Home Automation Podcast Episode #109: An Industry Q&A With Eric Joy
In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Eric Joy, Chief Experience Officer at GHT Group is back to discuss the importance of communication and leaning on other integrators in our industry during this pandemic.
This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Eric Joy. Recorded live on Friday, April 10th, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. EST.
About Eric Joy
With his vast experience in the CE space as an integrator and manufacturer, Eric shares his unique perspective on approaching communication with manufacturers and your team during a time of crisis while also advocating on the importance of leaning on other integrators and building community.
GHT Group is a proud member of CEDIA and the HTSA buying group with a single 20,000 square foot facility located in Marietta, GA.
- Eric’s recommendations on the approach manufacturers and vendors should be taking to help integrators
- The importance of having a clear, open communication between your team and manufacturers
- Types of discussions Eric has been having with other dealers to help keep the industry booming through this crisis
- Steps Eric and his team are taking to keep their employees and clients safe when going out to projects
Ron: Welcome to another episode of Automation Unplugged! I'm excited to bring you Eric Joy, Chief Experience Officer over at GHT Group. You may recall that I had Eric on a number of months back for show #88. If you check out either our archive here on Facebook or on our website, you'll see full show transcriptions and the video and audio feed. It was a pleasure to have Eric on. At that time, I got wind of some of the strategies they're employing at GHT Group there in Atlanta. I thought that there'd be a lot to share with all of you.
Before I bring him in, I also just want to give a quick shout out to Joe Whitaker over at Thoughtful Integrations. He had me on his Quarantine Diaries show this morning. It was kind of fun because he reversed roles and he was interviewing me and his audience is primarily consumers. It was really just talking about strategies on how to evaluate integration firms and how to know who the right integration firm for you is. Definitely check that out if you're curious. On that note, I'm gonna go ahead and bring in our guest. How are you, Mr. Eric?
Eric: Doing good, Ron. How are you?
Ron: I'm super-duper, man. Thanks for agreeing to come back on. I didn't know I was going to have you on so soon, but thanks for doing this.
Eric: Well, I want to be kind of like a returning host of Saturday Night Live, how they get the bragging rights saying, "This is my X time hosting the show." I want to be the most brought back guest on Automation Unplugged.
Ron: There you go. Well, we're well on our way now, this is officially number two. We'll have to get number three scheduled. That will officially put you over the top there. We've got Jordan Littman in the comments. You know Jordan. He is super excited about this conversation. Jordan is your account manager here at One Firefly.
Eric: We love working with Jordan. He's fantastic.
Ron: Awesome. Yeah, Jordan's a rock star. Eric, talk to me. How are you guys? The elephant in the room is we got this COVID situation. You have a large team. You have a beautiful facility there in Atlanta where customers can ultimately come in, demo and experience home technology and audio/video gear. I'm assuming you're on lockdown? What's the status there where you're at?
Eric: Well, the status of the state of Georgia, in general, is a shelter in place state for our business. We have been very fortunate that we haven't had any shutdowns of new construction projects. Our team is still busy, which I know that there are a lot of spots out there for our friends in Michigan and New York and a lot of places where they cannot even get out and continue doing pre-wires or anything like that. We are working, we are staying extremely busy. The biggest thing that has changed is the showroom.
That beautiful showroom you just somewhat described has temporarily shut down. The showroom was closed but our phones are on. We're still here to help. The phone lines are being redirected to all of the sales guys that are all working remotely. I've got a 20 thousand square foot building I'm sitting in right now with. There are two other people in the building. We've got Chris in the warehouse and Kenny is here as well. We can actually social distance better here than we can in our own homes.
Ron: How are your sales team doing working from home? Were they set up to do that? Did they previously always come to the showroom and work from that office space there?
Eric: Not everybody worked here on a daily basis, but it was always a spot to come in work on a proposal. We don't just consider this a company, this is a family, it's a team. When you are isolated for too long, you feel like you're out there on your own. Even if we didn't need to be here in the building, guys would continuously come through and take advantage of setting appointments with their clients to come in and really "wow" them with a great demo.
