People & Places

January 21, 2021 · Zigbee Alliance adds Freeman and Ingram

The Zigbee Alliance, an organization that offers open, global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced the addition of two new team members to steer change, guide, growth, and set new directions for the Alliance as it moves into a pivotal year for its members and the broader IoT market.

Michelle Mindala-Freeman joins effective immediately as head of marketing, and Krista Ingram assumes the new director of marketing programs role. 

As head of marketing, Freeman will help promote the Alliance mission, standards and solutions while driving the growth and success of the IoT for the benefit of members.

She steps into this role from Microsoft, where she was a digital advisor for the North America CTO office, helping customers on their digital transformation journeys. Prior to that, she led strategy and solutions and was a Client Partner for Capgemini’s Telecom Media & Technology business, defining and delivering IT and industry technology solutions. Freeman brings experience building and promoting wireless and IoT products and services from earlier leadership roles in product management, marketing and strategy at Landis+Gyr and AT&T. Staying connected to her wireless and IoT roots, she is currently also a Visiting Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT). 


Further supporting its marketing initiatives, Krista Ingram joins as the director of marketing programs. 

This marks a return to the Alliance for Krista. She was instrumental during the first 12 years of the Alliance, helping to grow it from a small collection of companies and single standard to several hundred members, leading Alliance events and marketing. Krista brings knowledge and experience in standards organizations from her time at Inventures where she provided marketing services for various technology consortiums and was a critical lead for the Thread Group marketing team. 

“I have known and worked alongside both Michelle and Krista for many years now. I am elated to welcome them into the Alliance and to have our staff and members tap into the trove of expertise and energy they bring,” says Tobin Richardson, president and CEO, Zigbee Alliance.

“As our Alliance grows in breadth and reach of both our standards and the companies in our community, we aim to balance a focus on near-term operational execution with our long-term strategy to shape and accelerate an evolving IoT marketplace. Michelle and Krista will play an essential role in this collaborative effort between our team and members.”

More news from the Zigbee Alliance: Zigbee Alliance Looks to Create New Wireless Standard for Commercial Markets

January 21, 2021 · Premium Audio Promotes Tommy Jacobs

Premium Audio Company (PAC), has announced Tommy Jacobs has been promoted to senior vice president of sales and marketing in the Americas, overseeing the Klipsch Group and 11 Trading Company subsidiaries. 

In this new position, Jacobs is responsible for business operation in the Americas for all Premium Audio Company (PAC) brands, including market penetration, sales and marketing strategies and distribution. The PAC portfolio is comprised of three subsidiaries and includes popular brands such as Klipsch, Jamo, Mirage, ProMedia, Magnat, Heco, Onkyo, Pioneer, Pioneer Elite and Integra. Jacobs will continue to report to Paul Jacobs, President & CEO of Premium Audio Company.

According to PAC, Jacobs’ goal is to make PAC a fierce competitor in the Americas in order to build a more profitable, sustainable and scalable entity. 

“It’s a surreal moment for me to promote Tommy to this well-deserved SVP role,” says Paul Jacobs.

“As my son, Tommy was raised in the consumer electronics industry. Throughout his career, he has continually overachieved in order to prove himself in this business. He bleeds Premium Audio Company and has demonstrated his immeasurable value time and again. Tommy’s tenacity and never-ending positive attitude are two of the driving forces that contribute to his success and the reasons why he will play a key role as he takes on significantly more throughout this organization.”

More news from Premium Audio Company: Premium Audio Company Promotes Blondel

January 20, 2021 · Rich Villafane Joins Nortek Control as Regional Sales Manager

Nortek Control has announced that Rich Villafane has joined the company as the new regional sales manager for its Security, Control Power/AV and Health and Wellness business lines covering the Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and the Florida panhandle territory.

Villafane will utilize his security market expertise and product knowledge to help Nortek Control enhance its customer support and meet the company’s sales growth goals in the region.

Villafane holds certifications in different intrusion, video and access control platforms. Prior to joining Nortek Control, he held sales management positions at Interlogix and DMP. Villafane is also a retired veteran with 22 years of service with the Army and Army Reserve including two tours of service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“What better sales platform is the Nortek Control ‘Technology is in our DNA’! In my experience, this level of technology emphasis is what results in higher value and best in class products and solutions,” says Villafane.

“I am happy to join the Nortek Control team and thrilled to be of service in working again alongside many known Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida panhandle customers. My goal is to bring growth, consistency and success to our new and existing dealers and distributors in the territory.”

More news from Nortek: Nortek Security & Control Officially Rebrands as Nortek Control

January 20, 2021 · Access Networks Names Staub Electronics Canadian Distributor

Access Networks continues to strengthen its support of integrators and the evolution of the modern smart home through a new distribution partnership with Canadian electronics provider Staub Electronics.

