Manufacturers teach new technologies during STASCO open house

July 1, 2002
ATTENDING open houses is a business courtesy, a free lunch, a chance to visit with some old or possibly new friends, and most of all a leisurely few hours

ATTENDING open houses is a business courtesy, a free lunch, a chance to visit with some old or possibly new friends, and most of all a leisurely few hours away from the office, the boss, and other inconveniences. Why did a small company in Houston, Texas, veer from the standard formula?

“We wanted people to take something back with them besides a barbecue stain on their shirt,” says Larry McGinty, co-owner and sales manager for STASCO Truck and Emergency Lighting. “That's why we held several sessions covering new products and installation practices.”

Larry and Ken McGinty, co-owner and operations manager, did some unorthodox things for their open house. They invited both mechanics and business owners, they didn't order food from Houston's most expensive caterer, they didn't plan an honorary speaker for entertainment, and they planned the event for a Tuesday morning — thus eliminating any chance of a Friday get-a-way for golf.

Then the brothers did something else totally unexpected. “We asked the manufacturers to team up and present an educational seminar explaining the newest technologies in lighting, electrical systems, and the newest electrical component installation techniques,” says Ken McGinty.

“Grote, Federal Signal, Star Manufacturing, ECCO, and PSE-Code 3 held a very comprehensive seminar on installation, new advances in lighting technologies, and how to work with LED and multiplexed systems. It was very worthwhile for the technicians that attended the sessions.”

“The lunch time group was the largest of the sessions, with about 35 attendees,” says Larry McGinty. “We want our customers to understand LEDs and multiplex systems. It was interesting to see these guys really asking some important questions about lighting and electrical systems. It's definitely something that we'll do again.”

STASCO has a history of working closely with the people that install the equipment. J W McGinty started his tire and heavy-duty truck parts business in 1945 serving trucking and warehousing companies along Houston's docks. By 1946 he was beginning to supply truck shops with parts. “He built a reputation of working directly with the installers to teach them the best way to connect and protect the lighting equipment,” McGinty says.

To warehouse the growing inventory, J W McGinty purchased a building in the heart of what was the Houston freight yard. The railroad and freight yards have moved; however, STASCO has chosen to stay at the original location.

“We are located in the central part of what is now the metroplex of Houston. We serve companies in every geographic direction. Over 57 years after J W McGinty began this business, STASCO can still be seen by the glow of the car and truck headlights that pass overhead from the freeway that they built next to the building,” McGinty says.

Good long range planning from a company that is all about visibility.

About the Author

John Nahas