Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District


Multitasking is imperative for employees of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (CUMTD). Imagine the coordination needed to provide more than 11,000,000 rides per year with 100-plus vehicles along more than 40 routes. Technology keeps CUMTD running smoothly.

When it was time to upgrade the CUMTD control center, AECom was asked designed the system and Zdi won the bid to implement AECom’s design. The update required a live video feed from 300 newly installed cameras that monitored high-traffic terminal areas as well as the administrative and facility buildings at CUMTD.

A large video wall was designed to display the different camera locations, routes, and the traffic to affectively monitor patrons and service. Zdi lead engineer Jay McArdle helped with the layout of the content and the windows on the wall, which is comprised of 10 CHRISTIE FHD551-X tiled LCD flat panels. (As one of the first installs of this technology from Christie, a case study was completed by Christie and can be read here.) These flat panels are built to run for only 20 hours in a 24-hour period, but CUMTD needs 24-hour coverage. So McArdle devised a schedule for switching off the bottom five screens for a four-hour rest, then doing the same for the top five. This keeps the panels from running over their factory warranty rating.

CUMTD’s technical director Brad Cronk says “Zdi was immediately responsive to our requests. All technicians were knowledgeable and well prepared.” Karl Gnadt, director of market development attests “the [dispatchers] love the new control center, love the screens and their ability to enlarge images and see video feeds.”

In fact, CUMTD staff was so pleased, they asked Zdi to provide a solution for a new conference room. Zdi installed an 80-inch, touch interactive display, giving the CUMTD staff more simplified information sharing in presentations and meetings while minimizing complicated controls and wiring.

Gnadt stresses that employees, visitors, and guests alike are very impressed. The customers would be too, if they only knew of the behind-the-scenes technology that makes CUMTD run without a hitch.

Oaks Community Church


Corporate buildings and transport hubs are not the only places that use Audio/Visual displays to expand their impact. Worship Centers are also looking for new ways to make their messages more accessible and more understandable to their ever-expanding communities. This was the case at Oaks Community Church in Dahinda, Il. Oaks Community had received donations, large and small, to build a brand new sanctuary and fellowship hall. As part of the construction, the church administrators had chosen to include two large screens, one on either side of the cross, to share media and live feeds of each service. An additional screen and projector were to be placed in the fellowship hall. These two solutions were integrated so that more people would be able to participate in each of the church’s services. Concerned with the presence of two screens so close to their symbol of faith, Oaks Community Pastor, Marty Briney approached his Zdi, Inc. project manager to inquire about developing an alternative design.

Zdi, Inc. was able to create a design that allowed the cross to remain the focal point of each service with two screens angled out toward the congregation to compliment it. Rear-projection was then used to display the images on the screens maintain a simple, clean look for the center of worship.

Everyone is elated with the rear projection screen solution,” states Reverend Marty Briney. “Obviously [Zdi, Inc’s] engineers know their stuff, and that brings peace of mind in an area far outside our expertise.” Zdi, Inc. was also asked to provide Audio solutions for the new sanctuary. In accordance with the desire to keep the altar wall free of distraction and creating a system that would make optimal use of the sanctuary’s space, Zdi, Inc, proposed a JBL speaker array that hangs from the central support beam. Once the array was hung, church administrators voiced concerns. “We had some issues to work through, “ states Reverend Marty Briney. They felt the array hung too low, and slightly obstructed the cross. Zdi, Inc. went straight to work to make an acceptable adjustment.

I feel Zdi helped in a very professional manner. I was very impressed when one of the owners of the company came out to address our hanging “black banana” speaker system and personally negotiated a very fine solution.” In addition to the JBL speakers, the audio system was rounded out with a new Soundcraft GB2 Audio board, and a custom front of house rack to provide optimal benefit for the church’s needs.

Green City Schools

In 2012, Zdi was given the opportunity to work with a school district centered in Green City, Missouri. The Green City school system is comprised of four schools, each ten miles from the other. The schools share one program to teach accelerated students and over the last ten years have used Video conferencing to teach remotely to four different classrooms in four different buildings. Zdi was brought in to upgrade their broken and antiquated system to allow for simpler communication and to enhance teaching utility remotely.

