People & Places: AVAD Toronto Branch; Icron Joins SDVoE; ProSource Board

The latest in hirings and other notable movement within the custom electronics industry. Check back daily for updated news.

People & Places: AVAD Toronto Branch; Icron Joins SDVoE; ProSource Board
CE Pro Editors · April 19, 2018

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April 19

AVAD LLC, a national distributor serving the residential and commercial custom installation markets, has announced the opening of its new Toronto branch. The new facility features a large showroom and warehouse space, and it is located off the Ontario 410 Express on Kennedy Road at 5655 Kennedy Rd., Unit 4 in Mississauga.

AVAD is set to celebrate the grand opening of the Toronto location from April 30 to May 4, 2018. AVAD dealers, as well as prospective dealers, are invited to celebrate the grand opening in the new space. AVAD will have a variety of vendor partners on hand throughout the week, including Lutron, URC, Jamo, Milestone, Middle Atlantic, OnQ, NuVo, and many more. AVAD will be offering exclusive discounts and raffle drawings throughout the week. 

“We are excited to announce the grand opening of our Toronto location,” says Seth Evenson, director of customer experience management for AVAD. “The new showroom and warehouse space helps position AVAD for growth and provides our dealers with the services and products they need. Our Toronto branch, and each of our other 19 locations throughout North America, features our industry-leading experts to assist our dealers with product requirements, installation questions and more. We look forward to serving our Toronto-area customers at our new location.”

The SDVoE Alliance has announced that Icron Technologies Corporation, a manufacturer of USB and video extension technologies, has joined the alliance as a contributing member. Icron brings its patented ExtremeUSB technology to the SDVoE ecosystem.

ExtremeUSB enables native USB 2.0 connections at 480Mbps data rates over CAT 5e/6/7 cabling, fiber optics or Local Area Network (LANs) to extend well beyond the 5-meter cable distance limitation of standard USB. The ExtremeUSB suite of features includes transparent USB extension, true plug and play (no software drivers required) and compatibility with all major operating systems including Windows®, macOS™, Linux® and Chrome OS™.

“We are pleased to join the SDVoE Alliance as a contributing member,” says Glenn Antonelli, director of business management, Icron Technologies. “Our ExtremeUSB extension technology is central to all SDVoE-based products that feature network USB extension and switching, making it easy for system designers to add extremely reliable USB 2.0 extension in their AV distribution and processing applications.”

April 16

ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group, has announced the appointment of Larry Abrams, technical director of Audio Interiors Inc., to fill the board seat vacated by Ted Bremekamp, now director of operations at Parasol. Walt Stinson, president of ListenUp, becomes the vice chairman and also assumes the responsibilities of treasurer. Previous treasurer, Andy Kersey, continues his service on the board.

"It is an honor to be asked to serve on the ProSource board," says Abrams. "The scope of work at our company has grown exponentially over the years, and I hope to share those strategies and tactics with my fellow ProSource peers."

Azione Unlimited has announced the appointment of two new members. Effective back on April 1 Gretchen Gilbertson, CEO of Séura and Jimmy Paschke, director of residential sales for SurgeX, have replaced Jason Sloan of Dana Innovations and George Walter of Rayva. Sloan and Walter have held board positions since 2011.

"It’s an honor to be elected to serve on the board of a visionary organization dedicated to strengthening relationships among custom retailers, integrators, and manufacturers,” says Gilbertson. “Azione has adopted a refreshing philosophy to be different. I’ve valued its unique approach to solving problems together and commitment to driving profitable growth for all its members. I’m eager to work together with the board and management team to deliver on Azione’s compelling mission, and I hope to bring a passionate commitment and insightful perspective to the team.”

Mid-Atlantic member of the Catalyst AV distributors network, Tech Source has hired Adam Stern formerly of Almo Distribution and Bryn Mawr Stereo.

Adam began his career as a sales associate at Bryn Mawr Stereo in 1998 and continued on to run the Home Theater Department at a Best Buy location and worked closely with the installation team, particularly in the area of upselling the customer.

“For the past 13 years I have worked at Almo Distribution where I sold TVs, home theater systems, video walls, digital signage, conference room products and more. The most
exciting product line I have had was Elite plasma TVs," says Stern.  "When Sony came out with an OLED TV, it brought us back to that excitement again.  I am thrilled to be at Tech Source because of my passion for the custom install channel and where I have great relationships with existing clients
as well as bringing in new clients … I am excited to come to work every day.”

April 13

Strengthening the position of its Niles brand throughout North America, Nortek Security & Control (NSC), has announced the appointment of Montreal-based SFM to serve as a Canadian distribution partner for Niles audio products. According to NSC vice president of sales Jeff Costello, the arrangement will bring Niles solutions to more resellers, integrators and retailers throughout Canada.

“SFM has a 40-year history of providing AV integrators with the solutions their customers demand, including our Furman and Panamax brands,” says Costello. “SFM’s expertly trained sales force will help dealers deliver Niles solutions to more custom installations throughout Canada.”

April 12

AVB Marketing has broken new ground with its Alta 360 digital platform, and the agency – part of the buying group bolstering its capabilities through new facilities. 

The group has recently moved into its new office space in Sacramento in a move that is designed to aid members. The new location, 3775 N. Freeway Blvd. Suite 200 also leaves room for the future growth as the industry evolves.

