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ROCHESTERCHAMBERtop100-This company puts its efforts on display

Rochester Business Journal
January 27, 2017

A Rochester area company has focused on how its clients can make first impressions while simultaneously creating its own lasting impact in the region.

The Presentation Source Inc. provides audiovisual systems and support to its customers. The firm helps companies succeed in make-or-break moments of business.

“We have to make it where the executive who’s never done this before feels comfortable (presenting) in front of a lot of people,” said James Widmaier, vice president. “I did a lot of public speaking over my life, didn’t have any issues being in front of people, but the average person...they’d rather jump off a building than stand in front of five people.”

The Presentation Source employs 12 people at its location at 1 Fishers Road in Perinton with plans to add a couple staffers this year. The firm is expanding its office space to 5,000 square feet.

The firm marks its 20th anniversary in operation this year. The company was founded in 1990 but did not begin operations until 1997. Spouses Laurie and James Widmaier run the business.

Starting out, clients wanted their presentations to show change in the technology of the time.

“The early customers were finance people who wanted to show interactive stuff; they wanted to see how something changed when you put data in it,” says Widmaier. “You put a piece of paper in; you can’t change it, so this became a lot more dynamic.”

Early on, training was part of the company’s offering. Training for PowerPoint seem comical now, officials say.

“When I started teaching training, one of the reasons we didn’t stay in training was because management (was asking), ‘why do I need to teach my people how to use PowerPoint?” Widmaier said. “Now third-graders teach themselves.”

The company always has been focused on improving presentations for businesses. However, with the rise of the internet in the early 2000s, the firm began to incorporate installation of equipment into its offering.

“Everything we were reading said presentations are going to go this way. People are going to use portable projectors,” said Laurie Widmaier, president and CEO.

First impressions not only involve successful meetings but successful setup of technology as well.

“We gave them technology so they could interactively build their meeting in the conference room,” James Widmaier said. “Then what started happening was to bring the internet into the conference room and then bring your meeting out of the conference room onto the internet. That really didn’t start happening until eight years ago.”

Adding installation to the firm’s offerings reflected the industry trend and has paid off. Over the past three years, the firm has experienced nearly 80 percent growth in revenues.

“The next evolution in our industry, which is what we weren’t, was this word design, build, integrate. So we would provide solutions—somebody else built them—and we’d teach people how to use it and support them in service,” James Widmaier said.

The firm’s clients are in New York but mostly outside of Rochester and are mainly corporate, educational, governmental and nonprofit organizations.

The Presentation Source became a preferred partner with Epson Corp.—a Japanese electronics manufacturer—to stay competitive.

“We aligned ourselves with Epson,” Laurie Widmaier said. “We chose manufacturers that weren’t necessarily represented by our competitors.”

The industry continues to shift. Now presentation communications professionals are associated with information technology professionals, officials said.

“The IT industry and the audiovisual (industries) are blending more because more of the things we do are put on the network and they require the internet,” James Widmaier said.

In 1997 and 2017, one thing is the same: presentations matter. The impact of a successful presentation can last much longer than a meeting.

“Today it’s all about productivity. You’ve got to build a room with 10 executives in it that are making half a million dollars each—the last thing you want to do is not have a successful conference call,” he said. “We’re empowering people. We’re not giving them a deliverable, we’re giving them tools.”

The Presentation Source Inc.

Designs, sells and installs audiovisual systems

Year founded: 1990

Top executive: Laurie Widmaier, president and CEO

Current employment: 12

2016 ranking: 59

Headquarters: Perinton

Website: presentationsource.com

The Rochester Chamber Top 100 program is presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2017 Rochester Top 100 event is slated to be held Nov. 2. For more information, go to greaterrochesterchamber.com.


1/27/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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