Page 1


August 2019



25 & GROWING STRONGER! KnowledgeFest marks a quarter century as the industry’s premier learning and networking event

The Finalists

Top 12s and Top 5s reveal their aspirations to be the best

PLUS: Bros & Pros: How to Make Friends at KFest Cali Style: High-End Audio on 2 Wheels Two-Zero: Perfectionist Celebrates 2o Years

optimize your senses





• Metal License Plate CMOS • Waterproof • 120° View

• Digital Wireless 7” LCD Camera • New 600 TV Lines • Microphone Built In




Mini Mini Moonlight Camera with Incredible Low Light Performance

True Full 180º Horizontal View Programmable Mirror / No Mirror



No OBD Connection Required !

RVCLPM (Chrome) RVCLPMB (Black Chrome) License Plate Camera 120º view

RVC800LPWIRB (Black) RVC800LPWIR (Chrome) IR License Plate Camera 120º view



LED Lights

“DRS” active parking assist lines show car turning trajectory

“DRS” active parking assist lines !


High sensitivity 1/3″ DSP color CCD Lux 0.3 @ F2.0 140° viewing angle




OE STYLE REARVIEW MIRROR with Built In 4.3” LCD (Auto or Manual Dimming)

Auto Dimming !

On Star




Adjustable Parking Lines



• Installs behind bumper so no holes • OEM Quality • Clean Look • Waterproof IP67 • Easy to Install Dual 2.1A / 2.1A Output

1 amp & 2.1 amp USB output

Glowing Blue Backlight Dual USB. 3.1amp Output




Volt Meter

Volt Meter

HDMI / USB Extension




Indicator LED Lights

Not Ultrasonic

Microwave Radar will work in rain, snow and even through mud !



(800) 788-1212

(562) 809-5090

Are you Ready...

WIRELESS (VOD) VIDEO ON DEMAND ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM • Video on demand just like on airplanes • Supports up to 6 users at the same time • Individually control play, stop, pause, etc. by each user • Supports up to 1TB hard drive or USB Storage • WiFi ( 2.4Ghz / 5.8Ghz ) • 3G or 4G internet option Included • 1 x Server • 2 x 10.8” Touchscreen Monitor • 2 x Wireless Bluetooth Headphones



• Built in Wireless Wifi HD receiver • Built in SD card player • Audio Video inputs • Wireless IR headphone transmitter • Wireless FM transmitter • Led Dome lights • IR Remote control

( ( ( ((

Wirelessly Stream !


1080 HD Content from your smartphone






• Complete Car Kit • Charge While Playing • Great Replacement for Original Dock • Perfect heat dissipation Kit Includes • Switch Adapter • HDMI Cable (15 ft) • Cig Adapter • Car Hardwire Kit



CAR ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM WITH BUILT DISC PLAYER / GAME CONTROLLER • High Resolution Digital Panel • Works in all type of Cars • Multimedia Disc Player • Supports 3-In-1 SD Card Slot, USB, DVD • HDMI Input • Game Controller and remote • Slim Design • Touch Button Controls • Dual IR Wireless Headphone Transmitter Built-in


Interchangeable color skins (Gray & Tan)


(800) 788-1212

(562) 809-5090


9” DVD9850

Volume 45 // Issue 8

Departments 6 Editor’s Forum 8 Feedback 74 From The President

Ad Index 18 FEATURES 18// Industry Awards: Steady Climb This year’s top-tier professionals are moving forward by gaining and sharing knowledge to help improve the industry as a whole.

52// Strategy & Tactics: Friendship is Knowledge is Power Are you attending KnowledgeFest Dallas? It’s time to network, learn and make friends. Take note of these tips and strategies on how to connect with your peers at KnowledgeFest.

58// Tech Today: Mobsteel Suicide Slab Gets Audio Makeover, Part 2 Pinnacle Autosound and Simplicity in Sound team up to finish a custom build on a 1960s Lincoln Continental.

12 ARTICLES 12//Retail News / Who’s Who 68// Installs On the Cover COVER DESIGN: Manny DeJesus This year, we asked the Top 12 Retailers, Top 12 Installers and Top 5 Sales Professionals about their recent challenges and how they’ve grown in the industry. Each of them shared what they learned and how they’ve improved as they continue to progress—and sometimes stumble—while advancing in their careers.

4  Mobile Electronics August 2019

Accele Electronics….................................p. 2 & 3 Alpine….................................…...........................…p. 21 Arc Audio….................................…..................…p. 43 AudioControl….................................…...........…p. 33 Audiomobile…….................................…............p. 65 Audison….................................…......................…p. 14 Aurigin: Hybrid Audio Technologies…....p. 67 Author Alarm…….................................…..........p. 65 Brandmotion….................................…...........…p. 67 Car Keys Express….................................….…p. 63 DD Audio….................................…...................…p. 39 DOW Electronics….......................................…p. 63 DS18….................................…............................…p. 73 Escort Electronics…….....................................p. 31 Firstech….................................…......................…p. 75 Harman: Infinity….................................….....…p. 35 HD Radio….................................…...................…p. 59 Hertz….................................…............................…p. 15 Instrument Sales & Service (ISS)….......p. 55 JL Audio…….................................…......................p. 37 JVC…….................................…...............................p. 29 K40 Electronics….................................….....… p. 41 Kenwood….................................…......................…p. 7 Kicker…….................................…...........................p. 51 LinksWell….................................…..................…p. 24 MECP...............................................…p. 61 and p. 71 Memphis Audio…..............................................p. 17 Metra: AXXESS ............................................…p. 27 MSC America: Audiotec Fischer..........… p. 45 MSC America: Brax…..................................…p. 69 Orca: Focal/Mosconi/Illusion...................…p. 9 Powerbass…….................................…................p. 13 Race Sport…….................................…...............p. 57 Rockford Fosgate….....................................…p. 23 Rostra….................................….........................…p. 55 SiriusXM….................................….....................…p. 16 SiriusXM: Automatic…..............................… p. 25 Sony…….................................…..............................p. 11 SounDigital…….................................…..............p. 47 SQL Audio….................................….................…p. 57 USA SPEC….................................….................…p. 53 VAIS Technology….................................…..… p. 49 VOXX Electronics…….................................….p. 76 Waylens…….................................…....................p. 53 Wet Sounds….................................…...............…p. 5



Fits up to a 2” Round Bar

2-Way Component with Aluminum Tweeter

WS MC • 2


COMPLETE AUDIO CON TROL 2.7” Full Color Display

Bluetooth, Aux, USB, & Pandora

AM/FM/WB Digital Tuner


Join us in Dallas and gain some Wet Sounds knowledge!

Dallas, Texas / AUG. 9-11 Dallas Convention Center

see us at booth 1135

Product Training SATURDAY August 10 6:00 - 7:00 pm with Bobby Eldridge SUNDAY August 11 3:30 - 4:30  5 pm

editor’s forum

Fitting in the Family The debate over work-life balance isn’t really a debate at all. The midday sun was finally finished baking the wide streets, and it slowly slunk off west to take its rest behind low buildings and distant hills, trailing a cape of brilliant orange and dark yellow hues. We walked through the promenade of outdoor boutique stores, most of which specialized in clothing and high-end trinkets for tourists. Naked vintage bulbs on thin wires winked on above our heads, creating a criss-cross pattern across the open square. They were more decoration that function; their modern LED cousins, on poles stood back from the square, carried the brunt of lighting duty. I had come here to visit my mentor, an accomplished person who saw more in me that I saw in myself at the time. We had spent the day visiting start-ups related to an upcoming project. Regardless of the outcome, he thought I would be something special. I was starting to believe him. It was at that moment, there in this outside space that presented the ultimate vision of success as if I was walking though the production of a Broadway play, that he said something to me that I would never forget: “Solomon, when you’re on your way to becoming successful, don’t make the mistakes I did.” He then preceded to recount stories I had heard before: About the divorce from his first wife. The strained relationships with his grown children. The new children who grew up more under the influence of others than his own. The temptations that follow in the wake of prosperity. I had previously only thought of these and typical life experiences, and only then did I put the whole picture together as these experiences being the other side of his success. I was able to contrast his story with those of others who, on the outside, live a stable life with family, but internally feel unfulfilled because of chances not taken, opportunities overlooked. In both cases I derived the same lesson: A life lived unbalanced will ultimately balance itself, measuring out equal parts of fulfillment or regret to what has been experienced.

The Battle of Obligations Achieving a balance between fulfillment from action and fulfillment from obligation is an old story told many times over. In a way you can say it’s the ultimate success. It was recently a topic in our own industry, relayed to me by a valued friend in Jon Kowanetz. A discussion on Facebook argued the merits of “grinding” – going all out and dedicating everything to work – against “anti-grinding,” which in this context referred to giving a personal life an equal or slightly advantageous place over work.

6  Mobile Electronics August 2019

Let’s set some context. For us, the controversy is usually broken down into the simplistic terms of work time versus family time. Both of these are obligations. (Incidentally, the word ‘obligation’ can have a negative connotation, but in this context simply means something or someone you have made a commitment to. That said, telling my wife, “You’re the best obligation ever” will get me remanded to the couch.)

Solomon, when you’re on your way to becoming successful, don’t make the mistakes I did.

The work / life balance is a delicate dance undertaken by the partners (spouses or significant others) while maintaining a solid footing for dependents and obligations. As with any dance, the two must be in sync. If one steps a certain way, the other must complement. But if one of the participants goes off on a solo routine, it leaves the other out of rhythm and struggling to uphold or maintain family life for dependents and obligations. But let’s get one thing straight: The debate over grind versus anti-grind is not really a debate of one over the other. Everyone wants to achieve a work-life balance. It’s just that the idea of balance may be different for each of the participants. Or, it could be that one or both participants is dancing to their own music and don’t realize it. And only later, when things are broken beyond repair, do they realize their error.

The Grind is Real I have a tattoo on my right forearm that has become a conversation starter on several occasions. It consists of a series of tally marks denoting the number five. Depending on the company I’m keeping at the time, I’ve gotten guesses to its meaning from years in prison to ex-wives, and even once, the number of people I’ve off-ed. The truth always takes the guessers by surprise. It represents my experience points; the times that I’ve started a business. The first four, for one reason or another, didn’t work out. Still, they unearthed a wealth of experience of what to do and not do, which I carried into the following venture. These are the times I’ve put all my energy into building something; when I’ve given in to the grind over all. Continued on page 10...


Be safe! Wirelessly control your phone and keep your focus on the road.

Android Screen Mirroring Š2019 Kenwood and Kenwood eXcelon are registered trademarks of JVCKenwood in the United States and may be a registered trademark, or trademark, in other countries. All other third-party product names, brand names and logos are trademarks of their respective owners.

 feedback

Straight Shooters Retailers agree that by taking aim and focusing on the target, businesses can spark further growth and continue climbing the ladder. This is done by staying educated and implementing lessons learned.

