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You think you know Solotech? Think again!

The past year has been a source of renewal for Solotech. In addition to making four acquisitions, the global leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology diversified and expanded its service offering by adding new technologies and solutions.

The year 2022 is very promising for Solotech with the return of Live Productions activities and the continued growth of its Sales and Systems Integration and Media and Entertainment Technology Divisions.

Discover Solotech’s rich services and solutions offering, provided, as always, with the same passion at the heart of Solotech’s success for now over 45 years.

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Bryce Jewell appointed Managing Director UK

Bryce Jewell appointed Managing Director, UK

A major milestone towards a European expansion and diversification of activities

 

London, December 20, 2021 – Martin Tremblay, President and CEO of Group Solotech, is proud to announce the appointment of Bryce Jewell as Managing Director UK, as of December 15, 2021. Mr Jewell will be responsible for driving the overall business strategy for Solotech in the United Kingdom, both for the Live Productions and the Sales and Systems Integration Divisions.

“This appointment is the symbol of a new major milestone for Solotech’s expansion in the UK and Europe, and a true testimonial of our intention to continue investing in our people, our technology, our operational structure and our brand”, says Tremblay. “We are in it for the long run, and are definitely looking to build a strong, UK-based operation with–in addition to the audio heritage from SSE Audio, Wigwam Acoustics, Capital Sound and BCS Audio–other key services and technology that set Solotech apart and make it absolutely unique on the global market”, he adds.

He is a seasoned business leader with over 20 years of experience within the technology sector spanning the UK, US, Norway, and Australia. Previously, Mr Jewell successfully led the turnaround of the UK and US Enterprise businesses as Managing Director at Global Cloud Xchange who operates the world’s largest privately-owned subsea cable system. Prior to Global Cloud Xchange, he served as Director, Sales Europe at Pacnet, where he achieved President’s Club honours in his first year and continued to excel for 4 consecutive years. His broad experience in engineering, sourcing, product, sales, and management has set him apart in being able to articulate business strategies into concrete action plans that lead to revenue growth and client success and retention.

Supported by a strong, experienced, and passionate UK-based leadership Team in both Divisions, and corporate services (finance, HR, marketing, etc.), Bryce Jewell will pursue the amazing growth journey of Solotech UK and its UK Companies for the years to come. “We are absolutely thrilled and proud to welcome Bryce as part of our Leadership Team. His knowledge of business management and technology background will be a major game changer for the diversification of our business activities in the UK and in all of Europe for the years to come,” concludes Tremblay.

 

 

About Solotech

Founded over 40 years ago, Solotech is a world leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology with 18 strategic locations in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and China. Thanks to an inventory encompassing over 300 renowned manufacturers, Solotech is the single source for audio, video, lighting, rigging, soft goods, control and collaboration solutions and services. The company is internationally recognized for its expertise in Live Productions and Systems Integration in various markets, namely music, sports, business, culture and education. Clients can also benefit from its Service Center, Online Store and virtual technology know-how. Solotech is fully supported by three major shareholders: Claridge, Desjardins Capital and Investissement Québec. The company employs 1,360 professionals in its offices located in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Saguenay, Halifax, Macau and Hong Kong.

Find out more at: solotech.com

 

Contact – Solotech PR (Canada)

Heloise Meunier, Corporate Communications Advisor

media@solotech.com

 

Contact – Solotech PR (UK)

Andrew Low, Director of Marketing and Communications, UK

andrew.low@solotech.com

 

For further information about Solotech in the UK

https://www.solotech.com/united-kingdom

www.sseaudio.com

www.wigwam.co.uk

www.capital-sound.co.uk

www.bcsaudio.com

Nico Labbe interview with Solotech

5 minutes with… Nico Labbé, lighting expert

Solotech introduces the talent behind its unparalleled world-renowned expertise.

We sat down with Nicolas ‘’Nico’’ Labbé, Senior Technical Specialist, who joined Solotech in the fall of 2021.   

Summary of an enriching interview with the stage lighting expert who traveled the world for over 35 years alongside the most prominent French-speaking music artists.   

