Commercial Integrator July 2021 - 49

to always have a business attorney you can
talk to just for structure purposes. Always
have a great payroll company and a great
CPA that's in your corner that you can talk
to, " says Rooks. " Those things saved me
from the pitfalls of business. "
Learning those facts in advance was
" I have a two-car garage
on my house and I built
another two-car garage for
storage in my backyard.
That's where I started the
company, " says Rooks.
even asked me to subcontract because they
liked my work ethic.
" One of the reasons I left was because I
was promised a position as management.
I came in as an installer and became a field
service technician within two weeks, " he
says. " I was told I would become the department
manager and all that stuff. It kind
of disappeared. They brought someone
else in even though they kept telling me my
performance was great. "
The promise never coming to fruition,
Rooks decided it was time to strike out on
his own. He was ready for management
and more responsibility. If his current employer
wouldn't give him the opportunity,
he would create the opportunity himself.
" I felt like there was a glass ceiling there
that I wasn't going to break, " says Raymond,
despite the fact that people within
his office wanted to see him break through.
Particularly the women in his office who
likely experienced their own obstacles.
" They knew if I went the work would pile
up, " he says. " I would try to work like two
or three guys. I had a passion for it. "
Ultimately it was a systemic issue that
kept Rooks from getting the opportunity he
deserved.
" There were offices throughout the east
coast, and the ownership for the company
was up north. They pretty much controlled
everything, " he says. " I didn't see a longterm
opportunity, so I said my best bet was
commercialintegrator.com
to start my own company.
" I have a two-car garage on my house
and I built another two-car garage for storage
in my backyard. That's where I started
the company, " says Rooks. " Ten years ago,
we moved to an office closer to the city and
we've been there ever since. "
Creating Opportunity
As with many integrators that transition into
an ownership position, Rooks experienced
growing pains when business management
was added to his workload on top of technology
integration.
" The sales portion of it I didn't know, but
I found out because I'm a people person it
makes me a pretty decent salesperson, " he
says. " I also have a passion and knowledge,
so I'm not just selling but believing in what
I'm selling.
" What I didn't realize was dealing with
employees and the administrative portion
of it was a lot more than what I thought it
was, " says Rooks. " I actually became a part
of a business group which helped me a lot. "
Business Network International (BNI),
an American networking organization,
provided Rooks with experienced peers
that could help him avoid potential pitfalls
many new business owners fall into. He met
with other business owners in groups and
through one-on-ones to gain insight before
he made potential mistakes.
" I learned as I was building the business
integral to saving massive headaches down
the line, and he credits his peers in BNI for
helping him understand the value of trusted
partners on the legal and accounting side.
When it came to employee management,
those pitfalls were more difficult to avoid.
" I learned that I need an employee manual, "
says Rooks. " You can't just go out and
hire guys and not have something in writing
that they sign off on because not everybody
has the same work ethic that I have as a
business owner. "
The other struggle of ownership came
with giving up oversight.
" Having the experience a few times of
leaving guys on a job site earlier on, and I
come back and it's not up to may standards
and they're not where they're supposed to
be as far as the timeline, " says Rooks.
" Having good employees changed all
that, " he says. " I found that if I had at least
one guy who's experienced on the job and
has some pride in the work that he's doing
that puts me at ease and I can step away
from the job. "
The growing pains were there as they
are with any business. Eighteen years later
Rooks employs five professionals he's
trained to avoid pitfalls and churn out projects
that are up to his standards.
Audiotech is going strong and Rooks
is succeeding in an even more expansive
management position than the one he was
denied earlier in his career.
Fostering Diversity
" I hire guys of all races, " says Rooks. " I've
hired guys where I didn't even know what
their ethnicity was. You can do those things
if you own the company. "
Rooks liked to post job listings online
and narrow down candidates that way. It
allows him to methodically work his way
through a large pool of candidates and
find those that will take on the work ethic
necessary for his company.
From time to time, though, he still finds
JULY 2021 Commercial Integrator 49
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Commercial Integrator July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator July 2021

Commercial Integrator July 2021 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator July 2021 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator July 2021 - 1
Commercial Integrator July 2021 - 2
Commercial Integrator July 2021 - 3
Commercial Integrator July 2021 - 4
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Commercial Integrator July 2021 - 6
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Commercial Integrator July 2021 - 38A
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