“The new space allows us to collaborate with members, vendors and staff to get the best possible
results and exceptional solutions for our members from both traditional and digital marketing,”
says, John White, chief marketing officer, AVB Marketing.

“We’ve reinvented what buying groups do to become the buying group of the future. This is the ad agency of the future, set up in such a manner to service members in a way no other agency could.”

Previously growth at AVB Marketing required the staff to take up locations in separate
buildings. While that didn’t keep them from launching new initiatives that helped grow members’
business, the new facility gives them an environment that invites even more creative solutions for

ICE Cable has made several announcements. Reorganizing its staff, the company has named Chad Russell, vice president of sales. In addition to his duties as vice president, Russell will also handle the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, Rocky Mountains, and the Chicago territories.

Zhar Ollesca has been appointed regional sales manager, and she covers Florida, Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the North Central and Southwest territories.

DJ Singleton has been hired as regional sales manager, and he will cover South Central (TOLA), Rust Belt, New York Metro and the New England territories.

The company has also appointed new manufacturer representatives:

  • Oliver Marketing, Pacific Northwest, Northern California
  • Innovative Marketing, Southwest
  • CET & Associates, Rocky Mountains
  • Network Sales, North Central
  • Electronic Marketing Associates, Midwest
  • Bell and McCoy, TOLA
  • Orion Advanced Marketing, Chicago
  • Dorrance Supply Company, Rust Belt
  • C&E Marketing, Southeast and Florida
  • New York Marketing Team, Metro N.Y.
  • Roberts Associates, New England
  • Hill Residential Systems, Mid-Atlantic
  • ByDesign Vision and Sound, Southern California

In addition, the company states that it is now offering its cabling products to dealers directly.

“Most wire and cable are sold solely through distribution,” says Brian Rizzo, president ICE Cable Systems. “The value in working directly with ICE is that dealers now have access to product, programs and pricing at levels previously unattainable. This includes entrée to a larger and more diversified pool of inventory than typically available through distribution. 

The SDVoE Alliance has announced that J-Tech Digital, a provider of audio visual integrations and devices worldwide, has joined the alliance as an adopting member. The company will premiere its very first AV-over-IP equipment at InfoComm 2018 (Las Vegas, June 6-8) in booth C710.

"AV over IP is a new venture for our company, and we are very excited to be able to pursue this line of technology and work amongst some of the most innovative pioneers in the industry of Ethernet to AV protocols,” says Jeff Wang, founder and CEO of J-Tech Digital. “J-Tech Digital strives to introduce the latest technologies to our customers, and now thanks to the SDVoE Alliance, we can offer the newest products, while working alongside some of the most innovative companies and contributors in the market. We hope that introducing AV-over-IP products to our consumers will push this protocol to become the AV standard for commercial integrators and residential buyers.”

April 11

Parasol has announced that Parasol co-founder Ted Bremekamp will be taking the reins as the collaborative group's director of operations.

A veteran of the industry, Bremekamp comes from a 12 year career with ETC in West Palm Beach, Fla., where his most recent position was chief technology officer. He has also been a member of the board of directors for ProSource Buying Group since 2016.

“We’re excited that Ted has decided to step in and oversee the day to day operations. Not
only does he have the expertise to lead the company, as a co-founder, he knows and
understands our mission and vision.” - Henry Clifford, co-founder, Parasol.

April 10

ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group, has announced today additional new members to the Power and Custom Integrator (CI) member levels, representing $49 million in new revenue to the group. In addition, the buying group says six members were elevated to the Power Membership level in the first quarter.

New ProSource Power Members:

  •  Home Theater Technologies, Colleyville, Texas
  • Macauley Technologies, Austin, Texas
  • Smart Systems, The Colony, Texas
  • Symspire, Nashville, Tenn.


New Custom Integrator Members:

  •  AMS, Madison, Wisc.
  • Arracal, Lakeland, Fla.
  • Davis Audio & Video, Chicago
  • Habitech Systems, Ormond Beach, Fla.
  • • Hi-Tech Home, Clovis, Calif.
  •  Hiway Hifi, Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Innovative Technology Solutions, Key Largo, Fla.
  • SmartHouse Integration, Sarasota, Fla.

CI members were elevated to the Power membership program:

  • Audio Interiors, Hauppauge, N.Y.
  • Audio Intersection, Canton, Ga.
  • AVIO, Troy, Mich.
  • Digital Interiors, Alpharetta, Ga.
  • Imagine Audio Video, Franklin, Tenn.
  • Spectrum Technology Integrators, Deerfield Beach, Fla.

April 9

The Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association, an industry group dedicated to bringing high resolution, wireless, multichannel audio products to the home theater market, has announced GoldenEarElectrocompanietAlmando and Primare as its newest members. Joining the list of WiSA members that already includes LG, HARMAN International, VOXX International, Klipsch, Xbox, Axiim, Enclave and more, these companies represent varying segments of the home theater industry and have WiSA-certified products planned for launch in 2018.

“Our newest members bring decades of audio experience and product development capabilities across varying product types,” says Tony Ostrom, president of WiSA. “We’re excited for them to join the wireless home theater movement and commit their expertise to the Association’s mission and related marketplace impact in wireless home theater.”

April 5

Onkyo USA, a privately held corporation wholly owned by former board member of Onkyo Corporation Jason Sausto, has announced two key additions to its senior leadership team.  Onkyo USA vice president of sales and business development Joe Petrillo has been promoted to chief operating officer, and industry veteran Bob Weissburg has joined the company in a newly created position as senior vice president. 

