Residential Systems sat down with Monika Hill, project manager/system designer for Fusion Media Systems of Kirkwood, MO, to find out about the state of her business, what manufacturers she can count on, and what today’s customers want. Fusion Media Systems considers itself to be one of St. Louis’ most experienced electronic lifestyle specialists; the original Fusion team has been together for more than 15 years. In addition to the original Fusion staff, Fusion hand-selected what Hill says is the “finest support staff” in the St. Louis area.
Monika Hill, Fusion Media SystemsRS: Tell us about your business.
Monika Hill: The team at Fusion has a combined 210 years of design, installation, and programming experience, with over 1,400 successfully completed projects. We specialize in planning, designing, integrating, programming, and installing cutting-edge audio and video control systems, lighting control for both natural and artificial lighting, shading solutions, home networking, automation, communication systems, media rooms, single and multi-room entertainment systems, security and surveillance systems, and climate control. Fusion has the capability to meet all low-voltage and high-voltage needs. With our sister company, Fusion Electrical Systems, we can reduce the number of contractors working on any project, which leads to increased productivity, improved communication, and less stress for everyone involved.
Are you seeing an uptick in growth?
Our growth has been consistent since Fusion began in 2008. A lot of our growth has to do with the relationships we’ve developed with our clients and our builders. We firmly believe that it’s important for them to be valued not only during the project but after the project as well. Our clients are lifelong customers because we stand behind our products and our work.
What manufacturers’ products do you sell, and what is most important to your customers in 2016?
We deal with a lot of products, from whole-home control systems and lighting/shading to access control and security systems. Our manufacturers include but are not limited to Lutron, Savant, Sonance, Luxul, Honeywell, Integra, Sonos, Middle Atlantic, Viking, Apple, Samsung, Séura, Sunbrite, VisionArt, Wyrestorm, Atlona, and Panamax. What is most important to our customers is not necessarily the manufacturer’s name but the quality of the product and the dealer installing it. That isn’t new this year, though; our clients have always valued the quality of our products and the caliber of our work.
Fusion Media Systems considers itself to be one of St. Louis’ most experienced electronic lifestyle specialists. Here’s an example of their work.
What can manufacturers do to make your job easier?
I think that there are two ways for manufacturers to help their dealers. The first way would be to utilize reps that are knowledgeable about their products, including pricing, promos, and most importantly, technical information. The reps also need to be available to the dealers and respond quickly when necessary. The second way would be to provide a useful dealer portal. A good portal has a user-friendly interface that provides easy access to product and system design information, online product ordering, and order tracking.
Any particular manufacturers that you can always count on?
Yes: Savant, Lutron, and Sonance.
What makes them special from an integrator/dealer’s perspective?
Lutron, Savant, and Sonance provide reliable products along with a great team to support them, including our sales rep, sales engineer, area manager, and technical support. Additionally, keeping their dealers trained and up to date on their products is important to them so they consistently educate their dealers about upcoming trends in the industry and new products.
Anything else you would care to add?
I’m extremely lucky to work at Fusion. Our team consists a great group of people who support each other and who are truly interested and invested in our industry. Additionally, being one of the few women in our industry, I’ve been fortunate to have my boss, Shawn Hagan, as one of my mentors. She’s been in this industry for over 15 years and is one of the best integrators I know. Her ability to work side by side with not only the homeowners, but the builders and all trades on a job is a skill that I’ve been privileged to watch and (hopefully) learn from. Since day one, Shawn has urged me to continue my attention to detail with both the technical side and operational side of my job. She constantly encourages me to never settle unless I’m on confident the information, design, and/or process is correct.