People & Places: James Appoints Bishop; Vanco Names Corbin; PureLink Joins SDVoE

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

People & Places: James Appoints Bishop; Vanco Names Corbin; PureLink Joins SDVoE
CE Pro Editors · February 19, 2018

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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 strategic and logistical advantages under leadership of Belitz with the end result of wider availability to retailers, distributors, and end-users all over the world. 

"I have always been passionate about premium accessories in the music industry. Instruments come in and out of fashion, but musicians and audio professionals will always need well designed, high quality solutions. Ownership of Ultimate Support Systems and Radial Engineering Ltd. will offer incredible possibilities for the future," says Belitz.

January 25

JL Audio, a high-performance audio manufacturer, has announced the appointment of Kevin Ferry as a training specialist.  Together with Robert Haynes, Ferry will develop and deliver training content for the JL Audio dealer network, distributors, and will provide web-based content for the company's website. 

The SDVoE Alliance, has announced that NK Systems, a developer of high-performance network storage, video servers and video editing workstations, has joined the alliance as an adopting member. Co-founders Rajko Erdmann and Robin Scholz will be on hand in the SDVoE Alliance booth at ISE 2018 (Amsterdam, Feb. 6-9, stand 3-B150) to share their product roadmap.

“We build HPC solutions for the entertainment and broadcast industries that rely on decentralized setup and employ hardware used by the latest data centres,” says Scholz. “That’s where SDVoE technology comes into play. Participating in the alliance is a natural fit for the future of our company.”

MSE Audio, parent company of Phase Technology, Induction Dynamics. SoundTube Entertainment, SolidDrive, Rockustics and Soundsphere, has announced the promotion of Jonathan Duran to director of residential sales and marketing. 


January 24

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), a hybrid retail and custom integration buying group, has announced the Richmond, Va.-based Inaray and Westbury, N.Y.-based Audio Command Systems have joined the organization.  Todd Peace founded Inaray in Richmond, Va. back in 2002. With a unique mixture of lighting system knowledge combined with his background in landscape horticulture design, Peace was able to create optimized outdoor spaces that come alive at night thanks to creative lighting design. Working with Peace is Greg Margeson, an expert in lighting control systems and audio design. 

Audio Command Systems (ACS) is a prominent Westbury, N.Y.-based integration company founded in 1976 by Robert Kaufman and Jonathan Flamm. The company was one of the main forces behind the early days of CEDIA, and has been instrumental in driving the national growth of the custom integration industry. The company offers a wide range of solutions, including full home integration, lighting control, motorized shades, and networking technology for both residential and commercial installations. ACS is a winner of multiple industry awards.  

Supporting its dealer base, Luxul, a manufacturer of IP networking solutions for CEDIA professionals, has announced the addition of John Epeneter and Lindsay Bull to the positions of product manager and technical writer, respectively.  In his new role, Epeneter will be responsible for developing and managing the product roadmap, including design of new networking products for Luxul's dealers. Bull will provide creative content to drive Luxul's marketing efforts.

January 23

Catalyst AV Distribution has welcomed new board member Ron Perron of HCA Distributing to its team.

Catalyst AV is a network of 11 independent consumer electronics distributors, and Perron joins the existing board members of Catalyst AV who serve the residential and professional AV channels: Dan Haight (Pioneer Music Company); Chris Gentile (AHA Distributing) and executive director Helge Fischer. Founding board member Wally Whinna (Allnet Distributing) stays on as special advisor with the addition of Brett Neiderman (Tech Source Distributors, as an additional special advisor).

ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group, has announced the addition of six new custom integrator members:

• AC/DC Systems, LLC, Kihei, HI 
• Creative Systems, Collegeville, Pa. 
• Fisher Technologies, Inc, Eagle, Colo. 
• HIVE, Tampa, Fla. 
• Hoppen Home Systems, Tampa, Fla. 
• Imagine More, Windsor, Colo.

ProSource says that it added a total of 44 new members in 2017.

Additionally, ProSource has announced a new level of responsibility for Sherry Dantonio, director of membership. In her new role, she will serve as the main contact for power members, complementing the work of district managers in the field by adding an extra layer of care to this growing segment of the ProSource membership.

