۽

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MelannieReed_pro
Melanie Reed
SVP

As we embark on our 40th year in business, we wanted to take this opportunity to honor our history and the accomplishments that are the foundation of our success and celebrate all the exciting things in store for the future. To kick this milestone year off, I candidly talked with two of our founders, brothers Steve and Tom Alford, to learn more about history and what they hope for the future.

Let’s take it to the beginning. Why did you start ۽?

I had been on staff at another AV company for about 5 years. While I helped with rentals and sales, the ever-increasing demand for programming multi-image shows dominated my time. We had a studio we rented where I programmed dozens of shows a month. The owner was intent on growing his staging and install business. We both realized that the more clients I harvested, the more equipment rentals and media installs would increase. We discussed my becoming a partner, but our goals did not align, so we settled on my buying out the multi-image side of the business. On April 1, 1984 I began doing business as ۽ Services. The company continued to grow, and in the summer of 1989, I joined my brother Tom and good friend Danny Harris and incorporated Alford and expanded the services I was providing to include equipment rental and event staging.

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Steve Alford
Founder

My inspiration and motivation to join Steve and grow ۽ was to build a company that did the best work in the industry while respecting the individual. I also wanted to make a great place for current and future employees to work and succeed.

TA
Tom Alford
President
MelannieReed_pro
Melanie Reed
SVP

I am sure there are many memories over the 40 years, but which one(s) are you most fond of?

Show-wise, the Coca-Cola 100th Anniversary event, the Northern Telecom Meridian Launch, and the IBM Beyond Excellence marathon are at the top of the thousands of shows I’ve participated in. The memory that I will always cherish is our employees’ response to the aftermath of 9/11/01. Like many other companies, we made significant cuts to remain in business. We told our hourly employees they would be limited to 35 hours a week, and our salaried employees’ pay would be cut by 10%. Leadership was taking a 25% cut. Several employees who could ill afford to do so said they were willing to take a more significant cut in their pay. No one complained or left the company. Tears were shed, and the sense of family was never greater. Collectively, I believe that through this experience, we realized how much we meant to each other, how fortunate we were, and how unique a company Alford was.

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Steve Alford
Founder

Personally, that is an easy answer; it is getting married to Patty and having my kids. Business is a little more challenging to answer, but staging all projection for Coca-Cola’s 100th is high on the list, as is doing three-screen seamless HD for IBM Circle 100 in 1992 when no one in the industry was doing it yet.

TA
Tom Alford
President
MelannieReed_pro
Melanie Reed
SVP

I am curious: what accomplishment are you most proud of?

When Freeman acquired us in 2003, competitors, clients, and employees were skeptical about whether Alford could maintain its position and reputation in the industry. It has been more than 20 years, and we have been able to keep and grow our client base, increase our number of employees and revenue, continue to be innovators, and maintain our industry-leading reputation for providing unparalleled support. That is the accomplishment I am most proud of.

SteveAlford_founder
Steve Alford
Founder

For me, it is very much the same. Helping to build a staging company that I think does some of the best work in the business while being an excellent place for our employees to work and grow.

TA
Tom Alford
President
MelannieReed_pro
Melanie Reed
SVP

Has anything surprised you in this business?

I’m continually surprised by the creative innovations our clients come up with and how our employees find solutions to deliver on our clients’ visions. Since our inception, we’ve said, “You dream it up, and we’ll find a way to make it happen.” This was true in the 1980s, and it’s just as much if not more true today.

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Steve Alford
Founder

Very little surprises me, but I am always proud and, I guess, still a little surprised when someone is ill or has a family emergency with how our employees pitch in and help without hesitation.

TA
Tom Alford
President
MelannieReed_pro
Melanie Reed
SVP

What, if anything, do you wish you could do over or would have done differently in hindsight?

A few equipment purchases and personnel hirings didn’t work out as planned. A good poker player never shows his cards when he doesn’t need to, so I think I’ll withhold specific examples.

SteveAlford_founder
Steve Alford
Founder

Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I would have risked more debt to grow even faster.

TA
Tom Alford
President
MelannieReed_pro
Melanie Reed
SVP

What are you most excited about in the future?

My biggest joys have been employee-related over the past forty years. I love seeing many of our personnel’s positive career and personal growth. We’ve celebrated and reminisced about many successful shows and company events. In the future, I’m excited about the company’s continued growth, which will lead to more individuals joining Alford.

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Steve Alford
Founder

I am always excited to meet and work with new people. Still, the other thing is discovering how continued technological advances will help us communicate face-to-face even better, as that is what we have always been about.

TA
Tom Alford
President
MelannieReed_pro
Melanie Reed
SVP

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’d like to thank the many clients and employees I’ve been fortunate to work with over the years. Life’s a journey, and I’m blessed by the many friends who have made innumerable memories with me.

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Steve Alford
Founder

After 44 years in this business and getting closer to retirement, my biggest hope is to see ۽ continue to be a place where people are respected and given the chance to succeed. With the foundation we have created over the past 40 years and the team we have in place, I am confident the culture will continue to thrive for decades to come.

TA
Tom Alford
President