2012 Columbus Smart Leaders: Rusty Ranney, President & CEO, Live Technologies LLC

Rusty Ranney, President & CEO, Live Technologies LLC

Rusty Ranney, President & CEO, Live Technologies LLC

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

We have a division in our company that we call Systems Integration. This division offers audio, video, lighting and conference solutions to theaters, arenas, boardrooms and training facilities, mostly in the university and healthcare markets. This division always did pristine work but failed to make a profit because they were mostly focused on “just getting the job done at any cost.” When A&S Investments bought out the director of this division and consolidated the leadership under the BOD and the CEO’s management, we were able to change the culture to one of process and discipline. Today that division is a significant revenue producer and is getting very good at managing costs and the difficult construction timelines. They have become significant contributors to the profitability of the company and YTD revenues the past 2 years have gained 16 percent in 2011 and 36 percent this year. This group has improved their capabilities with every new hire and most importantly, the associates in this division have played a very active part in defining how we do everything better.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

I am not a traditional business school trained person, rather I began in this industry as a concert lighting designer so I have always relied upon my creativity and abilities as a problem solver to lead the company. That doesn’t mean it’s all “Rock and Roll” around here, any great production has an amazing amount of forethought and planning to make it look seamless to the audience. We rely on our show management abilities time and again to hit all the “cues,” whether it is managing our financial needs or providing unique and creative solutions delivered flawlessly to our clients. We rely heavily on and invest commensurately in some of the latest amazing technologies to differentiate ourselves and we desire to train our associates to apply these technologies at the highest levels.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

You will see the “Live” logo listed as a sponsor for almost every major charity and community event in the Columbus local and Ohio regions. We are creative with our clients on how they can get the most value from our services, whether it is a highly produced event or a like-kind donation that helps fit a budget for a growing event. We are very aware of the impact our productions can have on fund-raising activities and we pride ourselves in helping plan events that convey the right message at the right value.

Rusty Ranney is the president and CEO of Live Technologies LLC