As the exclusive distributor for Access Networks in Canada, Staub Electronics will offer the full portfolio of Access Networks products, beginning Monday, January 18, 2021. The firm will provide integrators with technical support, training, and services including same-day shipping and hassle-free returns. 

“Staub Electronics possesses all of the qualities we look for in a premier distributor of our networking solutions: a great reputation, many years of experience, a solid network of high-quality integrators, and a commitment to serving the needs of the integration community. The team at Staub has made an artform of helping companies across Canada grow their business,” says Ben Jurow, North American sales director, Access Networks.

“Perhaps more important than that, however, is that they share our vision and enthusiasm for the prosperity of the AV industry. There could not be a more natural partner for us in the region.”

Bryan Sack, Vice President of Staub Electronics, says representing Access Networks is a big opportunity for his company.

“We are honored to be named the exclusive distributor for Access Networks,” comments Sack.

“The networking category has exploded during the past year and having access to an assortment of enterprise-grade options and top-tier support will enable integrators to expand their scope and pursue additional projects. We are excited to partner with Access Networks to expand their reach in the Canadian market.”

To kick things off, Staub is encouraging integrators to attend an Access Networks training webinar at 9 a.m. PT, on Thursday, January 28. The one-hour session will provide an overview of the company and its unique product and service offerings. Interested parties are encouraged to pre-register here

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Jill Escol Premium Audio Company

January 19, 2021 · Premium Audio Company Promotes Jill Escol

Premium Audio Company (PAC), a global audio company, has announced that industry veteran Jill Escol has been promoted to vice president of global brand communications.

With 19 years of experience at the company, Escol will lead the strategy and implementation for the way PAC’s brands and products are marketed, communicated and experienced on a global scale. She previously served as the Sr. director of communications for Klipsch Group, Inc. 

In this newly created role, Escol will lead the product marketing, brand advertising, public relations, visual merchandising, event, and brand experience functions for the company to maximize PAC’s reach and experiences worldwide. Her significant branding and communications knowledge has allowed her to assist in Klipsch Group’s success, as well as the highly regarded reputation the company and its products holds within the audio industry. She will continue to report to Paul Jacobs, president & CEO of Premium Audio Company. 

“It’s one of my greatest joys to announce Jill Escol’s promotion to the executive team. She has played a key role in in the strategic development of the Klipsch brand since the day she joined the company. In addition to consistently leading the development of our global brand and communications strategies, Jill has emerged as a truly great leader with exemplary management skills and is one of my most trusted advisors,” comments Jacobs.

Escol adds that she has worked for the company for a long time and she looks forward to the opportunities this new role presents.

“After having many diverse roles within marketing and working with Klipsch Group on its exciting business endeavors and innovative products, it is truly an honor to advance to this leadership position and be recognized for my dedication and commitment to this legendary company,” notes Escol.

“I am proud to work for an even larger company — now that we’ve expanded to Premium Audio Company — connecting people with their passion for entertainment.”  

More news from Premium Audio Company: Premium Audio Company Promotes Blondel

January 15, 2021 · Dirac Realigns Executive Team, Friedrichsen new CEO

The Swedish digital audio company Dirac has announced a realignment of its executive team to better position the company to take full advantage of a growing and expanding range of new business opportunities. 

Effective immediately, Peter Friedrichsen joins the company as chief executive officer (CEO) following the decision by long-time CEO and co-founder Dr. Mathias Johansson to focus exclusively on new technologies and product development as chief product officer.

Prior to Johansson’s 11-year tenure as CEO, he served as Dirac’s chief technology Officer, where he managed the development of the company’s core technologies and products that served as the bedrock of its growth since company inception. The realignment, according to the company, effectively enables Johansson to return full time to his first love — technology and product.

“The consumer audio industry is at an inflection point, as audio evolves from a niche, secondary product feature to a core differentiator and enabling technology; headphones are becoming more sophisticated, home audio is proliferating, and new product categories such as hearables are emerging,” comments Johansson.

“Peter’s deep experience in commercial intellectual asset strategy evolves our executive team’s expertise to ensure we’re ideally positioned to capture this momentum and maintain our leadership position in the audio industry for years to come.”

Friedrichsen has previously served as CEO of myFC AB (publ), Bergenstråhle Group, TAC Svenska AB, and MaxMove Group, among others.

Dirac emphasizes that Friedrichsen is a proven leader of innovation-driven scale-ups with experience from a broad range of industries. He also has significant experience in the vehicle industry, with Scania, and licensing businesses, like Dirac, where he led the IP consultancy company Bergenstråhle & Partners to double-digit growth year-over-year.

“Dirac has a deep portfolio of IP and has spearheaded some of the industry’s most significant breakthroughs in audio, digital signal processing and artificial intelligence; their body of work and contributions to the field of audio have quite literally shaped how the world experiences sound,” states Friedrichsen.

