Article published in Commercial Integrator September 16, 2016

“Breaking the Mold: This Integration Firm Is Programmed Differently”

Casaplex’s non-traditional team of non-AV-type-employees has added up to an AV integration firm that can do things with products that others simply can’t.

Derek Goldstein was never a DJ. He wasn’t in a band. He never even worked as a roadie. The 36-year-old’s background doesn’t seem to fit the narrative for AV integration industry company founders.

Instead of pushing an AV cart, Goldstein spent his formative years writing code and lots of it. “It was right at the birth of the Internet,” he recalls. “I started to learn to program UNIX systems. I was an IT-focused kid.”

He won a programming contest when he was 13, put together websites for other kids in his neighborhood and co-launched a fantasy sports game while still in high school. His eventual interest in launching an AV firm with business partner Nelson Garcia — who does bring to the table a more traditional AV background — had less to do with audio or video than it did with smart homes, smart buildings and intuitive systems.

It all adds up to Kensington, Md.-based Casaplex being a different kind of integration firm. The young team — “Most people here are in their late 20s, early 30s,” Goldstein says — doesn’t necessarily feel like it fits in at industry events or fits the mold of typical Commercial Integrator cover subjects. However, the team at Casaplex is focused on breaking those molds…

Rethinking Business Processes

If Casaplex wants to be a different kind of integration firm in terms of how it develops technology solutions for its customers, it needs to reflect that on the business end, too. Meanwhile, it’s not ready to walk away from that 20 percent year-over-year revenue growth it has been experiencing in recent years. Before Casaplex’s aggressive growth began in 2012, the team had the foresight to realize that aspects of its infrastructure weren’t going to cut it for a larger company.

“We really try to prepare ourselves for growth in advance and try to be forward-looking while keeping in mind that we need to be as agile as we can be in in our offerings and the way we speak, but very disciplined and methodical in the way we execute our processes,” Bajic says.

One big problem — and one that many smaller companies face — was Casaplex’s disparate software solutions. Its financial, project management, time-tracking, scheduling software and more were all different solutions “that we figured out in our own FranPROFILE: Casaplex kenstein way,” Bajic quips. “I think a lot of small businesses face that issue and can’t grow out of it.”

That’s essentially when Casaplex crossed paths with Solutions360. Perhaps tailor-made to work with an open architecture software company due to its enthusiasm for programming, the process seems to have had not just a functional but a therapeutic impact on Casaplex…

Read the full article here

About the author
Tom LeBlanc – Editor-in-Chief, CI,
Tom has been covering electronics integration since 2003. Prior to being named editor-in-chief of CI, he was senior writer and managing editor of CE Pro. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.

View all posts by Tom LeBlanc