People & Places

September 23, 2021 · KOA Electronics Distribution to Hold Grand Opening Event

KOA Electronics Distribution Inc., a wholesale distributor of CCTV, audio/video, automation, security, and networking products, and a PowerHouse Alliance member, has announced the Grand Opening Event of its new location, in San Diego, Calif., on October 1, 2021.


The grand opening event will take place on Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. PST. KOA has invited a variety of vendors to participate in free giveaways, promotions, and raffle prizes. The company is also providing a free BBQ lunch for attendees to enjoy.

“The grand opening event will be a great opportunity for dealers in the San Diego region to come together for an introduction to our amazing vendor partners and the new KOA San Diego team,” says Pat Page of KOA E.D.I.

“Our team is looking forward to connecting with customers in person for an event filled with fun and product giveaways.”  


The San Diego grand opening event will host multiple vendors representing the CCTV, audio/video, security, and automation markets including Hikvision, Nortek, Samsung, Legrand, and Vanco. Vendors will showcase product displays and live demonstrations during the event. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in raffles and giveaways to win prizes ranging from speakers to smart home products, and the grand prize will be a new Samsung Frame TV. Select brands will also offer sales and promotions during the event. 


“The team is thrilled to be expanding our business and bringing dealers the convenient access to products that they need to successfully complete installations, especially during these busy times,” adds Anton Tomassian of KOA E.D.I. “We look forward to servicing the San Diego region and bringing new products to the market.”  

More news from Powerhouse Alliance: PowerHouse Alliance A2V In-Wall and In-Ceiling Products

September 20, 2021 · RoseWater Energy Group Partners with Azione Unlimited

RoseWater Energy Group, a provider of next-generation integrated energy management and storage systems, has announced that it has joined Azione Unlimited consumer electronics buying group. 

Azione Unlimited provides its dealer members with a plethora of benefits including access to the industry’s leading brands, a full suite of business services, and energizing in-person conferences throughout the year.  With dealers and vendor as equal members, Azione ensures long term success and benefit for all. 

“Proper energy management is crucial to smart home projects,” says Joe Piccirilli, CEO and managing partner of RoseWater Energy.

“Azione dealer members realize that they can’t satisfy their clients without a solution to the power irregularities that plague everyone. Smart homes just don’t work without high quality power. RoseWater Energy is the missing piece to finding long-term client satisfaction and peace of mind.” 

With every luxury residential or commercial project, RoseWater Energy works closely with their integrators to specify the right-sized Hub and accessories for the project. During this process, the integrator quickly becomes the ‘power expert’ for their client. Managing end-user’s expectations and understanding product capabilities are part of that process. And RoseWater Energy’s nation-wide installation team works with the integrator to install the products – eliminating potential issues and streamlining the installation process. RoseWater Energy dealers report that once that Hub is installed, it virtually eliminates service call backs further strengthening their client relationship.

“I’ve known Joe Piccirilli for 30-some years and have admired the problem-solving benefits of the RoseWater Energy products,” states Richard Glikes, president of Azione Unlimited.

“We welcome our new power conditioning and energy management partner and am excited to introduce them to the Azione members at our fall conference, Nikhedonia in Nashville, September 22-24, 2021.“

RoseWater Energy adds that it combines three key energy management components into a single solution.  The company claims the SB20 Hub is the only energy management system on the market that consistently provides  120 volt or 240 volt power at a perfect sine wave. There is zero transfer time of pure power regardless of input (grid, solar, or generator).  The Hub can be custom configured to back-up whatever the client needs require, and it integrates with solar.

More news from RoseWater Energy: David Laikind Joins RoseWater Energy Corp

September 14, 2021 · Samantha Ventura Departs CEDIA Trade Organization

Samantha Ventura, CEDIA’s senior vice president of education and training, will be leaving the global trade group on on Oct. 8.

Issuing a statement on Ventura leaving the organization, Giles Sutton, interim, co-CEO, CEDIA, states, “Sam’s unwavering commitment to every aspect of her work as well as her warmth and kindness, has made her a true asset. We are grateful to have had the chance to work alongside her and had the opportunity to learn from her. In her three and a half years of service, she has had a profound impact on the association and the industry.”

