Young Turks of CE
CR sent out the call for bright, young professionals in the CE industry, and you delivered. Following is CR’s homage to the Young Turks of CE, stars from every corner of our field, who create, support and catapult your businesses to success.January 2010
CEO, Dana Innovations/Sonance, iPort
At Sonance, Ari has been intricately involved in the rebranding, repositioning and general turnaround of the Sonance brand back to a leadership position in the CEDIA industry. He also was an integral member of the team who developed the strategic marketing and sales launch of the innovative Architectural Series and Visual Performance Series products—both of which received back-to-back "CEDIA Products of the Year" awards. Also responsible for the creation and launch of the Moderno brand exclusive to Best Buy. He has also been a guest lecturer at Columbia Business School CaseWorks Program, presenting his published case study about Sonance. www.sonance.com
Vice President, Wright's Sound Gallery, Inc.
John has grown up in a family audio-video business. He started on the delivery truck while in high school and joined the company full time after he graduated from college. John heads many initiatives, including buying responsibilities, managing of the 12-volt division of the company, hiring employees and performing many other duties. He has personally become the IP manager of the evolving computer marketing world. His services are invaluable.
Eric G. Harper
Director of Marketing, ELAN, Sunfire, Home Logic and Aton
Eric has been a member of the CE industry since 1997. After a successful stint in custom installation, Eric moved to Integra where he served as brand manager and spearheaded their groundbreaking initiatives in custom installation. In 2005, Eric was tapped by Sunfire to head up both product development and marketing. He has developed a compelling high-performance line of products along with the right programs and marketing to make Sunfire one of the premier brands in home theater and custom installation. In 2009, he was promoted to director of marketing for all of the ELAN brands. Eric possesses an exceptional blend of outstanding professional and people skills. www.elanhomesystems.com
National Product Specialist, Tributaries
From the time he was 16 years old until he was 23, Joey worked with Tributaries, primarily packaging and testing cables as well as performing shipping and receiving duties. In 2001, he began working as a custom installer at Absolute Sound, a Retail/Custom Installation company in Orlando. After 4 years working as an installer, Joey rejoined Tributaries as a Technical Support Specialist. In his fifth year with Tributaries, Joey was appointed National Product Trainer. In his current position, Joey travels extensively throughout the USA working with the representatives and dealers training them on products and technology. In addition to the USA, Joey has travelled to Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England to train the International Distributors and assist at International Trade shows. Joey also assists in Product Development and new product evaluations. www.tributariescable.com
J. Lee Thompson
National Manager, Marketing and Communication, JVC
J. Lee's background includes many forms of television production. In Los Angeles she edited first-run and syndication television using both linear and non-Linear editing systems. Since joining JVC in 1999, J. Lee has held positions of Advertising & Media Communication, Product Manager of ProMedia Products, including Professional DV cameras and decks, monitors, D-VHS, S-VHS and videotape, District Manager of Southern California & Hawai'i, and Non-Linear Editing Specialist. Currently she is providing the direct marketing communication strategies for D-ILA Projectors, Broadcast and Professional Video, and Security Products. J. Lee helped launch JVC's premium Reference Series D-ILA projectors into the home theater market. www.jvc.com
V.P. of Sales, Sonance
Jason has been integral in the growth and development of the Architectural loudspeakers for Sonance and has successfully positioned the company as the vendor of choice for the custom installation channel. He also is responsible for successfully guiding the pre-launch development of TRUFIG, a new company under the Dana Innovations umbrella. Introduced at CEDIA 2009, TRUFIG won CEDIA Best New Product of the Year award. www.sonance.com
Owner, Buckeye Audio Video
Martyn has 15 years in A/V sales and system design under his belt. Martyn was submitted by Ronald Maxwell who says, "I've had the opportunity to work with Martyn prior to his creating Buckeye A/V. He bases his business in honesty and respect for his clients and his advanced knowledge allows him to design systems to meet every client's needs. buckeyeav.com
VP of Sales and Marketing, DVE Distribution, Inc.