“Based on my experience in commercializing Intellectual Assets; Dirac, together with our strategic partners and customers, possesses a unique advantage in defining the future of audio both today and for years to come.”

The appointment of Friedrichsen comes off a big year for Dirac, where the company grew over 40% despite the global pandemic, and where it established several notable new partnerships with brands such as BYD in the automotive space, ASUS in mobile and computing, and Klipsch in headphone market.

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January 12, 2021 · AiSPiRE names Mark Moody Product Development Manager

Further establishing its commitment to the Integration channel while honing products for technologists, AiSPiRE has announced the appointment of Mark Moody to product development manager in charge of lighting controls.

AiSPiRE is a commitment by WAC to connect lighting designed with custom integration in mind to elevate the human experience of light while connecting on a deeper level in the space.

 “I’m excited to welcome Mark to the WAC family”, says Dirk Wald, Co-CEO of The W Group.

“He brings nearly 30 years of extensive industry experience in the development of innovative controls and control products. Mark is widely respected for his technical focus on creating ease-of-adoption strategies for integrating products in the field.  I have full confidence that he will ensure that our technologies will be well received in the marketplace.” 

Mark Moody will help expand the company’s lighting and integration with automation control systems for residential and commercial environments. 

Prior to joining AiSPiRE and WAC, he served as Vantage product manager for shading and residential controls within Legrand North & Central America, and previously as product manager for Legrand in France and Legrand U.K. focusing on commercial lighting controls.

More news from WAC Lighting: WAC Lighting AiSPiRE Lighting Brand

January 11, 2021 · ADI Opens new Branch Office in Fort Worth, Texas

ADI Global Distribution, a leading wholesale distributor of security, AV and low-voltage products, announced today it opened a new branch location in Fort Worth, Texas. This marks ADI’s second location to serve the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area and seventh location across the state, and furthers strengthens its commitment to providing the best and most convenient service to dealers. 

The new ADI Fort Worth branch, located at 5036 Saunders Road, Fort Worth, TX 76119 (Phone: 817-516-3820), will provide dealers with more access to ADI’s full range of products and services. 

As part of its strategic growth plan, ADI continuously conducts a market analysis of its current locations, customer locations, market demographics and travel times to ADI branches. With this data, ADI identifies new opportunities to expand its branch network and further enhance its customer service to dealers. The DFW area represents one of the fastest growing metro areas in the U.S., and by opening a second location here ADI will be able to better serve dealers across the city and in surrounding areas.

“The ADI Fort Worth location is the second new branch that we’ve opened over the past few months in North America,” says Bob Appleby, vice president and general manager, ADI North America.

“Expanding our distribution network is part of our overall growth strategy, and furthers our commitment to provide superior service, products and support. We’re excited to open our doors to another ADI location in the Dallas-Fort-Worth area.”

The new Fort Worth branch occupies a 10,000-square foot space that is fully stocked with an assortment of products across all categories. 

More news from ADI: Brilliant Launches North America Distribution with ADI Global Distribution

Ashley Kay AudioControl

January 11, 2021 · AudioControl Names Ashley Kay Director of Customer and Technical Services

AudioControl has appointed Ashley Kay as director of customer and technical services.

Kay brings a wealth of experience in support services management from the professional A/V market, and will leverage that skillset to accommodate the continued growth of the AudioControl brand that includes critical new product introductions slated for 2021. 

AudioControl is recognized for providing dealers with the tools they need to succeed quickly and efficiently, and the company says that Kay will strengthen its support its services and support.

“I am excited to welcome Ashley to the AudioControl team and look forward to leveraging her experience and leadership skills as part of our customer service and technical support initiatives going forward,” explains Alex Camara, CEO, AudioControl.

“It is imperative that we continue to set the standard for unparalleled service and support as we unveil key new products this year and beyond.”

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January 11, 2021 · Premium Audio Company Promotes Blondel

Premium Audio Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of VOXX International Corporation, has announced that industry veteran Franck Blondel has been promoted to senior vice president of sales and marketing in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as lead the Jamo, Magnat and Heco brands worldwide.

In this newly created role, Blondel will oversee the entire business operation in the EMEA region for all Premium Audio Company brands, including market penetration, sales and marketing strategies and distribution. He will also lead product development for three of the company’s revered European brands — Jamo, Magnat, and Heco, as well as operations for Jamo.

Blondel will continue to report to Paul Jacobs, president & CEO of Premium Audio Company.

“Franck is highly strategic, creative, passionate and determined in his leadership approach to sales and marketing. He has worked tirelessly at learning the intricacies of the global audio industry. In his expanded role, I am excited for the products that our European audio solution brands bring to market globally under Franck’s leadership, says Jacobs.

“He is a valued key player on our team, and we are happy for him to take on an even larger role as senior executive and within the company.”

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