Q: Nico, first, thank you for accepting our invitation. Here’s an easy start: Who is Nico Labbé?  

NL: Nico Labbé is always thrilled. I have memories of when I was 13 or 14 years old. I would go to bed at night, listening to Genesis and doing light shows on my bedroom ceiling with flashlights. 

At 16 or 17 years old, I studied for a year the technical side of theatre at CEGEP Lionel-Groulx in Montreal. After, I immediately went to Toronto and did my first major tour with Platinum Blonde.  

From there, I went back to Montreal and I started as Yves Aucoin’s assistant. Yves is a recognized lighting designer in our community. Since Yves was always in high demand, he moved from one project to another, so I took over some of his tours. This is how I came to work as a lighting designer with amazing Quebec music artists, such as Richard Séguin, Roch Voisine, Garou, and many others. After working with Garou, Yves worked with Céline Dion. I’ve worked with Garou for quite some time, but I won’t take over with Céline (laughter)! That’s my journey. I must have been born under a lucky star! 

Q: What are the most significant projects you’ve worked on? 

NL: I worked with legends. I spent no less than 15 years working worldwide with the late great Charles Aznavour. I’ve also worked with Mister Gilles Vigneault (Editor’s note: Gilles Vigneault is a poet, singer-songwriter, and integral part of Quebec’s musical landscape). It’s been huge. 

I had the chance to work with Lara Fabian for several years. I will never forget the show we did for 22 guests in President Vladimir Putin’s private salon in Moscow, Russia. That was quite special! 

Q: What have you been doing since you joined Solotech? 

NL: Many things (laughter)! My boss Jerome Dussault tells me that I’m an ambassador for Solotech. After 38 years in the business, I’ve got quite a lot of connections all over the place. I can work on new products that we want to test or buy. I’m looking at the artistic and creative side of the latest gear. I also take care of many smaller projects involving sales representatives and clients/lighting designers. I try to facilitate their work.  

Q: What brought you to Solotech after so many years on the road? 

I’m almost 55 years old. I did my share of touring, and I wanted a little change. We won’t sugarcoat it: going on tour is not what it used to be. Back in the days, we were on the road two, three weeks in a row, in Gaspésie, or Côte-Nord. Now, you make round trips Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Now, you can consider yourself lucky when you’re working on a Tuesday. It’s not how it used to be.  

Working at Solotech allows me to stay up to date in the business, and the tools that I have here are incredible. I have resources for everything! 

It’s an excellent way to complete the picture.  

Q: What do you see in the future for the business, and what are its biggest challenges?  

NL: I think that we will continue to evolve, technology-wise. When you look at the market’s latest products, it seems they become outdated after only six months.  

As far as challenges, we need to listen to each other more. We’ve seen it with the pandemic; we are working in a fragile industry, a privileged job, meaning that it’s the first thing people can cut. We need to find a balance. Everybody needs live entertainment, to laugh, dance, etc. We need to stabilize everything. 

Q: How can Solotech adapt and help its clients through this new reality?  

NL: It started already: we need to implement a personalized, customer-centric approach. We must not create a working structure, but provide a structure that is adapted to each client. Each client is different. There is a wish to humanize a big company like Solotech. We need that, after all that we’ve been through. It’s the foundation of our business. We can do business with numbers, but with our hearts as well. We can take this human approach. Each client is equally important; it’s as simple as that.  

Solotech breaks into the top 10 of SCN’s top 50 systems integrators list

Solotech ranks 9th on Systems Contractor News Top 50 most important AV systems integrators on the market. 

Montreal, Canada, November 30, 2021 – After another uncommon year, Solotech is proud to maintain its ninth position in Systems Contractor News’ Top 50 systems integrators 

At the same time, Solotech confirms its place as Canada’s prime integrator, being the only Canadian company to make it on to the list. The acquisition of CBCI, a Solotech company, in May 2021, has further strengthened Solotech’s expertise in systems integration from coast to coast.  

