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Check back here often for the latest news on our new product releases, awards, recognitions, and other exciting achievements.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #11: An Industry Q&A With Paul Starkey

A Sneak Peak at CEDIA 2017's Top Event

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Paul Starkey. Recorded live on Thursday, April 5th, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Paul Starkey

Paul Starkey has been in the custom installation business for 24 years, and in that time, Paul has raised venture capital twice, acquired two companies, started two others and has in-depth knowledge of the CI business.

These acquisitions and mergers exceeded $280M in value. He has business operations, sales and marketing experience.  His keen insights, innovation, and creativity have been recognized by many in our industry.

Paul is highly involved with GenerateHope, a San Diego 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a safe place for female survivors of sex trafficking. He is helping promote their upcoming benefit that will feature the Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band from Chicago, Creedence Forever; a painting exhibition by Leon Speakers’ president Noah Kaplan; a video experience by GoVision; the honoring of influential women, and other surprises.

Interview Recap

  • A sneak peek at CEDIA 2017’s top event
  • Paul’s involvement with GenerateHope, a San Diego 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a safe place for female survivors of sex-trafficking
  • September 7, 2017 upcoming benefit for GenerateHope at Humphries Concerts By The Bay, San Diego.
  • How the AV industry has pulled together in support and sponsorship of this benefit and cause

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #10: A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Gordon Isaac


Ron:  Hello everyone. Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged. It is 1:00 on Thursday July 27. So we're coming to you on a little bit of a different day and a different time than normal. And I am excited because today we have one of our guests back, actually our very first guest Paul Starkey with Vital Management. And Paul has something very exciting. It's very exciting to talk to us about and that is his benefit concert that his firm Vital Management has not only sponsored but in fact, is behind and I said orchestrating there in the description on the Facebook live feed. He's orchestrated this concert really from his imagination to bringing it to reality and it's taking place in September in San Diego at the National CEDIA expo. This will be my 18th CEDIA expo I'll be attending here in a matter of just a few weeks. But let me go ahead and bring in Paul. Paul how you doing sir?

Paul: I'm doing well Ron. Thank you.

Ron:  Thank you for coming back so soon. There's a little statistic you may not be aware of in that these videos for Automation Unplugged, we're able to see the number of total views and how many impressions this content receives. And your video, your very first video you did with us is by and large the most viewed content of any of the content we've produced so far.

Paul: Thank you. I'm honored.

Ron:  So Paul I hope you don't mind but I'd like to share with our audience a lot more of the details behind this Queen of Hearts concert that you're putting on today not today but in a matter of just four or five weeks from now.

Paul: Thank you.

Ron:  All right. So let me before we get going Paul as I always do. Let me verify that the feed is actually live on our page. It's always a good idea to make sure that there's an audience out there and that they can see this content. So bear with me just for one moment yeah. There we are right. Hey George Tucker just gave us a thumbs up Paul.

Paul: Oh great.

Ron:  All right. We've already got some share. All right. And there you go Matthew Callis. That would be my brother from Germany just confirmed it is live.

Paul: Wow.

"I want to make sure as many people in our industry are aware of it because it's going to be the must-attend event at CEDIA."

Ron:  Pretty cool huh? All right if you're out there and you're watching this content please share it. It helps us get a larger audience and we have a lot of really exciting information about this concert. And I want to make sure as many people in our industry are aware of it because it's going to be the must-attend event at CEDIA. I think it's going to gain that reputation. Paul can you just at a high level explain the Queen of Hearts concert what is it and why did you decide to make this happen now?

"We took the leap of faith of saying let's use our company Vital Management with Steve First and his wife Jill to really promote this and get people involved in which was going to be just a terrific night Thursday night of the CEDIA opening night actually of the show."

Paul: Well this concept came to my wife Jeri and myself about nine months ago knowing that it was gonna be in San Diego this year. We've been touched by a major cause , a major problem throughout our country. That's not terribly well understood. It's the number two crime case crime in America. And that's the sex trade of underage boys and girls and we've been touched by this and really wanted to do something big. So we've started a number of fundraisers but we thought what better than to have a great come together under the Queen of Hearts . Queen of Hearts being really a ladies night if you will a celebration of women of significance throughout the world. We have 15 of those that we're honoring. But to raise a significant amount of money for a safe house here in San Diego, we have two that are operational at this point. They serve about 30 women that are restoring their lives after this tragic involvement in this really really awful practice. And there's about eight thousand girls and young boys involved in this just in San Diego County. There's like 300,000 girls and boys nationwide. And what's misunderstood it's really a domestic problem. It's a worldwide problem for sure but it's also domestic. And it's the U.S. citizens, its neighbors and people you know through either second or third relationships these girls get attracted into it sometimes through a broken home or a bad situation runaways situation but they get lured in by boyfriends, older individuals so we really felt compelled to do something big on this and this is just the first step of many to raise what we hope will end up being millions of dollars for the cause. But we thought what a better community to do this than the people that we know and love in this industry that actually I've been to 24 CEDIAs Ron and I know a lot of people on the business side. We took the leap of faith of saying let's use our company Vital Management with Steve First and his wife Jill to really promote this and get people involved in which was going to be just a terrific night Thursday night of the CEDIA opening night actually of the show.

