What do product leaders need to consider when building protective communications platforms? In this final episode of the PM Awards Series with Ticketmaster Fmr. Product VP Andrew Zavattero, Genasys Product SVP Charlie Crocker discusses his journey from founding an evacuation management startup to leading product at Genasys, which is building an integrated platform for protective communications. He speaks on how Genasys is combining Zone Haven’s zone-based evacuation planning with high-clarity outdoor warning systems to disrupt traditional mass notification. As winner of the 2023 PM Awards for Emergency Management Visionary, Crocker shares valuable insights for product leaders on building platforms that can scale to serve critical public safety needs.

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Show Notes

  1. Charlie Crocker is currently the SVP of Product at Genasys, a company that is building protective communications platforms including hardware, software, and mass notification systems.
  2. He previously started a company called Zone Haven that was acquired by Genasys.
  3. Zone Haven created the category of evacuation management and built a zone-based evacuation management system.
  4. Genasys brings together Zone Haven and other acquired companies to build protective communications platforms.
  5. Wildfires have increased dramatically in California in recent years, necessitating better evacuation planning and management.
  6. Zone Haven’s system helps plan and optimize evacuations to get people out of harm’s way faster.
  7. Genasys adds high-clarity outdoor warning speakers to Zone Haven’s system for critical emergency communications.
  8. The combined Genasys platform is disrupting traditional mass notification systems.
  9. The platform supports not just government but also large enterprises for on-campus emergency communications.
  10. Future innovations need to reach more “non-opt-in” people during emergencies through new channels.
  11. Location data and awareness will be important to reach people where they are, like visitors or those away from home.
  12. Self-advocacy and personal responsibility will be needed more as climate change causes more frequent disasters.
  13. Early and frequent customer input is crucial for product success.
  14. Don’t get attached to your own ideas; be pragmatic and design before building.
  15. Storytelling ability is important for product managers to influence others.
  16. Passion (beyond just the product) shows a person who loves solving problems.
  17. Charlie became a product manager accidentally after starting a GIS consulting business.
  18. He learned a lot while leading product at Autodesk.
  19. Products that Count has been influential in his product management learning and career.
  20. Interoperability between agencies is challenging given the fragmented nature of over 13,000 police departments in the US.

About the speaker
Charlie Crocker Genasys, SVP SaaS Products Member

Following the acquisition of Zonehaven, where he was Co-Founder and CEO, he is now responsible for scaling the worlds leading comprehensive critical communications platform that includes evacuation management, multi-channel geo-targeted alerting, and LRAD® long-range voice broadcast systems. He is a data geek and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience building teams to bring data out of the shadows and drive business value. Prior to Zonehaven, he built Autodesk’s first big data platform team to support migration to subscription and the cloud. He also led product management for Autodesk’s flagship AutoCAD product line. Prior to Autodesk he was co-founder in a start-up focused on spatial databases and web-based tools for state and local government agencies and utility companies. Charlie has a passion for growing young leaders. He mentors MBA and MSBA students at UC Davis and California College of the Arts.

About the host
Andrew Zavattero Green Dog Advisory, Founder & Product Advisor

Andrew is an inclusive, innovative, action-oriented B2B2C SaaS/Marketplace product strategist and leader with an extensive track record of successfully defining and executing 0 to 1 products with multi-million dollar ROI’s for world class brands including Chase, FTD, Fanatics, Groupon, and Ticketmaster. He lives each day to build game changing products in order to solve customer problems leading to increased engagement and revenue growth.

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