MJ Talks to . . . I sat down with Patrick Mulligan, VP and CTO of Pacific Audio & Communications (PAC), Maui, Kauai and Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii to find out about the state of his business, what manufacturers he can count on and what today’s customers want!
MJ: Tell us about your business?
Pat Mulligan: Pacific Audio & Communications (PAC) is one of the nation’s premier electronic systems integration company specializing in design, integration, and installation of electronic systems in the residential and commercial environment with four offices in Hawaii. Since 1991, we have completed thousands of quality installations in Hawaii, California, and Nevada. Our installations have received national attention in several consumer and trade publications.
We work in unison with builders, architects, interior designers, and related professionals to combine grace and elegance with high-tech wizardry. We provide a complete solution – design, installation, and technical support services – from project conception to completion in the following areas:
- Custom Home Theater & Media Rooms
- Home Computer Networking
- Security & Access Control
- Digital Phone Systems
- Distributed Audio/Video
- Home System Integration
- Lighting Control
- Energy Management
MJ: Are you seeing an uptick in growth? If so, where from?
Pat Mulligan: Yes, our Kauai and Oahu offices have seen the most growth. Each island is different, Kauai is mostly residential and being built by private citizens and some celebrities. Oahu is more commercial with some residential. Yes, we have hired twice this year. In the beginning part of the year we were lucky to hire a prior VIA project manager and currently looking for a lead tech.
MJ: What manufacturers’ products do you deal and what is most important to your customers in 2017?
Pat Mulligan: Crestron, Integra, Lutron, Control 4, Samsung, Sonance, Middle Atlantic, Pakedge, Autonomic Control, Vantage, Denon, Sony and many others. For 2017 energy management seems to be the hot button. Also with the advent of Amazon echo and voice control we feel we will start being asked about this as well.
MJ: What can manufacturers do to make your job easier?
Pat Mulligan: For the most part the manufacturers are doing their part. Shipping costs are a big number to our bottom line, so some type of freight allowance is very welcome.
Being out in Hawaii has its disadvantages, we can’t just get in a car and drive to training.
So we have to schedule training on the mainland which takes flights, lodging and logistical scheduling. We have seen an uptick this year in manufactures finally coming out to Hawaii to conduct training. Crestron and Control 4 are both being more proactive with this, providing local training in 2017. We have also seen some rep firms like By Design and Pride of Hawaii really step up their presence in Hawaii with new product training and supporting us with our own new product shows for marketing to our clients and developers. We did a show on Kauai this past summer with By Design and Pride of Hawaii that went really well. We are planning next year’s show already.
MJ: Any particular manufacturers that you can always count on?
Pat Mulligan: Yes a few, we have been a Crestron dealer since 1997 and they have always done right by us. Control 4 has stepped up for us since we joined on with them this past year as well. Sonance and Lutron are others that we have supported since day one and they are always available.
MJ: What makes them special from an integrator/dealer’s perspective?
Pat Mulligan: Support, support and support. No questions asked. Most times they will do an advanced replacement. One issue we have in Hawaii is there is no such thing as overnight freight so we have to be concerned about that. We are also 3 hours behind the west coast and 6 hours from the east coast so that also can cause tech support issues. I always tell manufacturers to open a tech support center in Hawaii as you would always be ahead of the game in regards to world times.
MJ: As we are edging into second quarter 2017, where do you see the largest growth potential for our industry?
Pat Mulligan: Energy management and voice control. Energy management will always be a hot button and voice control is the new baby. (Advances in HDTV, 4K and 8K will be the WOW factors but that is just more upgrades).
MJ: Anything else you would care to add?
Pat Mulligan: Yes, thanks to publications like Technology Insider Group for keeping integrators such as ourselves in the loop. Again, being out in Hawaii we don’t get the training opportunities as dealers on the mainland so we have to take advantage of reading articles, being active on the web, watching manufactures web site and publications for new products.