ADVERTISING SALES Kerry Moyer 978.645.6457 •

EDITORIAL Solomon Daniels Editor-in-Chief 978.645.6463 • Rosa Sophia Managing Editor 978.645.6466 • Creative Layout and Design: Manny DeJesus Contributing Editors: Jamie Sorcher, Joey Knapp and Laura Kemmerer

Published by TM

mobile electronics association

Chris Cook, President 978.645.6434 •

“Keep the passion for our industry and take pride in the work we do. Respect customers and employees, as they keep our doors open. Always be honest and upfront in all your dealings.” Marilu D’Sanz, D’Sanz Tint N Zound, Escondido, Calif. “KnowledgeFest has contributed a lot to what I try to do. If it doesn’t work for my area, I modify and try again.” Mike Hudson, Boomers Audio, Tulsa, Okla. “I hired Kingpin University to coach us in all aspects of our growth. Our one-year contract allows us to be in contact once a week via video conference as well as having Jason and his crew up to SoundsGood four times a year to show us valuable installation and fabrication techniques. While we train a lot, things get left behind if we don’t continue to hone these newly acquired skills. The weekly coaching takes the complacency off the table. We are growing in ways unheard of by other companies in this industry.” Keith McCumber, SoundsGood Auto, Coquitlam, BC, Canada “Put yourself out there! We’re in a social media and networking world. Network with other businesses and other retailers. Use those relationships to help improve your own business and take care of customers. Put yourself out there! Become involved in your community and your industry. Join groups, your local chamber of commerce—whatever it takes.” Joe Cassity, Tunes-N-Tint, Lakeland, Fla. “Invest time and money. You need two things to make money: tools and knowledge.” Jaime Palafox, Agoura Autosounds, Agoura Hills, Calif.

8  Mobile Electronics August 2019

Kerry Moyer, VP Strategic Partnerships 978.645.6457 • Solomon Daniels, Dir. Media and Communications 978.645.6463 • Richard Basler, Dir. Technology Solutions 978.645.6449 • Tony Frangiosa, Chairman of the Board, MEA 1) Title of publication: Mobile Electronics. 2) Publication No.: 957-170 6. (ISSN# 1523-763X) 3) Copyright © 2018 by the Mobile Electronics 4) Date of filing: Oct. 1, 2018. 5) Frequency of issue: Monthly. 6) No. of issues published annually: 12 7) Annual subscription price: $35.00. 8) Periodical postage paid at Lawrence MA and additional mailing offices. 9) Complete mailing address of known office of publication: 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 10) Complete mailing address of the headquarters or general business offices of the publisher: 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 11) Full names and complete mailing address of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor: Publisher: Chris Cook, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845; Editor/Managing Editor: Solomon Daniels/Rosa Sophia, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845 12) Owner: MERA, Mobile Electronics Retailers Association, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 13) Known bondholders, mortgages, and other security holders owning or holding 1% or more of total amounts of bonds, mortgages or other securities: None. 14) Tax Status: Not applicable. 15) Name of Publication: Mobile Electronics. 16) Issue date for circulation data below: October 2018. 6. a) Total no. copies (net press run) Average: 10,237 Single Issue; 12,826. b) Paid/Requested mail subscriptions Average: 6039, Single Issue: 7346. c) Paid sales through dealers, etc.; Average: 0. Single issue; d) Requested distributed by other classes of mail: Average: 435, Single issue: 520. Total paid and/or requested circulation; Average 6039. Single issue: 7346. e) Non-requested distribution by mail; Average: 3593 Single issue: 4223. Free distribution through other classes of mail: Average: 0, Single issue: 0. f) Non-requested distribution outside the mail; Average: 267. Single issue: 750. g) Total non-requested distribution; Average 3860, Single issue: 4973. h) Total distribution; Average: 9,899. Single issue: 12,319. i) Copies not distributed; h1) Office use, leftovers; Average: 338. Single Issue; 507 j) Total; Average: 10,237. Single issue; 12.826 Percent paid and/or requested circulation; Average: 61.01%. Single issue 59.63%. 17) POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Mobile Electronics, 85 Flagship Drive Suite F, North Andover MA 01845-9998

editor’s forum Continued from page 6. So I can speak from experience when I say this: If you ever want to realize any significant level of success in your life—whether it’s career, sports or relationships— you HAVE to be willing to put everything else aside. The effort you put into your goal needs to be your priority. If you take on an objective and only apply 50 percent effort, you’re never going to reach the point at which the effort starts to become self-sustaining. There is no substitute for hard work. So then how do you get to balance if supreme focus is a necessity? By looking at balance a different way. Balance is Bigger Than Just You Let’s say two people have eight hours to perform two tasks. One person switches between tasks every 15 minutes. The other works the first four hours on one task, and the final four hours on the other. At the end of eight hours, both have spent four hours on each task; just in different ways. Now think of these two tasks as work and family time. Each of these approaches—short intervals and longer intervals—is appropriate for different situations. If you are starting a new job, opening a business, adding a significant new category to your company, you need to spend a longer period of work time at the outset. Eventually, once things are running efficiently, you resort to shorter intervals. But here is where a lot of entrepreneurs and go-getters get lost when it comes to relationships: they think this equation applies only to them. Simply put, if you have to spend 12-15 hours a day at work, you can’t then spend 12-15 hours on family time. The math doesn’t work.

Time with children should not be taken for granted. If necessary, go home to spend time between after school and bedtime, then head back to work.

Balance in a relationship involves both parties. If you’re spending an extra 4-6 hours a day at work, your partner is balancing that out by spending an equal extra amount on family time to compensate, whether they agreed to it or not. And if they didn’t agree, or if they feel like you are taking advantage of the situation, that’s when stress builds within the relationship.

The One-Word Cure-All

If this is a situation you are currently dealing with, first know that it’s no one’s fault; this is how life works. Second, decide that any action you take regarding this situation should be directed at fixing it. Now, here’s the one word that will fix it, or prevent this from happening in the first place: Communicate.

10  Mobile Electronics August 2019

Committed relationships mean that what affects one affects the other. It then follows that big decisions need to have approval from both partners. So let’s take a time-at-work situation. You need to put in extra hours building cars for an upcoming tradeshow. What You Don’t Do (though this is what most of us do): Tell your partner and take the attitude that they just have to understand because it’s work. What You Should Do: Set aside specific time with your partner to make a plan for the upcoming time crunch. Here are elements that should be part of your conversation: • The plan and time limit. In order to have true balance, there needs to be a time limit when one partner is taking on additional work. It can be “until the show is over” or “month’s end” or “when we reach our quota for the quarter.” The main point is that you agree on a start and end. • Your partner’s priorities. Make sure you consider the commitments your partner has made throughout the time period as well, and work to accommodate them. • The breaks. Unless you’ll be out of touch for the duration, plan short breaks in which you can spend time together. It can be a movie, family take-out night or coming home to watch your favorite show together. • What’s off limits. There are certain things that trump even work obligations, such as a child’s championship game or school play. Work it out so you will be there for those moments. • The work-arounds. Time with children should not be taken for granted. If necessary, go home to spend time between after school and bedtime, then head back to work. • Home time. When you are home, even for a short time, be home. Don’t take calls or bring work into the house. • Most important: the Buy-In. Both parties must understand and agree to their roles in the balance. Oh, and one more thing: communicate some more. Check in with each other during the process. Life is dynamic rather than static, so things will come up that may cause you to adjust. I’ll leave you with one more related experience; when I was able to pass on the advice I had received. A co-worker, whose wife was pregnant, mentioned she was going in for her first prenatal appointment. “Why aren’t you with her?” I asked. “Aaah, she can handle those. It’s just the doctor checking up on her. Besides I gotta finish this.” He waved a lackadaisical hand in the direction of the stack of papers on his desk. I looked at him and said six words. “You’re making your memories. Right now.” He got up and went to his car.



Sony Vendor of the Year Dealer Appreciation Concert


along with our sincere thanks to the MEA organization and its committed Specialty independent dealer base whose belief, support and sales efforts have rallied our eff Sony brand back to prominence.

Chris Weaver Band Saturday August 10 @ 10PM House of Blues Dallas 2200 N Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75202 Sponsored by:


 retail news

Who’s Who

Faces in the Industry Shane Douet Lafayette Custom Automotive Position: Manager/installer/sales. City: Lafayette, Louisiana Years of Industry Experience: Over 20

Hobbies: Sports, music, car shows and family. What you’re really good at: Wiring, sales, electrical troubleshooting and fabricating.

Brandon Brown Columbus Car Audio and Accessories


Position: Installation technician City: Columbus, Ohio Years of Industry Experience: 3 Hobbies: Woodworking, car audio and family time. What you’re really good at: Clean wiring.

Luxury Details, Inc. Offers Vinyl Wrapping to Build Business Shops may need to look into different business opportunities in order to further engage with customers, and Luxury Details Inc., based out of Southborough, Massachusetts, did just that when it started offering vinyl wrapping to customers. The shop also brought on an in-house specialist with 15 years of experience to handle the work. According to shop president Matt Kouyoumjian, Luxury Details started offering vinyl wrapping because customers asked for it. The new hire, Fredwin Burdierd, saw the ad in the business’s window. Luxury decided to bring him on board after a trial run was completed successfully. “We’ve had customers come in thinking about it, and then they see us in the middle of a job, and I end up selling to people just like that,” Kouyoumjian said. “It’s definitely another stream of revenue.” A wrap takes about a week to complete. Kouyoumjian emphasized that it’s imperative to get the right person who has experience with the material. “The first car we did, we had a learning curve. [Make sure you] Invest in the nice material to start with.”

12  Mobile Electronics August 2019

Tony Tummillo Advance Electronics City: Garner, North Carolina Years of Industry Experience: 18 Hobbies: DJing. What you’re really good at: Remote starters.   13

 retail news

John Schwartz Celebrates 20th Year as Owner of Perfectionist John Schwartz, owner of Perfectionist Auto Sound, based in Anchorage, Alaska, will soon be celebrating his 20th year as the owner of the business, an event partially commemorated by the South Side

Block Party held in July. Schwartz’s anniversary is September first. “I want to give a shoutout to Jason Lee of Compustar / Firsttech,” Schwartz said. “I was 23 when I started working

for Compustar and he owned Perfectionist. He gave me the opportunity to run it and gave me a lot of guidance. To be here 20 years, I’m always trying to make him proud that he trusted me like that. We


The Sound Pack solutions dedicated to the Ford F-150 are the final audio upgrade for this iconic Pick-Up. You can create the Sound Pack that best suits your needs through the online configurator: *

14  Mobile Electronics July 2019 | Elettromedia USA | 16691 Noyes Ave. Irvine CA 92606 | (877) 567-3030 |

had a lot of changes this year. My daughter [Amari Schwartz] lives in Seattle now and just started working at Compustar.” As for the party, there was a live band, a tattoo artist in the showroom, a car show, a bass competition, food vendors and a rock wall for the kids. There were almost 3,000 visitors throughout the day. The shop’s last block party was held in 2017. “We put our maximum effort into everything. Our theme for this party was the anniversary. Perfectionist has been around since the 1980s, but I am the fourth owner,” Schwartz added. Moving forward, he plans on closely examining processes and procedures to ensure efficiency and quality. There are also plans to go to Mobile Solutions for further training opportunities. “I feel like I’ve put more pressure on myself now,” Schwartz said. “I feel we have to be here for another 20 years, and we have to constantly push ourselves to improve.”