Zdi chose to use a Cisco C20 codec allowing for a more clear and secure connection between schools. The C20 codec and classroom capture allows for students unable to attend school, to view their class from home. As part of the Video conferencing system Zdi provided each Green City School with a Smartboard projector, Smartboard, front and rear video displays, Vaddio cameras, document cameras, and ceiling microphones.

The configuration designed by Zdi was to allow each teacher to remotely view their students on the rear (60) sixty inch video confidence display while the students would be able to see what was being presented to them on the front (80) eighty inch display. With a camera mounted on top of each display, the students are also able to see their fellow classmates in the remote locations if they ask questions as well as their instructor as they teach the material.

The instructors are able to control the source of their presentation with a Crestron Desktop touch panel, programmed with presets to each school location, and each source output (i.e. document camera, Smartboard, etc.). This allows the instructors maximum flexibility with the materials they reference and how they want them presented to their students.

Carle Foundation Hospital

Over the past several years, Zdi has completed projects for this regional healthcare facility in Urbana, Illinois. The quality of Zdi’s work has created a growing, trusted relationship with this institution. When asked to describe the work done by Zdi, the manager of systems and technology explains:

“Zdi has done several large projects for us and has continually exceeded expectations in terms of recommendations, pricing, and quality of installation. We have had large auditorium upgrades, new installations in new space, and piece-by-piece equipment purchases and upgrades. Each time, Zdi’s advice was based on sensible solutions using today’s technologies, their price point was always competitive, and their installation both friendly and timely. I recommend their work highly.”

Here are summaries for two of those projects.

Auditorium Upgrade
Zdi was initially selected to provide an audiovisual upgrade to the facility’s auditorium—which contained an antiquated sound equipment, 4:3 projector, and phone system. It needed top-notch equipment for medical presentations, guest speakers, and video teleconferencing. Zdi started with a Cisco C20 Codec for the video conferencing solution. To control the video conferencing and other capabilities, two Crestron touch panels were installed. The first was placed in the presenter’s lectern to manage media presentations, visual aids, and video conferencing. The second panel was installed at the back of the hall, for technician troubleshooting and secondary control.


Executive Boardroom Design
The institution’s newly renovated executive boardroom was the next project for Zdi. The design included these elements, all supported by a Cisco C20 Codec:

  • one 28-foot-long board room table with 10 tabletop microphones
  • one lectern
  • one lavaliere and one baton microphone
  • two 50-inch Sharp LCD televisions (mounted on either side of the table)
  • laptop ports for VGA, HDMI, and USB
  • one Blu-ray player


Carle Foundation Hospital


Over the last several years, Zdi has been given the opportunity to work for Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois.

Zdi was initially sought out to provide an upgrade to the Auditorium, a space utilized for medical presentations, guest speakers, and Video Teleconferencing. Zdi was asked to replace the existing system, which included antiquated sound equipment, 4:3 projector, and phone system.

Zdi replaced the existing system with a Cisco C20 Codec to provide a more adequate video conferencing solution. To control the video conferencing and other capabilities of the room, two Crestron touch panels were installed; one in the presenter’s podium giving them access to showcase powerpoint presentations, other visual aids, and to control the video conferencing system. The other Crestron touch panel was installed in the back of the hall, for technician troubleshooting and control as well.

Later, Zdi was asked to design the video conferencing system for this institution’s newly renovated Executive Board Room. The design consisted of a twenty eight (28) foot long board room table, with (10) ten table top microphones, (1) one podium, (1) one lavaliere  and (1) one baton microphone accompanied by (2) two 50 inch Sharp LCD televisions (one mounted on either side of the table), laptop hook ups for VGA, HDMI, & USB, and blue ray player all supported by a Cisco C20 Codec.

