Each month we will feature an interview with either a staff member from Rutledge, a partner who has worked on a project with us or a feature with a client we have recently delivered a project for. This month we sat down with our CEO and asked him all the tough questions including his thoughts on the industry and his aspirations for Rutledge.
Q: You’ve had a long and distinguished background in the IT Industry. Tell us a little more about yourself
My career in the IT Industry started out very much as a hands on programmer writing code for videotext systems using languages like Pascal and C. I also did a lot of work using a product called Dataflex writing systems for the Health Department of Victoria to extract information from large statistical databases.
Back then there was a bit of a divide between “computer people” and “business people” and I figured that a niche would be to get recognized qualifications in Business (where I majored in Marketing) to complement my Computer Science degree. Microsoft Windows came along at that point though and messed that concept up a little! Regardless, I am a firm believer in an underpinning discipline like science to support a business career.
While studying part time and working for a company called Praxa I was given the opportunity to move into Product Management, originally managing a library automation system which Praxa had acquired. This was followed by series of management roles in the software vendor space for systems used in libraries, government and defence agencies as well as ERP systems.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to move with my family to the USA and work for an international software company (DRA). I had spent a number of years working for DRA here in Australia as Asia Pac Regional Manager before taking up the initial role in the US as VP International and later added North American sales and marketing to my responsibilities.
After spending a great deal of time in the USA, my wife and I decided to come back to Australia for our children to focus on their education. My daughter was also getting to the age that had we stayed any longer she’d be saying see you later dad, I’m staying here!
After returning to Australia I was appointed as CEO of a software business that specialized in modelling and simulation, the business was ultimately sold to CAE, a company that specializes in flight simulators. Prior to joining Rutledge I worked briefly for a construction company going through a period of change. This experience provided me with valuable insights into the construction industry.
Q: How does your experience in IT jell with a company like Rutledge?
There are a lot of similarities between how a major software vendor operates and how Rutledge operates; obviously there is a sales process, often a formal tender, followed by engineering design, solution development, implementation, training, commissioning and maintenance. It is just a different technology base. I have always enjoyed the technology side working with designers and engineers to come up with solutions.
My focus at Rutledge is to ensure that we remain the progressive leader in the industry, underpinned by strategic planning and focusing the company’s efforts on the right technology delivery that are of superior value and ease of use for our clients.
Q: In your view, what are the key challenges for the AV industry in the next five years?
The rapid rate in which technology is changing is a challenge but one which we believe presents the greatest opportunities. What is the 18 year old going to expect in 10 years’ time from the audio visual industry? We’re always thinking about opportunities and strategies so that we are in a position to deliver cutting edge system designs. In order to do this effectively, future proofing our designs is fundamental. Our designers and engineers provide solutions that have considered what will be available in the next three to five years, that way future equipment upgrades are streamlined with minor disruptions. Over the years the in-house knowledge and skills base has grown and being a national operator, we can tackle the most complex and challenging projects across Australia.
Finding the right people is always a challenge as well. Our wonderful staff allow us to deliver the best projects with exceptional results across the country and make us the best AV company in Australia. Our value comes from our expertise, our skilled workforce and our reputation.
Q: Rutledge now operate across Australia, how many staff do you employ nationally?
We have 240 of the best and brightest! Rutledge is fortunate to employ staff with a wide range of specialisations ranging from design engineers, field engineers, software engineers, project managers and service technicians. We are also very lucky to have a wonderful range of specialist departments such as finance, human resources, sales, marketing and administration - without whom our successful growth and expansion could not have been possible.
Q: tell us more about Rutledge Assist. What is it and how can clients benefit from this service?
Service and support is a fundamental part of our offering, Rutledge Assist ensures the investment that our clients have spent on technology is maximized. There will always be challenges associated with technology and people need to be able to rely on their systems. If technology fails, a technician needs to be available immediately. Rutledge Assist is about delivering certainty. It’s about knowing that when you turn on your system, it’s going to work. And our people, be it an onsite technician or our helpdesk, are all part of an integrated solution to provide the right level of support to every customer.
Q: Emerging technology is something that Rutledge has been able to consistently deliver throughout the years. Do you plan to continue this trend?
Emerging technology allows us to offer clients cutting edge technology and we will continue to embrace and develop these new systems with new features and possibilities. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the newest technologies, understanding it and being able to value proposition our clients with a technology we believe in.
Emerging technology is just a fundamental part of what we are offering as a forward thinking dynamic business. This environment makes long term planning more challenging. So while we are always exploring new technologies our focus is on the efficiencies of our traditional core offerings. We are a great company and that is what I’m preserving and building on.
Q: What are some of the key projects that Rutledge has delivered this year?
One of the signature projects delivered was the Rio Tinto project in Brisbane. We won an AMX Best Project Award for it. Other signature projects we are delivering include Canberra Airport, Mackay Base Hospital, Rio Tinto, Bankwest, Gold Coast University Hospital, Curtin University, St Barnabas Church, Toyota, Australian Tax Office (various sites), Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Target and the Centre for Agribioscience. We will feature case studies about these projects on our website soon – so watch this space!