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Steve Parrott Now at VOLT!

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, May 20, 2014.

  1. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Taking advice from your felloe Canadian bieber I see

    Steve did it snow that much this winter that you packed up and moved south.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Steve, first of all I'm a little shocked at your move to the very company that you seemed to not be in alignment with, as it relates to business practices/principles. I'm sure you will spin this to your advantage now, but I'm sure most of the people here can remember the days with your posts about how you stood for advancement for the profession.

    James brings up some of the very points that I agree with, while others here seem to just view this as "acceptable" practice when Volt is selling at near the same cost to consumers. This is bad for the trade/industry no matter how it is spun. The contractors who support this are only hurting the entire profession.

    Please note that this has nothing to do with the product quality that Volt provides, as it is more or less decent stuff....no worse than many of the other product lines out there. But, the way in which they have not considered the contractor businessperson or the needs to improve a failing trade have not been any priority.

    I am really interested at how you intend to improve the professional's businesses, other than helping them to order products or how to employ them in the field. I am talking about 'true' support towards making contractors more profitable, so that there businesses can survive.

    Also, I realize that some of you here will desire to speak out to protect Steve's decision to move in this direction. What I would ask of each of you to identify or answer the following questions:

    1. How do you expect our profession and this trade practice to survive and advance itself as we move into the next generation?

    2. Do you expect your business to survive once you cannot perform any longer? Do you even care?

    3. How can the new landscape lighting practitioner expect to profit, gain, and sustain themselves when companies like Volt have limited the amount they can effectively charge a customer....in order to recover all overhead?

    Again, some of you may chose to be confrontational about this without any future thoughts towards how this all will greatly impact the industry. If you cannot provide any concrete answers to these questions, then why are you doing this business to begin with?

    I am looking for realistic and professional solutions to these problems. I view this move by Steve as kind of a sell-out....I used to see him stand up for principles in the attempt to benefit this trade, but now I question that. I hope I am wrong, but actions speak louder than "words."
  3. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Avalon, thanks for your comments, I knew my move would be shocking to some who held certain opinions about VOLT. At one time, I held similar opinions. And, yes, in the past I have defended the traditional distribution model, and I still defend that model for some companies. But that is not the only business model that can be successful for lighting pros. As I mentioned before, I am here at VOLT not because I'm "selling out" - it's quite the opposite. And this isn't "spin", it's real and important.

    Again, I ask for a little patience as we work to develop new programs aimed at pros to be released later this year.

  4. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Well, okay Steve? We all know how money talks....this seems to be what motivates everyone the most over that of values and ethical practices. I will give you a chance to show us, whenever that may be. Again, I hope I am wrong here. Although we may not have agreed in the past on a few things, I did believe that you were at least aligned in common thought or practical business sense.

    If you can turn things around over there to provide a solid means for the contractor base to gain financially (in regards to recovery of overhead loss due to pricing on materials), then I will give you due credit.

    Until then, I see this move and act as a blow to the profession. I say this because of how vocal and active you are....a form of respect. However, if it's for the wrong side, then I cannot sit idle as so many have or to turn a blind eye to these things. I do wish you the best if you can Make A Difference.
  5. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,268

    Mark, For the sake of varied opinions and well-thought arguments, it's good to see you post here. I know you asked that no one argue just for the sake of argument. And I will comment further later after I return home. But for now, in defending Steve, I've always wondered how you think you speak for "the lighting professional."

    How can you question Steve's integrity and his choice of business association? To me, you sound like you feel entitled to others supporting what is your choice of a profession. "I do art, so I deserve to make money doing it."

    While the best of our colleagues are lighting artists, we must be businessmen first. That means conducting our business in a profitable way by adjusting to changing market conditions. This is not intended as a personal attack on you but as an attack on business entitlement.

    More later when I'm not so riled.
  6. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Hi Phil....I knew you would be one that would chime in. Thank you for doing so.

    I know you want to dig deeper, so feel free when you can. I want to respond to your questions:

    You asked, "how do I question Steve's integrity?" I do question it because I've seen him flip-flop over the past few years on his thought or position on things. I don't mean a little, but 180-degree change for, in this case, the worse. How can you trust what he says anymore? Seriously? To me, it seems to be part of his marketing job/position....to spin and create hype over the products he's working with. I understand that....all good sales people do that. But, when it comes to the very character of what a professional or a professional practice does, that's not good.

    You say that I feel that I am entitled? Not sure what or where you are going with that, but I'll try to respond. I feel entitled to comment and stand up for the common good of the whole....the trade and industry, because of two reasons--1) because I've served this profession for 15-20 years depending upon how you look at it, and 2) because Only One other, so far, is willing to do so...Mike Gambino. Unfortunately, and to the demise of much of the industry, he has been banned from this forum and a few others. He has a ton to offer and NOTHING to prove to anyone....he's the "real deal". I am proud to be aligned with guys like Mike and to stand up for causes such as this, because it needs to be done....that's why I feel entitled to do these things.

    You stated that, "we must be businessmen first...this means conducting our business in a profitable way....by adjusting to changing market conditions." I would agree to most of this, but I believe you are faulting your position here. First off, how can the contractors truly benefit by using these products (Volt) when they have taken away the opportunity for them to mark-up products to recover overhead? I'd like you to tell me how this can be done other than raising labor rates.

    If the consumer can gain the products at the same or near the same pricing as the contractor, then how can they effectively profit from these relationships? Please note that I am not talking about maybe your individual company, but the industry as a whole....the new guys doing business, etc. I already understand that guys who have been around, that are seasoned, and those that can "sell" their design services, etc. to overcome this, might not be affected too much over this action. But, in general....I think it's only fair that you explain how these others can be successful by this business model.