The ability to give a customer a presentation or a tour or a demo, we're having to get creative with that. It's not happening very frequently, but because I'm consistently going to be here from bell to bell, every day, all the guys know that if their client needs to get on a FaceTime with me to give them a virtual tour or demo or show them different leather swatches or finishes of speakers, I'm here to do that. But we are still closing very good business, considering that we don't have the ability to bring the customers to the showroom at this point.
Ron: Now, there's been a bunch of industry webinars. I've never seen so many webinars in my whole life. I am assuming you've been getting hit up to attend webinars?
Eric: I'm guessing there are at least a dozen of them going on right now.
Ron: Right now! That's right. What I was going to ask you, out of all of those topics for webinars, one of the topics that I've seen many people covering is the popular question of the moment right now, which is the CARES Act the payroll protection program. Many people I'm aware of around the industry have been learning how to apply for that or they've been applying for that. Did you guys apply for that and what's the status of your situation?
Eric: We did apply for that. Our status is still pending right now. I've got a big network of friends that have businesses out there and it seems that most everybody is trying to participate in and trying to take advantage of this. It's just, unfortunately, I don't think the banking industry had ample time to prepare for this. Systems were getting overloaded. We actually have a great client that is an executive at Wells Fargo Bank, which just happens to be where we bank and we were looking at this as he's going to handhold us all the way through this process.
All right it's midnight and hit this button and then that button wasn't ready at midnight. We had to duck and weave and make some adjustments but we're in the queue. I'm hoping that there are some people that are seeing the light at the end of that tunnel. Don't get too frustrated and stick with it because you'd be crazy to not want to take advantage of that opportunity. What do you hear?
Ron: I'm asking this question to everybody out there because in some cases, I'm going to say like maybe for you guys that business is still flowing. It's nice to have but not a need to have. I'd say that's where we are at One Firefly, it's nice to have and not a need to have. There are many businesses that absolutely need to have this. I've been hearing of businesses that have applied, some that I would argue applied a little bit late, I would have advised to be Johnny on the spot and be ready last Friday or as soon as Saturday or Monday.
Some are still trying to figure out how to get applied as recently as today. It's kind of scary. But I have yet to hear of an integrator that had been awarded the funds. We actually had really good news here at One Firefly. I was skeptical as everyone regarding this, sounding like this is almost too good to be true to get bailed out by the federal government. I mean, big business and Wall Street get bailed out all the time. Small business, Main Street doesn't get bailed out. We received our documents yesterday to sign and within an hour the monies were deposited in our account.
Eric: That's awesome. I mean within an hour. It would be nice for any transaction within an hour of completing that project, that customer's money is now in your bank.
Ron: Taylor my V.P. of Operations of Finance, he's my right-hand man. He and I were just in utter shock and disbelief. One, that we received the loan docs to sign and then two that the funds got deposited so quickly. I remember I was in a client meeting and I got an email from my bank that a deposit had just been made and I was like, "Excuse me. Could you hold?" I called Taylor, asked him to check the bank account. I was like, "Did that really just happen?" And he's like, "Yeah it's there." I got that signal of hope to everyone watching and listening that it does seem like it's real.
"We don't carry any vendor debt here, we don't load up on inventory that's not necessary. If it doesn't have a customer's name attached to it, we don't sit on products."
Eric: Well, I imagine that felt really good. One of the things here with our company is we are in a really good position. As I've told you before, we don't carry any vendor debt here, we don't load up on inventory that's not necessary. If it doesn't have a customer's name attached to it, we don't sit on products. Our entire fleet of vehicles is completely paid for. We don't have a lot of risks out there. And we've just tried to maintain an attitude of, because this company did have a hard time back in 2008 and '09 during that crisis that our industry had. But we kept our head above water.
