Tech giant honors past, looks forward to future
When we recount the milestones in our county’s history, one event in particular truly stands out. It was July 21, 1969 and Neil Armstrong’s famous words, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind,” were transmitted from the moon—via a Pacific Plantronics SPENCOM headset.
Today, the largest private employer in Santa Cruz County is celebrating its 50th anniversary—a half century of communication innovation, beginning with headsets and expanding into Bluetooth. Since taking several trips to the moon, Plantronics products have become internationally recognized—they were named the official headset of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and they continue to lead the pack in mobile communication technology.
To show Plantronics’ appreciation of Santa Cruz for its decades of loyalty and support, the company hosted an anniversary event on May 26.
“The company has historically been involved with the community, so the event was us saying thank you,” says Russ Castronovo, director of global communications for Plantronics. “The company is extraordinarily excited about what’s to come.”
Mayor Ryan Coonerty, State Sen. Joe Simitian, and representatives from Second Harvest Food Bank and Ecology Action were among those in attendance, who demonstrated their appreciation for the company’s contributions to Santa Cruz.
According to Castronovo, many Plantronics employees volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank, and were instrumental in donating 350,000 pounds of food to the nonprofit this year. The Plantronics team also lent its expertise to designing the Food Bank’s warehouse distribution center.
“The values of the area are reflected in the company,” says Castronovo. “This is a company that’s in tune with the community—it’s about being conscious of what’s around us.”
That ideology is reflected in the water-resistant plants outside the company’s facilities, their use of natural light within buildings, and the recent decision to move forward with a solar panel installation initiative. On May 25, the second phase of Plantronics’ solar panel installation was completed, putting the company one step closer to having 80 percent of their energy offset by solar power.
Aside from being an environmentally responsible company, Castronovo says Plantronics is currently focused on developing streamlined Bluetooth systems that cater to the modern day office worker.
“We’re all about getting unified communication to the mobile professional,” says Castronovo. “They don’t want to use three headsets—now they can use Skype one moment, or a Cisco system, or an IBM system, and their headset will work with all of them.”
On May 18—the actual date of Plantronics’ anniversary—the company launched several new products for enterprise users in an office environment, in addition to hosting a presentation before financial analysts about growth opportunity.
But the most exciting moment of all, says Castronovo, was the opportunity to participate in the time-honored tradition of ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
“While every day there is a different company that gets to [ring the bell],” says Castronovo, “it was particularly meaningful to us, in that it was an opportunity to showcase the future and opportunity of the company.” Learn more about Plantronics at plantronics.com.
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