Creating Cercone-Vincent Associates
Paul’s strength was in theatrical lighting. He found himself working on television lighting projects occasionally and worked closely with Sam Cercone, who was the Strand Lighting rep for western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio and West Virginia. Sam had a strong background in television and motion picture lighting. In 1978, Sam Cercone and Associates also became a dealer for Union Connector, GE, Rosco Labs, Uni-Set, Matthews and Strand Lighting.
By the end of 1980, Paul hired his first official employee, Marty Donovan, as a part-time Administrative Assistant. The next month, John Seaman was hired as Project Manager and Technician. This freed up Paul to focus on sales, and freed up Paul’s family from managing the day-to-day affairs. By this time, Paul and Sam worked side-by-side on projects, which led to some confusion.
In April 1981, at the national USITT Conference in Cleveland, the announcement was made public that Paul Vincent Associates and Sam Cercone and Associates would officially merge to become Cercone-Vincent Associates. They held a big party at the conference to celebrate! Jody Cercone (Sam’s brother) was added to the staff as a jack-of-all-Trades. Cercone-Vincent Associates became a manufacturer’s rep for most of Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Indiana. Our company now had offices in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Equipment for Rent
By the fall of 1982, the motion picture business was booming in Pittsburgh. Paul and Sam realized the potential of having equipment available for rent. They got in touch with Jim Forrester, a well-known and well-respected gaffer in Pittsburgh, who came on board to start up and run Performance Lighting and Production Services, a division of Cercone-Vincent Associates that offered lighting, grip equipment and trucks for rental. This was highly successful in Pittsburgh, but Cleveland didn’t have much of a demand for film and video rentals. Instead, the demand grew for theatrical lighting rentals. In 1983, Cercone-Vincent Associates hired Walt Weber to manage the rentals in Cleveland. Greg Shick came on board the following year as Inside Sales.
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