From a Galaxy Far Far Away to the White House and Beyond
by Hollie Grimaldi Flores
As live events were shuttered in March of 2020, this Nevada County based company took advantage of the forced down time, expanding from a single self-named offering – Telestepper—to an expanded base of manufactured goods, all geared toward live speaking events. Emerging from the pandemic with a new name and an expanded arsenal, PresenterTek now offers an array of goods to assist the presentation and public speaking industry.
Account Executive, Debbi Sutton said the company is ready to help the live event industry with a variety of products including the flagship Telestepper, a teleprompter system that can be adapted to a speaker’s height utilizing remote control, for unobtrusive adjustments. Telestepper was developed by founder Thom Tanner at the request of his brother, who needed it for a presentation at Lucasfilm Ltd in 2016, which in turn lead to its use at the White House. Sutton said, “We used the prototype at a second event in San Diego and staff from the White House was there and said, ‘we need those.’ So, Thom got a facility together and produced 100 systems for the White House.”
Sutton said the Telestepper was used throughout the previous administration’s tenure and at the Biden inauguration and during his campaign. She said she fully expects to see it used in the future with the current administration.
During the lockdown, Tanner went to work with a team of engineers to develop other products, Sutton added, “They developed five new products. We are waiting for the patent right now on the Telomic, a microphone that attaches to any podium and can be touchless, and we are working on another product that will be controlled using sensors.”
In addition to the flagship Telestepper, the company has the TeloMic, a robotic stand called MicMover, a PTZ camera booster that remotely moves the PTZ camera up and down, and a podium prompter. Sutton said, “This is still in development, but it is basically a podium with a teleprompting mirror that raises and lowers right out of the podium stand, which is perfect for smaller events.”
With a customer base that includes the White House communications agency, and Apple Inc. (CEO Tim Cook travels with his own Telestepper), as well as other production and audio-visual companies, PresenterTek is well poised for exponential growth. Sutton added, “We just launched a new website that is e-commerce so people can go there and buy our products to get them as soon as possible.”
With event driven products, it has been a challenging time. “Our technology and our products are something no one else has done. And those using a teleprompter is a bit of a niche, so we trying to help CEO’s and other speakers feel more confident and making eye contact.”
Prior to the Covid pandemic, the company was doing well, but without largescale live events their offering was not a fit. The positive for the company over the last year is they have now expanded several products instead of just the one. Sutton added, “We are anxiously waiting and anticipating the return of live events. When there are enough vaccinations and enough people are healthy and the restrictions are lifted and everybody is going to be safe, then I believe we are just going to take off. “
The Nevada County Economic Resource Council helped PresenterTek (then Telestepper) with marketing using grant funds from the California Manufacturing Tech program. Sutton said, “That was phenomenal. I got help with marketing manufactured products which was completely different from my background. We got help with our website, and in marketing so now it is hitting the ground running with sales. “
Learn more about PresenterTek on their website at presentertek.com.