    Lastly, I do not take any of your comments as a personal attack on me. Thank you for saying so. I look at this as a realistic debate on principles...what's right and wrong. I don't want hype or guys who hide behind the wall saying that I am just being 'negative'. Seriously, this is a real situation that needs proper discussion and correction.
  7. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Mark is dead on and has been for quite some time. Steve your move to volt will never be viewed by the true professionals as a move to better our industry. Take Phil and lite4 out of the mix and I'm sure we all agree you are nothing short of a sellout. How did Dave feel about all of this. Cast to me always represented themselves as a jersey based small family business. I always figured you were part of the family. Instead you packed up and went to go work for the "enemy". Granted I use the word "enemy" because its how I would normally look at it. If a diy user wants to diy then so be it. But if you read the post stickied in the forum it states we don't publish pricing.

    Steve when cast started selling via the inertnet we all hated on it. But you assured us that you weren't processing these orders & were forwarding these to distributors. You also never answering our questions in regards to msrp.

    Cast was the manufacturer but yet listed pricing to homeowners at 20percent of msrp

    So wtf is msrp ?!?!?!?

    Clearly you have never cared about the contractors if so you never would have been a part of that at cast. Now you work for a knock of fixture company that sells I'm guessing to 60 percent homeowners

    Hey if you want to field questions all day about photocells and 14 gauge vs 12 gauge then good for you
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    "2) because Only One other, so far, is willing to do so...Mike Gambino"

    Hey Mark, you do realize that you and Mike are not the only outspoken, provocative, champions of the lighting industry out there, don't you? You have made similar comments in the past on your blog and elsewhere and I have to say, personally, it's getting to be a bit much... There are others who are passionate and fully involved; working in and with this industry to make it better for all. Remember there is more than one way to skin a cat. Don't dismiss the efforts of others because they do not mirror your own.

    Other than that, I very much agree with most if not all of your points on this topic.
  9. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,268

    Mark, First, I am aware of the many years you have been in the landscape lighting business and the contributions you have made e.g. writing standards for operation. But, I fail to understand why we should question one individual's choice of where to work or one company's choice of how to structure its business. You asked three questions in this thread:

    1. How do you expect our profession and this trade practice to survive and advance itself as we move into the next generation? Through time-tested business methods.

    2. Do you expect your business to survive once you cannot perform any longer? Do you even care? Not sure if you meant my personal business or the general business of landscape lighting. Not sure of the relevance to the discussion.

    3. How can the new landscape lighting practitioner expect to profit, gain, and sustain themselves when companies like Volt have limited the amount they can effectively charge a customer....in order to recover all overhead?
    I don't base my business on what manufacturers charge for their products. I design and install systems and charge appropriately. The new practitioners will figure it out for themselves..... or fail.

    You also have alluded to "principles." The principle that I most appreciate is the free market principle. Individuals choose to participate (legally) in the market however they choose and companies build their business model as they see fit. And I choose to do business with those individuals and companies or choose NOT to do business with them. If you choose not to do business with VOLT or Kichler or Vista or Cast or Coppermoon, that doesn't affect me.

    Good discussion guys, including you, S&MLL. (By the way, would you mind stating your first name? I don't think I have ever seen it. I hate calling you by your username.)
  10. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    James.....I apologize for not better recognizing you and a few others that are stepping forward, so I personally thank you. Sometimes, it seems like we are on an island and I continue to get caught up in the writing without better recognizing this.

    I/we do appreciate what you are saying and we hope that it continues, as this is the only way things might get heard or things might change for the better.

    Phil.....thank you for answering these questions, as limited as they were. I think I better understand you now, as you have had similar responses in the past. First, you say that we should use "time tested business practices." Well, much of that has changed these days, because of companies like the ones we have discussed. My question really is....is that okay to you?

    I believe it is and that you really don't care how any of this impacts you, us or anyone in the future....you view it all as, it is what it is....who cares! Okay, now we know.

    This conclusion is also supported by your answer to my #3 question...."figure it out or fail." My questioning of all of this is to try to help the trade practice as a "whole"....for the masses, not just one individual. Unfortunately, there are several of you that believe in only thinking of you own situation and that's it. Again, okay...that's where you stand.

    As far as question #2, it refers to this same thing....the future. It seems to me that you have not thought that far out....you have short term visions for where you sit and your company is. This seems to me to be a major failing for most ALL contractor businesses these days. In essence, your business will fail to exist once you cannot serve it any longer....it will die. That's okay if that is what you intend for it to do, but if you have other plans....you had better question this more.

    Anyways, thank you for being civil in this.

    And lastly, Steve sent me a PM tonight about much of this. I wish and I still hope that he will be openly public about everything versus trying to do things behind the scene. Many of us question his motives and his latest movements here and abroad....it would be nice to know the truth behind what has happened and what is coming.

    I personally think that if there are delays in exposing these new found great plans coming by Volt, then why wouldn't we question if there is even a real plan in place? How long has Steve been removed from Cast....it's my guess since January. If that's the case and it's now June, what has been going on behind these scenes for the past 5 months and was he officially employed by them since this time? This to me is a big question, as if there really is a big plan....why can't it be explained now...why do we really have to wait another 3 or 4 months? Personally, I don't really care what has been going on over there with him, but I do want to know what this big plan is and how there is going to be such a big change to how the professional is going to gain from this move.

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