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A Graduate Story | Adtec Digital

We chatted with Ron Johnson, President of Adtec Digital; a contribution broadcasting company (aka they make viewing TV commercials and digital messages way easy). Adtec was founded by Ron Johnson, David Cook and Andre’ Ancelin in 1986. The company continues to create cutting edge equipment and initiallt proposed the way commercials are currently inserted into commercial broadcasting. 

Ron currently resides in Goodlettsville with his wife, and has two sons.

What inspired you to start Adtech:

Myself,  David Cook,  and Andre Ancelin attended  Tennessee Tech together and after graduation decided to start a tech company. I was the sales and marketing guy, David was the cool, customer service guy made sure the client experience was great, and Andre was head designer and basically formulated our concept.

So, who was your first customer?

During our last year in school, we made a playback piece of equipment for Tennessee Tech and, in turn, they become our first customer after we incorporated. The equipment was text based and would play content back automatically to share current happenings around the campus. After Tennessee Tech signed on, we realized it would be a great idea to provide this type of equipment to other universities. Then, it was like a domino effect as universities and hotels starting requesting our equipment.

We now provide equipment and services to universities, hospitals, hotels, cruise ships, theme parks, casinos and all major TV broadcasters. A lot of our staff and equipment was used for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. With so many networks reporting live, we were called on to ensure they reached all of their audiences.

So, the Olympics are another big event that many networks report live, will Adtec play an integral part?

Yes, the Olympics are one of our big clients. We actually started sending equipment down in February, and will have staff on call in Rio de Janeiro  throughout the event to ensure viewing runs smoothly. We train people who are actually down there to be able to help out if need be, standby to provide technical support if need, still need to be available for the next several weeks. Plus, as a company that stays on the cutting edge, we will be introducing a new product, Afiniti which is a line of encoders and decoders that provide more robust audio and video solutions.

What brought you to NBIC?

My father-in-law saw a write-up in the newspaper about the opening of the incubation center, and thought it would be good for us to participate. If I am not mistaken, I think we were like the 2nd or 3rd business in the program.

Tell us the 2 things you gained from your NBIC experience?

  • Big salaries on the front end, don’t equal success: We participated in development clinics during the NBIC program and noticed participant business plans would include paying themselves extremely high salaries. We decided to do the opposite; as we knew 90% of all businesses failed after the first 5 years and we wanted to be extremely frugal. My total take home for the first year was $780!
  • Take the advice given: One of our advisers during our time in the program was Phil Bredesen (previous Governor of Tennessee). He told us that we should join the American Hospital Association in order to gain access to their hospital contact database. Very quickly after joining the American Hospital Association, we passed the 1 million dollar mark and hospitals quickly became one of our largest revenue channels. Now, every hospital in the US has some type of Adtec equipment. So, when you are preparing for a procedure or surgery, and they ask you to watch a video before seeing the nurse or doctor, there is a high chance you are watching on our equipment.

As a native Nashvillian, what do you think about the growth of Nashville?

It’s a good thing; providing jobs for people and opportunity. My one beef is the big push to drive everything and everyone downtown. I would love to see more investment into the pockets of area outside that city, like Lebanon, Wilson County and Goodlettsville.