Listen Technologies tackles the globe
June 6, 2007
Listen Technologies started in Park City nine years ago in Russ Gentner’s home in Park Meadows. Now it has offices around the world.
"We developed the core technology in Park City then developed a relationship in Korea, the manufacturing plant in China," said Gentner, founder and CEO of Listen Technologies. "We’ve been able to grow pretty nicely. We have an office in Nuremburg Germany, Canada, our main warehouse in Bluffdale (Utah) and we’re going to move our main warehouse to China. We are doing a lot of things throughout the world."
Listen Technologies is planning on hosting a grand opening Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the 20,000 square-foot building they recently completed in Bluffdale.
The company provides wireless audio for various programs, events and the hearing impaired. They provided translation audio headphones for people in the Olympics.
"We were in all the Olympic venues. If you couldn’t’ hear, you could pick up a receiver and hear what they were saying," Gentner said. "We have products in the Hale Center Theater, Abravanel Hall, LDS Tabernacle, in all the temples for language interpretation."
Before starting Listen Communications, Gentner founded other companies that were also in the audiovisual industry.
Recommended Stories For You
During that time, he "came up with this idea to develop products for tour groups, language interpretation, for the hearing impaired," Gentner said. "Products you can pick up and receive audio for tours, like in a museum, where the tour guide doesn’t have to yell and they can talk normally and you can hear what they are saying."
In his former company, he developed inexpensive products for the hearing impaired. With Listen Technologies, he was able to expand on that technology.
"I saw this technology and I thought, "How else can we use it?’"
His ideas brought success, after almost two decades of trial and error. His new business expanded quickly.
"I spent 17 years making my big mistakes, you have to make mistakes to progress," he said.
One lesson he learned was to combine experience and knowledge with "really great people."
"It’s a combination of all those things, it’s the reason we’ve been so successful," Gentner said. "It has not been luck; we’ve executed our business one day at a time."
He’s made connections form all over the world to help Listen Technologies be successful. This, he says, is a formula for a new breed of company.
"We outsource our manufacturing," he said. "We have employees in Colorado, Las Vegas, Louisiana, partners in China and Korea and Denmark. With today’s technologies, little companies can be global companies. We can compete very well on global scale. It’s amazing what you can accomplish these days."
He said, he also got a lot of help from Park City-based Frontier Bank and the Utah Technology Finance Corporation, which helped support them financially through the growing process.
Gentner also works to ensure that his employees are proud of the company.
"I think it goes back to basic values and organization. This company exists for the benefit of our collective families. That we are doing this for the right reason, not for the almighty dollar. We have our values, we have a very open environment here," he said.
Jeremy Ranch resident Kathy Moore is proof of that statement.
"I’m the very first employee," Moore said. "I’ve been with them for seven and a half years."
Moore started as an office administrator and now is a credit manager for the company, in charge of handling collections, accounts receivable and invoices.
"It’s a good company to work for," Moore said. "There are lots of opportunities and good people to work with and I like what I do."
"She’s been a really great employee and stuck with us through the beginning to where we are today," Gentner added.
Reachable goals are a means to success, Gentner said, which leads to high morale among employees.
"We always set really reasonable growth targets and we almost always reach them," Gentner said. "It’s a lot of fun when we reach them."
A lot of businesses, Gentner said, set unrealistic expectations that can demoralize a company.
"A lot of companies say, ‘We’re going to grow 40 percent this year.’ How many are actually going to grow that much? Not many," Gentner said. We have controlled growth and we want controlled profitable growth."
Gentner wants his employees to wake up and be excited about coming to work each morning.
"We are here to have a good time, it’s fun and (employees) can be relaxed, we try to make things as simple as we can," Gentner said. "We have strong personal relationships with vendors and employees and a lot of flexibility in how we operate. It’s a fun job with good flexibility, room to grow and there’s not a lot of stress here."
His satisfaction with this company outweighs his experiences he had with his other companies.
"I ran Gentner Communications and it was a public company. This business is much more successful financially," he said. "There’s less of the public company stress. I’m more mature, I know what I’m doing. This is a labor of love. It’s what I love to do, I have a passion for it. A lot of days, we go, "Gee, I’m getting paid to do this.’"
Listen Technologies is having an open house grand opening to celebrate its expansion in its new Bluffdale building located at 14912 Heritagecrest Way. There will be food, drinks and tours of the facility. To RSVP, call (801) 542-7705.