We survived it and just had always maintained an attitude of, "Yes, we want to grow this business but we're going to make sure that we always do it in a manageable way that things don't spiral out of control," and always be prepared that the faucet could turn off immediately. We want to make sure that we don't have a lot of liabilities and a lot of debt. We want this business to be healthy and we've committed that we will be standing on the back end of this thing regardless of how bad it may get with the hopes that it doesn't get bad at all.
"I've sat into a number of vendor councils and discussions regarding how they're managing this and they're hurting as much as everyone in the marketplace."
Ron: How is the communication with your vendors right now? How are your vendors doing in terms of leaning on you for orders? I know that I've sat into a number of vendor councils and discussions regarding how they're managing this and they're hurting as much as everyone in the marketplace. What are they doing right and what are they doing wrong?
Eric: Well, again, just as a reminder I have about eight years of experience being on the manufacturer and vendor side of this industry. During this, I put myself in those shoes. What would I be doing if I were them right now? It's hard for them because they want to be helpful to the dealers, but don't really know what we can do to really benefit you. That's why we have all of those webinars going on, which is fantastic for ongoing education and learning factor. What's most important to me right now is making sure that we are continuing to do daily business to the best that we can, collecting on all of those jobs that we're getting completed.
It's a challenge and I do challenge all of the manufacturers that when you are doing all of these webinars, don't just exclusively make it about your product, brand, and product knowledge. What little bits of advice can you throw out there that are good business practices? How to run a more efficient and organized organization? Because we're gonna have to be a lot more efficient. Unfortunately, a lot of companies have had to let some team members go or furlough employees. We're still 100% strong here but I let the manufacturers that are reaching out to me know that absolutely do not be pressuring me or the dealer community to load up on unnecessary inventory. That's the wrong thing to do. I would have to say that I would give the industry an A. If I were going to grade them right now. Or at least they're not hammering me.
Ron: Maybe they know better.
Eric: I think they do know better. I do appreciate the communication from the manufacturer partners. I do appreciate it when they do hear a great idea from another dealer that we might be able to implement into our business. The way I see things right now is even though we have competitors out there and in our markets, sharing information is critical right now. Sharing accurate and honest information. We're very lucky that we've got a pipeline full of business. We're still at full staff, nobody's been hit with any pay cuts or anything like that. But if things change here I'm not going to put on a front and give you misinformation.
I think being open and honest with each other is the best thing that we can do. I've even told the manufacturers as they're reaching out to me, I'm letting them know that as you're making your calls to your dealers and checking I ask those dealers if they're talking with other dealers. For me that's one of the best or the most comforting things, talking directly peer to peer. When you're talking dealer to the manufacturer, it's a good relationship and good communication. We're a member of the HTSA Group. Lots of communication with dealers there. I'm even communicating with dealers that were accounts that I called on when I worked at B&W or just even a couple of guys here locally in my own market that normally might be considered competition. I want the health of the industry as a whole. We've got to lean on each other and get everybody through this. I don't want to see the demise of anybody.
Ron: I want to dive a little bit deeper into the types of discussions you're having with other dealers. Before we started going and turned the cameras on, you actually were telling me about an inventory sharing strategy that you had at least chatted or mentioned to a few integrators. I do want to give a shoutout to our listeners. We have Kris Gamble from the UK asking about the CARES Act and whether it's applicable to businesses who continue to work? He says, "We don't have any equipment in the UK. There is a finance package available for covering 80% of staff salary rather than end their contract. We also received funding to pay our business premise rates." That sounds pretty similar to the CARES Act.
Eric: With the exception of, his question is asking ABOUT businesses who continue to work which. This is certainly applicable to businesses that are continuing to work. Not knowing what's going on in other parts of the world, but it is nice to see that it looks like there are things going on.
Ron: Yeah, I'm in a Slack group for Azione Buying Group, I'm in the Azione Buying Group and the ProSource Buying Group. In that chat string, there was a question and I think I know the answer. Eric, I don't know if you have an opinion as well but neither of us are experts on the CARES Act so go to your CPA or your lawyer for the real facts and figures. But one of the questions that had been posed in that channel was regarding the CARES Act money, were you still supposed to pay for your employees even if you were locked down and not allowed to go to a job site? My interpretation is yes, the way that was written is this going to cover eight weeks of payroll. The whole goal is that you don't lay off or furlough your employees. I would assume even if you can't send them to a job site, it still means you would pay them. Is that your interpretation?
