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Ferrini-Konarski: Upbeat in Upstate New York

Written by Marshall Bissett

Norman Traino and Brian Horner


The upstate New York sales agency of Ferrini- Konarski Associates faces some interesting challenges. For starters, their company name sounds like two-thirds of a Polish Italian law firm and they cover a territory that is not exactly overpopulated. Norman Traino and his partner, Brian Horner, laugh about their location: "We were on a sales call and saw a sign that read 'Halfway Point between the North Pole and the Equator.'" With offices in Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Buffalo, this dynamic team, including partner Dave Konarski, has been representing ETC since 1990.

A 12-person sales group covers the 35 counties outside the metro New York City area. The agency, founded by Al Ferrini and John Konarski, became involved with ETC through their association with dimming company LMI. "I joined the firm in 1990, around the time of the LMI purchase - that was a real turning point for us and for ETC," says Traino. "Mark Vassallo [ETC vice president of Sales] was our regional manager in the early 90s." Horner, a graduate of Ithaca College, has a background in audio and worked in a local school district: "I was an AV geek, and one day, someone asked me to do lights."

The agency saw a spike in business when the state granted licenses to a small number of casinos that opted for centralized dimming systems, mostly 96-way ETC Sensor®+ racks. Now their focus is on retrofitting these installations with relay modules and increasing their DMX networks. The agency works closely with dealers BMI Supply and Applied Audio and Theatre Supply, both of whom have ETC-trained technicians on staff and can offer technical support and system turn-on services.

Horner sees a shift in emphasis: "In any installation, we work with a variety of non-ETC product and are expected to be the integration experts." With the market gradually moving towards LED-based architectural systems, the sales team has to stay ahead of the technology. Taking on the added task of educating electrical contractors and installers requires a lot of factory support from ETC project managers Aaron Bertsch and Ted Ozimek.

Outside of the casino market, the group has completed work on The Eastman School of Music in Rochester and a series of Rainforest Cafés. Traino welcomes every opportunity to show off the company's strengths in system design and integration. "We used the ETC Sensor IQ Intelligent Breaker System to control color-changing LED fixtures on the entrance to the New York State Fairgrounds. We love the jobs where we can specify all the equipment we represent," he laughs.

With a history of selling Vortek® products, the shift to ETC's Prodigy® technology came naturally. The team has installed systems in Nazareth University, Buffalo College and a number of New York high schools. The agency currently represents over 30 companies but likes the way that ETC "takes the pain out of the job."