the technology — how to spec it, how to design it, how to install it — they were just an incredible partner.” It became clear to Jordan that this partnership was worth maintaining, and that’s exactly what he’s done — even flipping several bid specs to Absen over the years.

A busy, successful integrator like Electro Acoustics has many vendors, and Jordan says every vendor is good on a good day; the bad days are what test the strength of a partnership. The overwhelming majority of Absen projects go off without a hitch, he confirms. And, in the one instance a mistake happened, Absen owned it and took care of it. Jordan also attests to the vendor’s willingness to make special arrangements to help him close deals, recalling a corporate client that was considering an Absen LED install but wanted to see what the product would look like. “And so,” he relates, “Lisa had a mobile demo kit flown in from Orlando.” The client saw how it would look and work and was blown away. “They pretty much signed on the dotted line that day,” Jordan recounts with a smile.

Peveler amplifies the point, saying that, when challenges come up, “every manufacturer has a choice: Do I help this person? And how far do I go to help them?” These are make-or-break questions for Mizzen Marketing, which parts ways with manufacturers that are insufficiently invested in making the right choices for integrators. “I cannot tell you of an instance when Absen has not helped me, as a rep, help my integrator,” she declares. Peveler recalls, for example, rare instances of shipping delays that necessitated changing the transport method to air. “Absen has accommodated [the integrator] and eaten the cost, because they know, long term, this is a great partner,” she says. “And we’re going to cover them.”

‘Cost, Reliability and Support’

“The three things you really look for in a manufacturer when you’re making that decision are cost, reliability and support,” Jordan expounds. “And Absen checks all of those boxes.” Let’s consider each in turn. Although Absen stands at the forefront of LED innovation with its award-winning Clear Cobalt series and COB encapsulation technology, it also offers high-quality products to suit the price points of Electro Acoustics’ indoor house of worship clients. What’s more, Jordan attests to an extremely low failure rate for Absen products out in the field. Finally, he offers a paean to Absen’s ongoing support and partnership. “It’s just really obvious that they don’t view us as a smaller integrator,” he says. “We seem to be really important to them from a strategic perspective.” Jordan adds, “It’s one thing to be told you’re important. But it’s an entirely different thing to feel it. It’s absolutely a family working with Absen.”

Peveler echoes the familial feelings that Jordan identified. “Working for a global company is exciting,” she says, pointing to how much she enjoys the Chinese culture and how it has inspired her to work faster, harder and in a more detailed way than ever before. “But I’ll also say that they just care,” Peveler adds.

And that care is non-negotiable in the LED world. “When you buy an LED wall, you’re marrying that manufacturer for 10 years,” Peveler says, pointing to the long life of these products. “Whomever you buy it from, you’re in a relationship with them.” That’s a truism that Jordan perceived early on, and it’s why he chose to partner with — and continues only to partner with — his trusted allies at Absen.

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