Outlining some of Ventura’s accomplishments during her tenure with the trade organization, Sutton outline some of her training initiatives:

  • Revamped online learning delivery: Now CEDIA education is more convenient for members and equitably aligned for global delivery. Samantha Ventura vetted, adopted, and implemented the CEDIA Academy LMS (Learning Management System, allowing CEDIA to offer modern, interactive online training that could also be localized for the EMEA region.
  • Redesigned the CEDIA Outreach Instructor (COI) training:  The redesigned program trains participants in adult learning principles, presentation skills, and networking strategies, valuable takeaways that make the COI program one of CEDIA’s highest-valued member benefits. 
  • Development of the CIT and IST learning pathways: Ventura designed the CIT and IST learning pathways, as well as their corresponding books, laying the groundwork for a system of stackable certifications designed in accordance with the globally recognized International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024 standard for personnel certification processes. The newly launched CIT Certification and the IST certification currently in beta together represent the largest volunteer development effort CEDIA has ever undertaken. This robust, modern certification program will increase opportunities for individuals and grow the credibility and awareness of our industry.
  • Expanded the reach of programs: Deepening the range of educational offerings available to members, and extending awareness of the industry. Ventura led the organization into educational partnerships with Google, the Powerhouse Alliance, and HTSN, to bring new courses to the CEDIA Academy online, and making hands-on classes more accessible to CI professionals across North America.

Sutton also points out that Ventura has one of the most effective instructors in CEDIA’s history; members who took her COI class or one of her leadership classes routinely praised her as an educator.

In addition, he says that she has been a prominent voice in the industry, representing CEDIA as a keynote speaker, instructor, and contributor to both CEDIA publications, including the organization’s podcast, blog, and association magazine, and many channel publications. She has frequently been a featured contributor in international publications including Installation Magazine, Residential Systems, and CE Pro, writing on topics including Women in AV, Diversity in Skilled Trades, and Reflective Leadership.


“Samantha’s deep background in education and organizational leadership is has enabled her to be powerfully effective as senior vice president of education and training,” comments Sutton.

“As a staff, we have been fortunate to learn from her in professional development sessions as well as our day-to-day interactions.”

More news from CEDIA: CEDIA CEO Gives Tips on Finding the Right Training Model for Your Learning Style 

September 9, 2021 · PowerShade Names Co-Founder Ryan Chacon President

PowerShades, a provider of manual and automated window shades for residential, commercial and hospitality applications, has announced that company co-founder Ryan Chacon will assume the role of president.

In his new position, Chacon will manage all business operations and direct the company’s growth strategies. 

Prior to helping create PowerShades, Ryan Chacon spent almost 10 years at Leggett & Platt (LEG), holding positions as Manager of IoT Products and, before that, advanced technologies engineer. He has extensive experience in the home theater and automation industries, working as a systems engineer for Audiovisions, a large residential and commercial systems-integration firm in California, and for high-end audio manufacturer Cello Music & Film Systems. He holds 21 issued patents and two pending patents.  

As vice president of PowerShades, Chacon helped steer the company to its current position as a leader in automated and manual window shades for both residential and commercial use. He was instrumental in developing the company’s TruePoE shades which, despite claims from competitor, remain the only real PoE shades in the industry, requiring no injectors or expensive translators.

Company co-founder and former president Jason Turner will turn his attention to new product development as well as quality improvement. 

“With the growth we have experienced over the past couple of years, we saw a need to expand the product development side of the business,” says Turner.

“I’ve been looking to spend more time in that role, and with Ryan moving into the president’s position, I can focus my attention on this critical aspect of our business.”

More news from PowerShades: PowerShades Introduces Quieter Motors

September 7, 2021 · Catalyst AV Member Mid-State Moves to new Location

Catalyst AV member, Mid-State Distributing, a distributor in the midwest, is moving its Broadview, Chicago location to 2741 S. 21st Ave, Broadview, Chicago, which it says is literally around the corner from the old location.

“We are moving to a 21,000 facility. That is nearly triple the square footage of our last building,” states Jeff Hedden, president, Mid-State Distributing. 