Sausto, who is also the CEO, took ownership of Onkyo USA in September 2017 after a decade in senior management positions with Onkyo Corporation.

Petrillo has been with Onkyo USA for over 16 years. During his tenure he has helped the company solidify its position as one of the biggest consumer electronic brands in North America, and strengthened its distribution portfolio with properties as Pioneer, Pioneer ELITE, Integra and Esoteric. 

Weissburg has held a variety of senior management positions at top consumer electronic companies, including vice president of home audio for Sony Electronics. Following Sony, Weissburg served as president, sales and marketing, Americas region for D&M Holdings managing Denon, Marantz, Boston Acoustics, McIntosh and D&M Professional brands.  In his new role, Weissburg will oversee all North and Latin American sales and product planning.  He will report to Petrillo.

“We are delighted to announce the promotion of Joe, whose knowledge of the industry and sales channel has been the driving force behind Onkyo USA’s overall success during the last few years,” says Sausto.  “Bob brings us even more deep industry experience.  We are pleased to add such a respected professional to our executive team.  Stay tuned for more to come.”

April 3

Audio Video Design was recognized for professional excellence with a Gold CotY Award on March 28, 2018 at the Evening of Excellence at the Clark showroom in Milford, Mass. A fully integrated and automated Boston penthouse earned AVD the Gold Award for Residential Specialty Interior.

Hosted by the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry), the Contractor of the Year (CotY) awards recognize the finest projects and outstanding achievements of builders, architects, designers, subcontractors and home technology contractors in the home building industry in the region.

“We are delighted to have received this Gold CotY Award from our peers at EM NARI. In this business it is always a team that earns the honors. No one person can do this by himself. I thank my team here at Audio Video Design for their conscientious attention to detail and dedication to customer satisfaction,” says Audio Video Design President, Brad

ConnectWise announced that Arlin Sorensen, vice president of HTG peer groups for ConnectWise, has joined the Channel Advisory Board at CompTIA, the world’s leading technology association.

Sorensen brings to the board more than three decades of experience in the IT world, first as founder of a managed service provider company that served more than 500 businesses globally, and more recently, as the founder of HGT Peer Groups, an international peer group organization that cultivates the success of others by igniting transformation. Today, as vice president of HTG peer groups at ConnectWise, Sorensen continues to oversee the best-in-class business maturity and leadership coaching program. ConnectWise acquired HTG in early January.

“With the breadth of his experience in our industry, Arlin is a strong addition to our Channel Advisory Board,” says Annette Taber, CompTIA’s vice president for industry outreach. “His insights into the business of technology – how it is developed, marketed, purchased and deployed – will help guide the actions we take as an advisory council, an association and an industry.”

The audio company JL Audio has announced the restructuring of its U.S. sales team, in a move designed to drive future growth.

Going forward, Carl Kennedy will assume the role of vice president-specialty market sales. His area of responsibility will now include the rapidly growing powersports segment: off-road vehicles, motorcycles and snowmobiles. Kennedy will oversee the company’s product mix, distribution and overall sales initiatives for these specialty markets. He will also continue to manage California, Nevada and the Rocky Mountain states for the retail sales division. Kennedy joined JL Audio in 2003 and helped the company's expansion into home audio products, later leading the company’s U.S. sales department. 

Brian Power has been promoted to vice president-U.S. retail sales, a role in which he will be responsible for overseeing the company’s thriving business in car audio, home audio and marine audio retail channels. Power joined the company in 2007.

"Over the past ten years, JL Audio has experienced outstanding growth, and a great deal of that is due to our success in specialty categories. As these categories emerge, develop and mature, it is very important to have highly qualified and focused management. This restructuring is aimed at doing exactly that. Brian and Carl are skilled sales professionals and we expect to see great results from their efforts in the coming years,” says Andy Oxenhorn, president, JL Audio.

March 30

Saul Robbins, a driving force behind the consumer electronics specialty retailing industry and father of HTSA executive director Jon Robbins, has passed away in the early hours of Friday morning, March 30, 2018. Saul passed away peacefully in the arms of his wife Reina and surrounded by his whole family after a brief illness.

A service honoring the life of Saul Robbins is being planned now and the family will release more information once all the details have been finalized.

March 29

Atlona has expanded its residential AV sales team with the appointment of Joshua Trujillo as regional sales manager, West residential. Reporting to Victor Baut, national sales manager, residential, Trujillo will cover a vast territory across Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. He will work closely with systems integrators, rep firms, consultants and end users to expand regional visibility and market share for Altona in the residential AV market.

Trujillo comes to Atlona with 15 years of AV industry experience, most of which was with Logic Integration, a commercial and residential AV dealer and integration firm based in Denver. 

“My time and experience at Logic Integration has well-prepared me for success with a manufacturer on the rise such as Atlona,” says Trujillo. “I understand the growing pains and operational challenges that dealers and integrators face, and their many different responsibilities from wiring crews through sales and project management. These experiences will be valuable considering how closely Atlona works with the sales channel, and will ensure we are united as we work to createsynergy and drive business together.”


March 28

IC Realtime, a developer of digital surveillance and security technologies, has announced the appointment of Jorge Perez as president of global business development, and the new head of the Ella Intelligent Video Search business unit.

