Finnish studio monitor manufacturer Genelec has been helping audio professionals achieve the mixes they envision for decades. The company spent much of 2018 celebrating its 40th anniversary. Founded by the late Ilpo Martikainen in 1978, Genelec, based in Iisalmi, Finland, remains family-owned and family-operated to this day, even as it has grown to more than 150 employees. With both Genelec’s history and future in mind, managing director Siamak Naghian shared a look back and then discussed what’s next for the company.
It’s been a big year for Genelec, with its 40th anniversary celebrations in 2018. What have been some of the highlights from the past 12 months?
Siamak Naghian: The most import highlights are naturally related to the recognitions and attention we have received from people in the audio community—both related to the company anniversary, its history and heritage, and also to new products. Our anniversary event was a great milestone, and having our friends all around the world celebrating our joint success was a very rewarding moment. We have been working with most of those people for decades. They have contributed to the company’s success, and naturally it was great to celebrate such a milestone with the wider Genelec family.
It was also a touching moment when we gave Genelec medals to our personnel who have been working for the company more than 10 years. More than 50 percent of our personnel have been with us over 10 years and some even more than 30 years. This is a great indicator of our company culture. It shows the deep commitment people have to Genelec and to our mission: achieving the most truthful sound.
Beyond that, and in terms of innovations, the success of The Ones monitors has been an excellent highlight. It is encouraging to see how well users and the audio community in general have responded to these radical breakthroughs.
Related: The Next Generation of Genelec, by Barney Jameson, May 30, 2018
Forty years is a major milestone for any company to reach. What has been the key to Genelec’s longevity?
The company values, philosophy, professional heritage and mission are definitely the foundation for such an amazing history. For over four decades, [Genelec has been] a pioneer, continuously bringing innovations to the monitoring market at a time when technology, society and the wider business environment has been developing extremely fast. This would not have been possible without a deep dedication and determination to constantly push the boundaries forward. This has required commitment and determination to long-term research and development, as well as the building of close relationships with our network of users, suppliers, distributors and other partners. Building trust in all directions about what the company does, and providing real value to the community has been key to the company’s longevity.
The company is still very much a family business. How crucial has this unified vision been to the company’s success over the past four decades?
Dedicated and present ownership is a unique way of motivating others to get committed to the company’s mission and vision. Such a model has helped the company to fully concentrate on its shared vision, invest in long-term development, and enhance its commitment to lasting relationships. It is a very different thing to exercise decades of business experience, as opposed to going for quick wins. When it works, a family business is mostly about long-term commitment. This creates trust both in the organization and within the network and chain in which the company operates. This is crucial for creating a unified vision and striving together for excellence and making such vision a reality through persistent work.
Talk us through some of Genelec’s key 2018 product launches.
While The Ones have been establishing themselves within the audio community, we have also been actively contributing to immersive audio development and education. Launching the S360 and 7382 reflected our vision and belief in immersive audio and the unique experience it brings to users. The new version of the Genelec Loudspeaker Manager (GLM) along with Cloud Services, as well as expanding our Smart Active Monitors (SAM) range, shows very clearly the evolutionary path of monitoring technology and the ways in which it can be applied in the not-too-distant future.
Related: Genelec Unveils High-SPL Smart Active Monitors, Aug. 7, 2018
What do you consider to be the biggest opportunities for Genelec as we prepare to enter 2019?
We see immersive audio, IP and digital technology and their applications as key areas. This has been evident in the products and solutions we have been initiating in recent years. There are significant transformations going on in the working process in audio production, distribution and consumption. For over two decades we have been conducting research and development in digital technology, and we are moving in a fascinating direction, which is now becoming a reality. We expect that  will be a natural continuation in this direction.
And the biggest challenges?
New opportunities and challenges go hand in hand. The ongoing transformation of our industry and business environment provides significant challenges, too. However, currently, and in 2019, the most serious challenges come from the global economy, or actions against it, social changes, and the uncertain economic-political climate. Such changes are already causing harmful uncertainties globally. Our industry is not an exception in this respect.
Genelec • www.genelec.com