Ron:  Where did the name Queen of Hearts? Well , that's obviously a play on a deck of cards. Where did that name come from?

Paul: Well I mean a heart I think is a big symbol of love and a lot of what these girls need is to be loved to be restored to be. I mean there is a lot of work and taking a girl that's been in this practicing getting her productively back into society so that this program that we're involved in involves therapy psychology medical removal of tattoos, a whole educational and vocational program . It is very very comprehensive not inexpensive to do for each person. So the idea of the heart was really about love , that the Queen of Hearts is really we know there's a lot of women out there that need to be recognized for the significant contributions they make in our world and sometimes go unnoticed. So we thought what a great opportunity to recognize women who have done fantastic. There's women working in solving this problem and in ministering to the care of these girls that go unnoticed. So we wanted to elevate them. We've got representatives from Hawaii , Texas , Michigan.

Ron:  Paul if you'll allow me I'm going to try to get technology to cooperate here and I'm going to try to bring that content here up on the screen for our audience. So I've I've got your website for the Queen of Hearts. I see all these sponsors I want to talk about that in just a moment but I'm going to go over to the section of the website. And I just want a confirmation. There we go. So I'm on the Queen of Hearts honorees section of the website and I believe that's what you were just referring to.

Paul: Right. And these are women that one's a governor in a particular state. Other women are actively involved in the fight against sex trafficking and in the restoration of victims. So you know, others are just significant people in their lives. I can tell you on my mother's on the list, you know mother of 12 grandmother of thirty-five. You know people who have inspired people along the way we've given people an opportunity to donate a thousand dollars to celebrate these women. I think we just had two added, we are up to 15 or 16. So it's a real celebration night as well as a.. This is going to be quite a party to begin with. We have some great bands we've got a stage painter Noah. Noah Kaplan is doing a fantastic painting on stage. We'll open up our show that night. So it's unbelievable Ron. And it's unbelievable the support that this has had from the sponsors as you mentioned.

Ron:  Well let's talk about the sponsors. I've just pulled up the home page of the site and I see that you have Diamond Origin Acoustics it looks like they've stepped up in a big way. Can you talk a little bit about these sponsors and kind of what the response from the industry has been as you've brought this opportunity to support this great cause.

Paul: I would love to. Origin has taken the Diamond sponsorship, a very significant financial backing. They'll be bringing a large number of dealers and reps with them by virtue of about 300 seats. This venue is only 1400 seats there. They are our highest level sponsor. The earliest one I would give special recognition, a leap of faith recognition to SNAP AV. They were our first founding sponsor along with Vital Management and they've got a significant following coming as well. What's been cool about the 14 sponsors is they bought in addition to providing money to help put the concert on. They bought major blocks of tickets so that some of your listeners will be able to get essentially a free ticket if you will through through those sponsors. But Origin, SNAP AV, another very interesting one here is Audio Control, Audio Control came in as a platinum sponsor. We've had great support from Alex Karmara and his team. HTSA has stepped up. They'll have close to 100 members at the concert. Peerless AV is actually donating a very large outdoor TV to be raffled off. I mentioned Leon speakers, Noah Kaplan. He'll be doing the painting which will be raffled off. There's gonna be some really cool prizes for people to take away, a very significant Go Vision TV which is fairly new to the CEDIA world but large-format LED outdoor TVs. They've actually are coming to the table with a 21 one foot by 13-foot video wall. So this will be a heck of a video experience throughout the 6:30-9:30 timeframe as we have these various acts and things. And the list goes on, Catalyzing Communications who's doing our marketing has been a major cash contributor as well. We have Surge X has come forward , Sound Cast , Connected Design which is part of the Napco, Women in Consumer Technology. You know it's just been a fantastic response and we could n't be more excited. It's helped us streamline our ticket sales we have virtually 90 percent of the tickets sold at this point. So there are still individuals that want to get VIP tickets which are two hundred dollars a seat, include drink, wristbands, T-shirts, some red carpet photos some real nice amenities that way and then we have one hundred dollar tickets as well available so this is an amazing venue I can't tell you how iconic it is for San Diego. It's by the Bay you'll have sailboats harbored on the left side of the venue. It's small it's intimate it's fantastic. There's been major acts in and out of here throughout the years. It's under the stars in the moonlight. I can't think of a better place to spend an evening during the CEDIA expo than here. The tough part is it only seats it seats less than 1500 people so encourage people to get active getting tickets from your sponsors or come to us directly. There is no Ticketmaster in this. We refuse to pay the fees so we're doing ticket sales directly they can do that with me.