The Sound Pack solutions dedicated to the Ford F-150 are the final audio upgrade for this iconic Pick-Up. You can create the Sound Pack that best suits your needs through the online configurator: *   15

| Elettromedia USA | 16691 Noyes Ave. Irvine CA 92606 | (877) 567-3030 |

 retail news

Audiowave Car Stereo Expands Product Offerings In a move to increase revenue, Audiowave Car Stereo, based in Gautier, Miss., recently moved to expand its product offerings, according to shop owner Mike Phillips. They began with Phoenix Gold and gradually mixed it up with the later addition of Metra and Stinger marine RGB speakers. At a previous job, Phillips had seen Phoenix Gold do very well. When he finally had an opportunity to stock Phoenix Gold at Audiowave, Phillips moved forward. Things have been going well so far. Currently, the shop is picking up additional items like the Axis subwoofer enclosures. “We’ve expanded our amp line,” Phillips said. “I’ve actually replaced my cheap speakers with the SSX 65CXs.” Additionally, carrying these products has helped the business. “Sometimes you can get stuck on one line,” Phillips said. “We’re in a smaller market, but we do pretty well for being in a smaller market. It works for our bottom line.” According to Phillips, the shop is up 22 to 24 percent in business over this time last year.


Carrie Underwood on

PROFITS FOR YOU, SAVINGS FOR YOUR CUSTOMER. • $70 rebate on the purchase of an SXV300V1 Tuner • 3 months free All Access Subscription, including streaming & SiriusXM Video

Visit for complete Offer Details. SiriusXM subscription sold separately.

© 2019 XM Radio Inc. SiriusXM, Automatic, Pandora and all related logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc. and its respevtive subsidiaries. All other marks, channel names and logos are 16Sirius Mobile Electronics July 2019 the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Agoura Autosounds Picks Up New Product Line Bettering business also meant picking up a new product line for Agoura Autosounds, based in Agoura Hills, Calif. For this shop, it meant picking up the Audiofrog line, a move that would see an uptick in customer satisfaction and engagement. Agoura Autosounds has been open for roughly two and a half years, focusing on high-end custom audio. Shop owner Jaime Palafox picked up Audiofrog after some discussion with customers who were interested. After having a talk with the owner of the company, Palafox began offering the line, as his shop was far enough away from competition. Palafox also upgraded his autotuning equipment. “I upgraded to the handheld piece, I purchased an oscilloscope, an RTA DD1, […] and we did ace checkers, polarity testers to make sure our speakers are wired correctly,” Palafox said. “So within the last couple years I’ve been buying a lot of the audio equipment. The “last piece of the puzzle” was to buy the correct microphone so the shop could do real-time analysis on cars when tuning is being completed.

North Starters Experiences Boom in Boat Business North Starters, based in Roscommon, Michigan, has recently experienced a significant uptick in marine business, according to shop owner and installer Aaron Goldman. “I do five boats to every car,” he noted. What makes the work enjoyable is tied directly to the size of the shop, according to Goldman. By keeping it a small operation, they can pick the work they want, which helps with company image. The both of them—Goldman and his fiancée, Lauren—also try their best to stay involved with the community. “Last year we did four boats. This year we’ve done thirty,” Goldman said. Any advertising the shop does is on Facebook. “We have a shop that people can come to, but we mostly go on the road. We did one 40 miles away. We will travel all throughout northern Michigan for boats.”


Visit us at KnowledgeFest Dallas Booth 1203!

Folded surround for maximum excursion Direct Vent Voice Coil Cooling Rapidly dissipates heat


THE PERFECT SUBWOOFER The VIV SixFive Series subwoofer was designed to be the perfect subwoofer. Flawless performance and extreme power rolled into one, making it the first true SQ and SPL subwoofer on the market. This subwoofer features a 7.5” voice coil with the precise number of windings to maximize surface area for rapid cooling while minimizing inductance for a flatter frequency response than the competition. The result is a subwoofer capable of massive output with near flawless sound. | 800-489-2300 17 Designed and Developed in the  USA Memphis, Tennessee

18  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards


Pierce Barrett of Soundscape Car Audio in Carrollton, Texas—one of this year’s Top 12 Installers—pointed out there’s something satisfying about learning a new skill. “When you’re delivering the vehicle to the customer, and you see their excitement at the project, you’re thinking, ‘I built that,’” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling.” For many installers, retailers and sales professionals, the passion they have for their work overlaps into their personal interests. These rising stars in the 12-volt industry share what they’re proud of and their recent challenges, but most of all, what they’re working toward and their intentions for the future.




TOP 5 TECHNICIANS Dean Beyett, Five Star Car Stereo, Clearwater, Fla. John Brettle, Cartunes, Atlanta, Ga. Nicholas Frazier, iNNovative Concepts, West Springfield, Mass. Carlos Ramirez, NVS Audio, Roselle, NJ Dan Wilson, Columbus Car Audio, Reynoldsburg, Ohio

TOP 3 EXPEDITORS Car Toys Sound FX Titan Motoring

TOP 3 DISTRIBUTORS DAS Distributors DOW Electronics

Tim Baillie, Trick Factory Customs, Maple Ridge, BC, Canada

Davis Distribution

Hobbies: “Spending time with my wife and our rescue dog; attending car shows; and working on the computer with Photoshop, Illustrator and Fusion 360.” When he was 14 years old, Tim Baillie started designing builds. He entered the industry professionally in 1990. “I handle system design, installation, fabrication and electrical at my shop,” he said. “I also handle several other areas of fabrication outside the car audio realm, including vehicle assembly and a lot of the detail work on our non-audio builds.” Big moments in Baillie’s career have included making the Top 50 Installers list five times, and the Top 12 list three times, he added. “I won the IASCA Expert 1-600 SQ+ World Championship in 1997, and [I also won] over 150 First Place awards in IASCA from 1992 to 2000.” Baillie’s influences include Chris Yato, Bryan Schmitt, Tom Miller and Mark Fukuda. “In the hot rod world,” he added, “people like Troy Trepanier from Rad Rides by Troy, Troy Ladd from Hollywood Hotrods and 3D Magic Mike from the Roadster Shop.” Recently, people outside the automotive sector have inspired him, too. “Using new technology like CNC routers, lasers and 3D printers has really made me start looking outside our industry for inspiration and education.” In the future, Baillie simply intends to expand his horizons in all facets of his professional life.

20  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards

THE POWER DUO iLX-W650 Receiver and KTA-450 PowerPack Amplifier



Pierce Barrett, Soundscape Car Audio, Carrollton, Texas

Hobbies: “Working on my race car (which will never be finished), learning new skills and trades, and traveling.” Every day at Soundscape Car Audio, Pierce Barrett said, “We try to do better than we did the day before.” Barrett has also been focusing on networking and photographing his builds, as well as honing his craft. He said it’s a constant progression. “It’s just me and Dan [Ungaro], the two of us running the shop. Sometimes we have to catch up. The last year and a half, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m answering emails, helping with sales, ordering, scheduling and more, along with installing and fabricating,” he said, adding that the biggest challenge has been scheduling. “It’s an ongoing challenge, but every day we are getting better at it. I am looking forward to getting deeper into fabrication. My main focus in the last few years was light fab and integration and wiring, and now I’m digging deeper into fabrication. I like learning and I want to absorb everything I can.”

Dean Beyett, Five Star Car Audio, Clearwater, Fla.

Hobbies: “Spending time with my family, going to Disney World, playing with cameras and photography.” Dean Beyett of Five Star Car Audio runs the business’s website, manages custom install sales, runs all the social media pages, designs all the storebranded material and, he added, “I make sure nothing blows up. [I’m also the] installation manager.” Beyett has been installing for 30 years. When it comes to recounting the biggest mistake he’s ever made in his career, Beyett said, “Not getting involved with this—and other events like KnowledgeFest—sooner in my career.” His mother, he added, has been his biggest influence in life. “My mom was the hardest working person I have ever known. She worked multiple jobs to support me and my two sisters. She showed me, ‘You are responsible for you,’ and you have to work hard to make things happen.” This year, the shop hit over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. “It’s taken us years and countless hours to get there.” Five years ago, Beyett added, he never would have imagined he’d be where he is now in his career.

22  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards
















TJ Carlson, Musicar Northwest, Portland, Ore. Hobbies: “Playing the drums, spending time with my family, and attending trainings and trade shows.” At Musicar Northwest, TJ Carlson helps out wherever he can, he said. “I talk with clients about projects, give them tours if it’s their first time at the shop.” He answers phones if the sales staff is busy, and “I was recently responsible for the installation of a new dust collection system in our woodshop.” Carlson has been installing for 15 years. “Recently, I completed the audio system in my personal vehicle and had it in the JL Audio booth at the PNWCEE show in Seattle,” he said. “It was a very fulfilling experience to be able to show off my work and give audio demos to other people in the industry.” He’s had many influences throughout his career, but two of them were the most impactful. “Ryan Wimmer and Kevin Albright are the two technicians who helped me get started,” he said. “They showed me techniques and skills that made me want to always keep learning and get better at my craft.” Carlson hopes to help teach one day, and help others within the industry. His biggest mistake, he said, is his tendency to overanalyze the build process before he even gets started. “I overthink things at times,” he explained, “because I don’t like unexpected problems to come up during a build.”

24  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards Joe Giallombardo, Abt Electronics, Glenview, Ill.

Hobbies: “Riding my motorcycle, spending time with family and friends, and working on home projects.” Joe Giallombardo has been helping to train some new hires at Abt Electronics, he said. “I help guide them in the right direction when it comes to doing proper installations, and I help them solve issues they haven’t seen yet,” he explained. His father instilled in him a strong work ethic. “My entire life, he’s always worked hard,” he said. “There are too many influences to name in regard to expertise.” Five years from now, he sees himself as continuing to thrive and grow in the industry. “I want to give back to the 12-volt community and teach the next generation of installers.” Giallombardo has been installing for 12 years. “One of my proudest moments has been getting the opportunity to work alongside many talented installers at different trainings,” he said, “but my biggest mistake has been not asking for help when I needed it to finish a job.”

INTRODUCING AUTOMATIC. Transform Your Car Into a Connected Car.







Find out more: Offer Details: Buy the Automatic adapter and receive 3 years of FREE Select Automatic service including Crash Alert, plus a FREE 6-month Premium Automatic subscription (a $5 mo value) with your purchase. Fees and taxes apply. If you decide to continue service after your Free Premium Automatic service ends, the subscription plan you choose will automatically renew thereafter and you will be charged according to your chosen payment method at then-current rates. Please see the Automatic Customer Agreement for complete terms and how to cancel. All fees, content and features, are subject to change. This offer cannot be combined with any other and may be modified or terminated at any time. © 2019 Sirius XM Radio Inc. SiriusXM, Automatic, Pandora and all related logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc, and its respective subsidiaries.