Within the new role, Perez will be responsible for the oversight of new features and app roll outs under Ella. Additionally, Perez will oversee operations and staffing within the Ella intelligent video search division of IC Realtime. Ella is a learning video search engine that augments surveillance systems with natural language search capabilities across recorded video footage. The solution, offered to the security and surveillance market by IC Realtime is hardware agnostic and works with both existing DIY and professional installed systems to outfit installations with video search capabilities. 

“Jorge is a passionate, focused, and results-driven sales leader with years of experience in software as a service applications as well as commercial & residential security systems, CCTV, and integration,” says Matt Sailor, CEO, IC Realtime. “His reputation within the industry speaks for itself and we’re very excited he’s joined the IC Realtime team as the head of our Ella department at a time when the industry is ripe for innovation.”

March 27

As part of its North American expansion, France-based StormAudio announced the appointment of Chrisanne Rhodes as its U.S. operations service/support manager.

“Chrisanne is a formidable addition to StormAudio,” says Yves Trélohan, managing director, StormAudio.  “From the moment our team met her at 2017 CEDIA Expo, we were locked-in on deep-level discussions about the many complex topics that dealers can benefit from support with. This includes HDMI connectivity and compatibility, 4K/UHD, streaming media, automation integration, how to create the most outstanding immersive audio configurations and more. Dealers are really going to appreciate the complete command of ‘everything-home theater’ that Chrisanne brings to the table.”

In addition, the company has also announced Los Angeles-based George Meyer AV as its North American Logistics and Service Center.

“Established in 1965, George Meyer AV is an authorized service station for the most sophisticated audio and video products in the home theater channel.  We are very impressed with their operation and confident that they will provide top-shelf service and support to our North American market customers,” adds Trélohan.  

MoFi Distribution has announced the addition of Gregory Fitzgerald to its team. 

As customer service manager Fitzgerald will provide after-sales support to retail customers and efficient product support to MoFi Distribution’s expanding retail network.

Fitzgerald brings extensive audio-industry experience that dates back to 1989 when he joined the manufacturer Cello Ltd. as operations manager. He also has more than a decade of retail experience primarily spent in the center of the high-end universe—New York City—at respected brick-and-mortar stores such as Sound by Singer, Stereo Exchange and In Living Stereo.

In addition Fitzgerald offers several years of custom-install service at Electronic Environment Inc.

“We’re very excited to have Greg on the team. As MoFi Distribution has grown, we’ve felt the need to have a dedicated person managing customer service and support. Greg’s experience in the audio world and his natural customer-centric philosophy lends to our mission of delivering world-class service to our dealers and end users,” says Norbert Schmied, managing director, MoFi Distribution. 

March 26

Screen Innovations (SI), a company for its ambient light rejecting screen technologies such as Black Diamond and Slate, has announced the appointment of Michael J. Braithwaite as its new chief technology officer.

Based in Austin, Texas, Braithwaite provides extensive experience in intellectual property, IT development and technological enhancements, consumer electronics, and AV Infrastructure standards. Additionally, he has authored 58 United States and international patents and patents-pending and has gained recognition for a 25-year career of being a visionary and innovator, leading professional audio and consumer electronics industries.

March 22

AudioQuest has announced the addition of two seasoned sales professionals to its North American sales management team. David Penrod will support the Southern Central United States, and Krista Haughey will be responsible for sales in the Southwestern United States.

Over the last 25 years Penrod has worked for various prominent companies, such as MartinLogan where he was head of global sales and definitive technology where he worked as the national accounts manager.

"At AudioQuest, I am looking forward to working with a company whose partners are in the top tier of high-end retail and custom integration in the U.S.," says Penrod.

Haughey has spent more than 25 years working for companies such as Cleerline Technologies, where she was director of sales, and Dana Innovations, where she worked as director of strategic accounts. Since 2009 she has been a member of Women in Consumer Technology (Women in CT).

March 21

Audio Excellence made its North American debut at the 2017 CEDIA Expo. Since its debut the company has been developing a national sales network.

Designed by CEO Patrice Congard (also CEO of Screen Excellence), the Audio Excellence system is comprised of custom-made speakers, multi-channel amps and DSP control – often used in conjunction with an acoustically transparent film screen.

Here are the company's new manufacturer's reps:

  • The Dan Drook Group, Dan Drook: Covering Ohio, W. Virginia, W. Pennsylvania and Indiana and Kentucky. Email: [email protected] / Phone: 574.527.7587.
  • Accent Marketing Associates, Wayne Brown: Covering Illinois and Wisconsin.Email: [email protected] / 630.515.1141.
  • BrandReps USA, Howard Borsa: Covering Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Email: [email protected] / Phone: 770.286.0089.
  • Pacific Rim NW Marketing, Dee Farr and Mark Giovannetti: Covering Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and N. Idaho. Dee Farr Email: [email protected] / Phone: 425.503.8720. Mark Giovannetti Email: [email protected] / Phone: 206.334.2155.
  • Current Marketing, Paul Epstein: Covering Arizona, New Mexico, Clark County Nevada and El Paso Texas. Email: [email protected] / Phone: 480.922.0200.

March 16

NEAR , a division of Bogen Communications, Inc., a manufacturer of outdoor loudspeakers and electronics for residential use, has announced the appointment of Tom Gandulla to the position of director of sales.

Gandulla comes to NEAR with many years of industry and residential audio experience, including stints with Xantech and Sound United. 

"I am very excited to join NEAR,” says Gandulla. “I look forward to working with our
independent reps, dealers and distributors to leverage the brand’s rich legacy of outdoor speaker sound quality and durability to drive NEAR to the next level of success.”