Eric: Yes. And I would say specifically where you mentioned that asking questions to your CPA or attorney, there are probably a lot of people out there in the industry right now that are realizing they don't have good legal counsel. If you don't have a lawyer that you go to regularly to ask advice and look at documents on all sorts of things, now is a good opportunity to find yourself a good lawyer.
Ron: No, Amen. That's great advice. Back to the communication with integrators, I think I had heard you express an idea but I may have misheard it. I'd just want to clarify it.
Eric: One of the things that I did or have been doing is I'm talking with people that I've already got a good relationship out there with and even just some that are competitors within the marketplace that I don't communicate with on a regular basis. It's just kind of throw an offer out there, hopefully, things will not get really bad but if they do, take a look at what you've got in your warehouse. If you have unnecessary inventory that you cannot use currently at this moment, I don't know if I will be able to help you out but let's help each other out.
If we can buy from one dealer's warehouse to help them stay healthy, let's do that. We need to see the dealers staying in business and staying healthy. I think that it's probably the attitude that most manufacturers or all manufacturers need to keep in mind is the most important thing is making sure our dealers are healthy and stay in business.
Ron: I'm wondering is there a forum? That seems like a genius way for integrators to help integrators. I don't know if the vendors would like this very much but -
Eric: They probably won't but that's again why they have to understand the approach of, "I need this dealer to be in business in 90 days or six months." And if that means that they had to unload or help another dealer out, then that's just going to be the case.
"We need our integrators to be in business. We all know the storm will pass. None of us know exactly how hard or how long it will last, it seems to be market by market as to how severe how severely it's impacting."
Ron: I agree. We need our integrators to be in business. We all know the storm will pass. None of us know exactly how hard or how long it will last, it seems to be market by market as to how severe how severely it's impacting.
Eric: Yeah, market to market and even though we are all in the industry where effectively we do the same things, we do them differently. We might do them in different types of structures. We're lucky because we do a lot of custom-built residential luxury new homes. But for a lot of the people even if they had the ability to work, they do almost exclusively work in high rise buildings. And all of those buildings have completely shut down and said, "No more contractor work going on inside of our building." We're lucky that we're very diversified in what we do and have the ability to get out and keep working.
Ron: Eric, it sounds like you're still able to get out and do jobs there. There are folks that I've been interviewing on this show and that I've been talking to and they have a concern. I'm wondering if you could maybe riff on how you would think about it or address it perhaps. The concern they have is that their schedules were very neatly plotted out on their calendars now through the summer. In some markets, like our recent guest, Navot Shoresh from Spire out in Michigan, where they're on total lockdown, not allowed to visit job sites. And so what was a perfectly plotted out set of projects, and by the way, he said all his projects are still alive for now, they're just paused.
Eric: Correct. Yeah, one thing our industry I think has had a hard time being clear on is between using the word cancel and postpone. We've been hearing somebody say, "Yeah, Ron Callis is canceled." Well did Ron cancel or are we just postponing? What we're seeing is almost exclusively or really is exclusively postponing. Nobody has canceled a project. We're seeing a lot of things getting pushed back. Navot, my friend Dan Paulson out of Paulson's Audio Video up in Detroit, both of those guys are fantastic members of our HTSA Group. I know that they don't have the ability to go out and continue pre-wiring on any construction project.
They're all shut down. They really have their hands tied. People are scared for us to come out to their home. We are trying our best to make sure that those people are comfortable with our guys coming with contact-free appointments or as contact-free as possible. We are also screening our clients before we come out. We want to know is there anybody in the home that's currently sick, has anybody been exposed firsthand to somebody that has tested positive? You didn't just travel back from New York, did you? And if the answer is yes then they're going into the back of the line.