Aaron Iwane, Elevated Audio, Lakewood, Colo. Hobbies: “Fishing, listening to music and tinkering with my six cars.” Aaron Iwane has been installing for 20 years, and now has multiple duties at Elevated Audio. “[I’m a] fabrication specialist, master tech, wire ninja and audio guru,” he said. Iwane serves as the shop foreman and the most senior tech. “I am part of all audio consultations.” Elevated Audio was voted Denver A List for top car audio shop, Iwane said, which was one of his proudest moments. Something else he’s proud of, he said, is “maintaining MECP first class and advanced certification for the last 11 years.” Iwane’s shop manager when he worked at Car Toys continues to be an inspiration to him. “He led with a positive attitude, trusted his employees to make their own decisions and would never leave a man down. He never took his frustrations out on his team, even when you knew his superiors were grinding on him. To this day, I try to lead and be an example like he was to me.” Iwane said he loves being a technician. “With continued growth, I see myself being a mentor to new staff and helping to educate the car audio techs of the future.”

Justin Marks, Titan Motoring, Nashville, Tenn. Hobbies: “Riding motorcycles, exercising, and brunch.”

An installer for the past 18 years, Justin Marks handles numerous aspects of fabrication, including welding, fiberglass, woodworking and vector software. “When I moved to Florida in 2010 and worked for Jeremy Carlson, that was a turning point in my career. He opened me up to a completely different mindset as far as building and design goes. It was a life-changing experience.” On November first, 2017, Marks started working for Titan Motoring. Other career influences include Tom Miller and Bryan Schmitt. Marks added that he plans to incorporate a laser and CNC more often in the future, for use building interiors. “I’m using a laser now, and I plan on buying a CNC,” he added.

26  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards


Tyler Neault, Certified Autosound and Security, Maple Ridge, BC

Hobbies: “Playing basketball, building cars, and experimenting at work after hours with new ideas.” At Certified Autosound and Security, Tyler Neault works as a store manager and lead fabricator. He has been installing for 18 years. “My proudest moment was being asked to be part of the MSC Dream Team build for 2018 and 2019,” he said. “My best friend, Craig Davey, passed away suddenly in 2014. He was my biggest influence. He got me started in this industry and I strive every day to make him proud.” He hopes to be able to travel more to other shops and experience the way other technicians work—to share ideas and ultimately to help one another.

Jaime Palafox, Agoura Autosounds, Agoura Hills, Calif. Hobbies: “Off-roading, and going to the beach (if and when there’s time).” While Jaime Palafox doesn’t have much time for anything outside of work, he said he loves what he does. “It started as a hobby. I get a lot of adrenaline off building stuff.” Until recently, he was running a mostly one-man operation, but he has since hired someone. “I think working alone for the last six or eight months at the beginning of the year kind of toughened me up,” Palafox added. “About a month ago, I hired someone else who has a lot of industry experience. Because he’s so knowledgeable, he gets stuff done. He knows some things I don’t. It’s good to see things from a different perspective.”

28  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards

STOP! DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. KW-M855BW Digital Media Receiver KW-V950BW DVD Receiver



JVC Mobile Entertainment


JVC Mobile USA | Official

Android Auto works with devices using Android 5.0 software or higher. Some devices may not yet support Android Auto, see the Google site for the latest list of compatible devices. Android Auto and its logo is a trademark of Google Inc. Apple CarPlay works with iPhone 5 and newer phones. Apple CarPlay and its user interface are trademarks of Apple Inc. For safety, various touch-screen functionality is disabled while the vehicle is in motion. See your local authorized dealer for more details. All logos are registered trademarks of their respective owners.


@JVCMobile 29

Miguel Vega, Titan Motoring, Nashville, Tenn.

Hobbies: “Dancing, cycling and spending time with my family and friends.” Ever since age 13, Miguel Vega has been interested in cars and car audio. At Titan Motoring, he said, he is willing to do whatever the team asks of him. “I design and create parts that will be integrated into the car, and I do everything related to 12-volt,” he explained. In the past, though, over-confidence has caused issues for him. “Double-check everything,” he added. Many people have influenced Vega throughout his career. “My Latin community [does] amazing work with very little,” he said. “That makes me so grateful for all the opportunities I have.” As far as the future goes, Vega prefers to live one day at a time. “I want to help other people. There are a lot of people who are afraid to participate because they are afraid they aren’t good enough. I want to let them know, push them and tell them they can do it if they want to. That’s one of my main goals. The rest will fall into place.”

Matt Vowell, Mobile Toys, College Station, Texas

Hobbies: “Attending concerts and baseball games, fishing wherever and whenever I can, and collecting, restoring and playing guitars.” As the project manager at Mobile Toys, Matt Vowell “organizes different sections of [an] install and coordinates the staff so we can maintain our project deadlines.” Vowell has been an installer for the last 16 years. He also helps support Mobile Toys’ main retail location whenever they’re shorthanded or overbooked. Professional influences include managers he’s worked with over the years. “My most recent influence is my current boss, Chris Pate. He is by far the hardest working man I’ve met in our industry and I am proud to get the chance to learn and work with him every day.” While continuing to acquire knowledge, Vowell plans on increasing his skillset over the years and keeping up with new technologies.

30  Mobile Electronics August 2019


2019 Industry Awards

iX Ci System

MAX Ci 360







Michael Bischoff, Traffic Jams Motorsports, Buford, Ga.


Hobbies: “Tailgating at the Georgia football games, going to NHRA drag races, and playing golf.” Besides being an installer at Traffic Jams Motorsports, Michael Bischoff also handles research and development for the company’s custom enclosures. He has been installing for 22 years. “I will occasionally come up to the front to help with the day-to-day stuff,” he said. “My biggest mistake [in my career] was chipping a wood grain dash in a Lexus SUV. I have been pretty lucky over the years.” One of his biggest influences in the industry, he noted, is Jason Kranitz of Kingpin University. “In five years, I hope I’m still doing what I do today, but at a much higher level,” Bischoff added.


Absolute Electronix, Rockville, Md.

Hobbies: “Car shows, eating out, and family time.” Continued growth is anticipated at Absolute Electronix, according to owner Ata Ehdaivand, who is looking forward to opening a second location. “We have grown over 15 percent in the past year,” Ehdaivand said. Balancing work life and personal life has been the most difficult aspect of the business recently, he added, noting, “My staff is my life. Nothing happens in the store without them.” The team has made growth and continued learning a daily goal. “Each person plays a pivotal role in getting cars in and out of the bay or getting customers in and out of the showroom,” Ehdaivand said. “[My teammates are] the true pillars of the store. Without one of them, the structure has no foundation.” In the past year, Ehdaivand focused on taking time out of his busy schedule to spend time with his family. “Nothing recharges my batteries more than seeing my child laugh and play,” he said. He has grown closer to his staff and their families with each passing year, he added. “I love my guys, and I wouldn’t replace them with anyone else’s team because they are the best.”

32  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards


TOP 5 REP FIRMS MAG Sales Marketing Pros Momentum Marketing Progressive Sales and Marketing

TOP 5 SALES REPS Jon Brothers, Metra Electronics Mike Eckley, AAMP Global Jonathan Mercado, MRI Distributors Mike Rundel, Sony Christian Venn, AAMP Global

Top 3 VENDORS Autosound & Processing

AudioControl JL Audio Sony

Cartunes of Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga.

Hobbies: “Spending time with family and friends, and relaxing at the lake.” Richard Grimm of Cartunes of Atlanta has been in the industry for 47 years, and in that time he’s been involved in many divisions of mobile electronics. “[I’ve worked] under the dash, in the dash, [as an] expeditor and retailer. In 1978 I opened my own store [with] CB radios, remote start, truck accessories, radar and laser, tinting, wrapping, customizing [and more] every day.” Grimm said he feels Cartunes excels because of its staff. “Without good employees, you won’t have a good store,” he said. The biggest change the business made in the last year was to introduce a five-day work week, he added, while the toughest part has involved staffing. “[We lost] employees to higher paying offers, [and it’s been a challenge] to find qualified replacements.” The business must continue to evolve, and Grimm said this is how Cartunes will survive and thrive in the future.

34  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards

Rock the cove Source to Sub InÞnity Marine has you covered

Engineered for the Ultimate Sound Experience

To Learn More Visit: www.inÞ

Or Contact: Shawn Spedding

816-385-1944 or © 2018 HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. All rights reserved. InÞnity is a trademark of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, registered in the United States and/or other countries. Feature, speciÞcations and appearance are subject to change without notice.


Certified Autosound and Security, Abbotsford, BC

Hobbies: “I love spending time with my wife and kids. Drifting has long been a passion of mine. This year, we sponsor the Certified Autosound Drift and Drag Night. [I also love] house renovations.” Pat Lee, owner of Certified Autosound and Security, has been in the industry for 13 years. In 2017, he partnered with Chris Cope. Together, they purchased a business, and Lee ran operations. Until now. “I have officially bought Chris out of the retail stores, and he is no longer with Certified Autosound. In seven years, I went from a $10,000 loan from my dad, to three stores grossing well over three million dollars annually.” Lee said the staff is the heartbeat of the company. “They push me forward and help me improve every day. We have a diverse staff. Some were hires, some were assumed when we purchased a store,” he said. “Ultimately, they are all treated the same way. We value and respect everyone who works for our company. Our technicians hold themselves to our high standard of installation. Our sales staff interact with our clientele in a respectful and fun manner. Our managers are accountable for everything that happens in their individual store. They go above and beyond to uphold our policies and procedures and make sure the clients, staff and facilities are taken care of.” After KnowledgeFest last year, Lee added, the staff got together and reflected on how they could improve. “We wanted to raise the bar.” The company invested in a four- by eight-foot CNC and a 36- by 55-inch laser. Challenges in the past year included having some team members leave for other opportunities. “Although it was tough, it allowed for other staff members to excel and step up,” Lee added. “I will continue to push ahead and grow our business in new segments. I also plan to add new locations in the coming years. I see the business taking on more structure to allow me to be less involved in the day to day operations.”

Elevated Audio, Lakewood, Colo.

Hobbies: “Photography, storm chasing, and helping others with their businesses.” Andrew Woodward has been in the industry since 2004, and Elevated Audio has been open for six and a half years. “Without the Elevated Audio team, I would not have a company with the power to reach so many customers. Our team focuses on customer experience first and foremost. Without experienced technicians, Elevated Audio would not be able to offer the level of service we do. It takes a team to give customers the perfect buying experience.” The biggest hurdle has been balancing expectations of the team with growing the brand. Woodward said he’s learned from the best, and his influences include people like Jason Kranitz, John Schwartz, Tom Miller, Dan Ungaro and others. “These guys, along with my old partner, Matthew Davies, helped transform Elevated Audio from an online and mobile operation to a storefront.” Five years from now, Woodward said, the business will be 10 years old. “I see Elevated Audio becoming a significant independent retailer in Denver to bring in more business and support more employees.”

36  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards


VXi amplifiers with integrated DSP

TüN™ for your PC or Mac

TüN™ Mobile for your tablet

TüN™ Express for your phone


© 2018 JL AUDIO, Inc. For more information on our complete line of products, please visit your local authorized dealer or


Foss Audio & Tint, Tukwila, Wash.

