After decades of engineering work, Patrick DeZess was ready to try something new. He loved the industry and didn’t want to leave it – he just wanted to take the best parts of his former roles and make those things the focus of his time and effort moving forward.
“By the end of each day, I was exhausted,” he explains. “But then I’d have a discussion with someone about their career path or about technology – and it would be like someone flipped a switch. I was ready to go again. I wanted to help people grow their internal teams and engineering departments while avoiding the mistakes I’ve made over the years. That needed to be a big part of my day.”
In 2018, DeZess took his 20+ years of system design experience and created Augmentering: a company that helps integrators address system design and project staffing, along with process improvement and strategic planning for innovation.
Familiar with NSCA for more than 12 years, he didn’t get a chance to really experience the benefits until he attended the Business & Leadership Conference in 2015. “It blew me away,” he says. “It was one of the most spectacular conferences I’d ever attended.” After that, he looked into NSCA’s free business resources, such as the Essentials Online Library and Electronic Systems Outlook reports.
A few years later, once Augmentering was established, DeZess knew it was important to align his company with industry associations. Not only do association memberships provide valuable tools and resources, but they also offer validation to potential customers about his services. So he connected with NSCA Director of Business Resources Mike Abernathy, who walked him through all of the benefits of his membership.
Through this phone call, DeZess discovered that there were even more NSCA resources available beyond what he had previously used. As business got off the ground, he quickly realized he was missing certain contracts and documents. He knew he could go to Google and search for business forms and templates, but he also knew that doing so would take time – and would return search results that weren’t specific to the systems integration industry.
“I knew my membership gave me access to these resources so I could start putting this stuff together. Finding that balance of where I was going to spend my time was important. Was I going to spend it trying to find forms or was I going to take advantage of resources available to me? NSCA took a lot of the guesswork out of it and made it really easy.” Within NSCA’s Essentials Online Library, he discovered several downloadable (and free) templates he could use and customize for Augmentering’s purposes.
Because DeZess provides AV system design services for environments like classrooms, conference rooms, command centers, and auditoriums, he also finds value in NSCA’s Labor Installation Standard guidelines, which integrators can use to accurately estimate labor units for project profitability.
“I use these guidelines to put together labor estimates so my clients know what to budget without undercutting themselves. I use them in a different way than most members,” he explains. “I give my clients insight into how long it should take their technicians to do certain installs before they put proposals together.”
But one of the best benefits of NSCA membership is one DeZess wasn’t even planning on. “In early April, I got a call,” he says. “Someone found me in the membership directory on NSCA’s website. We’ve done quite a bit of work together since then. I was stunned. I wasn’t expecting to get leads that way. That alone has been well worth anything we invested in membership.”