‘’This recognition is the result of the hard work of our team of experts’’, said Philip Giffard, Global President, Sales & Systems Integration Division. ‘’We have kept our place of choice in the market thanks to our strategic approach based on diversification and a wider geographic footprint. Our employees’ innovation and passion remain at the heart of our success, despite the many challenges they had to overcome. I am very proud of them.’’  

For the second year in a row, SCN’s ranking, a great recognition in the AV industry, is based on the annual average revenue from 2019 to 2021 rather than the previous year’s revenue. Thus, SCN wishes to celebrate the success of companies that met the new challenges brought about by the pandemic. 

 

Contact

Roch Carignan
Communications and Marketing Advisor
media@solotech.com

CBCI, A Solotech company, is now open for business in Halifax

A seventh Canadian strategic location to better serve customers from coast to coast. 

 

Halifax, Canada, November 10, 2021 – Solotech’s worldwide footprint keeps getting stronger thanks to its strategic locations in numerous cities all over the world. Solotech is proud to announce that, following the acquisition of CBCI, the company has opened a new office in Halifax to take over new business opportunities and continue to offer solid expertise in many sectors, particularly for provincial and federal government agencies.  

The new office is in the heart of downtown Halifax, at 1697 Brunswick Street, Unit 4. Customers across the region looking for the latest audiovisual and videoconferencing solutions can reach an expert at 1-877-542-9333.

CBCI, A SOLOTECH COMPANY, IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN HALIFAX CBCI, UNE COMPAGNIE SOLOTECH, S’INSTALLE À HALIFAX

 Solotech is happy to count on Ryan McKinnon, Account Manager, and Éric Thibault, Sales Director, as they focus on developing new business opportunities. Currently, all activities related to this new location pertain to the Sales and Systems Integration Division.  

Solotech is thrilled to offer this additional service point to foster Solotech and CBCI’s excellence and innovation. The company now has close to 20 offices worldwide. Once more, she succeeds through a reach as a global company but with a local approach. Solotech, with CBCI, is the #1 Systems Integrator in Canada, and now with a stronger than ever Canadian presence! 

Discover all Solotech locations here. 

 

Contact

Roch Carignan
Communications and Marketing Advisor
media@solotech.com

Solotech wins at SCN’s 2021 Installs of the Year

Solotech awarded SCN’s 2021 Install of the Year

A first Systems Contractor News award for the company, honoring its work at The Rady Shell 

 

Las Vegas, United States, November 9, 2021  Solotech’s Sales and Systems Integration Division is proud to add a prestigious industry recognition to its resume for its work at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, home of the San Diego Symphony. 

This is Solotech’s first recognition at SCN’s “Install of the Year” Award, which celebrates companies that have gone above and beyond to create ultimate user experiences.  

Solotech rose to this major challenge by designing an exceptional sound quality and precise sound system, flexible enough for different types of performances, as well as capable of reaching 9,000 spectators while respecting the surrounding city of San Diego’s strict noise ordinance.  

A complete custom white L-Acoustics audio system was deployed at The Rady Shell, along with Meyer Sound Constellation system, DiGiCo consoles, Shure wireless microphone system, Planar LED screens, Sony and Panasonic cameras, Blackmagic video switchers, and a complete ETC lighting control system.  

Back in 2015, Pro Sound & Video, a Solotech company, was also among the winners of SCN’s Install of the year for its work at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, in Greenville, South Carolina.  

See our work at The Rady Shell here. 

 

Contact

Roch Carignan
Communications and Marketing Advisor
media@solotech.com

Renowned Industry Experts promoted to lead Solotech’s U.S. Systems Integration Team

A new leadership structure to drive growth and expansion

 

Orlando, Florida, U.S., September 27, 2021 – President and CEO of Solotech, Martin Tremblay and Philip Giffard, Global President, Sales and Systems Integration Division, are pleased to announce a new leadership structure in the U.S. The past two years have been very productive for Solotech especially following key acquisitions of Pro Sound & Video, SEAL, Miami StageCraft, and PSSL. These milestones resulted in additional resources, expertise, locations, and clients. Giffard explains: “Our systems integration expertise has been taken to new heights and our footprint in the United States has been significantly strengthened. With our solid positioning, the time has come to take another important step and consolidate our strengths to ensure succession in a context of undeniable growth”.