Jeffrey began his career in the A/V industry working with Blu-ray production, distribution, sales and marketing. It was from this position that Jeffrey began his work with Joe Kane Productions. He worked with Joe for about two years before launching DVE Distribution, Inc. Jeffrey is responsible for new business development, sales management and channel support of DVE, which he founded in 2009 with the sole purpose of marketing Joe Kane Productions (JKP)-endorsed video display products. DVE partners with manufacturers who produce digital home theater products of the highest quality. His vision is to provide consumers with a line of video display products that reach new heights of video performance. www.dvedist.com
President, BCG Concepts, Inc.
Bryan started his career at a small custom installation firm called Soundwave in Sun Valley, Idaho. At Soundwave, he served as a systems designer and sales associate for custom homes. From there, he worked as a technician at Ambrosia Audio & Video in Bel Air, Calif., and moved on to a systems design and sales role prior to opening BCG Concepts in 2005. He founded BCG Concepts with a few simple principles in mind—hire only the best technicians and programmers, take a hands-on role in every project, and never fall short of the client's expectations. He is now 26 years old and has four employees, two trucks and a new showroom in downtown Los Angeles. www.bcgconcepts.com
Regional Sales Manager, Draper, Inc.
Amy covers the Midwest territory, but her work is not limited geographically. She also leads efforts in training internally and in the field. She embraces challenges, and was one of the first in the AV industry to become a LEED® AP while earning her MBA simulataneously. She has spearheaded Draper's efforts to introduce window shades into the residential market, taking its commercial line and making it more accessible for CE installers. Amy also works closely with partner rep firms, Tandem Marketing and Mike Pecar Sales, to help them get the most out of their relationship with Draper. www.draperinc.com
President, energy + light + control
Lee Odess is the president and owner of energy + light + control, based in the Washington D.C. metro market. energy + light + control ensures smooth design, selection, installation and implementation of natural and electric lighting control, solar power, wind power, energy-consumption monitoring, and audio-video design for residential, commercial and government applications. His clients include the State Department and he has been involved with numerous NAHB committees: the Custom Builder Committee, the National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI) Committee, the Custom Builder Symposium Committee, and the Home Technology Alliance Working Group of the Custom Home Builder Committee. www.ener gylightcontrol.com
Chief Technology Officer, Certified Cyber Solutions, Inc.
Having worked for over 10 years in the IT (information technology) field, Caleb specializes in residential network security and network monitoring software applications. Caleb served as the lead technology investigator for the Home Cyber Shield product group. His extensive background in cybersecurity and network architecture has paid major dividends for CCS, as the initial company products were developed over 2008-2009, and finally brought to market in fall of 2009. His technological 'geek' factor is off-set by his ability to speak plainly and in laymen's terms when he communicates amongst his colleagues or with the CCS dealer network and business alliance partners. Known for his integrity, Caleb is a vital cog in the technology product development and global sales and marketing efforts of CCS. www.certifiedcyber solutions.com
Director, Projectors, Epson America, Inc.
As the former Director of Home Entertainment at Epson America, Inc, Rajeev and his top-notch team was responsible for the successful launch and meteoric rise of Epson's home theater projectors throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Now, as Director of Projectors at Epson America, Inc., Rajeev is responsible for managing the strategic direction, product planning, sales and marketing for the largest manufacturer of front projectors in the world. Under his leadership, Epson is continuously recognized for their, service, support and dealer programs, while their projectors are praised for reliability and innovation. www.epson.com
Stephanie M. Scola
Marketing Manager, KEF America
KEF is one of the top loudspeaker brands for the specialty retail and CI markets and Stephanie, who has been with KEF America since 2006, is responsible for all of the company's marketing initiatives in North America as well as Latin America. She also serves as marketing liaison to other KEF business units around the world. On Ms. Scola's appointment, Alec Chanin, president of KEF America stated, "Since day one, Stephanie has been a terrific asset to our team and an integral part of our continued success. When the opportunity arose for this position, it was clear she was ready to step up and contribute at an even higher level." www.kef.com/US
Dave interned with Joe Kane Productions on the development of Digital Video Essentials, which led to a full-time position at JKP Labs. Dave has also served as an assistant instructor at the ISF and JKP seminars. Today, Dave is the President of Avical, a video system calibration and consulting company, which he co-founded and grew to nationwide status. Dave has been an invaluable asset to the company as he has provided video technical knowledge and calibration services that have helped to develop new products. His insight and perception have allowed the company to look at things from various angles ensuring that it is doing the best job possible while maintaining the upmost professionalism. www.avical.com
CEO and Chairman, Fultech Solutions, Inc.
