In business, while there are always individual all stars that succeed, true success comes from strong partnerships. At Peerless-AV, there is no better example than the working relationship between Mike Luttrell and Todd Mares. We sat with them and talked about their work together and how they have grown through both work and friendship.
PAV: Can you tell us about how you guys met and started working together?
Todd: We went to the same high school and even played in a band together. We did lose touch eventually, but actually bumped into each other when we were playing in different bands at a Hurricane Katrina benefit.
Mike: I’m glad fate reunited us. I was working as an AV integrator for a different company in 2004 and when my boss needed to hire someone, I recommended Todd for the job because I knew the type of person he is and felt he was a good fit for the organization.
Todd: Eventually, I was hired by Peerless-AV in June 2011 and when the company was looking to bring someone new on, I endorsed Mike for the position since we worked well alongside each other at our previous company and we hired Mike in January 2012.
PAV: That is interesting! What kind of jobs do you do most together?
Mike: The most common integration jobs we’ve done are high-end residential jobs. One of our last big projects together was for a doctor’s home and it incorporated distributed HD video, distributed audio, lighting control, shading controls and drapery controls. We put it all together with universal control systems for his house, along with iPad and iPhone controls.
Todd: We first met him when we were hired at Rush University Medical Center as troubleshooting integrators for their digital surgery rooms. We added on some new LG flat panels to replace their old Sony models. Anytime something went wrong with their video switchers or control systems, we would go in there and work on it until they were performing optimally. We installed condor systems, endoscopic cameras and HD camera recorders that are networkable with a display mounted on the console itself, along with a portable swayed monitor. All of those components got networked to a larger panel mounted on the wall.
PAV: Have you guys done other installs at hospitals?
Mike: We’ve also done other jobs in the ORs of several hospitals, such as installing TV mounts and wiring for those displays.
PAV: You guys have a lot of experience in that industry. Are there other applications that you’ve done work in together?
Todd: Most definitely. We’ve collaborated on retail spaces such as Plato’s Closet and other clothing stores, conference rooms, and sports complexes. We’ve even had a few jobs at car dealerships to refurbish their phone systems, check their networks, and fix their intercom and speaker systems. We once did an entire hotel lobby with a new audio system and new keypads while moving the POS system and servers without cutting any holes. That was miles of wires!
PAV: Why do you both feel that you succeed in so many different installations?
Mike: I feel one reason we’ve had success is because we look at every job as a puzzle. We find that 90% of work is custom onto the specific client, no matter what they are getting. We learned really quickly in the field how to piggyback on the work done for retrofits. When things started going south in the AV world during the economic depression, companies would disappear in the middle of a job. We’ve had to maneuver through walls and ceilings without having to cut holes or ruin the walls. Our teamwork and chemistry has been the key to our success in these situations.
Todd: I agree. On every job, we give everyone on the project a specific role. In a team of five, for instance, we would each run a separate crew, and have a tech working directly beneath us. Every team also needs a captain who delegates tasks and acts as a go-between for each team of two to make sure a third hand isn’t needed for a specific part of the project. The captain also communicates important information with the general contactor; like if it’s safe to run wires in a certain place.
PAV: Do you guys take certain roles?
Mike: I want to point out that we don’t choose any specific role over any other, but we know where to pick up the pieces to get the rest of the team rallied to complete a project. When we come together for a project, we know that our chemistry and track record will lead to an extremely efficient job. We’ve worn a lot of hats in our respective careers ranging from TV wall mount installers and wirers of entire rooms to being booth assemblers and brand advocates at tradeshows such as InfoComm, CEDIA and DSE.
Todd: Mike and I will do anything when it comes to Peerless-AV and making things work as a whole, in spite of what someone with our titles are supposed to do. We’re always talking to people who don’t realize we offer a wide range of products such as kiosks, outdoor TVs and wireless AV products.
PAV: How does your teamwork influence other employees at Peerless-AV?
Mike: When people see the level of camaraderie we have, it speaks volumes to the collaborative culture Peerless-AV has established among installers and executives. We are breaking the ‘corporate culture’ mold. Typically in corporate settings, people tend to be more guarded and segregated regarding what groups they identify with. I interface with Todd’s team in order to build stands and get product both tested and out the door for some of the shows that we do nationally.
Todd: And I will take product given to me by Mike’s team home and in the field to test them, and report their performance to his team. Because of our teamwork, I see more cohesiveness within Peerless-AV moving forward. People enjoy working as part of team, realizing they will get things done better if they work together due to the amount of talent at Peerless-AV.
PAV: That’s inspiring. Any final thoughts?
Mike: I feel like, and Todd can attest to this, that the end goal is the same for pretty much everybody – and that goal is to Get It Right for our customers.
Todd: I agree. I think wearing many hats and collaborating with others at Peerless-AV will lead to even bigger things for us and the team.
PAV: Thank you very much for your time today gentlemen.
How do you collaborate with your team to achieve success? Let us know in the comments below!