Lone Tree, Colorado
Shawn Hansson began his audiovisual career early. "I've done this since high school," he says. "It's all I've ever known."
The Northern California native transplanted to Colorado in 2001 and worked for a Front Range AV installation company for three years before launching his own.
"I thought I could do it better," says Hansson. "I was primarily doing high-end residential over the years."
In 2009, Logic Integration moved into the commercial market after a referral led to a project at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood. "We had to learn the ropes of government contracts," says Hansson.
It's paid off handsomely, as sales have grown by about 35 percent annually and the staff has mushroomed from six to 27 employees in the five years since. Logic Integration's 2013 revenue was $5 million, and Hansson expects to hit $6.5 million in 2014. Commercial projects now represent nearly two-thirds of the Logic Integration's sales, with installations in the U.S. Army, the Colorado State Capitol, Lockheed Martin, and numerous boardrooms.
But Logic Integration's residential is on the rise since establishing separate sales teams for residential and commercial projects in 2013. "They are two different things with two very different clienteles," Hansson explains. "Most companies don't do both."
In both segments, the iPad has made the universal remote obsolete. Logic Integration has developed a proprietary graphical user interface (GUI) that sits on top several controls by Crestron. Not only can users control their AV system, but it can control lighting, thermostats, and alarms, eliminating what interior decorators call "wall acne."
"We have a gorgeous showroom in Lone Tree with a million dollars of equipment," says Hansson. "We hand people an iPad and they're controlling shades and lights and the TV. It's easy to use. Even my mother loves it."
He says that Logic Integration's projects vary considerably in terms of scale. "Typically our projects start at $10,000 or $15,000. Our average project is between $100,000 and $200,000. Our largest project was about $1 million."
That would be the Luxury Survival Condo project in Kansas. Developer Larry Hall contacted Logic Integration to handle AV for his project converting a Cold War-era underground missile silo to luxury housing that doubles as a place to wait out the apocalypse. Half-floor units start at $1.5 million.
Hansson says he originally shied away from what was supposed to be a $70,000 project, but glad he didn't in the end, and not only because the budget ultimately increased by a factor of 14 -- it's also generated oodles of press. "We outfitted the whole thing," he says. "It's been on National Geographic. It's the number-one show on Doomsday Preppers."
The project also won Logic Integration "Specialty Project of the Year" award at the International Consumer Electronics Show, as well as "TechHome Integrator of the Year."
And now Hall is developing a second complex that's double the size of the first one, and Logic Integration is again handling the AV systems. "People are snatching them up," says Hansson. "It's funny how this project landed in our lap and we tried to run away from it."
Challenges: Scaling up to meet demand. "Growth is a challenge -- you always hear that," says Hansson. "Doing things with a six-person company is way different than doing things with a 30-person company."
Opportunities: "All the local government work and corporate work is ever-growing," he says. "We just signed on with the Colorado State Capitol. They want the latest and greatest but they don't want to see it."
Needs: "We're always looking for people," says Hansson, noting that Logic Integration has hired four new employees since late 2013 and will likely add that many more by spring. Experience isn't the critical factor when it comes to new hires, he adds. "We love training new people. Personality is half the interview."