NEAR division general manager Bill Kieltyka adds Gandulla's background in the custom market will help him relate to professional integrators.

“In Tom we have a seasoned professional with deep experience in the residential custom installation business. People who have had the pleasure of working with Tom know how much energy and passion he brings to the table. Those who have not met Tom will find his enthusiasm contagious. It excites me to have him on our team,” comments Kieltyka. 

March 15

Just Add Power (J+P), a manufacturer of Ultra HD over IP solutions, has appointed Brian Sandifer as regional sales director covering the southern U.S. In his new role, Sandifer will be responsible for the management of existing dealer partners and for the development of new business. Sandifer is based in Tampa, Florida, and reports to J+P Sales Team Manager Taft Stricklin.

"Just Add Power strives to ensure we staff our sales team with knowledgeable pros who have a long history in the industry on both the product development and design sides," says Stricklin. "Brian's expertise, experience, and relationships will be a boon for our sales organization and our customers alike."

With nearly 20 years in the CE industry, Sandifer has years of experience within the integration-manufacturer space in CEDIA and AVIXA. Before joining J+P, Sandifer spent 13 years at Onkyo USA, where he oversaw the technical team and helped steer product development.

Middle Atlantic Products has announced that Maxwell Kopsho will serve as the company's new director of training. According to Middle Atlantic, the appointment is a demonstration of the company's continuing mission to help integrators and specifiers deliver high levels of AV experiences, and develop industry-leading training initiatives that will support that pursuit.

Kopsho is responsible for delivering best practices, application, and technical product training to customers. He is additionally responsible for application and technical training for Middle Atlantic's sales team, reps, and customer-facing associates to strengthen their ability to solve customer challenges.

"We continue to invest in training — for both our customers and our team members — because it is critical to helping customers deliver the best systems possible. We're very excited to have Max onboard in this critical role," says Mark Tracy, vice president of marketing, Middle Atlantic. "I look forward to the enhancements to our educational programs and the benefits our customers will enjoy as Max applies his vision and extensive industry experience to our training initiatives."

March 14

The SDVoE Alliance has announced that Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, has joined the alliance as an adopting member.

Berk-Tek manufactures all the latest infrastructure products with offerings ranging from Category 6A cables for 10GBaseT to loose tube and tight buffered fiber optic cables that are designed for applications ranging from data center to campus LAN environments.

"Berk-Tek’s mission is to provide our customers with solutions that meet both their current and future network needs, while continuously striving to maximize their return on investment. Central to that is staying ahead of emerging technology and applications,” says Brian Simmons, copper product manager, Berk-Tek. “Berk-Tek has long played an important role in the development of Ethernet standards, and with AV increasingly moving to the IP network, we hope to bring our expertise to this emerging market, while leveraging the experience and knowledge of other SDVoE alliance members.”

March 13

MSE Audio, parent company of Phase Technology, Induction Dynamics, SoundTube Entertainment, SolidDrive, Rockustics and Soundsphere, announces the promotion of Aja Watson to the position West Coast sales manager, reporting to national director of residential sales Jonathan Duran.  Watson will be assuming the expanded role to help manage MSE Audio’s continued growth nationwide.

Having joined MSE Audio in 2007, Watson has assumed progressively increasing responsibilities and now serves as the company’s customer service manager.  As MSE Audio’s product line and sales continue to grow, Watson was selected to manage a territory that includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, northern Nevada and northern California.

“I am very honored and excited to be given the opportunity to take on this new challenge,” says Watson.  “I really do believe that MSE Audio has the best customer service team around because we believe in fostering relationships with people. That’s what I’m hoping to bring to the table in this new role.”

March 9

Future Ready Solutions has partnered with Roberts Associates to bring the Future Ready Solutions product lineup to New England and the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Future Ready Solutions is a provider of connectivity products focused on preparing Integrators for the future of data and true 4K HDMI connectivity. Future Ready Solutions offer a complete solution of fiber optic and copper cables, connectors, and signal distribution products that directly address the challenges of 18Gb+ HDMI and 10Gb Data.

Nortek Security & Control (NSC), announced the promotion of company veteran Jason Dominique to the position of Director of Sales, ProAV with primary responsibility for driving sales of the Furman line of power conditioning solutions. He reports directly to NSC Vice President of Sales Jeff Costello.

“Jason has held a number of positions within Nortek Security & Control over the last decade and he has demonstrated his ability to provide customers with the programs and support they need to drive their business,” Costello said today. “We have a number of exciting new Furman solutions coming up for the ProAV channel and Jason is going to play an important role in delivering our solutions to our dealers and distributors.”

Jason Dominique has more than 30 years of experience in security and consumer electronics as well as residential and commercial custom installation. Jason previously served as NSC National Sales Manager, Security Channel, the Strategic Accounts Manager for Legrand, and the Eastern Regional Sales Manager for Proficient®, a leading Nortek Security & Control brand. “I am thrilled to take on this new position as this very exciting juncture in the company’s history,” Dominique says.

“The ProAV channel has very specific needs that the Furman® line of power conditioning solutions is uniquely positioned to address, now and in the future, as we bring new Furman products to market.”

Distributor Pioneer Music Company, a member of the Catalyst AV distribution consortium, has been recognized as one of Kansas City’s best small businesses, receiving a 2018 "25 Under 25 Award" out of 1,400 applicants. The awards are presented to 25 local businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Each winner has demonstrated financial strength, the ability to overcome adversity and challenges, a commitment to the community and a powerful company vision.