The quality of work done by Zdi in these projects and more, has created a growing relationship and trust with this organization. When asked to describe the work done by Zdi, the Manager of Systems and Technology stated:

“Zdi has done several large projects for us, and has continually exceeded expectations in terms of recommendations, pricing, and quality of installation. We have had large auditorium upgrades, new installations in new space, and piece-by-piece equipment purchases and upgrades. Each time, Zdi’s advice was based on sensible solutions using today’s technologies, their price point was always competitive, and their installation both friendly and timely. I recommend their work highly.”

Zdi, Inc. prides itself on the quality and integrity of our work. As we continue to work with this and other clients, we look to design custom solutions that will meet and exceed their expectations.

Peoria Riverfront Museum


In October of 2012, The Peoria Riverfront Museum opened its doors to the public. This 10 year long project was conceptualized to beautify the riverfront in addition to give the residents of Peoria an extraordinary destination for the entire family. As part of that goal, the museum was designed with advanced and interactive technologies to create a unique experience for all of its patrons. Zdi was fortunate enough to have played a large role in the development of the project and all of the exciting technology. Zdi was responsible for the design and installation of many of the audio systems in the building, including the audio for the acclaimed Giant Screen Theatre and Planetarium. The elaborate sound system was designed by Jay McArdle, Lead Engineer at Zdi (InfoComm International award recipient). The system features 35 independently powered sound channels and outputs more than 14,000 watts. All elements were chosen for their high efficiency.

Renowned audio engineer, Bill Dudleston, of Legacy Audio in Springfield, IL was chosen to design and custom build five 6’ tall and 3 ½’ wide speakers with six 15” bass drivers in each speaker. Lining the side and rear walls are 14 surround speakers bridged by a custom pyramid-shaped overhead channel. These speakers are among the most powerful speakers in the world, and sitting in front of them creates an experience the people of Peoria are likely not to forget. Zdi’s involvement can also be seen in the design and installation of video conferencing in the Giant Screen Theatre. The company utilized a Cisco C40 codec and three different cameras. Not only is the theatre able to run films, but it has the potential to be a sought-after destination for conferences and presentations. Other projects Zdi led throughout the museum include Digital Signage, Room Scheduling, Classroom Technology, Boardroom Technology (with a Touch Interactive Display), Giant Screen Theatre Installation Supervision, Giant Screen Theatre Control Integration, Lighting Control Integration, Planetarium Audio Design and Installation, Giant Screen Theatre Video Conferencing System, and the Audio/Video for the Outdoor Projection. To manage the functionality of all these systems, Zdi used AMX controls due to the versatility and ability it could offer the museum.

Zdi Invited to 2012 CI Summit

Zdi was honored with an invitation to the first Commercial Integrator Summit held in Houston, Texas, November 6–8, 2012. Along with other high-revenue commercial integration companies, Zdi attended sessions highlighting technology trends and best practices in general management, sales and marketing and operations.

“This premier pro AV event connected the nation’s top integration companies and the suppliers seeking interactions with them.”

Read the CI Summit Recap

Zdi Included on CI’s 2012 List of 21 Firms Worth Following

Each year, Commercial Integrators (CI) compiles a list of companies on the rise. Zdi was included in its 2012 edition:

For a firm that has only existed for five years, Zdi has already received a good deal of recognition. Lead engineer Jay McArdle, for instance, was recognized as the 2011 InfoComm Young AV Professional of the Year, and was invited to that year’s InfoComm 100, an annual gathering of industry leaders designed to assess and chart the course of the industry through an agenda designed by InfoComm’s Leadership Development Committee. However, when CI asked Jay McArdle who the most important employee at Zdi is he cited his brother Aaron McArdle. “He is the face of Zdi and keeps everyone motivated and collectively moving towards the company’s vision.

See the full list here: 2012 CI 21 Firms Worth Following

CI Profiles Zdi’s Jay McArdle

Each week, Commercial Integrator features an industry leader for its CI Profile. Zdi’s Jay McArdle was selected for June 22, 2012, to talk “about the importance of listening to clients and properly managing their expectations.”

“In our industry, trust and relationships are the most important components to success.”

Read McArdle’s CI Profile