Rust-Oleum: Meeting Simplicity at Rust-Oleum Headquarters



At the heart of Rust-Oleum’s business is solving challenges. Although the company’s founder, sea captain Robert Fergusson, may have stumbled upon a solution for keeping his metal deck rust-free when fish oil splashed on the surface, the now global company has worked diligently to create new, innovative products that are still anchored firmly on solving consumers’ problems. Today, the company’s paint and coating product line spans the professional, industrial, automotive, and residential markets.

That focus has meant an exponential growth for the company. With more employees being added to the roster, Rust-Oleum had to convert former conference rooms at its Vernon Hills, IL., headquarters into offices. That left their headquarters lacking in dedicated meeting space. When a nearby restaurant went up for sale, the company bought and renovated it as its new meeting center — once again illustrating how to leverage opportunities to solve problems. The 8,000-square-foot building was reinvented into five new meeting spaces: three rooms seat eight to 20 people; one seats 40 people; and a large room that accommodates 100 people.

“Our culture is about making it easier for employees to work. That means giving them access to facilities that encourage people to meet and get products to market quicker,” said David Heald, manager of client services and systems engineer at Rust-Oleum. “How we make that happen is through collaboration and knowledge sharing. With our new meeting center, part of my job was taking a hard look at the audio and video implementations that we already use, asking if were enabling that experience, and where we needed to change it. This new space gave us a blank palette to set a standard for how we wanted to do that.”

The Challenge

The new meeting facility was designed to be unlike anything the company had within its headquarters. Users can transform each of the room’s configuration and furniture arrangement for every meeting. For the organization, this flexibility would help maximize the meeting potential and productivity. In addition, the building serves as the company’s entertainment facility, which can be reserved for private parties or corporate functions. These capabilities had a large impact on selecting the AV needed in each space.

All the rooms are equipped with up to three display monitors or a projector and two rooms are outfitted with video conferencing systems. To support the “Bring-your-own-device” movement, every room was installed with easy-to-access inputs that allow users to plug in the device of their choosing and share content directly to the screen or play music.

While the video requirements of the facility were easier to specify, when it came to integrating an audio conferencing system within the rooms, the decision was more complex. The audio conferencing system Rust-Oleum has used in its existing meeting space was too large, couldn’t accommodate the facility’s flexible room layout, and was difficult to use.

“It’s suited for eight to ten people and really complex. Right away we knew they wouldn’t work in this meeting environment,” said Heald. “We needed a solution that could accommodate a flexible microphone layout for the variety of potential room configurations we anticipated without impacting audio pick-up quality and was easy to operate.

“We initially thought about having ceiling microphones. But when we started imagining what that would be like for the user, it seemed too complicated and not the kind of experience we wanted to give our users. We wanted them to walk in,grab a mic, and just get started — not wrestle with positioning or worry they weren’t speaking loud enough for the far end. These are challenges that have shown to derail the focus of a meeting and decrease productivity.”


Working with AV system designer and integrator Sensory Technologies, they took a closer look at some of the wireless microphone options available. Revolabs’ Executive Elite stood out from the pack.

“Revolabs’ microphones were small, portable, and we could lay them out in any configuration we wanted,” said Heald. “For users, we saw how easy it was for them to mute and unmute their individual microphones as opposed to muting the whole system. That’s just another feature we didn’t initially think about, but when we saw it, we knew it would be something that could redefine the experience for those on the far end. We also saw how reliable it was, and with the evolving nature of these rooms, it was critical that no matter how the room was arranged, we could still count on the microphone to deliver clear, natural audio. It also gave us the flexibility to add on more microphones to the system in the future.”

No matter how the room was arranged, we could still count on the microphone to deliver clear, natural audio.

Sensory Technologies installed the access points in the ceiling, providing a clear microphone signal throughout the building. The integrator configured system settings to eliminate potential interference between rooms. Once they were configured with the company’s DSP and videoconferencing system, it was a seamless transition to getting users trained and using the space.


“The facility is utilized on a daily basis,” said Heald. “That says it all. It’s working for our users. I think the success boils down to how high-quality, reliable, and intuitive the system is. With our old system, we were running into issues and experienced a high volume of help desk calls. With the Executive Elite, everything worked better than expected. Now we maybe get a call once a month. No news is good news.”

I think the success boils down to how high-quality, reliable, and intuitive the system is.

Future Roadmap

The Revolabs Executive Elite system has been so successful that Rust-Oleum is making the Executive Elite microphone system the blueprint for the company’s future meeting spaces that require high-quality audio flexibility. In addition, because of the company’s overwhelming positive experience, Sensory Technologies has used the application as real-world example of the solution, allowing prospective customers to see the system in action.