Alec Haight of Pioneer Music Co. says, "This award further solidifies our local presence in the Midwest, and motivates us as the premier commercial and residential A/V distributor for this territory. Receiving the Top 25 Under 25 award serves as a reminder that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, and that as a nearly 150-year-old company, we stand on the shoulders of giants. We are in such a tight-knit industry, we’ve celebrated the ups, persevered through the downs, and had some good laughs in between. Our team is committed to our customers' success, and this award is a great demonstration of that. I would encourage all business owners in the custom installation integration industry to seek out these opportunities in their own communities you never know where the next business opportunity is coming from!"

March 6

Bolstering its management team, WyreStorm has added three new employees to its management staff. 

  • David Silberstein joins the company as director of technology
  • Vincent Philippo joins WyreStorm as vice president of international sales
  • Mark Shaughnessy joins WyreStorm as its new U.S., national sales manager, pro AV 


WyreStorm says that Silberstein, Philippo and Shaughnessy come to the company with decades of experience in their respective fields.  

February 19

James Loudspeaker, a manufacturer of entertainment products for both residential and commercial applications, has appointed industry veteran John Bishop to a newly created consulting role as director, architectural audio services. Bishop will focus on developing application and sales engineering assets designed to advance James Loudspeaker’s training and presentation programs. Bishop will provide key account support for initial system design and proposal development, and be available for direct jobsite work when applicable.

Bishop will be a training resource on behalf of James Loudspeaker for sales reps, dealers, architects and designers. He will also continue in his current role as President of b/a/s/ (Bishop Architectural-entertainment Services), a New England-based independent technical rep firm representing fine brands related to premium architectural entertainment systems.

In his new role, Bishop will work closely with James Loudspeaker CEO Mark Schafle and his executive team to develop application and sales engineering tools designed to advance the company’s training and presentation programs. In support of the integrator community, Bishop will be a resource for indoor and outdoor audio system design. He will also be available to assist in the specification of architectural cinemas and media rooms, where his extensive background in projection and screen technology along with acoustics will be directed toward achieving the best possible cinematic experience for those spaces.

February 15

Vanco International, has announced a restructuring of its executive team, including the appointment of Mark Corbin, vice president, to president. Mark is taking over from Brad Corbin, who has assumed the role of CEO.

Other changes include the promotion of Dennis O’Connor, senior vice president, retail markets division, to senior vice president and general manager, as well as the promotion of Aaron Rozanski, sales manager, distribution markets division, to director.

February 14

PureLink has joined the SDVoE Alliance

Stephan Sloot, sales director of PureLink GmbH and Robin Cullen, PureLink R&D engineer, state they are looking forward to the technical possibilities that will open up to the company through the combination of PureLink products and SDVoE technology. 

February 13

AlltecPro, a provider of commercial and residential technology solutions proudly welcomes Vanessa Zitzmann to its team as national sales manager. In her new position Zitzmann will be responsible for managing a national sales force of independent manufacturers’ representatives that sell AlltecPro’s products, solutions, and services to commercial and residential technology integrators.

“Our technology integration community is collaborative and is enjoying exponential growth thanks in part to the close relationships between integrators, manufacturers, distributors and sales representatives. Vanessa’s customer and product knowledge are vast and she has a deep understanding of all aspects of our business,” says Vincent Bruno, president of AlltecPro.

“Along with her work with technology integrators, distributors, and manufactures throughout the US and around the world, Vanessa is an active volunteer for CEDIA and is a member of the Women in Consumer Technology. Vanessa’s energy and commitment to our industry perfectly aligns to our mission.”

February 12

Access Networks, a provider of enterprise-grade networking solutions for residential integration, has announced the appointment of High-Tech Network (HTN) as its independent sales representatives for the Southeast region of the U.S. effective immediately. This region includes The Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama.

Based in Atlanta, Ga., High-Tech, Inc. was founded in 1979 and covers the territory with a team of nine.

“We were immediately drawn to this opportunity based on the quality of products and market-leading expertise that defines Access Networks,” says Jeff Caton, president of High-Tech Network. “We represent an array of prominent lines that require a stable home network to work at their best, such as Sony TVs and A/V receivers, Elan home automation products and Yamaha MusicCast whole-house entertainment. I am confident that integrators in our territory will recognize the important opportunity that Access Networks presents in the marketplace.”

February 9

Anixter is expanding the size and technological capabilities of its main North American distribution center.

The addition of a 238,000-sqare-foot facility, equipped with an intelligent conveyor system and voice-picking technology, makes it Anixter’s largest distribution center. The facility has up to 40 percent more storage capacity and new automation technology, and the Alsip site is expected to speed up shipments to customers, according to an announcement.

“The new facility will significantly decrease our processing time,” says Orlando McGee, executive vice president of global operations. 

“The technology and design of this facility will enable us to move orders into the shipping network faster. Ultimately, that nets out to better service overall to our customers.”

McGee estimates that Anixter will see total productivity savings of 15 percent to 25 percent.

February 8

Control4 Corporation, has announced that Maria Thomas has joined its board of directors and will also serve on its compensation committee.

