For 25 years, RTI automation and control solutions have been installed by custom electronics professionals in residential and commercial environments. This includes multi-zone audio/video components, lighting, HVAC, security and more. I recently sat down with relatively new CEO Ed McConaghay to see how the first year on the job has shaped up.
Maureen Jenson: Hi Ed, how has your first year on the job been? What have you implemented and what has changed?
Ed McConaghay: The first year has been great! Everyone at RTI is excited about what we accomplished during 2017 and we are moving strongly into 2018.
We spent much of our effort in 2017 focused on our national and international distributors, with emphasis on initiatives that made RTI more responsive and easier to do business with; and to introduce products and policies that addressed the most immediate needs of our dealers. We spent a lot of time visiting with and listening to our customers, and giving them a view of our strategic direction and product roadmap. A warranty that was extended to three years, changes in our phone and tablet application licenses, starter kits for smaller projects, and a dozen new products launched, including our long-awaited Integration Designer APEX software, these were among the changes in the product line. APEX was a great success and has been quickly adopted by thousands of our dealers with great reviews.
MJ: What have some of your biggest challenges been this first year?
EM: We had to make a lot of changes in the company in 2017, mostly adding new people with new skills. As with any large-scale organizational change, it takes a lot of time and patience by the team to include the new teammates and to get the new structure to gel. While change is always hard, it has all gone very well and the team is firing on all cylinders.
MJ: What are some of the new products ready now and what will be ready soon?
EM: I already mentioned APEX. This new version of our programming software is easier to use and much faster to program than any previous version of Integration Designer, and we believe it sets a new high bar for fast convenient programming that still has the full range of flexibility and customization for which RTI is famous. New processors with faster chips and more memory make our new XP6s and XP8v more powerful than ever. And, a new line of audio and video products targeted at commercial applications extend the RTI product line well into the commercial space, now giving us the ability to manage the simplest of residential up to the most complex commercial implementations. These and several other new products and applications were introduced just now at ISE in Amsterdam. Our 2018 plan is full of new ideas, so, we expect this to be a very exciting year.
MJ: What are some of the new initiatives that put the focus on dealers?
EM: We are totally focused on making sure our dealers are well informed, perfectly trained, and fully supported. To that end, we are introducing new training programs delivered through a new learning management system (an LMS). We launched a new communications program last summer that will continue to expand during 2018 to make sure that our dealers get the information they need in a timely manner, and a way to get access to any of the marketing documents or support material they need to be successful. Our technical support team has been expanded, with new case management tools, and lots of new training to enable them to be more empathetic and responsive to dealers’ needs. We aim for fast and accurate resolution of our dealers’ technical issues, and won’t stop making improvements until we are perfect.
Finally, we have assembled a “dealer experience” team. These are individuals who are seasoned integrators, dealers and programmers who have joined RTI as part of our sales, training and support efforts. They are available for specialized training, personalized technical support, and custom programming assistance, as well as individual consulting services. They are outward-facing to work with our dealers, and inward-facing to make sure that RTI is dealer friendly.
MJ: What are your goals for the rest of 2018 and beyond?
EM: As I said, 2018 is going to be busy and exciting. We have a lot of new products to launch throughout the year. We have new services to introduce and, we have a lot of dealers to support in ways that make their jobs easier, their customers happier with the experience, and their projects more profitable. As a company, we are committed to our distribution model and to our great team of international distributors. Together, we intend to provide RTI dealers with the best automation experience available anywhere in the world.
MJ: Anything else you’d like to add?
EM: RTI is a great company with a 25-year history of delivering industry-leading products. I am proud to be part of that team, and I look forward to starting our next 25 years with a great 2018.