Veteran CE pros may remember Blake Vackar from his first stint on the sales side of leading screen and shades manufacturer Screen Innovations. Well, after a brief detour, Vackar is back at SI as Brand Ambassador and Screen Evangelist and ready to meet with integrators to evangelize the opportunities in those categories.
What does all that entail? The big takeaway for integrators is that big screens and functional shades make a compelling combination to sell – that said, we’ll let Vackar tell you more in this week’s CE Pro Podcast episode discussion.
From 2009 to 2020, Vackar was director and VP of sales at Screen Innovations, before going to Meyer Sound where he was residential sales manager until making the move back to SI.
“Well the return was easy, I mean all my friends work here,” Vackar says with a chuckle. “It’s like coming to the clubhouse every day. Now that Kim’s joined the team – Kim Parker, Michael Braithwaite as well.”
Screen Innovations recently hired Parker away from Snap One and Control4 to be SI’s COO after a long tenure at the previous companies. Braithwaite, meanwhile, serves as SI’s chief technology officer. The trio makes for a well-seasoned executive group to team with CEO Ryan Gustafson at the Austin-based company.
“Michael and Kim and I kind of grew up in the industry together, and being in Austin, Texas, we kind of noticed that we were the only three people here who were always on the same flights going to tradeshows. It’s how a 25-year-old friendship started, and now we all work together,” he enthuses. “It was pretty easy.”
What Vackar Will Evangelize at Screen Innovations
After coming from the sales gauntlet of SI and the industry, Vackar has a bit of a different perspective on his role this time around now that he’s an “evangelist” for SI.
For the company, he’ll be meeting with dealers and underscoring the increasing chances for them to procure more slices of the project pie when it comes to projection screens and automated shade solutions. It will help SI maintain its competitive advantages in the screens and shades categories that it already possesses, per CE Pro’s annual CE Pro 100 Brand Analysis.
“We’ve always approached it as, who can do the best work depending on the situation,” Vackar explains of SI’s handling of its personnel throughout the company. “Same thing for accounts, right – who has the best relationship to manage this account? Who has the particular skill set to do this part of the job?
“We have things on our business cards that say titles, but as you can see on my business card ‘evangelist’ is a pretty broad terminology,” he adds.
Screen Innovations wants Vackar to evangelize “the big-screen experience,” he says, now that all the pieces are in place for customers to do so in many different ways and enjoy the glut of movies, TV and sports content out there.
“We’ve got the ability now to provide a window to a very rich media world out there, let’s call it a media universe, and that’s what we are,” Vackar says of the custom integration channel. “If you’ve got a 50-inch window, that’s fine, but what we’re offering is a 100-, 120-inch life-size window into that universe, and I think it needs an evangelist.”
He cites the example of projection systems as an alternative to big flat-panel displays, noting that a lot of the experience comes from how installers design a system for customers. If it’s a 90-inch 4K TV but the homeowners are sitting far away, they’re not seeing all the fine microdetail that 4K has to offer and it’s more like 1080p. But a system in which clients can experience a 120-inch screen sitting much closer will create more immersion and better image dynamics and detail for the viewers.
Of course, beyond screens, SI has become a leading automated shade producer in recent years as well. Here too, Vackar will be able to influence dealers by helping them implement shades for today’s growing applications, including their outdoor shade models to expand living spaces to the backyard porches and patios as well as aid energy savings.
Learn about the latest solutions Screen Innovations has to address the projection screens and motorized shades opportunities for integrators, and hear more about SI’s plans for the rest of 2023 by listening to or downloading the entire podcast above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the CE Pro YouTube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast feeds.