"Sherry has done an outstanding job growing the ProSource membership base, and this new level of interaction with our Power members, which will include special communications and events, is an opportunity to elevate the Power member experience," says Dave Workman, CEO and president of ProSource.

January 22

The CEDIA board of directors has approved its 2018 executive committee and appointed directors.

There were two open appointed positions for the 2018-2019 term—one to be filled from the EMEA region, and the other from the entire global membership. John Buchanan from Meridian Audio Limited was voted in by the board to fill the EMEA position and David Weinstein from Lutron Electronics Co., Inc. was voted in for the other position representing the entire global membership.

"CEDIA is in a fantastic position to hit the ground running for 2018," says David Humphries, board chairman, CEDIA. "Our directors have a wonderful and diverse set of skills and expertise which sets us up for a very successful year."

The members of the 2018 CEDIA Executive Committee:

  • David Humphries, chairman,Atlantic Integrated Rockleigh, N.J., USA
  • Dennis Erskine, immediate past chairman, Erskine Group, Inc., Draper, Utah, U.S.

Ex-officio, non-voting member

  • Giles Sutton, chairman elect, JAMES + GILES, London, U.K.  
  • David Weinstein, secretary, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., Coopersburg, Pa., U.S.
  • Rob Sutherland, treasurer, Inspired Dwellings, Ltd., London, U.K.

The 2018 board directors are:

  • John Buchanan, Meridian Audio Limited, Huntingdon, U.K.
  • Henry Clifford, Livewire LLC, Richmond, Va., U.S.
  • Ken Erdmann, Erdmann Electric, Inc., Springville, Utah, U.S.
  • Omar Hikal, Archimedia, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Hamish Neale, Crestron EMEA, Cobham, U.K.
  • Matt Scott, OMEGA Audio Video, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Heather Sidorowicz, Southtown Audio Video, Hamburg, N.Y., U.S.
  • Joe Whitaker, The Thoughtful Home, Wentzville, Mo., U.S.

In addition, Tabatha O'Connor serves as an ex-officio, voting member of the CEDIA Board by virtue of her position as Acting President and CEO of CEDIA, the residential trade organization adds.

The SDVoE Alliance has announced that Savant, a manufacturer of smart home products, has joined the alliance as an adopting member and will demonstrate its new SDVoE-based IP Video product line at ISE 2018 (Amsterdam, Feb. 6-9, stand 5-U120).

Savant IP Video products deliver 4K video over IP switching to provide distributed A/V content to residential and commercial installations. The company's new switching platform delivers 4K/60 4:4:4 HDR video distribution over IP with zero frame latency. Integration professionals can benefit from the convenience of a centralized 10GbE switch that enables high-bandwidth Ethernet connectivity throughout the project. The video and audio distribution capability of this new switch cost effectively meets the demand for the highest quality experience across any job size, with scalability only limited by the size of the network, allowing installations of from 2 to 128 zones or more. New products in the lineup include the Savant IP Video 4 and 8 input video transmitters as well as Savant IP Video output receivers available with either fiber or copper as an option.

January 19

The DaVinci Group, Inc. (TDG), makers of architectural and landscape loudspeakers, multi-channel amplifiers, installation accessories and more, has moved its headquarters to a new, updated facility in the nearby community of Riverside, Calif. The DaVinci Group’s new headquarters facility is located at: 1299 Columbia Ave., Unit E5, Riverside, CA 92507. The main telephone number for this new location is (951) 808-3721.

One factor driving The DaVinci Group’s decision to move was the need for a more efficient facility that better meets the space requirements of the company today, but also offers room for future expandability.

“It’s always a big decision to move a company, given the potential for short-term business disruption,” says Jeff Francisco, president and CEO of The DaVinci Group, Inc. “However, our team did a spectacular job of moving all operations to the new Riverside location over the holidays and I’m pleased to report that all systems are up and running. We look forward to settling into our new, larger home which should serve our needs for a long time to come.”

