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One on One with Whitlock Group CEO Doug Hall

July 7, 2008 | Chris Payatagool

From The Wainhouse Research Bulletin:

Given all the aftershocks of the WireOne-BT acquisition and the AVI-SPL merger, we were intrigued by the recent press release from The Whitlock Group about a Global Presence Alliance . We gave CEO Doug Hall a quick call to probe the story behind the story.

WRB: Before we start, I was amazed to see that you are a $135M company. Give us a quick rundown on your business.

Doug_Hall.jpgDH: The Whitlock Group is a systems integration firm focused on the design, procurement, engineering, installation and service of audiovisual, videoconferencing, video-streaming, digital signage, visualization and broadcast technologies. We deliver complete solutions. We also represent over 400 manufacturer product lines and have 20 U.S. offices.

We run into Whitlock people at all the videoconferencing shows. How important is videoconferencing to your business.

DH: I'm not sure how I would measure a percentage, but I can say this, videoconferencing is involved in the majority of integrated systems we provide our corporate, government and education customers. And quite frankly, videoconferencing hardware sales are a significant part of our business, even without consideration of the related integrated devices and services.

WRB: We see a lot of interest these days for video managed services. Especially after the recent mergers. What's your story here?

DH: The Whitlock Group offers full time on-site AV and videoconferencing support services as well as traditional service contracts. All of our service plans are custom tailored to meet specific needs. These plans can include any level of service, ranging from as-needed and on-call technical services to full time on-site technicians, responsible for daily maintenance, room scheduling, reporting, meeting coordination, repairs and installations. We also offer our customers a variety of remote services and sometimes include managed service partners, such as Glowpoint, as a part of our offering.

OK, let's talk about your recent announcement: the Global Presence Alliance. What is this all about, and is it more than another press release sent out by your marketing department.

Although this is not a merger, the Global Presence Alliance is a contractual relationship between The Whitlock Group and Europe 's largest AV integrator, Impact Europe.

WRB: Why not a merger?

DH: Neither one of us is looking for a merger. The Global Presence Alliance was developed as a way to serve enterprise level customers rather than an attempt to join two companies.

WRB: Was this alliance motivated by the recent mergers affecting some of your competitors.

Not at all. We've been working with Impact for a while. I think too many people get too worked up about mergers. Fact is this has been going on in the videoconferencing and channel partner industries for a long time. At The Whitlock Group, we have a methodical approach to organic growth, enjoy the benefits of being a successful and profitable private company and don't really let other peoples' mergers affect our ways of doing business or our attitude about the future. We are still focused on building competence, maintaining an excellent work environment for our people and providing the best possible customer support. If we do that, and don't get distracted by financial maneuvers, we will do well. We competed with AVI, SPL, WireOne and others before they were merged, and we will compete with those same folks after their mergers. Those business combinations won't cause us to change our business practices or lose focus on serving our customers.

What keeps you up at night?

I knew you were going to ask me that question. I'll tell you this. It isn't mergers and acquisitions, and it isn't our technology investments. My decisions affect the welfare of over 400 hard working employees; that's 400 families that rely on The Whitlock Group for their well being. That's an awesome responsibility and one I take very seriously.

[via Wainhouse Research Bulletin]


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