SpeakerCraft on Linear Roll-up: ‘We Would Scare Other Workers’

Jeremy Burkhardt says it would "stifle creative juices" if SpeakerCraft were included in Linear's roll-up of sister companies Niles, Elan and Xantech

SpeakerCraft president Jeremy Burkhardt, who looks like most of the other SpeakerCraft employees. Scary indeed!
Julie Jacobson · April 8, 2010

Nortek’s Linear subsidiary recently rolled up Elan Home Systems, Niles Audio and Xantech into one organization called the Linear Audio, Video & Control Group.

The obvious question: Where does that leave SpeakerCraft, another member of the Linear home technology group?

In the absence of the new Linear AVC president Mark Terry, we spoke to Elan president Bob Farinelli about the roll-up and he said, “With all of these companies doing similar things in the same space, the question is: Why did it take so long?”

SpeakerCraft also does “similar things in the same space,” right?

Understandably, Farinelli had no comment other than to quip that he and the Niles and Xantech leaders could not compete with SpeakerCraft president Jeremy Burkhardt’s tattoos.

It should be obvious to CE pros why SpeakerCraft remains solo, but we asked Burkhardt about it anyway.

“I believe it is obvious that our way of doing business is such that being a ‘corporate’ worker bee would stifle creative juices for us,” he says. “Under our core leadership a roll-up would really kill our ability to function.”

Other than that, he half-joked—but the other Linear companies would surely concur—that the tattooed and pierced SpeakerCraft employees would freak out their would-be co-workers. “We would scare other workers to the point of inefficiency due to how we look and act.”

Burkhardt was traveling on vacation when news of the Linear roll-up broke. He sent the following notice (reprinted with his permission) to SpeakerCraft colleagues because “it was stressful being on vacation and everyone asking, ‘are you OK?’”

Hello Team,

As a SpeakerCraft Team Member, I want you to be aware of our company position as it relates to Nortek and Linear. In the attached release you will read how a new and exciting group is being created by having several of our sister companies, including Niles, Xantech and Elan team up into a single group based in Carlsbad, California.  As for this new group, I expect great things under the new leadership of Mark Terry.

So you know, this will not affect us here at SpeakerCraft. My boss, Grant Rummell, has faith in what we do and has our back in piloting this company.

Due to all of our hard work and sacrifice, SpeakerCraft is totally healthy and profitable. Grant has recognized this fact and has guaranteed that we will continue to operate autonomously. I want you to know that I am here for the long term and will continue to pilot the SpeakerCraft team by your side as your President.

I want to make sure you know that I am dedicated to the success of each and every member of our team. We are confident our most recent efforts in both product development and business strategy have placed us in a very positive position in the marketplace. As we move through the rest of this year and into the future, I expect business to continue improving and our efforts will be rewarded with increased sales and a greater share of the market.

Thank you for your effort and dedication to the company and I look forward to celebrating our victories together throughout the coming years.

Thanks for your hard work!

Jeremy Burkhardt

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at

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  Article Topics

News · Elan · Jeremy Burkhardt · Linear · Niles · Nortek · SpeakerCraft · All Topics
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