AV Insider Spotlight: Steve Greenblatt, CTS – Control Concepts (President & Founder)


(By Ajish Raju as appeared in Rave Publications)

Each week, I am highlighting on some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling Steve Greenblatt .

Here is a brief intro about him.

Steve Greenblatt has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 20 years. He is the president and founder of Control Concepts

Please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.

1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?

My journey in the AV industry started when I got my first job out of college at Crestron Electronics in 1993. I graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and was offered a position as a Systems Engineer. I quickly learned AV systems, AV equipment, and how to use RS-232

communication, IR and relay control. I also learned how to build effective user interfaces to integrate AV equipment and make systems easy to operate for users. In 1997, I decided to take a chance and pursue an entrepreneurial itch to use what I learned at Crestron and start one of the first independent programming companies based on providing quality, custom programming services, and establishing relationships that lead to repeat business. Over the past 20 years, the company has grown and expanded its offerings to maintain relationships and satisfy the needs of the industry. In addition to control system programming, we now provide more complementary services including software development, control system module development and AV field commissioning.

2.What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?

The AV industry continues to experience rapid growth, and thus, there are many opportunities for new talent joining the industry. As such, there are many facets to the industry. The first step for candidates is to understand their interest and skill set which helps determine the best path to pursue. Understanding systems from the ground up and being exposed to multiple facets of the industry is a great way to learn. For a programmer, I would recommend looking to join a company as a Junior Programmer and taking the opportunity to learn from someone who is experienced and can pass along their knowledge. For example, new Programmers might offer to take on the tedious, monotonous, and not-so- sexy work an experienced programmer would like to delegate, in exchange for insights, knowledge, and mentorship. This is the most effective and efficient way to grow, as it is difficult to advance as an AV control programmer without support from others. Complement that with independent research and training, particularly in regards to industry players, equipment, applications, and end users, and you will be on your way.

3.What are the positives of working in this industry?

The AV industry has experienced an abundance of opportunity throughout most of the years I have been involved. It is an industry that individuals join and never leave. This is a good sign. I feel that if you are good at what you do and practice good values and ethics, you will make a name for yourself and have long term success in the industry.

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4. What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent?

See also AV Insider Spotlight : Marc Scheibein, Tech Support & Training, AMX Germany

The one thing I would change is how the work we do, across the entire AV industry, is understood and regarded. In general, AV seems to be overlooked in its importance, complexity, and the value it provides businesses and organizations.

5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?

We have two ideal clients that correspond to different offerings. The first is a Technology Manager or Consultant looking for an AV technology partner who can supplement their knowledge, be a go-to resource, and provide a consistent, reliable user experience from system to system. The other is an AV manufacturer of complex products that have an advanced API and can benefit from control system modules. which help make products easier to integrate and control for AV programmers and integrators.

6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?

I feel strongly about learning from one’s mistakes, and I have certainly made my fair share. When it comes down to it, I believe I have benefited most from sticking to my core values, and maintaining an upstanding reputation. If I started over, the only thing that I would do differently would be to find a business mentor, coach, and mastermind group as early on in my journey as possible.

7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?

Since transitioning from a programmer role to running the business full time, I focus my efforts on sales, marketing, management, developing my team, recruiting, and pursuing my vision for the future of the company. My typical day consists of a variety of activities contributing to the roles and responsibilities I defined above.

8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?

My biggest tools are my laptop, cellphone, and iPad. I use all three daily. The apps that I use most often are Outlook for email and scheduling, a “To Do” list called Todoist, Evernote for organization of electronic information, and an app called Day One for daily note taking.

9. Since you are providing programming services which is not a big part of the pie, do you think this is a good option for others to take up in this industry?

Although programming is a smaller part of a project financially or time-wise, it is arguably the most critical part of a project. Programming is ultimately what the user notices and experiences when interacting with an AV system. It also incorporates much of the customization and personalization of the system. Programmers have always been in high demand. There is still a greater need for programming than there are good programmers available to complete the work. Overall, I feel that good programmers who provide solid customer service, business understanding, technical knowledge, while looking to grow and expand skills. will always be critical to the industry.

For more information about Steve Greenblatt, please find a few links.