Thomas is an accomplished internet executive and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience building high growth, consumer-focused digital businesses. Most recently, she was CMO at SmartThings, where she helped lead the smart home technology company to a successful acquisition by Samsung in 2014. Previously, Thomas served as CEO of Etsy,
where she led the company through an extraordinary phase of growth and internationalization. Thomas also led NPR’s transition into a digital and multimedia enterprise and was an early product leader at

LumaStream, makers of low-voltage LED lighting systems for residential and commercial applications, has joined the Azione Unlimited buying group. LumaStream is an established provider of lighting solutions that have been deployed by a US-based luxury electric car manufacturer, multiple nationwide restaurant chains and many houses of worship along with countless residential installations.

“A/V integrators are experiencing the evolution of high-efficiency LED lighting as well as increased demand from homeowners that points to an important opportunity—and LumaStream is a perfect partner for Azione members to leap ahead in this category,” says Azione president Richard Glikes.

February 7

AMETEK Powervar, a supplier of power conditioning and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) solutions, has announced that Rayna Koesser has been promoted to customer service supervisor effective Feb. 5, 2018.

Koesser will continue her previous duties as senior customer service representative and will now lead customer care initiatives and work closely with the accounting, engineering, and operations teams to drive exceptional customer relations.

Shure Incorporated has announced plans to open an office in downtown Chicago, establishing the Company’s presence in the city’s popular Loop district.

The strategic move will enable Shure to be closer to its valued customers and accommodate the swift growth and expansion of its business.

On pace to outgrow its Corporate headquarters in Niles, Ill., by the end of 2018, Shure will move its sales, marketing, customer service, and market development Associates to the downtown location. The Company will occupy 35,000 square feet — a full floor — of The National Building, the renovated 20-story former headquarters of Chicago Public Schools.

“There are two primary reasons for us to make this move and open a downtown Chicago office, both of which are very positive,” says Abby Kaplan, senior director, U.S. retail group, at Shure. “First, we’ve outgrown the space in our current Corporate headquarters, and second, this location brings us closer to our loyal customers – especially in our ‘home market’ of Chicago.”

February 6

Home automation and security veteran Duane Paulson has joined Fing as VP of Strategic Partnerships. Paulson brings more than 25 years of executive-level experience in the areas of intrusion alarms, home automation, smart home as a service (SHaaS), security monitoring and access controls.

Most recently, he was senior vice president for Nortek Security & Control, owner of 2Gig. In his new role, Paulson will help partners incorporate Fing’s connectivity platform into security and home-automation systems, SHaaS platforms, network devices and back-end services.

Started in 2009 as a network-scanning app, Fing recently launched Fingbox, a network security and troubleshooting appliance for home consumers. To date, Fing has been installed in over 30 million connected devices. By applying machine learning to user-shared anonymous data on connected devices, Fing’s device catalog currently encompasses over 15 billion products. 

Paulson believes Fing will become a vital tool in the inevitable convergence of physical security (protecting people and property) and digital security (protecting data and privacy) – a phenomenon that has “radically changed the security paradigm in corporations today,” according to Paulson. “Just as the new Chief Security Officer for the enterprise oversees both physical and data security, we will see a similar convergence in the home, where network intrusions are treated just like any other intrusion into the home. Fing is the perfect enabler when embedded in alarm systems and network devices, and monitored by consumers themselves or call centers similar to alarm central stations.”

Paulson, a recipient of the Consumer Technology Association’s TechHome Leadership Award, has been involved in several security and consumer-technology groups, including the CTA Executive Board and Board of Industry Leaders, CTA TechHome Division, Z-Wave Alliance, Security Industry Association, and Alarm Industry Communications Council. He is a frequent speaker at connected home conferences. 

February 5

MSE Audio, parent company of Phase Technology, Induction Dynamics. SoundTube Entertainment, SolidDrive, Rockustics and Soundsphere, announces the promotion of Laura Waldon to the position of president of MSE Audio. 

Waldon joined MSE Audio in 2005 as accounting manager. Over the years she earned promotions to accounting and administration manager, and most recently, vice president of finance and administration.  Waldon concurrently holds additional roles as general manager of marquee selections, a wine import company, and vice president of MS Properties, MSE Audio’s property management entity.

“I’m excited about this new chapter and my growing role in shaping MSE’s future,” states Waldon. “We have very strong team and a terrific line of innovations to bring to our customers.”

Russound, a manufacturer of multiroom audio products, has announced that custom installation industry veteran Jim Pelech was named the company’s senior director of global sales, reporting to CEO, Charlie Porritt.

Pelech will be responsible for managing Russound’s sales initiatives, including dealer, distributor, and sales representative relationships across the globe.

“Jim is the type of professional who brings the perfect mix of sales and technology acumen to his job,” says Porritt. “He has a deep understanding of the industry than can only come from experience on both sides of the fence – manufacturing as well as a successful sales rep firm. His bulletproof knowledge of the market will no doubt be an asset to our customers at all levels, and an important step forward for our brand.”  

ATX Networks, a global provider of network infrastructure systems and commercial video solutions, has appointed Charlie Vogt as president and chief executive officer (CEO).

“Charlie is a visionary and strategic thinker with a decades-long track record of hyper growth in the service provider and media communications industries. His passion and expertise in conjunction with the Company’s talented team and exciting new initiatives in the cable HFC access network and commercial video gateway markets positions ATX for an exciting and promising next chapter.”

Nortek Security & Control announced the appointment of Alex Zaliauskas to the position of Director of Audio, reporting directly to vice president of product management Mike Jordan. Zaliauskas is responsible for strategy and portfolio management for the Niles, SpeakerCraft, Proficient and Sunfire brands.

