DWR’s Duncan Riley

Having formed in 2006, DWR Distribution has gone on to become one of South Africa’s most sought-after technical distributors. With an unparalleled knowledge of the market and an unwavering passion for the region. Director Duncan Riley chats to TPMEA about his bustling business…

Can you give us a brief background into how and why DWR was formed?

I had worked in the industry for 12 years. I really wanted to take service, support and back-up to a new level in the South African market, create a new standard and build stronger relationships with my clients and international suppliers. The most important thing for DWR is its relationships with people – staff, clients and suppliers. It’s a family based business where we are small enough to care for each other and big enough to deliver a project on any scale.

Why did you feel it was the right time to launch, when you did?

It wasn’t the right time, but luckily things just worked out!

How has the industry in South Africa grown in terms of live events and concerts during that time?

With the turn of democracy in South Africa, and sanctions being lifted, it opened doors for international artists and for larger corporates doing bigger events in the South African industry. It has grown substantially.

Recently you took on your first audio console distribution deal with DiGiCo. How has this benefitted both parties in SA?

The product has taken off beyond anyone’s imagination. We were rather shocked at how fast DiGiCo took off here; the South African industry is small, and DWR is known for support. We are trying our best to promote DiGiCo and provide service, support and training which is the most important part of having a product. What adds to the success of DiGiCo is the relationship we have with Ian Staddon, Vice President of Sales and the DiGiCo team. When a distributor and manufacturer work closely together it is inevitable that the product will do well.

You’re known in particular for your expertise in pro lighting / visual hardware. Was the audio world a learning curve with a global brand such as this?

We were grateful to welcome Kyle Robson to the DWR team who has been in the audio market for numerous years and is passionate in all he does. Kyle is able to offer the technical know-how and able to support clients and speak the language of the audio world. In future, the DiGiCo team will grow.

You also work with special effects, rigging and trussing companies. How does an overall knowledge of the entertainment technology industry enable you to better understand all of your brands?

Our team regularly attend international training from the manufacturers and we ourselves offer training to the industry. DWR is really hands-on, and we like to educate our staff and clients.

You’re one of the few businesses in the industry which is run by a husband and wife team. What are the key things you have to keep in mind in order to work together successfully? 

DWR has a lot of family working together. At the end of the day we are all one big family. Sometimes when you are all in it together, there is a better understanding about long hours, and demanding situations, and on the other hand, being able to appreciate the success that comes our way.

 2016 has been a busy year for DWR… What have been your highlights? 

The Mall of Africa was an intense project for us, DiGiCo was our biggest surprise and we’ve been sad to see some staff leave for other countries. But  it been great to see our existing staff rise to the occasion, while our new crop of staff members have fit in perfectly. We were delighted to supply the technical gear for The Voice and our training days have been very successful. We have some great surprises on the training front for 2017. Thank you to all our suppliers who have supported us this year!