Jan. 11, 2018

Royal Philips, announced that Vitor Rocha, who previously led Philips’ global Ultrasound business, has succeeded Brent Shafer as CEO of Philips North America. Effective immediately, Rocha has joined Philips’ executive committee and reports to Philips CEO Frans van Houten. Shafer, who joined Philips in 2005, will leave Philips per January 31, 2018, to become CEO of a listed company in the U.S.

“I want to thank Brent for his valuable contribution to Philips’ transformation into a health technology leader at a time of significant market changes in North America,’’ says van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. 

Jan. 8, 2018

StormAudio has selected Brad Paulsen for the position of national sales manager in the USA.

Paulsen will manage a network of independent manufacturer sales reps, reporting directly to StormAudio managing director Yves Trélohan.

The consumer electronics industry veteran's vast career includes national sales roles with Sooloos, B&K Components and his own brand of ribbon loudspeakers, Paulsen Audio.

“StormAudio has brought to market a deep line of immersive audio preamp/processors and amplifiers, that in addition to their outstanding sonic qualities, incorporate very smart setup, expansion, and remote management features,” says Paulsen. “I am very excited to be working with reps, dealers and calibrators to help create the most awe-inspiring StormAudio-driven home theaters.” 

Jan. 4, 2018

Tom DeVesto, CEO and founder of Como Audio, a Boston-based manufacturer and designer of Wi-Fi, multiroom audio systems, has announced the promotion of Peter Skiera to vice president of product development.  

Since February 2016 when the company was founded, Skiera served as senior product developer, and he was responsible for bringing Como Audio products to market from design stages to finished models ready for global sales.

In his present position, he will continue to bring high-end audio systems to market by working with sales, marketing, logistics, independent contractors, and inspection agencies. He reports directly to the CEO.


Jan. 3, 2018 

James Loudspeaker, a manufacturer of décor-friendly entertainment products for both residential and commercial applications, has appointed Sage Audio Video Solutions as its independent sales representatives for the residential A/V market in the Rockies, which encompasses Eastern Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and Utah effective January 2, 2018.

Headquartered in Denver, Colo., Sage Audio Video Solutions was founded in 1998 and acquired recently by principle John Savali. 

Jan. 2, 2018

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) extends its sympathies to the family and friends of former CTA Board Member Joe Richter who passed away early Saturday Dec. 30, following a long fight against various respiratory issues. Richter, former president of Kenwood USA and Akai USA, served on CTA's Board of Industry Leaders in 1997 and again from 2000 - 2003. He also served as chair of CTA's Audio Division and on CTA's Executive Board from 1998 - 1999. 

 "We are saddened to learn of the passing of Joe Richter. Joe was a great supporter of our association and a passionate advocate for audio technology," says Gary Shapiro, president, CEO, Consumer Technology Association.

"Joe helped lead the consumer technology industry into the digital audio era, championing a quality audio experience while promoting the many benefits of digital. Joe also was a true gentleman and strong leader, always ready with a smile, a hearty laugh and a desire to find compromise among competing voices. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

December 19

The Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association, an industry group dedicated to bringing high resolution, wireless, multi-channel audio products to the home theater market, has announced its entrance into the gaming market with the introduction of member brand Axiim’s Link. The WiSA-compliant Axiim Link, debuting at CES, will serve as the industry’s first wireless home theater solution for the Xbox One family of devices – which includes Xbox One S and Xbox One X – and Windows 10 PCs. The product introduction also represents a huge step in the Association’s initiative to enable convenient, powerful and wireless home theater experiences to the most passionate Xbox and PC gamers.

“We are committed to supporting today’s gamers through our invaluable relationships with Xbox and Axiim,” says Tony Ostrom, president of WiSA. “Together, we are creating the next generation of high-performance audio solutions that allow gamers to experience gaming at its full potential. It’s thrilling for our technology to enter this market and marry Axiim’s new product offering with Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console, and Xbox One S.”

Lenbrook Americas, the North American distributor for the specialty A/V brands NADPSBBluesound and B&O Play, announced the immediate appointment of David Carr as the company’s U.S. Western regional sales manager. Carr has a strong background with premium audio products and comes to Lenbrook with extensive industry sales experience having served with Magnolia, Sumiko and most recently, The Sound Organisation.

