Leaders shape company culture in a number of ways, although the most important is leading by example. For the company as a whole to adopt an attitude of acceptance toward change and technological innovation, leaders first have to truly embrace it and practice what they preach.
Starting and running a business has always been part of the DNA of Michael Sigourney, Founder and CEO of AVTECH Software, Inc. Prior to launching his company in 1988, he sold advertising in the computer industry, served as a director of marketing at two software companies, and then worked as a marketing consultant to several high-tech companies. He was successful at everything he did. However, instead of being happy about his accomplishments, Michael was becoming frustrated, seeing that he usually worked harder and had greater commitment than the people who owned or ran those businesses. He felt held back and that he could do better.
As a consultant, Michael helped sell a couple of his customer companies to investors. Much of his work was responsible for the interest in and/or eventual sale of those companies. “When the dust settled, the owners walked away with a big check, and I had to find another client,” Michael says. “I quickly decided to put my market knowledge and previous experience into starting my own business and have never looked back since.”
After founding AVTECH, Michael established other businesses as well. AVTECH, however, continues to be his most successful and well-recognized enterprise.
Leadership Behind The Foundation of AVTECH
AVTECH has a great leadership team that Michael works closely with to ensure the day-to-day operations are running smoothly. He has particularly strong relationships with international sales partners and resellers, and spends time helping them continue to spread the AVTECH and Room Alert brand messages in markets outside of North America. He helps share his brand message by representing the company at various trade shows in Ireland, London, Germany, and Dubai as well as proudly representing his home state of Rhode Island on trade missions to help encourage businesses to expand into the local region. He finds it extremely valuable to talk with his customers and partners to see how Room Alert is working for them in their own unique situations.
Michael is proud to lead the team that has been essential to Room Alert’s growth over recent years. All Room Alert products are designed, developed, and supported in AVTECH’s Warren, RI headquarters and Room Alert is built in the USA. His team members have full control over product development lifecycles from start to finish, including supply chain which helps to ensure his customers are receiving the absolute most reliable environment monitors on the market. He is constantly driven to make sure his team is keeping the customer first and foremost in everything that they do. How customers discover Room Alert, the environment concerns they have, and how they use his products in the field in ways that he never envisioned internally all help inform him on where to lead his team. Leadership has been part of his being since taking those first steps towards starting his own business and the success of his team never fails to inspire him.
Room Alert protects people, property, and productivity to provide Peace of Mind.
Room Alert: A Recognized Brand
Not many people may know about AVTECH by name, although Room Alert is highly recognized worldwide within the IT and facilities management industries. Michael points out that there were two points in time when he knew Room Alert had become a recognized brand.
“The first was when APC asked about buying AVTECH, this was long before Schneider Electric acquired them and after management discovered that they had been purchasing large volumes of our monitors through their air conditioning group,” Michael says.
After he said that they were not interested, APC bought a competitor that was struggling and hungry for a lifeline. “We still convert many of their customers to Room Alert each month,” Michael adds.
The second incident is one of Michael’s favourite stories. During a meeting with people from the manufacturer of a key component used in Room Alert monitors, his receptionist stuck her head into the room and said, “Sorry to disturb you Michael, but I think you need to take this call… it’s the White House!”
He did take that call. And, they were shipping Room Alerts to the White House by the end of the week. “I could not have had a more impressive disruption, and it gave us the edge in our meeting once I returned,” Michael says.
A People-Oriented Culture
“AVTECH has three core values that guide everything we do. First, we value honesty and integrity, and are committed to continuous personal and professional improvement. We always want to be open and honest with each other, our customers, and all our partners so we can continually learn and grow as an organization. Second, we affirm that the work we do helps to facilitate a positive and fulfilling life both inside and outside of work. We want our employees to have a solid work/life balance, while giving peace of mind to our customers so they can concentrate on their family and friends outside of work hours, knowing our products are monitoring their facilities. Last, we respect different ideas and perspectives and encourage diversity of thought. We recognize that everyone on our team has different backgrounds, skills, and perspectives, and we want all our team members to feel empowered to use those skills and backgrounds to help each other, and our customers”, asserts Michael.
He always encourages his team members to bring on their ideas and feedback that they can use to better serve their customers overall. A great example is their patented Monitor360 technology that can be found in their Room Alert Account online dashboard, where many of their customers set up alerts, generate reports, map their Room Alert installations and more. His own facilities manager noted that he often wished he had more insight and information when he received alerts from the Room Alert monitors and sensors they use in their facilities. He realized that many of their customers might share those same concerns, and the idea for creating virtual sensors and alerts quickly took form. They were able to develop Monitor360 technology which was recognized as a unique and valuable service when they received a patent for it.
I have learned over and over that my dreams change as life moves forward and targeted accomplishments are achieved.
Michael added, “We have set a number of milestones that I am confident our team can accomplish this year. Our Room Alert Account online dashboard has been recognized by many of our users, including a leading international telecom carrier, as one of the “best in the world” and we are getting ready to introduce some exciting new features that will provide even greater enhanced functionality and experiences for our users, especially those on mobile devices.”
“Also, we are hard at work on introducing another new Room Alert-specific sensor that will help any organization that’s looking to increase employee protection and productivity, and our stretch goal is to see marked increases in Room Alert installations throughout Europe. The EU has always been a strong region for us, and we acquired one of our long-time valued UK resellers in January of this year to help us increase our distribution and reach throughout the UK and EU over the next three years” Michael says.
The Mantra for Success
AVTECH has been experiencing consistent growth for years now and they are confident that the environment monitoring market will support strong growth above other industry averages for the foreseeable future. They believe that there are minimal market constraints and that awareness worldwide of new applications will pull them into new markets. One of the great things about Room Alert is that it is a platform that is not confined to a specific vertical market. They started in the IT world and continue to dominate there. Michael proudly says, “we are now recognized as a strong solution for food service, housing, education, medical, pharmaceutical, warehousing, manufacturing, communications, logistics, aerospace, military, government and more.”
AVTECH is also developing a greater voice than they ever have before. They create weekly content based on the experiences of customers, their own market research and ongoing development that bring market awareness and benefit to others. More and more they are being asked for insight based on their huge customer base and the knowledge that we have active customers in almost all countries worldwide. To this end, they have a social obligation to share and leave the world a better place.