Ron: I just interviewed Keith Harrison yesterday from Total Home Technologies and he said his requirement is he only sends one tech to the house and requires the customer not to be home. So that way, he's doing his best to keep his team safe and to keep the customer safe.
Eric: You have a lot of good trust from your clients. I know that if I have an HVAC guy come into my house, I don't like leaving people unattended at my house. Thankfully most of our clients and the majority of the jobs that we're visiting right now are not first-time clients, they are people we've done business within the past so there is a level of trust. They know our team and they feel good about us coming out. But it is a challenge. Our calendar, while normally we would have X number of weeks booked down and pretty solidly booked out, the calendar can be a living breathing thing on its own and can change not just daily but sometimes hourly.
And we are seeing things on the bigger new construction projects to where I expect that they won't go into a pause mode but we'll take longer because the builders and the general contractors are doing a much better job of not stacking three four or five trades all on a job site all at the same time, which we had gotten used to working that way. The earlier days it was all right you guys come in, then the next guys come in, and then the next guys and then everything picked back up and was getting so rapid-paced that yeah there'd be four or five trades on a job site altogether. And that has changed.
Ron: The question is how understanding will the GC's or the builders be when the light switches flip back on for those markets that had been shut down? When normally you could have spaced your visits over weeks or months and you're going to have X number of jobs come back, but you only have Y number of technicians able to go out to those jobs.
Eric: Sure. I think industry-wide, that's going to be a problem. The pent up demand is already there. We know people are dying to do stuff but we're just going to wait. Will our industry be able to handle the wave of people that are ready to move? I know that the people that said, "You know what? Check back with us in a month." Everybody is going to want to get right there at the beginning of the queue and we will be probably the busiest we've ever been probably ever been. It's critical to be able to work efficiently and figure out how to hard to do all these jumps.
Ron: Eric you have children at home?
Eric: I have two adult children at home.
Ron: Two adult children at home?
Eric: Yeah, so they fully understand what's going on.
Ron: Well, the question is relating to the demands inside of houses right now for networks. I'll just say all of the technology or entertainment needs but in particular, the demands with - my son he's 10 and he's in the fifth grade and he is doing remote learning. The balance of his school year is going to be doing that from home. What do you think the next school year will look like?
Eric: My prediction is that... our schools here in Georgia start late August. I know other parts of the country will wait until after the first of September and after Labor Day weekend to get going. While that seems kind of far away from right now, I think it very well likely could be at a point where we're not quite ready to send kids back into a school building to start next school year. The high school I went to had a student body of about twenty-one hundred students. That's a lot of bodies in a world where we're saying don't gather people in groups of more than 10 and everybody stay six feet away from each other. We won't be able to do that.
I expect that the next school year will start with at home, online education. And gosh, we might see a lot of people that say, "I don't want my kids going back to schools anymore." There will probably be a lot more homeschooling going on moving forward. In the past few weeks, I told you, I've done a lot of Zoom and Go-To meetings and FaceTime. I'm seeing into your world right now behind you, I'm seeing into people's space and how they're trying to work from home.
Ron: What are you seeing is it good or bad?
Eric: You've got a very very organized office right there. But a lot of times I'm looking in and the dining room table has become Dad's desk, mom's desk, junior's trying to do his schoolwork. You have multiple people in the family trying to use one communal space to work from home and do their education. Moms and dads that are both at home are taking turns being the teachers to make sure the kids are doing their schoolwork while the other locks themselves in the bedroom to do business phone calls.
"People are going to be much more self-conscious about making sure they need a great place to work from home, a reliable place where kids can do their school things."
I'm fortunate that at my home I do have a very nice home office. If I needed to work from there, but a lot of homes that home office turns into something else. It turns into the kids play playroom or into whatever. I think people are going to be much more self-conscious about making sure they need a great place to work from home, a reliable place where kids can do their school things. Things that I'm noticing when I'm on in this situation right here, a lot of people's rooms are terribly lit. If you're trying to communicate with a client or communicate with your teacher, it's important that I should be able to see your face. Some people their rooms are so dark, you can't even really see them.