David Shoemaker is appointed President, Sales and Systems Integration, U.S.

Reporting to Philip Giffard, David leads the Sales and Systems Integration Division in the U.S. and has primary responsibility for profitability and growth. David is also responsible for defining Solotech’s business strategy in concert with Kelly Prince, Chief Technology Officer. He serves as a member of the Division’s global management team and collaborates on major transactions and new strategic business initiatives. His leadership is also essential to ensure the cohesive deployment of support functions, including human resources and information technology, across the U.S. After more than 15 years at Pro Sound & Video, David is a well-recognized audio design expert and respected business leader.

Kelly Prince is appointed Chief Technology Officer, Sales and Systems Integration, U.S.

Kelly is responsible for the overall technical expertise and the development of solutions that suit the needs of our clients. Also reporting to Philip Giffard, he ensures the deployment of all design and engineering services and oversees strategic procurement for the Division in the U.S., collaborating with the Strategic Sourcing Team in Canada. He also works with Marketing for the commercial deployment of technological solutions and the promotion of expertise. Kelly, also a member of the global management team of the Sales and Systems Integration Division, helps define the vision and strategy to drive business development. With over 20 years of experience at Pro Sound & Video, Kelly is a key strategic player and highly respected industry expert.

Rod Sintow becomes Strategic Advisor and Solotech U.S. Corp. Officer

Reporting to Martin Tremblay, Rod leads the ideation, planning and positioning of new strategic business initiatives in collaboration with Philip Giffard, Global President, Sales and Systems Integration. Rod acts as a strategic advisor and thus contributes to realizing Solotech’s vision of growth with a “global and local” approach. He focuses on increasing Solotech’s geographic reach, entering new markets and identifying growth opportunities. As the founder and Chairman of Pro Sound & Video, Rod promotes the full integration of the company in the Solotech family, notably as a mentor to David and Kelly, who will ensure the succession of operations. His 45-year experience and expertise in the industry are second to none and will propel the continuation of Solotech’s international growth plan.

About Solotech

Founded over 40 years ago, Solotech is a world leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology with 16 strategic locations in Canada, the United States and in the United Kingdom. Thanks to an inventory encompassing over 300 renowned manufacturers, Solotech is the single source for audio, video, lighting, rigging, soft goods, control and collaboration solutions & services. The company is internationally recognized for its expertise in Live Productions and Systems Integration in various markets, namely music, sports, business, culture and education, and is fully supported by three major shareholders: Claridge, Desjardins Capital and Investissement Québec. Solotech employs 1,550 professionals in its offices located in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City and Saguenay. Find out more at www.solotech.com.

Find out more at www.solotech.com

 

Contact

Héloïse Meunier

Advisor, Corporate Communications

media@solotech.com

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PSSL a solotech company pro sound and stage lighting

Major expansion of Solotech’s Online Store in the US with the addition of PSSL.COM

An enhanced e-store offering and shopping experience

with an extensive choice of renowned AV products and solutions

 

Westminster, California, July 20, 2021 – Philip Giffard, President, Global Sales and Systems Integration, Solotech, is pleased to announce that the company is launching its expanded US Online Store, following the addition of ProSound And Stage Lighting (PSSL.com).

PSSL is a renowned Californian company for over 40 years now and is one of the largest and most respected sources of professional audio and lighting equipment in the United States. This initiative is perfectly aligned with Solotech’s digital strategy and vision: to further expand its e-commerce global reach and provide a single source for pro AV and entertainment technology to customers worldwide. The combination of PSSL’s expertise and impressive inventory and Solotech’s US Online Store brings customers’ shopping experience to a whole new level as they now access the single e-destination for world-class AV and entertainment technology.

