PreSonus Lays A Foundation For Growth
...in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on April 30. “Jim Odom and his team at PreSonus have not only built a company that is creating the type of high-paying, high-tech jobs that we want in Louisiana, but have shown the world that a company based in Baton Rouge can compete globally.”
From the ground up, the new building was customized to accommodate a team of nearly 100 engineers and support staff. Among the building’s unique features are a specialized high-tech recording studio and research and development space that has been custom designed for PreSonus’ engineering and testing team by the award-winning Walters-Storyk Design Group of Highland, New York. The 2,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art studio features a control room, a 500-square-foot live sound room, two isolation rooms, a video production suite, and five test labs as well as a separate 1,500-square-foot live sound room. “This new facility enables us to continue to grow PreSonus and at the same time improve the lives of our staff,” remarked Jim Mack, CEO. “Its architectural design enables us to work better as a team, be more productive, and better create, market, and sell our product.”
“The last 20 years have been an exciting journey,” said Jim Odom to guests. “And it seems like only yesterday that I sat down with my dad and asked for a $30,000 loan to prototype our first product and pay for a booth at the NAMM show.” After graduating from LSU’s Electrical Engineering program, Odom, a musician and producer, started the company in his garage with a goal of building professional and affordable music production tools for musicians and audio engineers. The idea for the company came after a studio session where he got a chance to use an Alesis ADAT digital recorder. “It was a game changer and got me thinking that all the tools that were used in big dollar recording studios would have to be redesigned for the upcoming project studio market,” recalled Odom.
From this encounter, Odom and his partner Brian Smith got to work on the DCP8, a digitally controlled eight-channel compressor/limiter/gate. Truly ahead of its time, the DCP8 was designed for the studio engineer to insert eight channels of analog compression with the ability to save, recall, and automate settings—features previously only found in mixing consoles costing more than $100,000. The product was an immediate hit, and with the assistance of a $300,000 investment from the Louisiana Economic Development agency and Source Capital, the company started production in the back of an antiques furniture store in Baton Rouge.
Sales of the DCP8 surged, and turnover for the company grew from $700,000 to nearly $4 million in less than two years. This early success brought on additional investors, helping PreSonus relocate to a much larger facility that was its home until the recent move in April 2014. “The early years were crazy,” said Rick Naqvi, vice president of sales. “In the morning we’d make sales calls to sell gear. In the afternoon we’d all pitch in to help build product. And at night, we would work to pack and ship.”
Booming growth followed with award winning products including DigiMax (2000), the first eight-channel microphone preamplifier with ADAT output; Central Station (2004), the first monitor controller with talkback; and FireStudio (2006), the first FireWire recording system with integrated remote control for surround and stereo capable speaker switching and communications. Demand quickly exceeded production, and around 2005 the company made the decision to relocate production to Asia. “Brian Smith and I were spending too much time on dealing with the logistics of manufacturing and not research and development that was the lifeblood of our company,” said Odom. This new manufacturing strategy was soon followed by the opening of a European distribution company, a software development office in Germany, a quality control center in Hong Kong, and software offices in Massachusetts and North Carolina.
Today this global organization turns out more than $50 million worth of product a year, led by sales of StudioLive digital mixers, AudioBox recording systems, StudioLive sound reinforcement products, and software. Odom continued, “Since we started, we’ve survived two recessions and three hurricanes. We’ve also sold more than $300 million worth of gear, sold more than two million devices, and provided a great work environment for hundreds of people. This new building sends a loud message to the world that PreSonus is on a roll.”
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