Ron: And there's a window right behind them so you just see their silhouette.
Eric: Exactly. We're gonna be trying to think of what is the ultimate work from home space look like? What is the ultimate education at home space look like? That can be everything from lighting to the acoustics in the room to best practices when doing Zooms and Go-To meetings. I think there's gonna be a huge opportunity for the at-home education and working moving forward and just one of these new emerging categories. When I first started, I would have never thought that we would be selling motorized shades but it's a huge part of our business. Work at home and education is going to be one of our biggest categories moving forward.
Ron: It's so interesting. We build websites and we do marketing and all these things for industry technology professional companies and in our website product, we have different types of pages and one of the modules on those pages could be home office. I can't think of a time in the last five years where someone ordered that. I'd bet that's about to change it.
Eric: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this industry has always had to think about how we're going to move, shift, evolve. What are the new and emerging categories? And the companies that adapt to them the best and the quickest are the ones that will not just survive but thrive.
Ron: Erik, you have this really awesome perspective from the manufacturer's side and from the dealer side and you're an industry veteran and you guys GHT seem to have a handle on things you're doing well so far. A lot of people in our industry are not doing well. They're scared, there are high levels of fear and anxiety, and they don't know maybe what's coming around the corner. What are some words of advice or considerations you could give them?
Eric: I think number one, the biggest advice is to communicate. As human beings, we're prideful. When things are not good, we don't necessarily feel comfortable openly discussing and sharing. We don't want to let our guard down, we don't want to reveal our weaknesses and our flaws. I think we have to suck it up. If things are not good, reach out to a peer, reach out to your manufacturers, reach out to the team at One Firefly. I tell everybody that I'm communicating with whether you need to run an idea past me, if you just need me to tell you a funny story and hopefully put a smile on your face, or bounce ideas off of each other - reach out and ask me. Trying to navigate something like this as an individual on your own or just as an individual company, it's gonna be a lot harder. Is it easier to paddle upstream with just you in oar in a boat or if we have the whole team of us in there paddling together?
Right now our HTSA Group is talking with other groups. I'm talking with people that I consider my competition, where normally I might fight tooth and nail for that. We need the industry to be strong. Don't be scared to reach out for help if you need it. I encourage you to proactively reach out to people and not just wait for them to call you. Be proactive in having a straight dialogue with your manufacturing partners. If things are getting tough you need to let them know. The manufacturer community really is going to have to be extremely understanding pending how long this thing goes. That and I guess the other thing is just having gone through what happened in 2008 and '09, the industry will survive. People want and need the things that we offer. And I think that's a good thing now taking a look in comparison. Previously our industry was full of just things that were luxury items.
We only wanted them, we didn't need them. That used to be one of our things, "Eric, why do I need one of these?" "Well, Ron, you don't need anything that I sell but you probably want it." Now we are in a world where we are actually selling things that are needs, they are critical things. Managing people's security and surveillance systems, their thermostats, the lighting within their home. And of course, the biggest growing category in the industry is wireless network gear. We cannot not have a great wireless network in our home. We are in the central business and I'm glad that the federal government has deemed what we do is essential.
Ron: How is the wireless network at your home holding up?
Eric: At my home? I actually need to give myself an upgrade. I mean, everybody in the house is streaming stuff and playing video games.
Ron: If you need me to give you a recommendation or referral, I know people that need help.
Eric: I know a couple of those folks myself I should do that.
Ron: I did that when I moved into this house last fall. I moved here in September and that was actually my number one priority. It seems like maybe I had a crystal ball or something but for the first time in any home I lived in, I did the work. We put in a nice robust network with Ruckus access points on every floor, Cat 6 wiring, over here in this closet SurgeX UPS protected gear and my neighborhood has a fiber drop. This is where I'm bragging a little bit, 900 meg down, 300 meg up internet. It seems so wonderful that I did that now that my son is doing his Zoom meetings with his teachers. I'm up here Zooming all day. My wife might be on the network or in the evenings we'll do our Netflix.