Dan started Fultech in 1995, just after graduating from UCF. He has since been heavily involved in the industry. From teaching bootcamps
and training classes at EH EXPO and other industry events, to working in various committees on the CEA and eventually sitting on the CEA's TechHome Division Board, where he has had a seat since 2002. In addition, Fulmer is instrumental in developing many of the systems and technologies that Fultech uses, from his patent-pending Universal Cabling System (UCS), to his back-end integration company Web site that helps us track projects, time, cost and more from any Internet accessible Web browser. www.fultechsolutions.com
Co-owner, Home Cinema & Hi-Fi,LLC
Mason Granade has been in the electronics business since 1987 and brings his years of experience to Home Cinema & Hi-Fi, a custom integration dealer with a retail store in Monroe, La. Along with Philip Springer, he helped to develop and implement sales plans for the company. Day to day includes, but not limited to: sales, sales manager, buyer, installation coordination, installer, service technician, customer complaints, human resources (hire, fire, counselor, friend, parent), analyst, inventory control, marketing and warehouse manager. www.homecin emaandhifi.com
Business Unit Manager for Custom Division, Premier Mounts
A visionary leader at Premier Mounts, Rich Pierro has expertly maintained founder Len Dozier's original commitment to designing the impossible and providing custom mounting solutions to the A/V market. Rich has vision and the drive to manage a custom mount project from concepting, to design, to manufacturing. Rich doesn't take "no" for an answer, and his leadership and renegade attitude pushes his team to create mounts that brings A/V to any ceiling, wall or floor a client desires. www.pre miermounts.com
President & CEO, Cernium Corporation
From his earlier work in video security systems, Craig had developed a vision of how "content analysis" technology could make video easier to use. Becoming Cernium president and CEO in 2005, he enlisted former colleagues to join an effort to exploit the convergence of broadband, mobile devices and ubiquitous video cameras to create a new way for consumers to get essential information from video in real time, wherever they were. The result is Archerfish, the smartest, most powerful system available for interactive remote video monitoring. www.cernium.com
Co-Founder and VP Sales & Marketing Communications, VIZIO, Inc.
