06.29.2011 11:35 AM
Calrec Audio’s Growth Bucks Recession Trend

HEBDEN BRIDGE, U.K.: Despite a worldwide recession, digital broadcast console manufacturer Calrec Audio has had two outstanding quarters, growing by almost 50 percent, expanding into a second building, and hiring new staff. According to Roger Henderson, Calrec managing director, sales of large-scale consoles did fall off briefly but soon rebounded to pre-recession levels. This is due to a number of factors, including pressure within the broadcast market to transition to digital consoles with 5.1 capabilities. In fact, throughout the downturn, Calrec Audio has remained profitable.

Calrec embarked on its recent round of hiring to ensure it could retain its leadership position as sales rebound. The biggest growth is in the R&D department, already large by industry standards, which has added 15 software engineers and two project managers. With its bulked-up staff, Calrec has organized its engineers into five teams: Software, GUIs, audio systems, new product development, and product test. Because every Calrec console requires custom work, including metering options, panel layout, and customized networking, the company also hired additional test personnel. A further focus of the expanded R&D department is upcoming new features for the Calrec Apollo console system.

Beyond R&D, Calrec has also expanded the sales department, with Dave Letson returning to the company to handle the western United States, Anthony Harrison covering the Middle East and Africa, Theo Schulte looking after Germany, and Michael Reddick managing Northern Europe and Russia.

Trucks also helped with Calrec’s results. Calrec says more than 65 percent of HD trucks in North America carry its consoles. Long-term customer relationships are another major focus at Calrec, which was founded in 1964 and has been building audio consoles since 1971.

For 20 years, Calrec has been headquartered in the Nutclough Mill, built in 1797 and home to the first worker-production textile cooperative in England. Calrec customers are accustomed to being able to track their bespoke console’s progress through manufacturing at the mill, and even to picking up new consoles there. The company has expanded by taking over the 8,000-square-foot Pennine building only 200 yards away. The additional space, now devoted to software development, should support expansion for at least another four years.

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