Hobbies: “Spending time with my son, traveling, and exercising.” Ed Weber of Foss Audio & Tint has been in the industry for 24 years. “In 2003, I bought Foss Audio as one location and today we have five locations. The business continues to grow with a staff of 35 people. Pictured is the Foss Audio family. “As you grow, you need people you trust to deliver the company’s vision to clients,” he said. “We have CJ Silvey, who is a Top 50 installer this year, and quite a few other years too. Nick Carter and Tyler Dietrich are also store managers who manage from the install bay. We have a great support staff in our General Manger Angela Carroll, and Patrice Lenox takes care of the books and employees.” Weber thanked Mike Coefeild of Custom Sounds for his advice over the years. “[And] Bob Oliver for our conversations that always leave me with ideas,” he said. “CJ Silvey makes what we do into artwork. My dad [also influenced me]. He taught me to never give up and just put your head down and get to work.” In the past year, Weber said he decided to hold himself personally responsible for how each job turns out and every customer interaction. “With a large number of employees, it’s easy to think I can’t control everything and let some things go. Just having the viewpoint that I am responsible has really shifted accountability,” he explained. “When I took that viewpoint, the employees also followed suit. I see us with eight stores [in the future], doing over 10 million a year in sales.”

Handcrafted Auto, Marine and Off Road, Chandler, Ariz. Hobbies: “Hiking and mountain biking, live music and writing.”

Jon Kowanetz started out sweeping floors at a local stereo shop. Since then, he said, he’s been in the industry for 22 years. He worked his way up in various businesses until opening his own store. He said Handcrafted has become a place where likeminded people learn and grow together. “It builds character and a sense of pride that you can feel as soon as you walk through the door,” he added. This past year, the showroom was remodeled. “The remodel has increased customer awareness of the various categories we are involved in.” The business offers a personal, custom experience for clients. “It will never be a multi-chain store, or even a multi-million dollar store, and I am okay with that. I see us continuing to provide the best customer service, highest quality installations and solutions to problems that everyone else said couldn’t be done within the categories we are currently serving.”

38  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards


Mobile Toys, College Station, Texas Hobbies: “Wood working (outside of car audio), collecting gems and minerals, going to car and truck shows.” Mobile Toys has grown into a fixture in College Station, Texas over the past 10 years. Owner Chris Pate said one of the lingering challenges has been managing the balance between the retail side of the business and both the manufacturing side (MTI Acoustics) and the custom interior division (MTI Interiors). The company recently added additional staff and square footage. “We have five more production employees to help speed up build times, projects and enclosures,” Pate said. “It’s been a unique challenge to grow the [different parts of the company] while also making sure they work together and be both efficient and profitable. I see us continuing to expand. With our current growth rate, it is not out of the realm of possibility to be grossing over five million in total business.”

Showtime Audio, Chicago, Ill.

Hobbies: “Spending time with my wife and twin boys, hanging out with my friends and working on their cars, car shows, and reading.” Jerry Villa has been in the industry for 17 years after crafting a hobby into a career, as so many others have done. “Showtime Audio is my life’s work,” he said. “My staff is the most amazing group of individuals. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their amazing dedication and hard work. It takes that and much more to constantly strive to be better.” The biggest recent change has been the store’s new location. The move was a challenge in itself, he added. Villa has been influenced and inspired by many of his peers. “I am fortunate to know and call a lot of other [business] owners my friends. They have helped me and continue to help me, even when it’s just so I can vent.” In the future, he hopes to have “our very own purpose-built facility where we can offer our clients the ultimate vehicle-based customer experience, and provide the best work environment for the staff.”

40  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards


Sound FX, Lewes, Del.

Hobbies: “Spending quiet nights with my wife—my high school sweetheart; spending a day in the ocean, anywhere; go Redskins!” Brian Layton of Sound FX has been in the industry for 21 years. “Mike Wright invited me to come on board as a salesman in 1998,” he said. “We have experienced a ton of growth, personally and professionally, in our journey together.” Layton said his focus is celebrating the achievements of the team. “My coworkers are the reason Sound FX is what it is today,” he said. “We are opening a second store this month, and it’s an investment into their future.” The hardest part, he added, is finding enough time. Layton said his wife, Lisa, is always there to support him. “She graciously lets me pursue my dreams and unselfishly asks for nothing in return,” he said. “Our quiet time is so valuable. She keeps me centered and full of love and laughter.” In the next five years, Layton anticipates continued growth of the business, as well as “refining our processes even more.”

SoundsGood Auto, Coquitlam, BC, Canada

Hobbies: “Traveling around the world with my wife, trying different foods, and being a sit-down comedian.” Keith McCumber has been in the industry for 31 years and opened SoundsGood Auto in January of 2005. Since then, the company has been named in the Top 12 four times. “SoundsGood has been through so many changes,” McCumber said. “We have 12 full-time and two part-time employees.” Continued training remains essential. “The toughest part of this year has been learning to work with all the new people and positions. We now have an operations manager and an outside salesman. Coordinating all the dynamics to be cohesive has been a hurdle. The next five years will provide a separate team to deal with industrial machines. We will also be the place to go for electric vehicles!” McCumber said. “Our grasp on the future and where it will take car audio is more than firm.”

42  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards








Titan Motoring, Nashville, Tenn.

Hobbies: “Working out, working on my new house, and spending time with my amazing lady and our three boys.” Philip Lindsley started Titan Motoring out of a van, working primarily for car dealerships. He’s been in the industry for 24 years and is now in a full ownership role, while he still handles some sales, he said. “My staff is the heart and soul of our shop. With Donny Wolfe, Ray West, Moe Goodell, Justin Marks, Miguel Vega and many others who are just simply rock stars,” Lindsley said. “All the recognition goes to these guys. They have all in some form or fashion shaped me as a leader, businessman, father, and person.” After increasing dealership services by hiring an outside salesperson, the team had to create new processes to deal with the workload, Lindsley noted. This has been the company’s biggest recent challenge. “We also refined our quality control procedures for both retail and wholesale to ensure our final product maintains the exceptional standard we demand,” he said, adding that he hopes to see Titan Motoring triple in size in square footage, employees and revenue within the next five years.

Traffic Jams Motorsports, Buford, Ga. Hobbies: “Boating, jet skis, family time, sports and basketball.”

Ronald Venable is General Manager of Traffic Jams Motorsports, and he has been in the industry for 15 years. “Our staff here is incredible. We bounce ideas off each other whenever we have an issue,” he said. Recent changes came from attending KnowledgeFest in Dallas last year. “The approaches we learned gave us a whole new business perspective. The results have been impressive, to say the least.” Road construction in front of the store has provided challenges, Venable noted, but scheduling is the challenge that remains within their control. “Being too busy is a good thing, but we have to adapt to having this amount of business to be able to accommodate the workflow,” he said. In the future, Venable sees Traffic Jams Motorsports expanding. “[We want to] grow our business and hire more excellent technicians to join our team,” he added.

44  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards




Nick Akin, Musicar Northwest, Portland, Ore.

Hobbies: “Riding motorcycles, spending quality time with loved ones and enjoying good food at restaurants and bars.” Images: Nick Akin has been in the industry for 15 years. He moved into sales to provide backup for the front of the store. “About a month went by and I was consistently closing more sales and getting higher ticket averages,” he said. “Since then, I’ve progressed into a management roll, which allows me to continue practicing sales while helping the business grow.” Akin said he is always focused on developing his sales and leadership skillsets. “The biggest recent change has been introducing a secondary salesman to the team. With the extra help, I can dedicate the time I need to putting together compelling proposals for clients and keeping up with timely communication,” he said. “That all leads to better close rates, more satisfied clients, and a fulfilling experience for me.” He tries to learn something from everyone he meets, Akin said, “whether it’s a sales experience or a personal interaction. I’m thankful for everyone who has given me something that’s helped me become who I am today.” Akin can see himself owning a store one day in the future. “I don’t know where that will take me, but it remains an ultimate goal,” he said. “Right now, I’m extremely happy working with the team at Musicar.”

Jayson Cook, Columbus Car Audio & Accessories, Columbus, Ohio

Top 3 VENDORS Accessories & Materials

AAMP Global Metra Electronics Mobile Solutions

TOP 3 VENDORS Infotainment & Multimedia

Alpine Electronics Kenwood Sony

Top 3 VENDORS Security, Safety & Driver Assistance

AAMP Global Firstech Metra Electronics

Top 3 VENDORS Powersports & Marine

JL Audio Rockford Fosgate Stinger Electronics

Hobbies: “Spending time with my wife and kids, skiing, bike riding, BMX and mountain biking.” After starting out in sales at the beginning of his career, Jayson Cook quickly moved up to managing a store. “I ran that store for about five years. With the help of my team, we made that store—which was once the worst performing store in the company—the store of the year in 2002,” he said, adding that at the time, the company had four retail locations. He’s been in the industry for 21 years, and is now the sales and store manager for the Morse Road location. “It’s a very high volume, high producing store. I work with the technicians to oversee the jobs.” Cook said he’s learned to respond rather than react to situations. “It’s something I’m continuously working on,” he added, “but it helps [not only with] my job, [but also] my personal life.” He said he learned a strong work ethic from his father, who taught him to work hard for what he wanted. Todd Hays also influenced his career. “Shortly after I started, Todd took me under his wing and molded me into what I am in the industry today,” he added. “In five years, I see myself still overseeing projects and training the sales staff, but more behind the scenes instead of being in front of clients all the time.”

46  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards


Thomas Craig, Elevated Audio, Lakewood, Colo.

Hobbies: “Golf, any concert at Red Rocks, and going up to the mountains to camp, hike, and snowboard with my girl!” Thomas Craig started out at Best Buy, then moved on to Cary Toys. He has been in the industry for 11 years. “It’s been over two years since I made the decision to leave Car Toys [and join Elevated Audio], and it was the greatest choice I ever made. I have learned so much about the industry, sales, and myself. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Since the end of last year, Craig has been the general manager at Elevated Audio. “The biggest change I’ve made is eliminating the old school ‘hard closes’ from my sales process. Customers shouldn’t have to feel pressure in a sale. If the salesperson did a good job of uncovering the customer’s needs, built value in the solution their offering, and was genuine in doing so, people will buy,” he said, adding that he looks forward to continuing to help Elevated Audio grow as a business.

Robert Kowatch, Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security, Anchorage, Alaska Hobbies: “Being a father. My kids bring me so much love and joy! Travel, sports, softball, basketball, and lifting weights.”

In 1997, Robert Kowatch became interested in mobile electronics as a consumer. “I began my career in 12-volt sales in 1999 at Safe & Sound in Anchorage,” he said. “I worked my way from knowing zero about car audio or even sales to managing the largest shops here in Alaska.” While his sales career sometimes took him into different industries, he said, his passion for 12-volt always brought him back to his chosen path. “Today, I help run Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security. I recently took on training and received my sales certifications for Grant Cardone University in less than three months. I have also made it a point to read a new book at least once a month. Our philosophy here at the shop is to always try to be the best version of ourselves through continued education. I’m very proud of where things are in terms of our numbers and goals,” he added, stating that his coworkers have offered a lot of support and assistance during recent transitions. “John Schwartz demands the best out of me, which pushes me every day,” he said. “Our entire crew is a blessing for me.” The Dallas event this month will be Kowatch’s first time attending KnowledgeFest.