Eric: Everybody's home and systems are being put to its test, for sure. There was an article in The New York Times that was talking about how our internet is not prepared for how the demands that's going to be put on it. If you saw there were headlines coming out of I believe it was France where they were requesting that Netflix and other streaming things stream it low definition resolution because they just couldn't handle what was going on. Yet we really are in a world where so many of the things that we want to use, need to jump and live on your wireless network. We've tried to embrace the approach of letting people know in today's world a great wireless network system is as critical, if not more important, than your plumbing and electrical.
Ron: I think that we'll have a lot less skeptics out there after this event. I think we'll have a lot more believers buying that story because it couldn't be more true. Last thing I want to ask you, a random question. Have you picked up any new TV series or Netflix shows or anything you want to recommend that I watch or the audience watches?
Eric: I am embarrassed to an extent that I did watch Tiger King in its entirety. I watched all seven episodes of that in a matter of two days.
Ron: I've even heard that they're now going to make another one. I guess based on the demand?
Eric: I don't think it's another series, I think I heard that it was going to be one more episode that was coming out.
Ron: I haven't even watched it but I know there's a woman named Carole Baskins?
Eric: And she murdered her husband!
Ron: I haven't even watched the episode but I have heard the hype.
Eric: My favorite thing that's been on TV is Ozark, it's fantastic. They released season three and I plowed through it in a matter of no time. It's fun because it is filmed here in Georgia. Actually, one of the guys on our sales team, Scott Adams, the home in the show where the Byrde family lives on the lake, that's his aunt and uncle's home.
Ron: No way!
Eric: Yeah. So they have rented that house out for the first three seasons of filming. They had signed the contract to go ahead and start production for a season four that should have started filming on April 1, but because of the COVID-19, they don't expect that they will start filming now until September. Anybody out there that is a fan of Ozark, I hope you enjoyed that awesome season 3. We won't be watching season 4 for another year.
Ron: Oh no! My wife and I are huge Ozark fans. We watched seasons one and two, have not yet watched Season 3.
Eric: Buckle up man it's insane.
Ron: The amount of just fear and anxiety that that show induces. The guy's almost normal but then the situations he's in are just terrifying.
Eric: Yeah. And so when you're watching that, kind of apply that. Look how relatively calm and cool and keeping his stuff together. This Marty Byrde and his family. If they can deal with all of that stuff, we can get through this.
Ron: Great. I love that. If he can stay calm cool and collected with all this stuff going on in his world, then you and I can handle this quarantine.
Ron: All right, Eric. It was a pleasure having you back on the show #109. Congratulations to you and Kenny and the team over there at GHT for holding the fort down and really keeping a positive attitude and outlook on life and business. Thank you for being you.
Eric: Well, thank you. And thanks to all the people on your team that do such a great job on the back-end. So much of what we're doing and what makes the business we're doing positive is because of lots of back in help from folks like you, so thank you. We certainly love the One Firefly team.
Ron: All right Eric. It was a pleasure, sir. Stay safe and wash your hands regularly and keep six feet distance.
Industry leader, Eric Joy, Chief Experience Officer at GHT Group has a unique background with experience as both manufacturer and integrator. He shares his perspective on ways he recommends our industry to approach communication throughout this crisis and how we can help each other stay strong.
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 within 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:
- Quarantine Diaries Shoe #13 featuring Ron Callis by Joe Whitaker of Thoughtful Integrations
- Helpful resources from leading manufacturers and industry professionals such as CEDIA, sonnen, Crestron
- HTSA Buying Group
- Azione Buying Group
- ProSource Buying Group
- SurgeX UPS Protected Gear
More Automation Unplugged:
Want to stay up to date with the latest Automation Unplugged interviews? Head over to the One Firefly Facebook page and subscribe to receive a notification whenever Ron is live!