Ron:  But right here from the website? Correct. I see a ticket section.

Paul: We don't have that activated cause that would've been a charge to it. They can go to the Donate button and Generate Hope. We'll take them there if they make a one hundred or two hundred or multiple one hundred and two hundred. I see that directly I can follow up with their e-mail and work out the tickets. We will be distributing the tickets in about two weeks. So it's important that people you know think I have on this. If you're not inclined or have the resources spend yourself see one of these sponsors because they have tickets they have some I'm at 50 75 100 tickets. A couple have 200 300 tickets so we hope everybody that wants to enjoy this evening will be able to.

Ron:  Paul, can we talk about the concert side of the benefit concert? Who are we going to be listening to?

Paul: Well as I mentioned, we'll start out with the stage painting. He will be accompanied by a band called The Buckley's. It's a local San Diego band. It's a trio. They do a lot of 70s rock so Steely Dan, Eric Clapton , J Geils Band a lot of that kind of genre will be the opening feature. They'll be on stage for about an hour. We have a heck of a salute program, a video tribute to the women, some recognition a few speakers about the cause. But then we get right into the main act and the main act is Creedence Forever. They are the premier supreme CCR Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band , they're out of Chicago. Amazing the singer Rich Perez is a dead-on for John Fogerty. They will play all the hits and it will be a swamp rock revival. And we're excited about that. We are doing something for the first time a world premiere of theatrical play called Traveling Band. Traveling Band will be shot on site here during this concert and promoted as a potential tour for them. It features Richard, banker and actor out of Hollywood and he just tells backstories between the songs. Thirty seconds. Forty five seconds stories between each song kind of explain what was going on with the band during their run in the late 60s including Woodstock and some of those things. This is really kind of a Vietnam era musical if you will. So we're really excited about that aspect. This is the first time that's been done. This is a worldwide premiere of it. So we're excited about a full night of entertainment. There are concessions at the venue. There are light food possibilities , pizza sandwiches, popcorn some of those things. So people will be out. There are three receptions going on at this resort. Soundcast, CEDIA volunteers and Surge X are all having their receptions. So if you're one of their people you'll be able to enjoy that right before they come. This will be an amazing, promise you amazing day and you know something you won't forget. And I think what's great about it. We get a chance next year to do a similar thing.

Ron:  Awesome. Paul , what else do you think that our audience needs to know about this event that you maybe haven't already discussed or shared with us?

Paul: Well I think there's always a concern or question about logistics, you know the show will end about 6 p.m. formally this event the doors will be open probably 5:30 so people can come out get acclimated if they're going to one of the receptions they can do that. It is about a 15 to 18 minute Uber ride from convention center downtown event centers downtown. This is out Point Loma which is on the opposite side of the airport. It's only about 7 8 miles but it's probably a 15 18 minute Uber. If you have a rental car there's plenty of parking you can valet park if you wish when you get there but there is free parking as well. So we don't think transportation will be too much of an issue. So we're just want to make people aware that you know allow enough time to get there. We'd like to see people come out as early as possible. There's a lot of things happening early in the program including a really key raffle for the art that Noah is doing for some Wonder Woman movie posters that are framed, they are nice. We hope to have Amazon Echoes and some other things to give away. So it's going to be a fun evening and just make sure that you plan enough time to get there. The formal concert will be over about 9:30. And you know there's places around this area restaurants you know other things that actually there's a a nightclub at this facility called Backstage Live that if people want to hang around and catch another musical act afterwards that's usually going on after the concert. So lots to do fantastic iconic place to go. It's almost Polynesian in nature it kind of makes you feel like you're in Hawaii actually when you're at the venue.