Laynie Newsome has helped Vizio go from a new HDTV startup company to number one in North America. She has worked for William Wang, CEO of Vizio, at his other companies, including Mag Innovision, Mag Technology and Princeton Graphic Systems since 1991. Laynie has helped guide Vizio to receive Walmart's award for Exceptional Value, the Save Money Award. Vizio was the only CE company to advertise in the Super Bowl this past February, when it was the highest-watched Super Bowl of all time. At the 2009 CEDIA EXPO, Laynie was the keynote speaker at the first ever Women in CE breakfast, a hugely successful sold-out event. www.vizio.com
Marketing Director, Atlona Technologies
Chris has made many contributions to Atlona, including increasing market share over 10 percent in his first year with the company. He went on to create a marketing department to handle all PR and product sales strategies within that first year. As marketing director, he has contributed to the increase in brand-name recognition and started strategic partnerships with many of the industry's largest control systems. He has also started an internship program, allowing Atlona Technologies to broaden work experience for young college students. Since then, Chris has expanded the companies' actual value by over a quarter million dollars this fiscal year alone through GSA contract awards. www.atlona.com
National Sales Director, Access Networks
"Since leaving my company Aaron has worked with some of the biggest and best of our industry, always providing those companies with the same passion and vision he offered mine," said former employeer, Michael DePaola. "As I have followed his career closely these last years. There are few former employees I keep in touch with, let alone count among my friends: Aaron is certainly one of them. I believe Aaron represents the best of the next generation joining the executive ranks of our industry. His latest project, Access Networks is a clear example of how Aaron's passion and vision have positioned him as a leader in our industry. I endorse Aaron's inclusion in this list with the highest regard possible." www.accessca.com
Director of Business Development, Leviton Manufacturing Company
Ian is responsible for taking charge technologically of the largest private electrical devices manufacturing company in North America and successfully propelling it into the 21st century. He has a remarkable sense of balancing vision with pragmatism—always keeping a sharp eye on the technological future without letting it become a distraction to the core business. As automation and networking evolve from options into standard features in homes, Ian deserves credit for doing more to make that possible than any other person I know. On top of that, he makes sure everyone working in his family's business is treated like family. www.leviton.com
Owner, Custom Audio
Sondralee built a custom retailer from the ground up 26 years ago. She started in car audio and grew into home audio/automation/commercial/sales and installation. Sondralee has continued to promote custom audio during these difficult economic times through some very creative avenues. One promotional tool she uses is to go on the local morning news show and do a segment called "Tech Talk." She is the gadget gal and shows the viewing audience the latest technologies in simple, easy-to-understand language. www.cus tomaudio.net
Pat has implemented a number of business process improvements, which have helped Dana Innovations increase efficiencies, improve supply-chain management and ultimately weather the storm of this recession, which has allowed the company to remain financially healthy. He has served as General Manager of iPort business, successfully launched six new iPort models that continue to gain market share amongst CI dealers. He also successfully negotiated licensing agreements for iPort's intellectual property with several leading CE vendors. www.sonance.com
Douglas M. Cole
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Universal Remote Control, Inc.
Doug is one of the custom electronics industry's most energetic and accomplished young executives. He has led URC's day-to-day operations for the last seven years. Doug's extensive background in business planning, operations and market development has enabled him to lead URC to strong, profitable growth over the last seven years. While other companies have pulled back during the recent global economic difficulties, URC under Doug's bold leadership, has continued to invest strongly in R&D and human resources, and is poised to expand its offerings into new applications and vertical markets. www.universalremote.com
System Designer/Programmer, TheaterWorks of Colorado, Inc.
AJ Brunson started out as a simple wire guy in Vail, Colo., with a prior background of programming/electronics. He worked his way through multiple companies to become an excellent systems programmer and customer system designer. If you come across a trail that consists of an energy drink, backpack and cell phone, the trail leads to AJ Brunson hard at work. At TheaterWorks of Colorado, Inc., AJ shines when his technical expertise is put to the task of implementing a Control4 system in a customer's home. Based on AJ's enthusiasm and knowledge, our customers are convinced that Control4 is the solution for their control systems with his talent of making folks feel comfortable with technology. www.theaterworksco.com
Northeast Territory Account Manager, APC by Schneider Electric
Shannon helped launch APC's position and brand in the custom and commercial AV channels, while gaining multifaceted experience in other consumer businesses, including retail and e-tail. She moved over from a marketing programs role in spring 2008, to kick off substantial growth and achieve over 100 percent of quota for the proceeding three quarters, despite a challenging economy.
