Jerry Trojan, CFO and executive vice president of Syncrolite, is responsible for many of the day-to-day operations of the company, which has been undergoing some changes since the death of its founder Jack Calmes in January 2015. Launched by Calmes in 1984, Syncrolite specializes in Xenon skylights and other large format lighting systems. Live Design chats with Trojan on the state of the company today:
LD: How has the company been restructured following the death of Jack Calmes?
JT: Jack was on a long–term health sabbatical since July 2013 and was not actively involved in the business after that point. The new owners, Hall Capital, have brought in a new management team to lead the company forward. This includes myself, formerly the CFO at Vari-Lite International/VLPS, and Steve Washington, former general manager at PRG and Vari-Lite/VLPS. We have also recently brought Paul Rabinovitz on board to bolster our product sales and marketing efforts. The reconstituted team, led by chairman Jonathan Adamson, and including longtime veteran Jimmy Page, is doing a great job of penetrating new markets and establishing new relationships.
LD: What are the current goals for the company in terms of products and new product development?
We view our existing product line as a unique offering in the marketplace. Notwithstanding the fact that Xenon searchlights are a niche market, we think we compete very effectively in that niche. Our view is that there will continue to be a need for these products in the future, as seen in the quote from Troy Eckerman, Chroma Designs, regarding our work on the Super Bowl: “Of any large format lighting, they are the best out there…The horsepower is unmatched by any other programmable fixture.” Having said all that, we are hard at work on some new products that we are extremely excited about. We will have more to share on that front later in the year.
LD: What exciting projects have used Syncrolites recently, such as bridges, concert tours, etc?
JT: Recent large events include Super Bowl XLIX, the Grammys, and Wrestlemania 31 among others. We also just completed the 26-mile long lighting of the Los Angeles Marathon route. That event was the number two trending item on Twitter, and something that we’re really proud of, as it was a massive undertaking between Syncrolite and a host of partners.
LD: Will LED sources ever be bright enough for your products?
JT: We have to assume that LED technology will continue to improve over time and may reach the point where it is possible to use LED sources in collimated searchlights. We closely watch the development of all light sources to stay abreast of what options may be available for us to continue to develop fixtures with high output. We want to retain our position where customers will continue to think of Syncrolite when they have a need for high-intensity beams or have large-scale lighting applications.
LD: What are the largest challenges facing the company today?
JT: Our largest challenges are no different than those faced by other manufacturing and rental production companies in our industry— making sure that our products and services meet or exceed the needs of our customers. We do this by continuing to refine our product and service offerings. This includes developing new features for our existing products, creating new products, and expanding geographic access to our equipment. We recently introduced an option to add color correction to our fixtures uniquely designed to match the xenon spectral data. This will allow our customers to use Syncrolite equipment for key lighting and other broader lighting applications. In 2014, we added east and west coast depot centers to allow us to serve clients more efficiently than we could from just one location in Dallas, Texas.
LD: What does the future hold for the company, in terms of five- and ten-year planning?
JT: We want to continue providing the ‘brightest lights for the biggest nights.’ We think that our new products under development will open up even more markets to us while staying true to our legacy. We don’t really see ourselves competing in the market for small fixtures anytime soon. If you need something big, bold and bright, we’re your guys and we plan to keep it that way.