“Audio continues to be an essential element of the connected home experience, and Alex has the right combinations of skills to ensure that this sector continues to advance,” says Jordan. “His market and product knowledge, combined with his extensive management background, offer an immediate benefit to the audio team here at Nortek Security & Control.”

Alex Zaliauskas brings over 20 years of audio experience to Nortek Security & Control, most recently serving as the Director of Product Management at Audio Components International, Inc., where he lead product development for some of the world’s largest loudspeaker brands. Prior to that, he served as the senior category product manager at SnapAV, senior global product manager at Logitech, and product/brand manager at Audio Products International.

“I’m excited to be working with Mike and the rest of the product team at NSC,” said Zaliauskas. “I’ve had prior experience with the Niles, Sunfire and SpeakerCraft brands over the course of my career, so I look forward to working with them exclusively in my new role, overseeing their strategy and driving growth in all our channels.”

February 1

RTI, a control and automation manufacturer for residential and commercial settings, has announced that Thomas Pasler has joined the company as its international business manager, Europe. In addition to managing the company's distributor accounts, in this new role, Pasler will be focusing on the dealer experience and delivering sales and support to RTI's dealer network in the region.

"With his extensive experience in the custom installation industry and a deep knowledge of AV and control solutions, Thomas makes an outstanding addition to the RTI sales and support team," says Mike Everett, vice president of global sales, RTI. "His contributions in Europe will be invaluable as we continue to focus on service and support for our dealer and distribution partners."

The winners of the D-Tools Annual Design Awards have been selected. Sponsored by D-Tools MVP partners IC Realtime, KanexPro, Logitech, and Terra Speakers, the D-Tools Design Awards recognize the best commercial, residential, security, and higher education design and integration projects which showcase how the D-Tools System Integrator (SI) platform can be used to achieve the best possible installation and integration of electronic systems components. 

  • The D-Tools 2017 Design Awards Winners are:
    Best Residential Project: Inspired Dwellings, Heathrow, U.K.
  • Best Commercial Project: AVIO Designs, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
  • Most Unique Project: One Touch Automation, Carmel, Ind .
  • Best Overall Project: Aloud AB, Stockholm, Sweden

January 30

The SDVoE Alliance ha announced that Kramer Electronics, Ltd., a manufacturer of AV/IT solutions, has joined the alliance as a contributing member.

The announcement comes as the alliance heads to ISE 2018 in celebration of its first anniversary. At the show, the alliance stand 3-B150 will focus on the advantages of converged AV and IT infrastructure, which can only be realized with 10G networking and SDVoE technology, according to the industry trade group.  Visitors to the Kramer stand 1-F20 will experience “The New Age of Pro AV” designed for IT. Kramer will showcase its 4K HDR HDCP 2.2 AV signal management portfolio, code-free cloud-based control platform, enterprise management software solution, wireless presentation and collaboration innovations and game-changing audio DSP solutions.

“We are thrilled to join the rapidly growing SDVoE Alliance. Kramer has always been committed to spearheading technological evolutions and the message carried by the alliance resonates well with our AV/IT strategic roadmap,” says Raviv Kramer, deputy CEO, Kramer. “We look forward to joining the other alliance members and helping drive the industry to this new and exciting age of IP,” added Kramer.

January 29

Professional Audio Associates (PAA) of Woburn and Canton Mass., have become the newest member of the Catalyst A/V distributor group representing New England.   

"We are thrilled to join the industry's preeminent national distributor network," states Lew Freedman, president, Professional Audio Associates. 

"Not only will our affiliation with Catalyst A/V give our customers an even broader selection of products, but it also lets existing Catalyst dealers experience Pro Audio's best-in-class customer service and just-in-time inventory position."

The Home Technology Association (HTA) —an independent organization aimed at empowering homeowners in their technology purchases by identifying  integration companies that have passed a rigorous third-party certification process— has completed its first year with HTA Certified Dealers in 14 states, representing 22 markets across the U.S.. The group says it has more applications in process for Q1 2018. 

“After just four months, the HTA has made tremendous strides in raising awareness and educating not just the custom integration industry but the design and build communities about the importance of company-wide certification. We are extremely grateful to our dealers, manufacturers, rep firms, our board of advisors, the custom integration community and the media for the continued support,” says HTA director of certification Josh Christian. “Our goal for 2018 is to continue this growth trajectory and continue to work together to make the HTA Certified logo the recognized mark of excellence in the CI industry.”

HTA reports dealers across the country are using their HTA Certification credentials to differentiate their offerings, sharing their HTA credentials on their websites, truck wraps, proposals, and also with professionals from the design/build community.

January 26

Mike Belitz, president and CEO of Ultimate Support Systems, has acquired Radial Engineering Ltd.

Established in 1991, Radial Engineering Ltd. was originally developed as a range of cable products by outgoing president and CEO Peter Janis. The release of the company's first direct box in 1996, the Radial JDI, was just the beginning in a long line of respected products that saw Radial become a go-to manufacturer of direct boxes and audio solutions.

Over the years the Radial brand family and distribution network has grown to include a diverse catalog of brands, including Primacoustic, Tonebone, Reamp, Hafler, Dynaco, Iso-Max and Jensen Transformers Inc.

According to the parties involved, Ultimate Support and Radial Engineering Ltd. will enjoy shared strate

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