Commercial Integrator 2023 - 32

ENTREPRENEURS Business Ownership
The Realities of
AV Integration
Business
Ownership
Jeff Irvin and Jay Rogina,
former owners of Spinitar,
and Mike White, former
owner of Multi-Media Solutions,
candidly share what life is like
aſt er selling their businesses.
By Alyssa Borelli
ON OCTOBER 31, 2022, aſt er 36 years,
fi ve months and fi ve days of business ownership,
Jeff Irvin, principal and chairman of
La Mirada, Calif.-based Spinitar, decided
to sell the business that his wife Barbara
and he founded in May 1986. The couple,
then in their mid-20s, navigated Presentation
Products (dba Spinitar) into the world
of systems integration.
The morning aſt er the sale, Irvin recalls
Spinitar's then-CFO walking into his offi ce,
taking a seat across the table, looking
him in the eye and asking him a simple
question: " How are you doing? " Irvin
started sobbing uncontrollably. " I was
not prepared for the emotional impact of
selling the business and walking away, " he
acknowledges. " I went from black to white
without passing through gray. "
Overnight, Irvin became a 1099 employee,
which continued for two months
32
Commercial Integrator JUNE 2023
before he leſt the company. " I have cried a
lot more than I've laughed about all of this, "
he says, adding, " not that I'm unhappy with
the deal. " It's just that managing the day-today
operations of the business is what he
was used to doing. " [When] you step out
and can take a breath, it's cool, " he notes.
" But, at the same time, it's very scary! It's
been tough. " Irvin recalls the industry
friends...the relationships built over the
years...the employees who were like his
own extended family. Suddenly, all of that
was gone from his usual day-to-day routine.
A Successful Marriage
Back in 1999, with the help of AV consultant
Gary Kayye, Irvin was introduced to
Jay Rogina. The two hit it off immediately,
and, together, they grew Spinitar into a
renowned $60 million design, build and
aſt er-sales-support integration fi rm specializing
in corporate enterprises, government
and education clients.
As the demand for LCD projectors and
fl atpanels grew in the early 2000s, so did
the business. With the help of Rogina's
expertise, they were able to turn the
company from a transactional box-selling
business to a consultative selling and
integration service business. " We were
blessed to be a part of that demand and
that growth in that space, " Irvin refl ects.
" We lasted 24 years together. It was a
successful marriage! "
Rogina, principal and CEO of Spinitar,
recollects some naysaying from earlier in
their careers. " [We were] told over and
over by our contacts in the industry that
we would fail, " he remembers. " But we
[succeeded] with faith and a strong belief
in our people. " Rogina makes a valuable
point - namely, that integrators don't
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator 2023

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Commercial Integrator 2023 - 1
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