1 May 2019

The Rutledge Dynasty continues

Pic – Michael Rutledge

by Julius Grafton

The sale of Rutledge AV to giant USA integrator Diversified is no surprise, given Michael and Sandy Rutledge have been driving the operation since 1979. That’s a lot of soldering!


I always admired these people. When industry issues arise one of them is on the phone; enquiring minds caring about the future. Michael’s roots lie in the fertile road crew era of the 1970s where we all pushed so many boundaries to get things done and learned everything the hard way. Of that cadre, and I am proudly one, those of us that didn’t cook our minds with drugs have gone on to do so much. The industry landscape has former road crew rising tall – there’s a gig tale a’plenty at a Rutledge Christmas party!

They are decent people.

With 350 people spread all over, RAV is as big as it gets in this little country.

Sandy Rutledge and Shane Cannon, Director of Sales & Marketing at Rutledge AV

Knowing the Rutledges, the sale to Diversified will not result in some overblown suits wrecking the shop. The often repeated invasion of the ‘masters of the universe’ where some suited goose (probably with a CV that includes a senior role at something like, say, Telstra) comes in, talks crap, fires all the well-paid brains and embarks on a strategy of ‘growth through acquisition’ and looks lovingly at their own reflection on the porcelain as they snort it all. That will not happen while there is a Rutledge anywhere near.

Doing mass audio visual integration in Australia is tough – working against differing jurisdiction laws and standards, dealing with builders who put the AV fit out last, getting endless software and firmware updates in harmony, staying in front of the savage exponential tech curve that just keeps on rolling. Developers hiring builders who set themselves up to phoenix the job to avoid paying some contractors – and the AV guys are the final ones on site, so they are far closer to the implosion than the concreter.

Dodgy everything stops with an AV integrator. If the systems don’t work as advertised they have to make good. If a manufacturer sends a bad batch, the integrator has to go back in, unbolt it all, and replace it – and then fight tooth and nail with the distributor, importer, and manufacturer to get something remotely near the sky high costs to fix someone else’s problem.

Make a motza doing installations? Impossible.

CX salutes Michael and Sandy Rutledge!


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