Rick Komendera, former president of Richard Gray’s Power Company, has been hired by SurgeX to serve as its VP of sales. According to Komendera, the opportunity to work with SurgeX was “just too exciting” for him to let pass, but that he left on good terms with RGPC's Richard Gray and Dick McCarthy.
Before he parted ways with RGPC, Komendera says, he helped broker a deal with the company’s Chicago-area manufacturing partner, TMI, for an ownership stake in RGPC. He was hired as a vice president in 2003 and promoted to president in 2006.
Now that the ink is dried on his new job, Komendera agreed to chat with me about his plans at SurgeX.
What appealed to you most about coming to work for SurgeX?
All of the products are made in the U.S.--North Carolina--so there is a strong focus on quality and value. There has not been a system powered by SurgeX that has gone down due to a surge since inception, and that’s a testament not only to the technology, but the build quality as well--we offer a 10-year warranty standard. Moreover, having production on shore allows us to be more responsive to the needs of our dealers and the trends in the marketplace--something absolutely vital in today’s marketplace. In terms of the structure, the management is young, nimble, and aggressive. We’ve got a strong tech team that’s always looking for a better way, as well as the upper management that have finance backgrounds and understand the value of programs and investments in this channel.
What do you find most exciting about your new responsibilities?
SurgeX is a leader in the “pro” industry with over 20 years of powering the best installs, including Carnegie Hall, the new Yankee Stadium as well as the Cowboys “stadium,” if you can call it that. That said, they’ve had very limited experience/exposure in the residential side of the market, so we get to start from scratch taking our pro-tested technology and packaging it for the residential market. It’s a very exciting time and we’ve been met with very favorable reviews so far. We’re offering dealers something new to talk about with their customers that will help set them apart from their competitors.
What’s in the pipeline, and what do you hope to bring to the company as its new VP of sales?
We’re not planning on launching with 50 SKUs--the market does not need the added confusion. We’ll be launching with highly targeted solutions for flat panels/projectors, good-better-best options for the rack, a service entrance solution as well as a UPS and IP-based model. We want to make sure we have all the bases covered for our dealers without having a four-page sheet. We want them focused on our core technology--absorbing not diverting surges--not memorizing model numbers and a million step-up scenarios.
Personally, I want to bring to SurgeX what any good VP of sales does--sales! While I realize power is a very crowded and competitive market, having seen all the other players on the market the past seven years, I know that we’ll have great success getting dealers to embrace SurgeX. We can prove in a very a dramatic and non-technical way that we absorb surges and filter noise better than any other solution out there. We’ve got one of the best demo’s I’ve ever seen, and it’s one of the reasons I signed on with the team.
Will continue to work from your office in Austin and report to North Carolina?
Yes. Austin bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World. While some may beg to differ with that, it’s one of the only towns I’ve been to (especially for its size) where you can actually see a quality act on a Tuesday night. With Austin City Limits and the South by Southwest (SXSW) festivals, Austin is certainly a hotbed of the music industry, and I think everyone in our channel has deep love and appreciation of great music. We plan on taking full advantage of that for our dealers.