Azione Unlimited (AU), an education and buying group made up of custom installers, home technology professionals, and manufacturers has just signed seven new dealers.

  • Los Gatos, Calif.-based cyberManor
  • Dallas, Texas-based Evolve Technologies
  • Lawrence, Kan.-based Front Row Audio Video
  • Amarillo, Texas-based Sound by Design Inc.
  • New York, N.Y.-based Stereo Exchange
  • Boston, Mass.-based System 7
  • Troy, Mich.-based Tech Automation, Inc.


“What do you get when you add high profile companies with superb principals to an organization? You get stronger and smarter,” says Richard Glikes, president Azione Unlimited. “With Dave Wasserman of Stereo Exchange, Gordon van Zuiden of cyberManor, and Gerry Lynch of System 7, you have three of the best minds in the business. Combine that with young bright dealers eager to grow, like Tech Automation, Front Row Audio Video, Evolve Technologies, and Sound by Design and one begins to understand the power of an integrator-based group all pulling in the same direction. Azione Unlimited is focused on building the best team of vendors and dealers with being ‘Perfect Partners’ as the ultimate goal.”

December 13

ProSource, a national audio, video, and integration buying group, has announced the promotions of Andy Orozco to vice president, business development and Jessica Paskon to vice president, finance and operations.

Orozco joined the Home Entertainment Source as a regional Manager in 2006 and served as the director of communications for HES for seven years until the organization's merger with the PRO Group to become ProSource in 2014 where he then assumed the role as the director of business development. 

Paskon joined PRO Group as the operations manager in 2005 and has served as the director of finance and operations of ProSource since its inception in 2014.

December 12

The Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of companies deploying the Z-Wave smart home standard, has announced the addition of ASSA ABLOY to the alliance board of directors. Owner of the lock brands such as Yale, Mul-T-Lock and ABLOY, ASSA ABLOY joins principal members ADT,, FIBARO, Huawei, Ingersoll-Rand, Jasco Products, LEEDARSON, LG Uplus, Nortek Security & Control, SmartThings, and Sigma Designs.

“ASSA ABLOY was already a leader in the smart lock industry and is clearly making moves to become a global force in smart security and connected access control,” says Mitchell Klein, executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance, “The entire Alliance will benefit from ASSA ABLOY’s contribution to the Board of Directors and leadership in the future.”

December 7

James Loudspeaker, a manufacturer of décor-friendly entertainment products for both residential and commercial applications, has appointed Bell & McCoy Integrated Solutions as its independent sales representatives for the residential A/V market in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas (TOLA) effective January 1, 2018.

“We are excited to be working with the skilled team at Bell & McCoy Integrated Solutions on behalf of James Loudspeaker in the TOLA region,” explains Keith Parke, national sales director, James Loudspeaker. “Based on their relationships with key integrators, designers and architects as well as their reputation for premium service to dealers throughout the region, we are confident that the James Loudspeaker brand will realize increased visibility and overall market share in this vital territory.” 


December 4

James Loudspeaker, a manufacturer of décor-friendly entertainment products for both residential and commercial applications, has appointed Sapphire Marketing as its independent sales representatives for the residential A/V market in New England effective January 1, 2018.

Sapphire Marketing was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in northern New Jersey, with dedicated employees covering all six New England states. 

“We are excited to have enlisted the services of Sapphire Marketing on behalf of James Loudspeaker in the New England region,” explains Keith Parke, national sales director, James Loudspeaker. “Based on their vast experience, key relationships and reputation for exemplary service, we are confident that the James Loudspeaker brand will realize increased visibility and overall market share with Sapphire onboard.” 

StormAudio, the immersive hardware brand owned by Auro Technologies, has been purchased by Immersive Audio Technologies Group. The deal, which was finalized on Dec.1, was organized by Yves Trélohan and the Management Buyout with the support of Saffelberg Investments. Trélohan has served as Auro Technologies’ Home Entertainment and Luxury Audio Product Division (StormAudio) senior vice president since the company first acquired the brand from Digital Media Solutions in 2015, a company he was chief executive officer of at the time.

