On his 40-acre property halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte, Ron Prier oversees far more than just the rolling hills and horses that dot the land. It is here that Prier manages what began a decade ago as an uncertain venture, a commercial integration firm that he began without a deep technical background.
But not only has RPAV succeeded, it has sprouted: Today Prier manages three corporations that tie into the RPAV umbrella, a three-pronged integration outfit that Prier oversees from the comfort of his Bowersville, Ga. estate.
The first of those three prongs is the original enterprise, RPAV, an integration firm that specializes in retail, hospitality and restaurants. There is Pathway AV, the newest spinoff, an integration firm focused solely on the house of worship market — fertile territory in Prier’s neck of the woods. There is R&D Manufacturing, a rack fabrication company that builds and ships custom-built A/V racks domestically and to Europe.
PRIMARY LOCATION: Bowerville, Ga.
PRINCIPALS: RPAV: Ron Prier, owner; R&D Fabrication: Ron Prier & Don Wilson, co-founders; Pathway AV: Ron Prier, CEO; Charles Prier, principal;
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 20
2012 COMMERCIAL PROJECTS: 135
TOP 3 VERTICAL MARKETS: Retail, Hospitality, HOW
TOP 5 BRANDS: Lab.gruppen, Rane, Lowell
“My company builds racks and does roll-outs better than any other company.”
A concept that Prier says he developed and implemented while working with AEI was building racks to spec for companies with nationwide franchises — including Red Lobster restaurants — and shipping them to job sites, ready to roll essentially as plug-and-play components.
Three years ago Prier installed an A/V system in Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, where he is a deacon and a Sunday school teacher. Most equipment was donated and it was a test lab, of sorts, for working in the house of worship market, though that vertical was a market he had for years resisted getting into — too much red tape, too many skeptics to be won over and church committees to navigate. The members of Prier’s church were similarly skeptical about bringing video into their 300-seat congregation, but they quickly came to love it.
“I don’t know if it’s luck. Some of it wasn’t by design but it certainly came out correctly.” – Ron Prier, RPAV
“So I said, ‘Hmm. No competition, heavily saturated with this vertical and we already are a vendor for products that we could use,’” he says.
It was a no-brainer.
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