The First United Methodist Church has been serving Pasadena, Texas, since 1896, with services and programs to meet the needs of the area’s children, youth and adults. But when Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast in September 2008, even this sturdy house of worship felt the punch. The third most destructive hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S., and a Category four storm with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, the storm left First United Methodist Church with a heavily damaged roof, water damage to the church interior and a decimated audio/video system.
Fortunately, by working closely with Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, and a dedicated specialized systems integrator, the church was able to get back on its feet within weeks.
“There was a lot to do, but one of the main challenges was having to schedule our activity in between the work being done by contractors repairing the roof, remediating the water damage and mold, and everything else that had to be done,” explains Les Williams, owner of Worship Media Productions, Inc., the Houston-based systems design and integration company that took on the project and an approved vendor installation partner with GC Pro. Working together, Worship Media Productions and GC Pro completely refurbished the church’s A/V systems, with the first service held in mid-December, a dozen or so weeks after Ike left its mark.
The vast majority of diverse equipment complement was sourced and supplied by the local GC Pro store, and Williams says he would be hard pressed to accomplish as much on this or any other project without the support he gets from GC Pro. “As long as we’ve been in business here, GC Pro has been our main supplier,” Williams explains. “People like GC Pro Account Manager Troy Hanchett always get things done right and on time, under any circumstances. Design changes happen all the time in the field and if we need a certain piece of gear delivered overnight, GC Pro makes it happen. I pick up the phone and what we need is there.”
For systems integrators like Williams, GC Pro is more than a technology resource - it’s also a partner in designing and specifying systems. He recalls a sound project in one of the music education and performance spaces at the University of Miami for which Hanchett made some key recommendations. “As it turns out, we had been under-sizing the amplification of the system and Troy noticed it when he reviewed the specs,” Williams remembers. “Sure enough, he was right. I regularly bounce ideas off of the people I work with at GC Pro. I like to think of them as part of our design team. I don’t know where we’d be without them.”