“Beyond a fully renovated showroom, the increased stock space will allow us to help buffer some of the current supply chain struggles by keeping additional inventory so dealers can get what they need, when they need it. No matter if it’s shipped, picked up or delivered to their business or job site.”

Moreover, he notes the company will support residential integrators with more resources.

“Additionally for the home side, we will be constructing a dedicated demo room to showcase our ELAC, Sonance and Martin Logan speakers along with the HEOS offerings from Denon and Marantz.”

Helge Fischer, executive director, Catalyst AV, boasts that Mid-State’s move to a new facility is the latest example of the group’s members improving their dealer support.

“This is typical of our Catalyst AV members, to be constantly improving their businesses to help make their dealers lives easier,” adds Fischer.

Mid-State Distributing serves N.D., S.D., Minn., Mo., Iowa, Neb., Kan., Wisc., and Ill. With multiple stocking warehouse locations to support their dealers in Des Moines, Iowa, (headquarters); Fargo, N.D.; Omaha, Neb., and Menomonee Falls, Wisc., the company can ship products quickly once an order is placed.

The new facility will be fully operational on Friday 17th, at 2741 S. 21st Ave, Broadview, Chicago, IL 60155

More news from Catalyst AV: Catalyst AV Member Lucas Sales Group Celebrates 65 Years

September 7, 2021 · WhyReboot Builds a National Network of Manufacturer Reps

WhyReboot has announced the appointment of nine top independent sales firms for key regions of the U.S. market. The expanded sales infrastructure is in response to a growing demand for commercial-grade home networking solutions, accommodating smart home ecosystems and an increased dependence on wireless devices.   

“Integrators must have a tailored networking solution that has been expertly designed for the unique demands of each project,” explains Bjørn Jensen, president of WhyReboot.

“We are looking forward to working with the reps, increasing our brand visibility and establishing new relationships with top integration firms across the USA.”   

These sales firms are now representing WhyReboot across the United States:

  • LK & Associates, Inc. (Florida & Puerto Rico)
  • NuTech Group (Mid Atlantic) 
  • Atlantic Integrated (Metro New York)  
  • Strateres (New England & Upstate New York)
  • Orion Integrated (Illinois & Wisconsin) 
  • Orion Plus – North Central (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, & Western Pa.)
  • Morris Tait (Southern California, Arizona, Las Vegas)
  • SoundTech Marketing (Rocky Mountain Region)
  • Zone Pacific (Northern California, Hawaii)

More news from WhyReboot: New England Based Rep Firm Strateres adds WhyReboot and Progressive Screens

September 7, 2021 · Mata and Rhodes Open up Endgame Mktg Rep firm

Industry veterans Chris Mata and Chrisanne Rhodes have launched Endgame Mktg, a new Texas-based independent manufacturers sales representative firm that services the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. 

Mata has been a sales and installation specialist with several leading dealers in the Houston market. He is also well-known around the world as YouTube’s That Home Theater Dude, with over 62K followers and at present 263 video reviews of home theater cinemas and products.

Mata will leverage his marketing skills to help dealers grow their businesses through videos that he and Endgame Marketing will develop. “We will lead the creation of videos showcasing our dealer’s showrooms, theaters and installations. This will bring more clicks to their websites and more foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar stores,” boasts Mata.

Rhodes is known from her past role as U.S. operations service / support manager for French immersive audio brand StormAudio. As director of sales for Endgame Marketing, Rhodes is focused on facetime with dealers — whether in person visits or video calls — and providing technical support, a service that she says “is yet to be provided by independent manufacturer sales rep firms.”  

According to Mata and Rhodes, unlike other rep firms, Endgame Mktg’s website incorporates a knowledge based portal complete with a ticketing system aimed at quickly assisting dealers’ technical needs.

In addition, leveraging Rhodes vast experience in setting-up and calibrating immersive audio hardware systems at dealer’s showrooms around the U.S., Endgame Mktg will offer calibration services to its dealers. The firm also plans to offer network and team training classes and much more said Rhodes, and intends to stay in frequent communication with dealers in the territory.