Shannon has developed and grown strategic relationships with industry organizations, and top automation and complimentary vendors, while driving channel growth (Savant, CEDIA, NetStreams). She has successfully managed top custom AV Distributors achieving considerable growth YoY, and established new distributors in response to changing channel and market demands. www.apc.com
Founder and CEO, Access Networks
As the founder of Access Networks, Hagai's vision is to make technological convergence in the home a reality. Through years of research and development and successful field testing, simple, yet powerful networks were successfully installed in large residences. Access Networks' mission has been to enable custom integrators to deliver the most innovative and comprehensive networking solutions for residential systems and environments. To achieve this, Hagai has been busy building an Access Networks "dream team," comprised of both IT and CE professionals. By 2006, the company was servicing a collection of the top integrators in Southern California, and today, Access Networks is the only nationwide provider of plug-and-play, enterprise-grade networking solutions for the custom integration market. www.accessca.com
C. Aaron Sholtis
President, HIDEF Lifestyle Inc.
C. Aaron started HIDEF Lifestyle six years ago. Prior to that, he worked for 12 years at D&H Distributing, handling multiple larger reseller and dealer accounts, selling a broad variety of IT and CE products. C. Aaron then led his new company to be the 29th fastest growing retailer in the U.S. in 2008 with continued growth in 2009. He created an atmosphere that gives the consumer access to experience new technology from premium brands while, dealing with a seasoned and experienced sales staff trained to be helpful and noninvasive with the consumer. He created a truly hybrid business model and brand growing in all areas, online/retail/custom installation with a focus on premium audio and accessory brands; selling never on price but on performance, experience and reputation. www.hide flifestyle.com
Vice President, Products, Niles Audio Corporation
Al has been instrumental in reinforcing Niles' reputation as an industry leader in product innovation. He has helped bring to market numerous award-winning and industry-defining productions including the IntelliPad® Wall-Mount Keypad; the OS-10 Indoor/Outdoor Loudspeaker (as well as scores of in-wall and in-ceiling models); the IntelliControl® Home Theater Automation System; the revolutionary SI-1200 12 Channel Amplifier; and the ZR-4630 MultiZone Receiver. A recognized visionary in advertising, product design and packaging, Burdett has combined his expertise in marketing with an in-depth knowledge of manufacturing, strategic planning and program management to strengthen Niles' position as "The First Name in Custom Installation." www.nilesaudio.com
International Regional Manager + Government Relations, Draper, Inc.
A former Army officer and automobile industry manager, fluent in four languages, Nate was hired to develop new business and manage sales and marketing in the Developing World (specifically Central & South Asia; Latin America; Middle East/Africa). Nate grew these often difficult emerging markets by 12 percent in 2001, 36 percent in 2004 and 25 percent in 2006, and has received numerous Draper Sales Excellence Awards. Nate uses his knowledge of government procedures to assist Draper in promoting the AV industry to federal, state and county governments. In 2006, he was elected to his part-time county legislature and serves as its president. www.draperinc.com
Product Manager, Residential Home Automation, Leviton Manufacturing Company
Amanda has literally worked her way up at Leviton, starting as a marketing associate and doing the lifting at trade shows and other events. I have seen Amanda running promotions in front of crowds at shows and presenting strategic plans in front of executives, and she does it all with the same degree of professionalism and enthusiasm that stays in place long after the last slide. She is able to motivate others because of her ethic in sharing their workloads as well as her fluency in new concepts and technologies—the rare person who can turn vision into results. She has all the makings of someone who will go far in our business yet avoids any type of self-promotion—exactly the kind of young person you want to discover. www.levi ton.com
Vice President, Software and Development, Exceptional Innovation
A crucial member of Exceptional Innovation (EI) since its inception, Jon Chapman has directed EI's development team in designing and building the award-winning suite of Life|ware control solutions from the ground up. Chapman's extensive knowledge and understanding of .NET technologies and Service Oriented Architecture were vital in developing Life|ware's non-proprietary, cross-platform software. His work has set a new standard for digital entertainment and home automation, revolutionizing the residential marketplace. Few individuals bring the level of knowledge, problem-solving ability and intuition to the table as Chapman, who is constantly researching new technologies and emerging trends to ensure EI's continuing industry leadership. www.excep tionalinnovation.com
Vice President and General Manager, AVAD
Annes has brought a wealth of knowledge and vision to the AVAD management team while strengthening AVAD's commitment to helping its dealers manage and grow their businesses. As part of his responsibilities for managing the operation of the company, Annes helps to dictate AVAD's strategic direction as well as to develop the distributor's overall business goals and objectives. Since his appointment at AVAD, Annes has spearheaded numerous initiatives, including AVAD's successful launch into the commercial AV and security markets, and he has helped to implement new, streamlined customer service and dealer support programs. us.avad.com
Senior Marketing Manager, D&M Holdings, Inc.