Philip Giffard explains: “Solotech’s strategy and strength is all about diversification, especially in this post-COVID era. To maintain our competitive advantage and leadership position, we make sure we offer customers what they want, wherever they are: an opportunity to easily find online high-quality AV products and services. On a single platform they can access a massive array of new/used equipment, exclusive brands, complementary services, multi-expertise for all needs, trendy gear, amazing deals, etc. This alliance with PSSL simply means customers get the best of both worlds and from companies that are known for their ability to deliver at all times!”

Dave Rice of PSSL adds: “Solotech is a unique company with a compelling service offering and great people. The addition of PSSL brings an exponential expansion and numerous cross-selling opportunities. Both PSSL and Solotech’s customers can benefit from the complimentary tribal knowledge and distinct service offerings each company and their teams possess. PSSL brings e-commerce experience to Solotech’s US Online Store, and Solotech brings substantive financial backing; broad and upmarket product offering; powerful vendor relationships; a worldwide network of systems’ engineers and production professionals.”

This large-scale e-commerce platform and greater offering targets all markets, as PSSL and Solotech can undertake and service any project across the globe, including businesses, big and small, houses of worship, government, nightclubs, military bases and major theme parks.

Existing and new customers are invited to take advantage of this great news and to browse through tens of thousands of cutting-edge products by visiting PSSL’s website at www.pssl.com.

 

About Solotech

Founded over 40 years ago, Solotech is a world leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology with 16 strategic locations in Canada, the United States and in the United Kingdom. Thanks to an inventory encompassing over 300 renowned manufacturers, Solotech is the single source for audio, video, lighting, rigging, soft goods, control and collaboration solutions and services. The company is internationally recognized for its expertise in Live Productions and Systems Integration in various markets, namely music, sports, business, culture and education, and is fully supported by three major shareholders: Claridge, Desjardins Capital and Investissement Québec. Solotech employs 1,550 professionals in its offices located in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Quebec City and Saguenay.

Find out more at: solotech.com

 

About ProSound And Stage Lighting

ProSound And Stage Lighting (PSSL or PSSL.com as we have become to be known) has grown to one of the largest and most respected sources of professional audio and lighting equipment in the United States. We are located in Westminster, California – right down the road from Disneyland! Our goal at PSSL.com is to exceed our customer’s expectations at every point of contact. To meet this goal we must provide excellent products and outstanding customer service, all at guaranteed low prices. Total customer satisfaction will always be our bottom line.

Find out more at: www.pssl.com.

 

Contact

Héloïse Meunier

Advisor, Corporate Communications

media@solotech.com

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CBCI Recognized as Poly Partner of the Year

CBCI Telecom, a Solotech Company, was awarded the 2020 Canada Silver|Poly Partner of the Year. This annual award from Poly, a world-class provider of collaboration and communication tools for the modern workspace, is presented to partners who demonstrated exceptional achievements and partnership.

Poly recognized CBCI’s innovation, drive, and adaptability during this unique time, as well as the importance of their partnership and how they moved forward toward growth. Congratulations to the team of CBCI for their partnership, dedication, and achievement.

Learn more about the Poly Partner Program.

 

Contact

Héloïse Meunier

Advisor, Corporate Communications

media@solotech.com

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Octas 2021-Solotech

Solotech’s wins at the OCTAS contest

Each year, the Réseau Action TI rewards technological innovation in Quebec through the OCTAS contest. It’s a unique opportunity to highlight excellence in information technology (IT) and digital technology.

At the 34th edition of this prestigious contest, Solotech won an award with its Service+ project in the Business Solutions category.

Service+ is a solution that ensures the optimal performance of audiovisual equipment. It allows for real-time monitoring and remote resolution of technical failures that may occur on any equipment.

Learn more about Service+.

 

Contact

Héloïse Meunier

Advisor, Corporate Communications

media@solotech.com

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Solotech acquires CBCI Telecom

A strong IT expertise that propels Solotech’s service offering

Montreal, Quebec, May 17, 2021 – As part of its growth strategy, Solotech is pleased to announce today the acquisition of CBCI Telecom Canada Inc. (CBCI). The company headquartered in Montreal has been established for over 30 years across Canada. CBCI is a Canadian leader in providing the most comprehensive audiovisual and video conferencing solutions. Cisco, Microsoft Teams and Logitech solutions are part of its service offering, including personalized cloud services and video conferencing interconnection. CBCI has advanced expertise in audiovisual and unified communications services and solutions for companies in various business sectors, health and education sectors, and provincial and federal government agencies. This strategic acquisition is an important addition for Solotech, particularly in terms of expertise and geographic footprint, as it will expand its presence in Quebec and Ontario and a new presence in Western Canada and shortly in the Maritimes.