48  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards

⦿ Integrates Seamlessly With Your Factory Radio

Chevrolet ◆ Chrysler ◆ Dodge Fiat ◆ Ford ◆ GMC Harley-Davidson ◆ Honda Hyundai ◆ Jeep ◆ Kia Land Rover ◆ Lexus ◆ Mazda Mercedes ◆ Nissan ◆ Porsche Subaru ◆ Toyota ◆ Volkswagen

⦿ Browse SiriusXM® Stations With Factory Radio And Steering Wheel Controls ⦿ Installs Out Of Sight No Dash Clutter ⦿ Optional Add-On High Charging USB Port

Since 2003, VAIS Technology has engineered and manufactured kits that add SiriusXM® to OEM head units. All our products feature: • Seamless Integration with Factory Head Unit • Quick, Easy Installation • OEM Grade Fit, Finish, and Warranty

Dallas 2019, Booth #1210


Adam Pate, Mobile Toys, Inc., College Station, Texas

Hobbies: “Working on my new home, building hot rods and trucks, and spending time with my wife and kids.” Pate entered the industry looking for a change of pace, he said, and he’s been a part of the 12-volt community ever since. “My brother and his partner were expanding Mobile Toys, Inc. and were in need of a salesperson and manager. This began my career in the car audio industry,” he said. “Over the past three years, I have been an integral part of helping Mobile Toys, Inc. grow into a larger multi-faceted corporation. I am now the general manager of the retail division, and the lead salesperson.” His biggest influence has been his younger brother, Chris Pate. “I plan to continue to grow with the company’s expansion. [I’m excited] to be part of one of the fastest growing car audio companies in the country,” he added. TM

SAVE THE DATES LONG BEACH February 7-9, 2020 Long Beach Convention Center

INDIANAPOLIS March 27-29, 2020 Indiana Convention Center

ORLANDO May 15-17, 2020 Orange County Convention Center

DALLAS August 21-23, 2020 Dallas Convention Center

LEARN MORE AT KNOWLEDGEFEST.ORG 50  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2019 Industry Awards

Thin is in ! Durable Steel Basket


Exclusive SoloKon™ Cone with 360-Degree Back Bracing for Smooth Response

Ribbed Santoprene® Surround Resists Heat and Degrading

Deep Bumped Top Plate for Notable Excursion and Smooth Performance

What Makes it Superior? • Minimal Mounting Depth without Sacrificing Musical Punch • Patented Square Design Features up to 20% More Cone Area than Comparable Round Sub for Louder Bass

L7T Subs and Loaded Enclosures are now shipping. For more info, contact us at 405-624-8510, or your KICKER Sales Rep.

#kickeraudio #livinloud @kickeraudio


 strategy & tactics

Friendship is Knowledge is Power Are you attending KnowledgeFest Dallas? It’s time to network, learn and make friends. Take note of these tips and strategies on how to connect with your peers at KnowledgeFest. WORDS BY DAVID MACKINNON

These days, we are what we know and who we know. In the ’80s and ’90s, one of the hardest parts about selling aftermarket audio systems was knowing what size speakers fit in the doors, dash or the rear deck of your client’s vehicle. In a modern vehicle, we have to deal with audio systems with different signal processing across trim levels of the same vehicle. It’s impossible to know what’s going on with every car or truck on the road. So, how do we take care of our clients? One way to improve efficiency is to call on our friends.

A Friend in Need Back when I got started in the car audio industry (32-plus years ago), the only reason you’d contact other shops in your area was to see if they had a dash kit or replacement antenna in stock. I’d say the answers you got from whomever you

52  Mobile Electronics August 2019

talked to on the phone were incorrect as often as they were accurate. Having resources available to help you out of a jam is definitely a requirement these days. Where we used to need kits and antennae, now we need harnesses, interfaces and adapters. Having a good relationship with other shops in your area improves everyone’s customer service abilities. I spoke to three people in the creation of

The Often-Imitated, never-duplicated, world-famous Dallas Bottle Share is the premier opportunity to meet great car audio people and make some new friends. Organized by Jay Kent of Escort Radar.

Finding Balance

this article. First was Eric Carter from Modern Media Geeks and former owner of Cartronix in Valparaiso, Ind. Eric told me he was at a training seminar at Sonus Car Audio a decade ago and Micah Williams, the owner, told the class that being friends with your competitors is an important tool. Eric took this to heart and made an effort to befriend the owners of other shops in town. Imagine if a client comes into your store looking for an Alpine Restyle kit for his Jeep Wrangler, but you only carry Sony and Kenwood. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to tell them that your friend across town can help them out? Think about how a consumer would feel hearing that. It’s a statement that puts customer service at the forefront of the store’s efforts. You could take it to the next level and call the other shop and let them know the client is on their way over. Eric shared that he has industry friends all over the country. Sometimes they talk a few times a week, and with others, they might go months without a conversation. It was nice to hear that the conversations aren’t always about mobile electronics. They talk about their families, bounce ideas off one another or just chat about random stuff. Eric went on to tell me that he thinks the industry is more of a family than any other he’s seen. He reminisced about being at KnowledgeFest in 2010 and listening to Jon Kowanetz (2010 Mobile Electronics magazine Installer of the Year) talk about this very topic during his acceptance speech. He said it really hit home. Next, I talked to Ata Ehdaivand from Absolute Electronix in Rockville, Md. Ata told me he’s very close with four other shops in the area. All the stores are typically Top 50 Retailer award winners and rank on Google and Yelp with scores of 4.5 or higher. He likes sharing information with these guys because they all work on the same level to deliver quality and value for their customers. Ata told us that his store owner friends aren’t just there for moral support, but can answer technical or vehicle-specific questions when they come up. They also admit to helping each other

“. . . it’s like having Ring in your car”

Protect your car with a motion-activated security camera from Waylens The Secure360 is an all-new automotive security camera that captures the truth during your drive and protects your vehicle while parked up to 15 days. If trouble exists while you’re away, notifications are sent directly to your smartphone* and the captured video is stored in the cloud automatically. The absolute truth for accidents, close calls, break-ins and other events are captured and preserved for you in crystal clear video. Protect your driving record and your vehicle. Start driving with the Secure360 4G.

4G Connection

GPS Precision

360 Degree Coverage

15 Days Protection

Get instant notifications

Join the conversation

For more information or to take a 30-day test drive, visit

Ring is a registered trademark of, Inc.

$399.95 *Requires 4G subscription

Waylens Inc. • 1000 Massachusetts Avenue • Cambridge MA 02138 • • 844.441.0768 ©2019 Waylens, Inc. The Waylens logo symbol, Waylens word mark and Secure360 word mark are trademarks of Waylens, Inc.   53

 strategy & tactics

Retailers like SoundsGood Auto Services in Canada often bring an entire contingency to KnowledgeFest to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest technologies in the industry. many of them are competing for the same customers, it’s a truly friendly rivalry and they are all happy when one of them seals a deal. It’s clear that being friends with the other store owners, both in your area and around the world, has significant benefits. The question is, how do you become friends with these guys and gals?

Network and Learn

with products when a manufacturer is back-ordered. Lastly, I made a call to Brandon Green from The Car Audio Shop in High Ridge, Mo. Brandon told me he’s close to several

54  Mobile Electronics August 2019

other retailers in his area. They created a Facebook group to share information, let each other know about experiences with clients and their vehicles, and organize get-togethers. He mentioned that while

As a reader of Mobile Electronics magazine, it’s nearly impossible to not know about the three (and soon to be four) KnowledgeFest industry trade shows that take place around the United States each year. Aside from the amazing and critically important product training seminars, there are many educational seminars for store owners, salespeople and of course, installers. If you want to increase your profitability and efficiency, these are a must. Without taking away from those scheduled events, I want to highlight the

Finding Balance

importance of networking. If someone has invested in attending Knowledgefest, you can be fairly sure they are fundamentally like-minded professionals who want to learn and share their experience and knowledge with others. You need to meet these people.

How to Meet People at KnowledgeFest Now, this isn’t how to score the love of your life on Tinder or Plenty of Fish. Let’s talk about strategies for meeting other mobile electronics professionals. If you are in sales, you likely have a somewhat extroverted personality and can strike up a conversation with anyone. This makes meeting new people not much of a problem. If you are on the other end of the spectrum, attending an event like KnowledgeFest brings a lot of mixed emotions. How do I know? As much as it doesn’t come across in my online behavior or in my training seminars, I am incredibly introverted. I completely understand that uneasy feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you have to talk to someone you don’t know. Yes, we all want to go to Dallas to learn as much as we can, but at the same time, the anxiety of being around people you’ve never met, in a city you aren’t familiar with can be, well, overwhelming. What I also know is that telling an introvert to ‘not be scared’ is like telling the sun not to be hot. It just isn’t going to happen. For those of us who would rather keep to ourselves, but know that it’s extremely worthwhile to make connections, I’ll provide a few suggestions below. Take a deep breath, my friends. I promise you’ll survive the experience!

Option 1: Attend Training Seminars My first suggestion is to attend training seminars. While you are learning about the cool features of the products you sell or learning a new way to tune a digital signal processor to wow your customers, pay attention to who is asking questions and what they are asking. If they are experiencing challenges with specific vehicles or a selling approach, you can use this as an ice-breaker to strike up a

FMVSS 111 Rear Visibility Standard

Join Rostra in Booth 522 at KnowledgeFest Dallas and learn about this important federal safety standard and how Rostra’s products can keep your fleet customer’s vehicles in compliance. Don’t miss our latest offering of multi-camera video monitors

Rostra Accessories

@rostra @rostra


 strategy & tactics

conversation after the training is done. “Hi, I’m Dave. I noticed you were having problems with those new Mustangs. Can I ask you about how you solved them?” Yep. That’s a real-world example. Use it. No extra charge!

Option 2: Tour the Mobile Electronics Exhibit Floor Not only is the manufacturers’ exhibit floor at KnowledgeFest 6,743 times better than going to CES, but it’s also a great way to learn about new products and features from the brands you carry and find out information about products you

56  Mobile Electronics August 2019

might not offer. Knowing what other companies offer is crucial to running a business, and it’s a great way to strike up a conversation. Walking into a booth is almost always met with a greeting, so if you are shy, they break the ice for you! If you are in a booth, ask the manufacturer rep to introduce you to someone with a business model that’s similar to yours. “Hey, can you introduce me to another dealer who does business the same way as our shop or someone bigger that I can learn from?” Getting a conversation started is the hardest part. From there, most of us can handle the rest.

Option 3: Drink Beer Oh yeah, you had to know this one was coming! One of the unofficial highlights of KnowledgeFest in August is the Dallas Bottle Share. This is an unsanctioned beer exchange organized by the beloved Jay Kent of Escort Radar fame. Jay describes the event as “the industry’s most interesting and best-attended networking event all year. Even if you can’t bring any bottles (or cans) come anyway. Last year we had over 1,000 beers. There will be plenty. Bring a glass!”

Finding Balance

The premise is simple. Bring a bottle (or can) or two of locally-brewed beer to the meet (location to be determined – watch the thread in the Facebook KnowledgeFest group) and share with your (about to be) new friends. Rumor has it that Brian Murphy from ADS will have some of his world-famous Man’s Fire salsa on hand to sample. Take my word for it; it’s awesome! For the shy ones reading this, it’s easy to get things started. Just ask to try a beer and offer them a taste of what you brought. I am willing to bet that cracking open a bottle and saying “who wants some beer?” will make you a friend.

