Boots on the Ground

Working with the marketing and communications teams at SNA Displays, I mostly look at finished product, well-assembled LED screens with awe-inspiring content. Writing about finished displays is a fun job, but sometimes you have to strap on some work boots, borrow your boss’s hard hat, and see what actually goes on at the jobsite to really appreciate what makes these displays come to life. So, when I learned we were installing yet another project in my backyard in Dallas, I took the opportunity to get out from behind my desk and learn more about the installation process. And boy did I get an education!

One can get an amazing amount of work done over the phone and via Zoom calls, but nothing beats working with people in person, so I like to take that opportunity whenever I can. That’s how I met Dennis Menjivar, one of SNA Displays’ installation managers, who is based in New York but routinely travels the country to get the job done.  

Dennis is an SNAPro through and through, someone whose vocabulary doesn’t include the expression “that’s not my job.” On this particular LED installation, where SNA Displays was onsite to provide professional guidance, Dennis did more than just educate the installation crew how the subframes fit together; he helped orchestrate the entire installation. When he wasn’t schooling me about all the parts and pieces involved in LED videowall installation, he was swooping in to help the installation team overcome obstacles or answering technical questions about the product. SNA Displays isn’t the prime contractor for this project, so technically we’re onsite in an advisory role, but our installation managers accept nothing less than the best-looking finished product possible.

And that’s the thing about being an installation manager at SNA Displays. They’re not only installation and product experts, but they also have various trade skills, not to mention the people skills required to stay on top of all the different trades involved in LED display installations. Dennis, for example, had no issues interacting with electricians, welders, and other trades onsite. Installation managers also support the project managers and brainstorm solutions when the site isn’t as expected, like employing a chain hoist because the roof prevented the team from getting a crane to lift the display. They are the boots-on-the-ground experts who show installers how our product is best installed or put the pieces together themselves, depending on the scope.

All of that organization requires a team mentality. As Dennis put it, “It’s definitely one of those things where everyone does their part. It wouldn’t happen without the other people.”

I spoke to a representative of the prime contractor on the job, and he told me the installation process is much more than putting up a wall. According to him, LED display manufacturers often say they can’t install their product because there’s no rear access or they only have experience installing a video wall at a tradeshow, for example. But SNA Displays comes and gets involved, he said.

As I was getting hands-on experience with the different components of an LED video display, Dennis and I swapped stories and talked about some of the different jobs he’d been involved in. I learned that he likes outdoor displays the most because they pose different and unique challenges than many of the indoor displays he’s been involved with.

So, if you’re like me and you’re typically focused on the end game — finished LED displays with eye-catching content — maybe take some time to see how the sausage gets made. It can give you greater context for the overall project, but, more importantly, it will most likely give you a greater appreciation for the people who grab their hard hats and make things happen.

Zachary Todd Headshot 2022

Zachary Todd is a communications coordinator with SNA Displays and works out of the company’s Dallas office.

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