“Solotech is very proud to join forces with this company renowned for the quality of its technological solutions and services. This transaction aligns perfectly with our growth strategy and confirms our position as the number one Canadian leader in sales and integration of audiovisual systems. CBCI’s portfolio of services and cutting-edge IT expertise enhance, among other things, our collaboration technology offering, including cloud computing, particularly in the corporate, government and educational segments in which we operate. We are delighted that Solotech’s seasoned team is growing”, explains Martin Tremblay, President and CEO of Solotech.

“CBCI’s reputation is well established: it’s led by a strong team of experts who serve an impressive client base. This is a staple synergy due to the complementarity of the services of our companies. Unified communications and collaboration technology is a sector of great needs, and we are better equipped than ever to continue to meet them. In addition, CBCI’s information technology expertise complements Solotech’s service offering very well in the corporate market. That way, we mutually gain proximity and specialization and improve our agility in an industry where the demand is strong. I am pleased to welcome Denis Dumouchel, a prominent industry leader, and his entire team to Solotech”, adds Philip Giffard, President Global, Sales and Systems Integration, Solotech.

“The culture of Solotech and CBCI is based on a philosophy where collaboration and innovation play a central role and are reflected in service quality. It felt just right to join our two organizations to enrich the services and solutions offering for our clients and provide greater opportunities for all CBCI employees who benefit from Solotech’s positioning as a Canadian leader. I look forward to working closely with Philip Giffard and his team”, mentions Denis Dumouchel, President of CBCI.

This acquisition, which highlights a successful model based on a diversified, dynamic and accessible technological offering, is deployed with the full support of Solotech shareholders: Claridge, Desjardins Capital and Investissement Québec. “Once again, we are pleased to help propel Solotech’s expansion. Alongside our partners of the financial ecosystem, we fully play our role, which is to support a leading player in the entertainment and AV/IT systems integration industry by providing flexibility and the tools to become a key player, locally and beyond borders”, adds Guy LeBlanc, President and CEO of Investissement Québec.

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About Solotech
Founded over 40 years ago, Solotech is a world leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology with 15 strategic locations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Thanks to an inventory encompassing over 300 renowned manufacturers, Solotech is the single source for audio, video, lighting, rigging, soft goods, control and collaboration solutions & services. The company is internationally recognized for its expertise in Live Productions and Systems Integration in various markets, namely music, sports, business, culture and education. Solotech employs 1,550 professionals in its offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City and Saguenay. Find out more at www.solotech.com.
Find out more at www.solotech.com

Contact
Héloïse Meunier
Advisor, Corporate Communications
media@solotech.com

About CBCI
For more than 30 years, the Montreal-based company has been at the forefront of videoconferencing implementation across the country. As an industry leader in Canada, CBCI has developed expertise in providing visual communication equipment and services to corporate, health, legal, education and federal/provincial government sectors. CBCI provides solutions in collaboration with over 40 technology partners.
Find out more at www.cbcitelecom.com

Martin Tremblay CEO of Solotech standing in front of led screens into the solotech studio montreal

La Presse Interview with Martin Tremblay

(FREE TRANSLATION)

In-depth interview with Solotech CEO Martin Tremblay

While waiting for Céline and The Rolling Stones, a beneficial tech shift.

 

Montreal, April 7, 2021 –  Groupe Solotech, which has handled sound and stage equipment for the tours of many artists, including the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga and Céline Dion, took a hard hit when the entire events sector worldwide was suspended. Despite this setback, the sound and stage equipment supplier has made the most of the hiatus by setting up two new divisions in broadcasting and e-commerce. CEO Martin Tremblay outlines the company’s journey and transformation.