Trélohan has overseen the StormAudio product development and global sales for more than five years. He orchestrated the acquisition of StormAudio/HELAP along with Brussels-based Saffelberg Investments as partner, via a new dedicated company Immersive Audio Technologies Group, of which he is managing director, shareholder and board member. Immersive Audio Technologies will use its Nantes, France facility as global headquarters for sales, marketing, R&D and manufacturing, along with StormAudio’s existing Novato, California North American sales, marketing and dealer support subsidiary and Hong-Kong sales and service support center.  

“I’m excited about this acquisition for many reasons,” says Trélohan. “The response from the channel is that we’ve demonstrated technological superiority with the StormAudio product line. This has required both continuous hard work and expenditures on the product development side. The strong financial support provided by Saffelberg Investments will hugely benefit our StormAudio brand expansion as we set our sights on taking the brand to the #1 position in the luxury immersive audio hardware category.  Whilst we maintain a great relationship with Auro, we are also excited about working more closely on technical and marketing initiatives with Dolby and DTS.  For our dealers and distributors, we are committed to full sales, technical, and product development support, including full presence at CES, ISE and CEDIA Expos and many regional tradeshows around the world.”

December 1

Torus Power, maker of isolation transformer-based power AV components, has announced the appointment of two new independent rep firms. Bolstering its presence across the U.S. as well as its commitment to providing U.S. dealers with effective, personalized service, Torus Power has signed Electronic Marketing Associates Inc. (EMA) of Kansas City, Mo., and Specialty Sound and Vision of Montvale, N.J. to represent the brand in their respective regions. 

EMA will serve Torus Power dealers in the Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas (MINK) territory. 

Specialty Sound and Vision Serves serves custom installers in the New York Metro area and it will assist Torus Power dealers across New York and New Jersey. 

James Loudspeaker, a manufacturer of décor-friendly entertainment products for both residential and commercial applications, has joined The Cinema Designer (TCD) manufacturer database, enabling any James Loudspeaker authorized home cinema installer, designer, dealer or distributor anywhere in the world to utilize the TCD tool in support of their theater designs. The TCD software helps integrators efficiently design standards-based home cinemas and media rooms using James Loudspeaker theater components.

ARRIS International plc has completed its acquisition of the Ruckus Wireless and ICX Switch business from Broadcom Limited. With this acquisition, ARRIS says it is building on a leadership position in networking and entertainment for service providers, while expanding into new enterprise and vertical markets.

The deal strategically positions ARRIS for a new phase of growth by leveraging the companies' combined technology assets to enable next-generation wireless and wired networks. The Ruckus target vertical markets span hospitality, education, government, service providers, multi-dwelling / tenant units, sports / entertainment venues, and transportation centers. Additionally, Ruckus' participation in the small-cell CBRS LTE market represents an opportunity to deploy converged Wi-Fi and LTE using common cloud-based control and management capabilities.

November 30

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), a retail and custom integration buying group, has partnered once again with Maverick Technical Institute (MTI) to create a new educational program based on the principles of the power of standardization to drive greater efficiency and success. This new course, called the Standardization MasterClass, was first conducted to nearly two dozen HTSA members on Nov. 6-8, only two weeks after the topic of the program was introduced to members at the 2017 Fall Members Conference in Chicago at the end of October.

“The main purpose of the Standardization MasterClass was to help the participating integrators recognize the many opportunities for, and the many benefits of, finding those things that they could do more efficiently,” says Dennis Jaques, founder of Maverick Technical Institute and the principal educator of the Standardization MasterClass. “Standardization is a tool that integrators can use to be more profitable.”

Transformative Engineering (TE), a manufacturer of custom installation products, has selected BDC Distributors of Westbury, N.Y., to distribute its solutions to custom integrators in the metro New York and northern New Jersey region. "BDC proudly distributes the finest products in audio, video, architectural and home automation, making for a perfect match with Transformative Engineering’s AV and data communications devices," says Jay Trieber, president of Transformative Engineering.

