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Inside Electro Acoustics: Building A Thriving AV Company With An Eye Toward The Future

The backstory on the growth and approach of a successful integration operation founded deep in the heart of Texas


By Keith Clark November 14, 2017

EAVI co-founder Chris Jordan flanked by the next generation -- Sam (left) and Luke Jordan. In the large image above, we see the system designed and installed by EAVI at Levitt Pavilion in Arlington, with Electro-Voice line arrays flanking the stage.

Business has long been a family affair at Electro Acoustics (EAVI), a thriving A/V systems design/build firm based in Fort Worth, TX. Founded by the husband/wife team of Chris and Sue Jordan in 1984 as an audio contracting firm, EAVI has steadily grown and expanded to cover all spectrums of the A/V industry.

Services now include design, engineering, installation, support and more for systems projects for applications ranging from churches, performing arts centers and stadiums to corporate and civic projects. Along the way, the company has served a diverse roster of clients throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex region and beyond, many of them on a continual basis in relationships that have thrived for three-plus decades (and counting).

“The primary reason for our growth is due to our talented and committed engineers, designers and technicians,” states Chris Jordan. “We’re family-owned and operated, service-oriented, and committed to reinvesting our profits into the lives of our employees and our community.”

In addition to sustained growth and diversification, that commitment has also translated into recognition from industry peers and leaders, including an Excellence in Business award in 2015 for talent development from the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA).

The company is also the first Texas-based InfoComm APEx level systems integrator in the southwestern U.S., the highest level of certification available in the professional A/V business, and recently, was named Entrepreneur Of Excellence for commercial construction by Fort Worth Inc. magazine.

Deep Roots

Now, as the founders prepare to transition day-to-day operations to their two sons who serve key roles in the company – Sam (general manager) and Luke (service manager and InfoComm CTS Of The Year for 2016) – it’s interesting to note that Chris Jordan’s journey in the A/V world actually began well before co-founding EAVI. And it too has strong ties to family: his father Henry ran a systems company out of his home’s garage, and for as long as he can remember, Jordan was there to provide a helping hand.

Chris Jordan at work on a system at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Ft. Worth.

The scale of the projects was typically smaller than the ones regularly handled by EAVI, primarily for residences and churches, but it taught him the key aspects of running a systems business, and really, any sort of successful enterprise. It was also during this time that Jordan was introduced to another entity that continues to play a significant role in the company to this day, in the form of Electro-Voice. In fact, as EV celebrates its 90th anniversary, Jordan has been working with the manufacturer for well over half of that time.

“My father was an EV dealer, and one of my earliest memories is that it’s a go-to brand,” Jordan notes. “Over the years we installed a lot of EV ceiling loudspeakers as well as Sentry 1 and Sentry 3 monitors in some really nice homes, along with EV Interface loudspeakers. There were also numerous projects with EV column loudspeakers installed at churches in addition to implementing microphones like the EV 660 and 664.”

When Jordan sought to work on larger-scale projects, he and Sue founded EAVI, a move endorsed by his father. “One of the first things I did was call Jim Long at EV and told him what we wanted to do,” he explains. “Jim said, ‘That’s great,’ and gave us a line of credit on the spot, adding ‘Whatever you need, we’ll help you in any way that we can.'”

The worship sanctuary of EAVI’s very first customer, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wedgwood, TX, which recently commissioned a new system to replace the previous system installed by EAVI that served admirably for more than 30 years.

It proved to be an important boost to a fledgling business just getting underway. “So many people at EV took an avid interest and supported us in any way that they could,” he adds. “It’s simply a great group of people who believed in us at a time that we really needed it.”

A mutually beneficial situation soon evolved, with Electro Acoustics providing valuable input to EV’s Contractor Council while EV personnel traveled to Ft. Worth numerous times to provide input and share ideas. “Make no mistake about it,” Jordan states. “EV products are always consistently among the best – they sound great and provide excellent reliability, so they’re a true value and asset to any project. But to us, it’s the hands-on relationships over the years that have made the biggest difference.”

A Winning Formula

Those relationships continue to be strong 30-plus years later, with EV remaining a “go-to” brand for the company on projects such as the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, an outdoor live concert/event venue in Arlington, Amon G. Carter Stadium, a 50,000-capacity football stadium at Texas Christian University (TCU), Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth, one of the finest performance halls in the U.S., along with churches of every scale and hundreds of other event/performance spaces.

A recent project at Schollmaier Arena at TCU, which hosts NCAA basketball games, graduation commencements, expos, and other events for thousands, highlights the EAVI way of doing things. The TCU facilities department, a client for more than 20 years, once again sought out Electro Acoustics for a solution, this time to dramatically upgrade the main arena system it had installed several years before to complement a $72-million renovation of the venue.

The EVA line arrays implemented by Electro Acoustics at Schollmaier Arena at TCU.

Partnering with the engineering team at EV, Electro Acoustics deployed an expanded complement of EVA line arrays joined by flown XLCi215 dual 15-inch subwoofers to exceed the client’s vision for a system delivering dynamics and plenty of headroom. Topping it off, the loudspeakers are driven by EV amplification and NetMax digital matrix controllers, with IRIS-Net software delivering full routing and control of audio throughout the arena as well as concourses and athletic department offices.

“As with every project, this one is custom-made to fit specific needs and to add a ‘pulse’ to the structure. We want audiences not to just see and hear the performances, but to feel them,” Jordan concludes. “EV has certainly been a valued partner in helping us to consistently deliver that, and when you realize that it’s a company that has transcended 90 years in hiring the best people and making a great product, it’s almost an unbelievable accomplishment.”

Find out more about EAVI here.


About Keith

Keith Clark
Keith Clark

Editor In Chief, ProSoundWeb & Live Sound International
     
Keith has covered professional audio and systems contracting for more than 25 years, authoring hundreds of articles in addition to hands-on work in every facet of publishing. He fostered the content of ProSoundWeb (PSW) from its inception, helping build pro audio’s largest portal website, and has also served for several years as editor in chief of Live Sound International (LSI).
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