Ron:  Awesome. Paul what I'm going to do real quick here and I'm going to I'd like you to address are you. You're going to be at CEDIA. Vital Management's going to be at CEDIA. You know I don't need to ask them where you're gonna be, we're gonna be sharing a booth at CEDIA, but can you talk a little bit about that ? How if there are integrators out there that want to talk to you about Bi4Ci or about Bravas kind of how you're handling those details.

Paul: You know one of the things that Steve and I when we started this mission of helping dealers owners dealers in our space we wanted to be as broad and helpful as we possibly could. We really wanted to serve the companies out there and help them run their businesses better. So we basically had three parts of our mission. The first part was to get people standardized and how they did their basic accounting and business process and provide them some business intelligence so they could run their business better. Now we are doing the business intelligence seminar Wednesday at 1 o'clock so come check Steven and myself out on that. That was one of our planks and that's now available through the Bi4Ci business intelligence for custom integrator an online dashboard service.

Ron:  I just pulled that website up by the way. So that's now up on the screen right now your Bi4Ci.

"If you take training you get mentoring you get how you find shortcuts from people. You become more proficient in these things."

Paul: There's great dashboards metrics that don't you don't have to invent it. You just have to conform to our QuickBooks methodology and you get this. It's a fairly inexpensive service. It's changing the way that the companies our owners run their businesses. We think it's fantastic. It's really for your company of any size. It's a subscription-based thing it's 300 dollars a month. So that is one plank of what we're doing. Now we understand that with any software QuickBooks or DTools iPoint or any other software you might be using I might even go to Excel and PowerPoint that sometimes it's hard and it takes a long time to become proficient in it by yourself. If you take training you get mentoring you get how you find shortcuts from people. You become more proficient in these things. So I think relating that example, we offer a coaching service that allows us to coach and direct owners on a monthly basis. It's collaborative with other dealers. We've extracted some of the best amazing best practices in this business and dock it up man. That's our second part of our mission which is coaching the third part is we always envisioned a world where there was investment demand for companies in our space. No one's been able to do that. No one's been able to kind of create that and we think it's with a solid business process and standards that we can attract investors to this space and we're doing that with a group of 24 companies right now. And we see that growing exponentially in the 50 or 100 companies maybe even hundreds of companies. We hope it invites competition for investment in these companies. So as you have seen some things pick up with merger and acquisition interest with SNAP AV transaction recently the Legron transaction and others, Sound United and all you're going to see something similar to that on the delivery side. Let me tell you in the delivery side model of this business is awesome. It's profitable and it's very attractive to investors. It's the most misunderstood thing in our industry. So that's what Vital Management does. We will be in the booth 702 you know sharing one on one. Steve and I will be working out with some of our associates come on by have a conversation with us, learn what we do how we do it. No matter what size you are from two to five employees to 50 to 100 plus employees come talk with us. We think that we've got some amazing knowledge to share with you and we're more willing to do it and we're here to serve the companies out there and really get a lot of pleasure helping companies be the best they can be.

Ron:  So Paul I've got up on the screen right now the map of the CEDIA show floor. You can see that we One Firefly and we're being joined by Paul and Steve from Vital Management are gonna be here at Booth 702 and you can see it's easy to find we're right here next to Amazon. So right between Amazon and Mercedes two pretty good brands. And that's where we will be located so let me try to get back and navigating technology is always fun. There we go. I think I did it. So Paul thank you for joining me for another successful episode of Automation Unplugged.

Paul: Well thank you Ron. Thank you for helping us get the word out on the concert and on this cause and we look forward just having a big party here in San Diego and we look forward to welcoming you to this great city. And we think this will be you know two of the most memorable years for CEDIA going forward. So thank you again Ron.

Ron:  Awesome. My pleasure. And everyone out there thank you for watching if you're watching us live. Appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your busy day to hang out with us here again not our normal day in time we're normally on at Wednesdays at 12:30 but the way logistics worked around and getting Paul. Paul's a busy man so getting him wanted to make sure we had a chance to have him on to talk about this exciting benefit concert. And if you're out there and you're gonna be at CEDIA please come by say hello if you want to make sure we get a scheduled appointment you know hit our website or send me an email and give me a call and we want to do that as well. But until next time everyone makes it a great rest of your week. And I will. I'll see you next week on the next episode. Thanks so much, everyone.

Show Notes

The Queen of Hearts benefit concert promises to "combine big fun, big surprises and industry support for the major cause of female victims of trafficking through GenerateHope." GenerateHope is a San Diego 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a safe place for female survivors of sex-trafficking. The event is organized by Vital Management.

Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly became the leading marketing firm specializing in the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.

Resources and Links from the Interview:

You can also learn more about Vital Management at