Option 4: Watch the Facebook Groups If you are planning on attending KnowledgeFest, make sure you are part of the KnowledgeFest, KnowledgeFest Dallas 2019 and the Mobile Electronics magazine Facebook groups. Every year, you’ll see people arriving at the airport looking to share a ride to the hotel. You’ll see people in the hotel bar asking where everyone is. You’ll find groups arranging dinner outings. Chime in and join in the fun!

Top Tip!: Exchange Contact Information If you are going to KnowledgeFest to network, you really need to be able to stay in touch with the people you meet once the show is over. Consider this your official reminder to bring business cards. If you are an installer and don’t have cards, ask your supervisor or the store owner if you can pay to have some made. It’s a worthwhile investment. You can also buy business card paper at Staples and print your own. Of course, if both of you are on Facebook, hand over your phone and have the person add them to your friend’s list. As you can see, working with your peers in the industry has huge advantages. With the increase in social media use, the world has become a much smaller place. Embrace technology, befriend your competitors, and be sure to attend KnowledgeFest in Dallas. It’s worth it!


 tech today

Pinnacle Autosound and Gets Simplicity in Sound team up to 2 Mobsteel Suicide Slab Audio Makeover, Part finish a custom build on a 1960s Lincoln Continental. WORDS BY JOEY KNAPP

During the first part of this Lincoln build log, I was in Lake City, Florida at my shop, Pinnacle Autosound. I designed and fabricated grille inserts for door panels that Bing Xu had shipped to me from Simplicity in Sound in Milpitas, California. We left off with the panels being packaged and shipped back to Simplicity in Sound. The second part in this series finds me in Milpitas, at Simplicity in Sound, ready to pull back the cover on this big old slab. I had a meeting planned with the client for my first full day in California. He had some specific requests on space that would be available in the trunk. He planned to use the car for a bit of travel and wanted to make sure some luggage would fit along with the audio gear. I had stopped by Simplicity in Sound the night I got in to California to plan what I thought would be a good arrangement of the six amplifiers and four subwoofers. The meeting with the client went well. He liked the idea I had come up with, so the fun began!

Installing the Subwoofers Upon taking apart the pieces from the old audio installation, I learned the Mobsteel guys had built a one-inch square tubing frame into the bottom of the trunk floor. This worked to my favor, because

58  Mobile Electronics August 2019

it gave me a flat and level surface to build from. This subfloor would serve as a structure to secure my first project into the trunk—the subwoofer enclosure. The floor not only had a nice metal structure, but it also had a deep center area that had been added for the previous subwoofer enclosure. This gave me plenty of room to get the airspace I would need, and it also left room for some layers of trim. I was happy to learn that the Focal Utopia The enclosure and brackets passed a stress test! M 10-inch subwoofers did not require much airspace. That This 2 ¼-inch depth the box needed meant I could have a bit extra space for to sit into the floor was easily set by not cosmetic enhancement. mounting the enclosure to the floor, but Starting from the face of the encloto the metal subframe of the floor. In the sure, I planned a ½-inch layer with some first of many metal projects for this car, lighting along the perimeter, a ¼-inch I made a pair of brackets to suspend the layer to offer a smaller opening to cover enclosure 2 ¼-inch below the surface of the lighting, a ¾-inch layer that would the trunk floor. I left the top baffle off be white—for a bit of pop—and a ¾-inch the enclosure so it would make getting final layer to serve as the lip for the grille the enclosure in and out of the trunk to sit on when the floor trim was added. easier, and it would also give me access to

Mobsteel Suicide Slab Gets Audio Makeover, Part 2

Leading 12V HD Radio Solutions

North Hall Booth 5624   59

 tech today

The bracket was designed to hold the enclosure securely and level with the trunk floor. access to the trunk is either from leaning over the side, or being in the trunk. I made sure to clean and tape up all of the painted surfaces around the trunk opening, because I knew I would be in constant contact with the The back sides of the baffles were treated with a layer of paint. sound deadener. The bracket design would use a combination of one-inch angle iron, ¾-inch angle iron and some flat bar stock. The bottom of the bracket was one-inch angle iron with the bottom lip extending under the enclosure to support it. The The baffles were wrapped in black vinyl, so the parts top of the bracket visible through the grille would be attractive. was ¾-inch angle iron that overdrilling through the sides for mounting lapped the one-inch square tubing of the the brackets. subfloor. Speaking of getting the enclosure in I connected the angled pieces together and out: This car is a back breaker! All with two vertical pieces of 1/8-inch x

60  Mobile Electronics August 2019

2-inch flat bar and two angled pieces of 1/8-inch x 1-inch flat bar. These pieces were all welded up using the SiS Build Pro welding table to make sure everything was square. A quick test fit of the brackets and enclosures revealed that I needed to add some 1/8-inch spacers on each side to have everything fit snuggly. With the spacers in place, I drilled the holes through the sides of the enclosure for the bolts that would secure the brackets to the box. Then I added three holes through the top angle iron into the one-inch square subframe. These would serve as the pilot holes for the rivet nuts I would add. I removed the enclosure and sized all the holes appropriately and then added the rivet nuts. Another trip inside the trunk to bolt it all together and I had my first little project complete.

Mounting the Amplifiers Things were busy at Simplicity in Sound. Both Bing and Jesse had projects going on that required them to be in the woodshop. To avoid the table saw traffic jam, I moved my focus to making the metal amplifier mounting racks for the six amplifiers. My design had two amps on each side and two in the front of the trunk. The passenger side of the trunk had the electronics for the trunk lid motorization and the front of the trunk had two batteries, so the plan was for those areas to have four subwoofer amplifiers, while the driver’s side would house two amplifiers for the speakers. Both of the side amplifier racks were fabricated from different width 1/8-inch flat bar stock. The mounting points for the amplifiers were drilled and tapped. The front amplifier rack was fabricated from ¾-inch square tubing and some two-inch flat stock. The tubing was used on this rack because it was a wider span so it needed additional strength to keep from sagging. The amplifier mounting points on this piece were added via rivet nuts, because the tubing metal is really too thin to drill and tap. My final metalworking project was to make a simple rack to mount the Mosconi Aerospace DSP below the subfloor of the trunk. Placing the DSP in this location left plenty of room for wiring,

Mobsteel Suicide Slab Gets Audio Makeover, Part 2

The Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) program is the only nationally recognized program of its kind.



Bryce Almond Anthony Anderson Marcos Argueta Joshua Bacal Jean Belanger Ian Bennett Marquis Brown James Clement Maurice David Richard Davis Hector Delgado Jason Denizard Cristobal Dinham Vladimir Dinov Nicholas Doby Jose Dorado Evan Freer Jaime Garcia Nicholas Gleisner Nicholas Harris Vicente Hernandez Jacob Heskett Cinder Houghton Kyle Krogstad Dan Krogstad Steven Lening Austin Lindquist

Mohammad Mahmood Abagale Mawhir William Metcalf Nicolo Naranjo Rene Nunez Gilbert Roland Oller Bureng Osotsapa Niko Petrone Christopher Piette Avinaash Ramnarine Temoc Ramos Cameron Rizzi Ray Rose Thomas Sisson Zane Slack Harold Smith Javier Solis Morgan Swensen Jacob Theis Miguel Trujillo Jaicol Uffre Samuel Vasconcelos Sergio Velix Joshua Wisong Andy Zmeskal

Craig Copeland Jr Dustin Dietrich Elmer Fuentes Bryan Halliday Jeff McGilvra Trey Neal Bradley Rhodes Jonathan Scott John Smith Robert Thacker Patrick Thomas Derrick Thompson MASTER INSTALLATION TECHNICIAN

Richard Kachnycz Christopher McNulty Mario Shawano Kyle Van Howe

Meet Master Installation Technicians and MECP Staff members in Booth #413 at KnowledgeFest in Dallas!

Email for information about getting certified!


Kyle Ballge Peter Birs Michael Brandt Nicholas Byers Shawn Cash

Visit to learn more!   61

ďƒŽ tech today while making it easy to get to the DSP when the trunk was assembled. All of the metal mounting frames bolt to the car very solidly. All the mounting points are also easily accessible for future servicing.

Door Panel Assembly The box I shipped from Florida had finally arrived, so I began work on the door panel installation. I wanted easy access to the grille opening on the door, which is part of the reason why I didn’t install the grilles permanently in the panels in Florida. I knew I needed to make baffles in the doors to hold the speakers, and leaving the openings empty would allow me to precisely place the speakers to make sure both the tweeter and the woofer were centered on the grille opening. The front door had quite a bit of metal cutout, along with the normal factory openings in the inner skin. It was so open that I decided to create a baffle to cover most of the door. This would give the speaker a very solid mounting foundation as well as help to seal the door and add mass to it. I added a number of mounting holes along the perimeter of the baffle and transferred those holes to the door for the addition of rivet nuts. Once Jesse Lucero had finished running the wires into the front doors, it was time to address the sound proofing and then put them together. The outer door skin had been previously sound deadened, so I focused my attention to the inner layer. I covered the small remaining holes with deadener and then added strips around the perimeter of the baffle to seal it to the door. A layer of deadener added to the back of the baffle helped seal it further. Jesse had the back doors wired up at this point, so I moved on to those. The metal on the back doors had fewer openings than the front doors, so the baffles could be much smaller. The back baffles were just big enough to hold the woofer and the tweeter. The rear doors were sound deadened as well, and the bolted-in baffles were also sealed to the door with strips of sound deadener. I installed all the speakers in the proper locations

62  Mobile Electronics August 2019

The rear door was able to use a smaller baffle.

The grilles were designed to coordinate with the existing trim on the doors.

The grilles were composed of a layer of painted acrylic, a layer of polished aluminum and a mesh grille layer. and now could finally finish the assembly of the door panels. Everything had arrived safely from Florida. I got all the pieces separated and then began the assembly of the grilles.

The grilles would be held on the door by a combination of three things. The metal mesh is partially held on by the magnets I installed in the acrylic pocket. The grille assemblies stay aligned with 1/8-inch

Mobsteel Suicide Slab Gets Audio Makeover, Part 2

acrylic rod segments that I installed into the top, painted black, with trim rings. The rod segments line up with holes that extend through each layer of the grille and into the acrylic pocket. The tolerances between the black top layer and the aluminum layer are fairly precise. I used the pins to ensure the layers wouldn’t shift when gluing them together. I wanted to make sure the lines stayed clean and true. This brings me to the final thing used to hold the grilles together: E6000 glue. I used E600 on the layers to hold them together. I like E6000 because it adheres well to a wide variety of surfaces, and it remains flexible. I let the glue set overnight, and then finally got to pop on the door panels.

