With the closing of Wybron, several former employees immediately set up shop. We caught up with president Scott Longberry just a few days before Gel Services, Inc. is officially open for business.
Live Design: So, the closing of Wybron came as a bit of a blow to the industry, especially since it was around for 35 years. I'd imagine it was even more of a blow to its employees?
Scott Longberry: Wybron’s closing has definitely impacted the employees due to the fact that we all feel like family. That may sound cliché, but it is true. Many of Wybron’s employees have been working together for 10, 15 and even in some cases 20 years or more. It is going to feel strange going to work but not seeing fellow employees that have become friends over the years.
LD: But moving forward, creating Gel Services, Inc. seems like a step in the right direction. How did that come about?
SL: Well, it turns out that Dave [Mayne], Carolyn [Newland] and I found ourselves in need of a job.
LD: Who all is involved?
SL: Dave Mayne, Carolyn Newland, and myself are starting the company. Many people in the lighting industry know Dave, due to the fact that he has been the heart of Wybron’s service and repair department for the last 22 years. Carolyn has been running the gel department for the last three years and makes sure that everything runs smoothly. As for me, I have been at Wybron for the past 16 years and like to joke that my job responsibilities have been “other duties as assigned.”
In addition to the three of us, Nicole Carsey and Jenny Blea, who work in the gel department, have agreed to move over to the new company and continue making gel strings.
LD: What assets of Wybron did you purchase?
SL: We have purchased the gel and the service / repair departments. Wybron stocked a very large inventory of gel colors to ensure that customers can get the strings they need as quickly as possible. We will be taking that inventory with us and plan to continue the same level of prompt service.
With the repair department, we have acquired the remaining parts inventory for Wybron’s products as well as the designs to allow us to continue to have parts manufactured for us into the future. Of course, that’s only half the equation. Fortunately for us, Dave gets to take all the knowledge he has accumulated over the past two decades with him for free.
Of final note, and I bring this up due to the number of people who have expressed concern to me about it, we have purchased Wybron’s iPhone apps and the equipment necessary to continue maintaining these apps. In particular, we will be able to continue adding new gels to the Gel Swatch Library and ensure that all of the apps remain current.
LD: Where is the company based?
SL: The company is located in Colorado Springs, CO. As we all live here already, we really didn’t feel compelled to move very far. Anyone who would like to drop by and see the new operations is welcome to stop by 1036 Elkton Dr.
LD: What is your one year plan for the company? How about five-year?
SL: I know that, from a business perspective, this is a poor answer, but right now I am focused on a one month and a five month plan! In all seriousness, we are well aware that LEDs are having a huge impact on the industry, but the benefits come with a cost. Our goal is to help people continue to use the technology that they have already invested in for as long as possible. I believe that there will be a place for color changers for quite a while still, especially if users can get service and parts for them.
In addition to the gel string and service offerings, I have at least one idea up my sleeve for a new iPhone app that I think will be useful to lighting professionals.
LD: What do you want people to know about Gel Services right off the bat?
SL: I would really like people to know that we are here and ready to continue the excellent service that the industry has come to expect from Wybron. There was a short gap between the announcement that Wybron was closing and the announcement that GSI was coming. I am hoping that people didn’t miss the second announcement!
Visit gelstrings.com for more info on this new company.