Like all companies in the live performance and touring realm, you’ve had to stop your event-related activities for over a year now. How did you absorb the shock?

Solotech is a very resilient company. It’s true that the suspension of live shows meant that we had to repatriate all our teams that were on tour around the world. It also meant the suspension of all the event activities, such as conventions, trade shows and conferences, where we provided lighting, sound and stage dressing.

These activities accounted for 45% of our revenues, so we fell back on our most significant sector of activity: audiovisual system integration. We continued to work in stadiums, arenas, hospitals and anywhere audiovisual equipment is installed. This activity has started up again alongside new construction in Quebec but never stopped in the United States, where we are very active.

Our revenues, which were 450 million in 2019, fell to 250 million in 2020, but we managed to stabilize the company. Before the pandemic, we had 1,500 employees worldwide, including 600 in Montreal. Today, our numbers are back to 1,200 employees, with 530 in Montreal, where we are starting to hire again.

What’s next? Do you expect performances and touring to start up again soon?

Yes, there will be a recovery, which will be dependent on Public Health advisories. We can already see that things are starting up again in the United States, particularly in Nashville, where we just made a major acquisition, and in Florida, where we are also well established.

In Great Britain, public health authorities have announced that all show activity could resume as of June 21 and, according to what our industry partners tell us, be twice as strong as before. Even though we have four offices in England, we’ve had to ship equipment from Quebec to meet the demand.

Your roots are in the video game industry; you helped develop Ubisoft’s Montreal studio and Warner’s Games Division before joining Solotech in 2017. What was the exact nature of your mandate?

Solotech’s shareholders – the Claridge Investment Fund, Investissement Québec and Desjardins Capital – who acquired the company from its founders in 2013, wanted us to develop the American market. My mandate was to take our know-how and operations to the world stage. We made our first acquisition in 2018 and continued on the same track, up to and including our acquisition of Morris Light &Sound two weeks ago in the US. We now have 18 offices in Canada, the US and the UK, and in 2019 our US business accounted for 47% of our revenues, compared to 38% in Canada and 15% in the UK.

Will the Covid-19 crisis slow down your expansion plans, or do you still plan to continue this consolidation initiative?

In fact, the crisis has generated new activities. We’ve created two new divisions besides equipment supply and audiovisual systems integration services.

Solotech has over 350 million pieces of equipment in stock and sells and installs these new and used. When the crisis hit, we set up a new e-business division, which generated close to 20 million dollars in sales. We “professionalized” this activity and plan on expanding it to each of our 18 offices worldwide.

As soon as the pandemic began, many of our clients needed help with online events. We set up a Media and Entertainment Technologies division to help clients host online events in virtual environments.

We put our production tools, like LED panels and recording studios, at our clients’ disposal. We understand that future events will be of a hybrid type, partly in-person, partly virtual. We also want to serve large online broadcasters such as Amazon, Netflix and film studios such as Mels, which will make greater use of virtual environments in their productions. Our online broadcasting and e-business activities will complement and strengthen our traditional activities.

How do you see Solotech evolving in the next five years?

With the resumption of shows and events activities, we expect our yearly revenues to reach the billion-dollar mark within three to five years. Our online broadcasting business is expected to yield $100 million in revenue; our e-business, $200 million; and our touring and systems integration business, $700 million.

We want to continue consolidating the industry in the United States, as well as in Europe, from our base of activities in the United Kingdom. Our business had been growing at a rate of 40% for the last three years. We want to get back on track, and the diversification of our activities means that we can eventually consider a stock market listing.

We were able to absorb the shock of the pandemic and stabilize the business through our systems integration activities and technology shift. Information technology now lies at the core of our operations.

 

Reference : Décarie, J.-P., (April 6, 2021). En attendant Céline et les Rolling Stones, un virage techno bénéfique [While waiting for Céline and The rolling Stones, A Beneficial tech shift]. La Presse.

Find out more at www.solotech.com

 

Contact

Héloïse Meunier

Advisor, Corporate Communications

media@solotech.com

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