In today's tight-budget economy, Vaishali has been extraordinarily creative in dealing with media partners and content companies to provide the needed exposure for D&M brands. As a testament to her cost-effective approach, Vaishali rallied the worldwide resources within D&M to share expenses so every region across the globe can benefit from each group's efforts. Her smart, effective approach to marketing, which combines traditional techniques with social media, has helped D&M continue to define each brand with precision. Collectively, her innovative marketing initiatives and promotions have supported retailers, engaged D&M's existing customer base and reached out to broad new audiences. www.dm-hold ings.com
CSO, Chief Strategy Officer, Exceptional Innovation
A former custom integrator and self-described "lover of new ideas," Steve joined Exceptional Innovation (EI) as Vice President of Sales in 2005, he established EI's nationwide force of Life|ware dealers, helped build the company's roster of leading CE industry partners, and developed key strategic business initiatives to advance EI's standing within the residential marketplace. Today, as Chief Strategy Officer, Cashman's diverse industry background, tenacity, and ability to master tough challenges has helped EI produce innovative solutions and market penetration into additional verticals, creating new revenue opportunities for CE integrators. Cashman's intensity, energy and uncanny sense for market opportunities positions him as a thought leader and visionary in the industry. www.exceptionalinnovation.com
Chief Operating Officer, Hifi House
Paul Sandquist is the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer of HiFi House. Paul developed a template for builders based on the size of the development, base price and size of the house. He has a true understanding of how to separate the small retail business from the large box retailer. Paul replicated a home setting in each of the stores he has designed for HiFi House. In addition to all of this, Paul is an innovative thinker and an industry leader who will continue to make strides in the future. www.hifihouse.com
Owner/Founder, Impressive Home Theaters, Inc.
There are a lot of scary things going on in the world right now, but we sleep easy at night knowing that our company always has plenty of work in the pipeline. Dustin has a magic touch for this industry and has built an incredible reputation in our market. He can sell unlike anyone I have ever met. His designs are spot-on, and we are always prepared to show up and complete the job. With the fact that we do full home theater work, satellite and security, I don't know how he keeps it all straight, but it sure makes my job fun and interesting every day! It is a pleasure and relief working for someone who always keeps us several steps ahead of the competition. www.impressive hometheaters.com
President, SunBriteTV LLC
SunBriteTV's co-founders Larry Kaiser and Tom Weaver developed the first all-weather outdoor television that is designed for permanent outdoor installation. With hands-on involvement and open communication with the professional installer community, these Young Turks continue to deliver an evolving product line that allows their custom installers and retailers the ability to expand and grow their business with confidence. For over 25 years, Kaiser was CEO of MPO Videotronics Inc., an A/V manufacturing company that specialized in creating Audio Video solutions for business. In 1986 Kaiser invented the first-ever integrated TV/VCR unit. Over the next several years, he developed a complete line of these units that were used by sales professionals throughout the country as a sales tool to tell their message. Early in the new millennium, Kaiser used his outdoor AV technology expertise and partnered with engineer and long-time friend, Tom Weaver, who is a highly-skilled and experienced electrical-mechanical engineer and entrepreneur. The duo established SunBriteTV and designed the first all-weather outdoor LCD TV that was introduced to the CEDIA market in 2004. www.sunbritetv.com