November 28

After completing an AVIXA CTS Certified Technology Specialist prep course led by Legrand's Technology Evangelist Joseph Cornwall, CTS-D, CTS-I, Middle Atlantic Products reports 90 percent of its team members that have taken the AVIXA CTS exam passed successfully. This pass rate exceeds the 75 percent industry average, as reported by AVIXA. The internal three-day prep course is part of a comprehensive effort from Middle Atlantic to have employees CTS-certified to ensure exceptional customer service.

"AVIXA's CTS certification is a key indicator of the intense investment it takes to become a top-performing professional in the competitive AV industry," says Mike Baker, president of Middle Atlantic. "The results of this program have been beyond all our expectations. With Joe's vast technical knowledge and the dedication of our team members, we're well on our way to meeting our goal of having an entire company that has the certified expertise to support our customers and offer solutions that will deliver the experience and reliability that exceeds their expectations."

According to Middle Atlantic, it was the first company within the Legrand organization to have access to the CTS prep course. From product managers to marketing and the field sales teams, Middle Atlantic says that it has committed itself to gaining a comprehensive technical understanding of the AV application and the challenges facing customers.

November 21

On behalf of Paul McGowan, PS Audio has announced the passing of the legendary consumer audio figure Arnie Nudell.  

PS Audio has issued this statement:

"It is with heavy heart I am writing about the end of an era. My friend, mentor, inspiration and former business partner, Arnie Nudell, has passed away from complications of pneumonia. The family laid him to rest on Monday, November 20, 2017. 

Arnie could truly be said to be one of the founders of high-end audio, along with Bill Johnson, Harry Pearson, and a small handful of other influential figures. When Arnie, John Ulrick, and Cary Christie started Infinity Systems in 1968, there was no other company in audio that pushed the state of the art the way they did. They cleared the path for the rest of us to follow.
A website is currently under construction that will memorialize his accomplishments, as well as provide a platform for friends and devotees of Infinity to post their remembrances and provide information on the work of this audio legend.

Salamander Designs has announced the addition of Scott Srolis to lead its sales team.

Srolis a 30-year industry veteran with experience in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, business development, product marketing, operations and sales training.

Previously Srolis has worked for Tweeter and Universal Remote Control.

“Salamander is excited to add a well-respected industry veteran to our ranks. Our company is expanding into new markets and Scott’s energy and experience is sure to help us scale," says Salvatore Carrabba, founder and president, Salamander Designs. 

November 20

Panamax from Core Brands has announced the appointment of Montreal-based SFM to serve as a Canada distribution partner for Panamax custom installation and pro solutions.

According to Core Brands vice president of sales Jeff Costello, SFM is the ideal partner to bring Panamax power products to more resellers, integrators and retailers throughout Canada: “SFM has a 40-year record of demonstrated market success working with the AV industry’s top brands, including  Furman. We are confident that their experienced and expertly trained sales force will help expand the Panamax brand throughout Canada.”

Steven Freytag, general manager of SFM’s custom installation division, adds "SFM is pleased to be appointed as an authorized distributor for Panamax. We are now able to offer our customers another renowned and iconic brand, alongside Furman and the other leading CI category brands in our portfolio."

November 16

Peerless-AV, a designer and manufacturer of audio and video solutions and accessories, has announced the appointment of its new director of marketing communications, Stephanie Frey.

In this role, Frey will lead and direct the global marketing communications team. She will be responsible for determining and implementing the optimal mix for advertising, digital marketing, public relations, tradeshows, social media, and other communications programs. Frey will also be working closely with a team of professional managers, project managers, and designers to position and build product and overall Peerless-AV brand awareness.

“We are excited to welcome Stephanie Frey to the Peerless-AV team,” says Nick Belcore, executive vice president of global sales and marketing, Peerless-AV. “With her strong expertise and background in new product launches, brand building, and multichannel marketing strategy, we know Stephanie will play a key role in further expanding Peerless-AV’s global presence. We look forward to the new fresh ideas she will bring to our MarComm team and initiatives.”

November 14

AudioQuest, Inc., has promoted two of its own veterans to manage and lead its 19 member Americas sales force. Shaun Schuetz is now vice president sales, Americas, and Jim Scatena is now director, national accounts.

