An Interview with Blake Overton, Account Executive at SKC
| by Michelle Nettuno, Category Marketing Manager, Technology at E&I Cooperative Services
SKC Communications designs, builds, and manages technology for enterprise collaboration using video, voice and AV technologies, to enable faster and smarter communications. The company is platinum certified with many leading brands, such as AMX, Crestron, Extron, Poly, and QSC. SKC’s main objective is to help members improve productivity while lowering operating costs.
We sat down with Blake Overton, Account Executive at SKC, to discuss their recent project with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.
What project was University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler looking to do?
University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) provides graduate education, graduate medical education, and biomedical and clinical research to help improve the long-term health and wellness of Northeast Texas. The university’s American Medical Center needed help with an audiovisual project.
UTHSCT was looking to build a three-story classroom structure with collaborative classrooms and conference rooms throughout. The building would help expand the university’s medical program across the campus; and would provide community medical training for better community interaction. UTHSCT was looking for an audio-video contractor that could meet their AV requirements, and stay within their timeline and budget.
What issues was UTHSCT facing that prompted the university to contact SKC Communications?
UTHSCT contacted us because the original contractor’s pricing for the project was extremely high. The university wanted to know if SKC could help them lower costs, without jeopardizing the productivity and functionality of the systems they needed.
An additional issue UTHSCT faced was timing. The university had a tight timeline for space to be completed and fully functional. Timing is always an obstacle for these types of design/build projects, but with SKC’s years of design, installation, and project management experience, we were able to commit to completing the project within their strict timeframe.
Please explain how SKC handled the design and installation for UTHSCT.
SKC worked with its preferred manufacturers: Panasonic, Samsung, Crestron, Spectrum and Mersive; as well as DataComm, the university’s AV consulting company. These relationships enabled us to deliver the best solution for the university that met their desired budget. Utilizing SKC’s engineering resources, we were able to simplify the design without cutting the needed functionality of their high-demand American Medical Center, which not only is not only a teaching university but also provides medical care.
What actions did SKC take to ensure the project was done within UTHSCT’s strict timeline?
The tight timeline for the university was an obstacle that SKC was able to overcome through a quick design/quote/SOW review, as well as utilizing SKC’s project management capabilities. There was only a five-month span from receipt of the purchase order to project completion (which included procuring equipment, programming, installation, and commissioning). SKC’s highly qualified teams worked quickly to make up lost time with construction pre-wiring and handling the infrastructure (screens and mounts) within the general contractor’s timeframe. As a result, the project was completed successfully in accordance with the tight timelines.
How did SKC help UTHSCT ensure the project was completed within budget?
SKC and UTHSCT worked together to modify the design to meet the university’s needs without cutting functionality. Our unified goal was to ensure the project would be well within their strict budgetary requirements.
One way that SKC helped UTHSCT lower costs without decreasing functionality was to switch products from AV over IP to HDbaseT, which is a video protocol that is run over a traditional network and has a lower cost entry point. An additional cost-reducing action we took was to move all AV equipment into each room instead of centrally locating it in IT/server closets. This solution allowed for large savings on cabling runs.
The competitively solicited E&I SKC agreement provides the best possible pricing and service on a wide-array of communication technology products. Since this project was handled under the E&I SKC contract, we were able to clearly communicate the costs and functionality with UTHSCT, and modify the project to fit their needs and stay within budget.
What were the results of the project?
SKC was able to install and complete the design in the brief timeframe required by the university. The E&I SKC contract helped aid in the quick turnaround for this project through the university’s procurement process, and the contract enabled us to engineer the project, since SKC holds the sole source AV agreement.
As a result of these efforts and by utilizing the E&I SKC contract, we were able to save the university in excess of one million dollars on a multi-million dollar project!