The history of Eastern American, philosophy and future potential of Eastern American can best be understood by looking at Mr. Gunter G. Schmidt, its founder and guiding light.
Mr. Schmidt is a goal oriented, exacting man who believes in what he calls “The Law of Expectations.” This “law” as described by Mr. Schmidt is the governing factor in knowing you can achieve the next step.
“Too many people want things”, says Mr. Schmidt, “without having any idea what they will do should they accidentally achieve the goal…and without having a good reason to expect their desires to become a reality. People walk around in a dreamlike state wanting desperately but unwilling to take the necessary steps in order to truly expect things to happen.
Gunter G. Schmidt, trained as an engineer (see biography) believes in doing his homework. Each stage of Eastern American’s growth has been meticulously designed and tested before the next up was even contemplated. One could call each small step the building of a prototype….followed by careful testing….. re-design….further testing and only when all components were absolutely right did that stage of the business become Standard Operating Procedure.
Mr. Schmidt founded Eastern American Communications in 1976 after leaving a previous partnership in the same industry. The previous three years had prepared G. S. (according to his law of expectations) for success in his new venture.
Mr. Schmidt’s continual annoyance over lack of thought in his company’s advice to clients and lack of quality in service helped to formulate his plans. Eastern American was to be a firm that had a total commitment to state-of-the-art service and equipment.
The company began with initial capitalization of $10,000 (a loan from Mr. Schmidt’s new bride). Mr. Schmidt performed every function in the company. He would make the sale, install the equipment and appear as the serviceman on a complaint. The only criticism heard about Mr. Schmidt’s business acumen is “over-caution.” There were times when bolder action might have lead Eastern American to quicker growth.
Gunter Schmidt plays “right-wrong” as opposed to “win-lose.” His emotional stability comes from being right, therefore he had been content to shrink away from chancy moves even when there was a possible “big win” to be reaped. Gunter sees it as significant that his previous firm folded one year after he left. He attributes that failure in part to the need for his former associates to play “win-lose” even when survival was clearly at stake.
EACS achieved a volume of $125,000 in its first year and has been modestly profitable from the very beginning. Mr. Schmidt will tell you of the many innovations he designed as he encountered technological problems. Some of these innovations could have been the springboard to huge businesses on their own, but Mr. Schmidt would not step off into tangential directions. His eye stayed on the “sure money” balls represented by EACS, Inc.
In addition to “THE LAW OF EXPECTATIONS” already discussed (see Company History), EACS does daily business with an eye toward the formula:
I x C = R
Simply stated, the formula translates this way:
Imagination X Clarity = Reality
“In most cases we provide the C,” says Tom Ciarletta, Eastern American’s Exec VP. “Our clients have lots of ideas about how they’d like to structure their communications system. Our task is to clarify and make each need very specific. We need to determine the exact mode of daily use and how to cost-effectively construct each capability.”
“We get the orders because we never stop studying new developments, comparative costs and feasibility situations. We know how to clarify quickly and produce what the customer needs with an attractive price tag.”
“Getting the order is the bottom line. Through the technique of challenging the client’s concept and reducing the perceived need to a clearer reality we are able to produce a system the customer really needs instead of the less tangible original idea,” says Mr. Schmidt. “Ideas strengthen or disappear when they are challenged.”
“Of course it is often necessary to provide the I in the formula. We’re perfectly capable of that function too.”
Matt Jackson talks about his administrative strategy:
“Internally the company is growing stronger and more together through use of the same formula. We have frequent meeting and repeatedly go over the many creative ideas for growing and becoming more effective. These ideas are solicited from our entire ‘family’ and everyone is continually asking how we can make our ideas into reality. You could say we’re on a continuing search for that C in the formula that makes things work.”
“We have two basic rules here….one is that everyone has the right to doubt everything…and the duty to do so once a week. Once again we feel that policies either strengthen or become obviously inadequate when challenged.”
“The other rule is that those who do the work, must get the pay. You don’t build an organization by the exploitation of people who contribute significantly to its growth.”
“There are daily signs that this philosophy and its continued implementation are making Eastern American a company worth watching as it grows. It has the look and feel of a strong success in the making.”
Gunter G. Schmidt – President (Founder)
Born in Berlin. Mr. Schmidt was trained in electric engineering at the university of Hamburg. He was ostensibly following in his father’s footsteps. The senior Schmidt was a telephone-communications engineer. After a stint in the military, Gunter returned to school for two years of graduate studies, while supporting himself with a small TV repair business.
In 1969 he accepted an invitation to visit the United States. An old army buddy now working in Hartford CT. as an engineer had been after Gunter for some time. Gunter resisted, fearing that he would like the U.S. as much as he was told he would and was not sure if he was ready to leave his family.
After three months travel about the country with a tent and a Volkswagen, Gunter knew he was staying. A period of odd jobs, including the management of a delicatessen in the Hartford area, led the young entrepreneur were to the status of his first business, a retail food and catering business in Valley Stream, New York.
Mr. Schmidt yearned to use his engineering skills in a business of his own. In his search for ideas he became aware of new opportunities in competing with A.T. & T. He entered this industry in 1973.
In 1975 he met his wife and the Schmidt family (2 sons) are remodeling a home on the East End of Long Island and living the American dream.
HISTORY of Eastern American AND OUTLOOK
Eastern American continued on a conservative, fiscally sound growth pattern, with Gunter slowly putting puzzle pieces together. In 1984 the company’s volume reached over $700,000.00. It is now ready to attack the marketplace in the substantially more aggressive manner.
Eastern American owns the modest building in which it is currently housed. It boasts a client list with hundreds of small to medium size companies…very satisfied companies. A highly skilled technical staff is now up to Mr. Schmidt’s demanding standards. Mr. Matthew Jackson, the firm’s new Treasurer has proven a top-notch administrator capable of meeting greater challenges. Mr. Jackson was enticed away from a much larger company to preside over a growth pattern. The company is currently out collecting new opportunities and challenges daily.
Two bright, energetic and experienced management people were recruited in the fall of 1985. They are responsible for much forward movement in a very short period of time. Tom concluded pivotal negotiations with Ciber Digital and EACS is now an authorized distributor for equipment that represents the future of the industry. With this appointment and a $15 million commitment over the next seven years, Ciber has closed out its distributor requirement for the New York metropolitan market. Other distributorships with innovative equipment manufacturers have been negotiated and Eastern Americans ability to service a larger, more lucrative client is solidly in place.