“Jim and Shaun will have my full support, along with that of the entire AQ organization. Together I have no doubt that we’ll accomplish great things,” say Rafael Nevares, president, AudioQuest.

November 13

The Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA), an industry group dedicated to bringing high resolution, wireless, multi-channel audio products to the home theater market, has announced that VOXX International Corporation’s has joined the organization.

VOXX International-owned subsidiary Klipsch has long served as a founding member of the Association, with the brand currently selling its WiSA-enabled Reference Premier HD Wireless home theater speakers in market. With this expansion, VOXX International is adding its entire portfolio, which includes well-known domestic and international audio brands of 808 Audio, Acoustic Research, Jamo, Energy, Magnat, Heco, RCA, and more.

As a WiSA member, VOXX International’s family of brands have access to the WiSA specification, technical support and testing protocols necessary to bring interoperable, wireless home theater products to market. VOXX says by joining the group this will allow its brands to take advantage of the growing wireless home theater market on a global basis. VOXX International will also have the opportunity to launch wireless home theater products from a variety of brands with various price points, feature sets, cosmetics, as well as the proper global distribution to accommodate its vast customer bases.

November 9

Capitol, a national distribution source for residential systems and light commercial integrators has announced the hiring of two new business-to-business (B2B) new business development specialists, who will be responsible for adding more dealers to the distributor's customer base.

Jeffrey Amoako and Steve Semanek bring extensive backgrounds in new business creation for a wide variety of customers and employers, from entrepreneurial efforts and small businesses, to national and global companies.

“When it comes to building B2B relationships at the ground level, an aggressive distributorship like Capitol needs the support of professionals who understand a changing market, especially as it relates to small and independent businesses,” says Curt Hayes, president and CFO, Capitol. “Jeffrey and Steve have the experience and knowledge to be invaluable support systems to business professionals on the front line, and their breadth of experience instilled them with real empathy that comes from having walked in their customers’ shoes.”

November 8

CEDIA has broken ground on its new global headquarters in Fishers Ind. CEDIA staff and leadership were joined by Fishers mayor Scott Fadness and representatives of architecture firm American Structurepoint and Mayer Najem construction for the ceremony.

"We are incredibly excited about this next chapter for CEDIA," says Dennis Erskine, chairman, CEDIA. "The new global headquarters will be a wonderful facility for staff and members alike that truly represents the best our industry has to offer."

The new CEDIA headquarters, which was announced in June 2017, will be 40,000 square feet on three floors and is expected to cost $13.7 million dollars. CEDIA plans to occupy 30,000 square feet, which will include staff office space, as well as a world-class training facility and an experience center. Ten thousand square feet will be made available for tenants.

November 3

Dana Innovations, parent company of Sonance, iPort and TRUFIG​, has announced the appointment of Michael Bridwell as director of commercial sales.

In this role, Bridwell will apply more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience
towards extending the value of Dana Innovations to its customers and partners.

Effective immediately, Bridwell is working with the Dana Innovations team to create a future-focused, sustainable commercial-specific foundation.

“We are beyond thrilled to add Michael to our team,“ says Jason Sloan, CSO at Dana Innovations. “His vast experience, personal investment into the channel and customers, combined with his drive to succeed make him a perfect fit as we grow our presence within the Commercial Audio community.”

Bridwell adds that he is looking forward to growing Dana Innovations' brands in the commercial market. 

“Over the years I’ve learned that I'm at my best when two particular scenarios align: passion for the challenge, and a team approach that authentically believes in the potential of an aligned group," he says. "Dana Innovations has a tremendous amount of value to bring to the commercial marketplace, and there is a great deal of work ahead of us. That excites me.”

October 31

CEDIA has announced the result from the recent election for the three open positions for the CEDIA Board of Directors. The membership has two new elected directors: Matt Scott and Heather Sidorowicz and one re-elected director: Ken Erdmann.  

"We are so pleased to welcome our new directors and welcome back Ken,” says Tabatha O’Connor, acting president and CEO, CEDIA. “Each of these individuals brings unique perspectives to the table that will be incredibly valuable

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