Endgame Mktg is representing Architettura Sonora, Ascendo Immersive Audio, Atlantic Technology, Gray Sound, HTE, Nakymatone, Next Level Acoustics, Procella Audio,  Sim2, Trinnov, VIVID Audio, Waterfall Audio, LODE Audio, MayFly Audio Systems, and Rogers High Fidelity.

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September 7, 2021 · Key Digital Names NFS Communications as NE Rep

Key Digital, a developer and manufacturer of digital video processing and video signal distribution solutions, has appointed Milton, N.Y.-based firm NFS Communications Inc. as its manufacturer’s rep for the U.S. Northeast, including the states of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

The announcement was made by DeWayne Rains, Key Digital vice president of sales, and represents the brand’s ongoing initiative to expand its national sales force. 

NFS Communications Inc. is a manufacturer’s representative serving the low-voltage industry in N.Y., N.J. and New England. The company focuses on commercial sound, CCTV, communications and electronic security. They offer innovative solutions and support to qualified integrators, dealers and distributors, and partner with high-tech manufacturers, growing their business through development of key product lines and acquisitions. 

Key Digital now joins NFS’s roster of brands, which also includes Avlex, TOA, FSR, IPX360, Octasound, Renkus-Heinz and SpinetiX. NFS Communications president Naji Wassaf will be joined by a dedicated team of sales personnel in promoting Key Digital’s products to the burgeoning market in Metro N.Y., New Jersey and the rest of the Northeast.

“We are very excited to work with Naji and his team at NFS.  They are one of the most respected and successful manufacturer rep firms in our industry,” states Rains.

“We will undoubtedly grow exponentially in the northeast U.S. with the Key Digital/NFS alliance.”

More news from Key Digital: Key Digital Introduces Display Control for AV over IP Systems

atlantic integrated logo

August 30, 2021 · Atlantic Integrated Promotes Michael Pawlowski to President

Atlantic Integrated, a nationally recognized manufacturers’ representative firm supporting the New York metro market, has announced the promotion of Michael Pawlowski to president. Pawlowski will now be responsible for managing all operational aspects of Atlantic Integrated’s custom integrator business.

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pawlowski holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems. He joined Atlantic Integrated in 2004 and prior to that spent three years at Lutron Electronics. He completed a Certified Sales Professional program from the Manufacturers Representative Educational Research Foundation, and previously served on the IPRO board as well as the CEDIA Technology Advisory Council.

“Michael’s promotion to president is a direct result of his hard work, dedication and commitment to taking care of our customers,” says David Humphries, founder and principal of Atlantic Integrated. “Michael is a tremendous asset to this organization and the industry and will propel our customers’ sales to new levels.”

Poppy Crum, Dolby Laboratories

August 24, 2021 · CEDIA Expo 2021 Keynote Poppy Crum Receives Hedy Lamarr Award

The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) has named Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories, the 2021 recipient of the Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology. 

DEG says the award program is in its fifth year, and it recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

The industry organization states Crum is a distinguished female leader in neuroscience and technology, and she reflects DEG’s efforts to promote innovations in entertainment and technology and to recognize women who are making advancements in these fields. At Dolby, Crum is responsible for integrating neuroscience and data science into algorithm design, technology development and technology strategy. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Stanford focusing on the impact of modern technologies and immersive environments such as augmented and virtual reality on neuroplasticity and learning.

“I am thrilled to accept the Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award from DEG”, states Crum.

“This honor represents a dedication to excellence in the field of technology initiated by Hedy Lamarr that continues to be led by many outstanding women who are committed to driving advancements that enhance our world and the experiences we have in it. It is truly gratifying to be recognized among them.”

The 2021 Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology also honors a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise will be presented to Shambhavi Mishra, an undergraduate student at Carnegie-Mellon University who is double majoring in Humanities Analytics and Music Composition.


Brianna Seaburg, a communications major at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC), was named this year’s runner up for the student award.

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and DelilahThe Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.

More news about Dr. Poppy Crum: Inside Look at Dr. Poppy Crum’s CEDIA Expo 2021 Keynote