By Samantha Leader
Photography by Cindy Bell
David Foor, president of Visual Technologies, grew up in Upstate, N.Y. and has always loved the area, prompting him to move back after college.
“I was an AV geek in high school and have always been interested in technology,” David said. “I sold insurance after college and then ran a bar business before I was here.”
In 1981, David had sold his previous business and was looking for a new opportunity. At that time, the previous owner of Visual Technologies, Ewald Maas, was retiring. It was just the prospect David was looking for.
“VHS video was just coming into its own when I came on board in 1981, and Kodak was our major supplier,” David said. “It is exciting to watch — over 38 years, technology has changed so drastically and continues to change, from slide projectors to now having laser video projectors.”
Within the first two years of David owning the company, Visual Technologies expanded to rentals and staging. They now do event staging, video production, and rentals, plus expanding out to local subcontractors for camera men, sound engineers, and lighting people.
“I am very fortunate to have a great staff that helps this business grow and continue to prosper. Michelle Fontaine has been with me for 30 years along with Andrew Reichel and Ken Powers,” David said. “I consider them homegrown. They all started as a grip, rolling cables, setting up screens, etc., and now are project managers, event managers, and videographers.”
David said the business has been growing steadily by about one employee every year; Visual Techologies currently employs 18 people.
The company does a lot of work with the Carrier Dome, the Onondaga County War Memorial, the New York State Fairgrounds, and Onondaga Community College. They have smaller offices in the Hotel Syracuse, Sheraton University Inn, and Holiday Inn in Liverpool.
“We are considered in-house at those locations,” David said. “When people have meetings we can service them right away with projectors, podiums, laptops, and more.”
David noted that Visual Technologies is also committed to helping the community.
“Visual Technologies is community minded business and focuses on helping the non-profits in the community,” he said. “Connections made through non-profits have made business connections.”
A few of the non-profit groups that Visual Technologies services is American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, McMahon-Ryan Child Advocacy, Make A Wish of CNY, David’s Refuge, and Food Bank of CNY.
“Usually equipment for the events run about $5,000, so we will help sponsor the event and give donations of $1,000 to $2,000,” David explained.
David became a member of the Women’s Business Opportunity Council (WBOC), a non-profit organization, about eight to 10 years ago. Visual Technologies provides auto and visual equipment for WBOC educational events, including microphones, laptops and podiums.
“Nicole Samolis, owner of SKY Armory, and my close friend, got me involved with the organization, and Michelle in my office also participates,” David said. “It is a great opportunity. When all these people get together and share their stories and information, it can only make you better, too.”
Visual Technologies is located at 1620 Burnet Ave, Syracuse, N.Y. 13206.