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Symco’s 50 Anniversary…well, sort of.
The year was 1972 and Frank A. Culotta had been working as a Regional Salesman at Dage-MTI for several years already when they made the decision to relocate from the NY Metro area to Indiana. Not wanting to make the move west with them, Frank and Dage worked out an arrangement whereby he stayed behind and became their first Independent Sales Rep…and Dage became Frank’s first and only line of his newly formed Independent Rep firm. The new Rep firm was named EMCEE Video Sales, a creative play on his wife’s initials, Marlene Culotta, who started the new business together with him.
Building on their one inaugural brand, the new Rep firm grew over the next few years, adding some well-known brands from that period. The launch and growth were going pretty smoothly until another “EMCEE” company from Pennsylvania had their attorney send Frank a letter, indicating that they owned the rights to the name EMCEE and to cease and desist using it.
So at this early juncture in 1976, Frank and Marlene changed to the new and current name, SYMCO Inc., which was derived from the first letters of all three females in the Culotta family: Sharon (their youngest daughter), Yvonne (their middle child) and Marlene…COmpany.
As with many new businesses, watching expenses closely and putting in long hours was Frank and Marlene’s biggest concern….so they never really set out with a formal goal to create a special culture…but rather with the goal to “stay afloat”. While primarily focused on keeping the doors open and becoming successful…they simply practiced the Golden Rule and treated everyone fairly and with great appreciation….like friends! Despite not consciously making culture a special focal point at the beginning, it is this component – coupled with a very strong hard-work ethic – that is the foundational component of our firm’s success…and one that we take great pride in today.
Another major component of our success has been our ability to evolve…
The early days of our firm revolved around the industrial, professional, and production video markets, and this focal point was dominant right up through the 1980s. Frank and his growing team expanded north to the Canadian border and south to Virginia… representing major NAB lines like NEC, Hitachi, Ikegami, and Smith-Victor.
But then the 1990s ushered in a major transformation of “professional” video solutions, users, and customers. With presentation and teaching display solutions growing quickly from the days of overhead transparencies and slides…to LCD plates…to “portable” 50 pounds, 640x480 LCD projectors…to sub-10-pound truly portable projectors…to Plasma and then LCD flat panels…to LED walls….over the decades SYMCO continually transformed our offerings(via new Brand Partners) and our expertise and accompanied the professional/commercial AV Industry as we grew into new markets…with new partners and customers.
During the 1990s is when the pendulum swung past the halfway point…resulting in SYMCO having more brand partners in the InfoComm markets, than in the previous leader, the NAB markets. Our brands, our solutions, and our customers were full speed ahead with all types of new video solutions …and this is also when Symco made the important step in adding major audio brands to our strategy.
Innovation was – and is - happening in all solution categories at an increasingly fast pace…and we rose to the challenge and continue to evolve right along with it.
And the third major component in our success over the past 50 years is people…and there are three groups of people that are vital to our success.
Team – SYMCO has been blessed with dozens of top-notch team members over these past 50 years …many of whom are here to celebrate our 50th Anniversary with us!
Being in the right markets and having the right solutions to offer is vital…but neither helps much without a team of the best, most caring, and hard-working people to connect with your customers. Like many other organizations, exceptional Independent Rep Firms around the country are recognized and valued most for their teams, and we are most fortunate to currently have the largest and best Team in our firm’s history! Our Team and their trusted relationships in the Industry are the cornerstones of our success.
Brand Partners – the greatest salespeople in the world can’t be successful without great things to sell. And while high quality and innovative industry-leading solutions are vital, oftentimes equally or more important are the people and organizations behind the products. From the earliest days in our firm’s success, we have had very close and valuable relationships with fantastic management, sales, and support people inside our Industry-leading Brand Partners…and we thank you for your partnership through the decades.
And last but not least….Market Partners – Great solutions with great company people behind them, and an unparalleled local sales team are hard to achieve …and even once achieved, success is still a huge challenge without great Integrators, Consultants, and End Users that work closely with you and allow you to build strong and trusting relationships together.
When your customers are your best salespeople - both for the Brand Partners you represent….and for your Firm as an overall, preferred business partner – you’ve been paid the highest compliment. That is how we feel….and we thank you!
Though very challenging at times and with many ups and downs, SYMCO has enjoyed great success through the last five decades. We are only here celebrating our success because of the efforts and support of our great friends throughout the Industry. So as we celebrate our firm’s 50th Anniversary, we want to thank everyone who has embraced and supported us…and helped form our success and our lives.
50 years is a tremendous accomplishment, and we say that knowing that many great people participated in, and facilitated, this great milestone.
As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary we want to say.. THANK YOU!
…and we commit to you to aim to do even better with, and for, you into the future for many more years to come.
All the Best Wishes from the Symco Team
Frank M. Culotta