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Exclusive: Clear-Com president gives us the inside track

Bob Boster on being a “casual” Arsenal fan, his hands on approach to work, and his positive outlook on life

Where do you hail from and where are you based now?
Like a number of Americans, I have lived in a lot of places, but I usually say I’m from the Northeast United States (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts), which is where I lived as a child and teenager.  I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area where Clear-Com’s headquarters is located, but I also spend a lot of time at our factory in Carlsbad, CA (in the San Diego area).  In 2022 I look forward to more time at our other offices, including Montreal, Canada and Cambridge, UK.

How did you get started in the industry?
I have used Clear-Com equipment in theatre and live music production since I was a kid, but my serious start in the industry came while I was a graduate student studying electronic music, when I got a job testing software at Orban (a legendary name in broadcast audio processing).

What advice can you give someone starting out?
Look around for as many different kinds of activities you can get involved in for your employer – customer facing activities, development activities, business functions, people-related activities – a breadth of experience will always pay great dividends in your broader career.  And you may find you love some part of the business that you are not necessarily trained in which could lead you in new and exciting directions.

How did you fill your time during lockdown? Any new hobbies?
During lockdown I was as busy as I have ever been with my Clear-Com responsibilities, so it wasn’t really a chance for a lot of exploration!  Recently I have re-started my interest in music curation (sometimes called DJing – except that I tend to approach it more from the radio DJ perspective as opposed to what a club DJ does).

What football/rugby/other teams do you support, if any?
On the men’s side I’m a casual Arsenal fan but very much support the US Women’s National side in international football.  The women’s side I support is Angel City FC of the US National Women’s Soccer League, but they are BRAND new and struggling mightily.  And of course, I strongly support the NBA Golden State Warriors!

Tell us something about you that may surprise people
I’m still quite ‘hands on’ in terms of development of our products and especially solution selling.  Our products can do so many different things that there are often multiple ways to solve certain new communications challenges and I enjoy brainstorming how to address those unique requirements.

What’s your outlook on life?
I tend to be quite positive, and I think the difficulties we have all faced over the past few years have ultimately allowed us to learn more about ourselves, each other, and the ways we are linked together.  I think we need this strength and understanding to overcome some of the monumental challenges the world is facing now and will continue to face in the future, but I’m confident we can continue to make things better.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I wish it was easier for me to spend in-person time with some of my extended family members as we are all scattered around the US and the distances involved make getting together challenging.

How did Clear-Com fare during Covid? What plans have you got for the business as we continue to move forward?
Well first of all, I think we are still experiencing the impacts of Covid in the current supply chain problems we and all other manufacturers are facing, so I would suggest we are still in it, just a different phase. Broadly I would say we have done fairly well, most importantly because we have been able to keep our team healthy, however we’ve also been able to maintain our business by shipping product –albeit with much longer lead times than we would like—and continued to provide industry-leading support to our customers. One silver lining is that we have such a well-developed portfolio of remote operation-based communications solutions that we have been able to help our customers pivot to alternative workflows which helped them stay in business during the shutdown of events.

A key focus for the business moving forward is to reconnect with our network of Partners, our global user community, and the industry at large. We are always inspired by the people who are using our products, and we’ve missed the opportunity to meet in person over the last few years. It seems that’s changing in 2022, which is a great relief! Of course, we’re also planning to manage through the component shortages which have been impacting the whole industry, as well as introduce our very important next wave of market-leading intercom solutions focused on bringing wired, wireless, and IP based operation into one easy-to-manage platform.

Looking forward to all of that and more!