Completing the Trunk The doors were done. Jesse had installed the radio and run the wiring back, so now that the front of the car was completed, it was time to finish the trunk. Since it would be the easiest part to get out of the way, I started by fabricating the cover for the front amps. I had spaced these amps further apart than the side amps, to leave room for inserting one of the larger star logos I made. I always take into consideration venting the trunk to the cabin, so I planned for the sides of the piece to have two large grilles. The curve on the top lip of the trunk had an angle that didn’t match any of the Mobile Solutions curves SiS had, so I had to go old school when I made it. I traced the curve on the piece of wood and then used a thin strip of wood taped to the piece to form the curve. Using a piece of wood like this, secured at each end, provides a smooth shape. I went back and taped down a few extra pieces to keep the curve secure while I used one of our 12vTools ¼-inch spiral flush trim bits to cut the shape. With the top curve cut, I put the trim piece in place to mark the amplifier location. The front of the trunk opening had a trim piece that normally would have hinged for the folding top storage. This piece was now just bolted in, and removing it gave me easy access to the backside of the amplifiers for marking their

THE EASIEST. Modern car key replacement is now cash and carry. Simple™ Key is a new way for consumers to easily replace car keys. The kit includes a universal key and EZ Installer™.

Big Inventory

No computers. No updates. No tokens. No key cutters. No broken bits. No maintenance. No


No nothing. No kidding.


downtime. No waiting. No cloning. No large inventory commitment. No training.

Forget everything you know about car keys. The future of modern key replacement is here.

Visit Booth #1217 or to learn more. (800) 557-EXPRESS Replacing car keys is simple and affordable again.™   63

ďƒŽ tech today

Metal mesh was glued to the trim to serve as the template for the embossing.

The thin strip of wood was bent, secured, and reinforced in preparation for routering.

The tool I made helped to press the vinyl into the mesh holes.

The final trim pieces completed the remainder of the floor. location on the trim board. An added bonus: The batteries were much more accessible with that piece off, too. With the amplifier locations marked on the trim panel, I used a Mosconi Pro template to cut the amp holes. The final cutouts on this piece were for the grilles. The grille shape was just a simple shape

64  Mobile Electronics August 2019

The completed trim piece was ready for installation.

that fit the area. I rabbeted the back side of it to make a recess for the grille to fit into. The front side was chamfered slightly to make upholstery easier and to also soften the shape. The final task to finish off this trim piece was to devise a way for it to mount to the car. I used a combination of

magnets and bolts to attach the piece. I added two spacers in the center to stabilize it and allow it to magnetically secure to the metal amp rack behind it. I had originally attached two magnets to each spacer, but after some test fitting, I determined one magnet on each would provide a very secure mount that was more

Mobsteel Suicide Slab Gets Audio Makeover, Part 2

easily removable. To secure the ends, I added threaded inserts, so bolts could go through a factory metal brace and tighten into the trim piece. Next I moved on to the trim pieces for the amps on the sides of the trunk. Because the passenger side panel had the trunk hydraulics mounted in it, the amplifiers had to be shifted more toward the center of the trunk. So that both sides were symmetrical, I mounted the driver’s side the same distance outward. This offset posed a bit of a challenge when it came time to design the side trim panels. Normally, I would have made a trim piece that flush-mounted the amplifiers. This would have required a thick trim piece protruding into the trunk. It would look a little awkward. I came up with a plan that would allow the top half of the trim piece to be flush with the trunk opening. The bottom half of the trim would angle down from the top to flush-mount the bottom half of the amplifiers. To add an interesting element to the lower trim panel, I designed them with a recessed area and decided to add grille mesh. Once upholstered, I planned on pressing the vinyl into the pockets of the mesh, to somewhat mimic the style of the perforated metal on the amplifiers. The lower portion of the trim piece was designed to attach with magnets. I also planned on the mounting bolts for the upper trim piece to be hidden behind the lower trim piece. Any future wiring servicing would be easily addressed by just pulling off the trim piece. If the area behind the amplifiers needed to be accessed, it would just be a matter of unbolting the top trim piece, then unbolting the amplifier mounting rack. The floor was the next step. Since the enclosure mounting had been finalized, the top could be installed. I had Jesse cut out the speaker holes and then glue and nail on the top baffle. This gave me the bottom layer of the stack of pieces that would trim out the space between the enclosure and the top of the floor. I cut out the remaining layers and selectively chamfered some of the inner edges. The very top layer, which is the new floor of the trunk, was made from   65

ďƒŽ tech today

Jesse Lucero did a great job finished up some of the carpeting and installing the pieces.

The design left the client with plenty of useable trunk space.

I was pleased with the grille hole concept after it was upholstered.

Lighting was added to highlight the subwoofers and inside the amplifiers for a bit of effect when the sun goes down. 66  Mobile Electronics August 2019

Mobsteel Suicide Slab Gets Audio Makeover, Part 2

½-inch finish plywood, and it was secured in place by centering dowels and magnets. The two side floor pieces that flank the center were created by trimming cardboard pieces to make a template and then copying that template to ½ finish plywood. These pieces would be secured by friction and magnets. While I worked on the rear side trim panels, Jesse was building the center trim panel. These panels would help make the transition from the floor to the back of the trunk and help hide some of the plumbing for the hydraulic trunk cylinders.

Upholstery PiecesI timed my work well, and had one more day left in California. I spent this day adding the star logos in the top of the enclosure and middle of the front amp rack and then working on upholstering all the pieces. I also primed and painted all of the metal parts I had fabricated. One of the most time consuming parts of this process was pressing in all the holes in the grille material for the lower side amplifier covers. To help make that easier, I ended up taking a Harbor Freight pick tool and cutting off the point on it. I then rounded the end, and sanded it smooth. This gave me a tool I could use to push the vinyl into the individual pockets. It wasn’t overly fun, but the result was pretty cool and something you don’t often see. I left California with the car in good hands. Jesse and Bing would finish the wiring and final assembly of the trunk. Then, after a tuning session with our good friend Mike, the car would be ready for return to the client. There were many parts of this project that stretched me and pushed my growth a bit. I am slowly starting to mold the way I approach designing builds with the CNC router capabilities in mind. I have become more comfortable with its use and the mechanics of its operation, so I will continue to incorporate more and more of it into my work. Finally, I enjoyed the collaboration between Pinnacle Autosound and Simplicity in Sound, and I look forward to more collaborations in the future!

RADAR BLIND SPOT DETECTION NOW AVAILABLE FOR 2015-CURRENT F150 TRUCKS Seamless Integration Pre-Calibrated for Faster Install Precise OEM Performance

Best New Van/Pickup/Sport-Utility Product 2019   67

 installs



This submission is very unique. It is the first time a bicycle has been featured in the Installs section. Sharing the build with us this month is Jesse Lucero from Simplicity in Sound in Milpitas, Calif. Jesse takes part in bike parties held in the bay area. The parties consist of hundreds of people having a good time riding their bikes from place to place. Each stopping point typically features food and drink trucks. Many people who participate in the bike parties decorate their bikes with lighting, and sometimes audio systems. Jesse created a system for his bike that would have great output, but wouldn’t require a trailer to pull it. For the speakers he chose the ultra-thin Morel Virtus Nano Integra Carbon coaxial speaker. He built an enclosure that would house both speakers as well as the crossovers and a Mosconi Pico amplifier. The JL Audio MBT-RX Bluetooth receiver streams signal from Jesse’s smartphone. Jesse is sure to turn some heads at the next bike party with this awesome audio system.

68  Mobile Electronics August 2019   69

ďƒŽ installs

70  Mobile Electronics August 2019

We are proud of our certified technicians. Your dedication to the industry and your career are unparalleled. Congratulations and keep up the excellent work! Visit to learn more.   71

 installs



Steve Cook is a regular in the sound competition circles and this magazine. He often offers the finishing touch competitors require to help make their cars succeed. This is the case with this Toyota 4Runner belonging to Bruce Miller. Bruce built the back end of the system to include a pair of Morel Ultimo SC 12-inch woofers and Zapco amplifiers. For the front stage he wanted a bit more flair, and he knew Steve was the perfect person to provide it. Steve machined some acrylic layers on his CNC that formed the shape for the pillar pods. These were then grafted onto the pillars and garnished with multiple accent pieces. Installed in the pods were a pair of Morel MT350 tweeters and the new Morel Elate Ti 3.5-inch midrange speakers. addition to the creation of the pillar mounted speaker pods, Steve was also responsible for the installation of the Morel Supremo 9-inch woofers in the doors. The OEM door grille was removed and a mesh grille was installed for enhanced transparency. Steve’s final responsibility on this project was to tune the system and bring it to its award winning state.

72  Mobile Electronics July 2019   73

from the President

Learn Together, Have Fun Together Celebrating the 10th Year of KnowledgeFest Dallas. This year in Dallas, we will be celebrating the 25th anniverWhile rewards are great, many with whom I speak tell me sary of KnowledgeFest. This is quite an accomplishment with they would be satisfied with enough business to keep the doors some very humble beginnings as I mentioned in the July issue. open, take care of their team, and feed their family. In times The goal then was very similar to today: to provide a venue for like these, it is imperative that we as an industry stick together. networking and a peer-to-peer education experience that beneLearn from and encourage one another. fits every specialty retailer with great ideas to grow businesses. We are fortunate to have groups of industry veterans who are Sharing knowledge is the core of what KnowledgeFest is all retailers, manufacturers, sales reps, distributors and service proabout. viders who’ve poured themselves into the industry by serving There is also another anniversary we are celebrating. This is as MEA’s volunteer leadership. Even the MEA team members our tenth Dallas KnowledgeFest since we re-launched in Octohave years of combined experience in the mobile electronics ber of 2010. We launched Dallas with 33 exhibitors and 550 in industry. It is this leadership that assists us and guides the assoattendance. The event provided educational workshops and a ciation, and thus the industry through these troubled times. Our few vendor training sessions. This year we have over 70 exhibmission continues to be the same: grow the mobile electronics itors occupying 110,000 square feet of exhibit floor. There are industry (although we updated our mission a few years back over 50 hours of educational workshops taught by nearly 40 with a focused statement: “Our Mission is To Educate, Inform industry professionals. Vendor training has reached epic levels and Empower the Industry!). with top companies together providing A very encouraging sign that we are over 80 hours of informative education coming together is KnowledgeFest. At on their technologies. the time of this writing (circa 2010) the When times are tough, and As I look back on what KnowledgeFit seems like all hell is break- event has more than 30 exhibitors. This est has become, I am proud to say that year, the theme of the event is to learn, ing loose, you must take a with your support we have fully estabexperience and connect. All is meant to lished an event that provides the value help your business. To ensure that goal is moment and look inside the our industry needs to flourish into the accomplished, KnowledgeFest will deliver core of who you are. future. the highest quality education experience. As I looked back over the past ten We have more than 25 proven industry years, I thought it would be fun to look at what I wrote ten professionals providing valuable knowledge for retail owners years ago in the magazine and do a refresh on the message. and managers, sales and marketing professionals, and installaWhat I found still rings true today. Please indulge me by reading tion technicians and fabricators. The KnowledgeFest experience a small piece from my editorial history. will include new business opportunities with a stellar group of exhibitors. Learn Together, Have Fun Together! To complete the event, we have several networking events Business is defined as a company that engages in buying and that will allow you to connect with your peers to share stories selling goods, making products or providing services. Is this of both failure and success while enjoying some great entertainwhat being a retailer is all about? For the most part, yes, but ment during the mobile electronics industry awards. (It sounds to be great in business you must have a suite of specialties that like we are still on the same track for 2019. This year, MEA make you the expert. These specialties can range from electrimembers will be celebrating the 25th anniversary together at a cian to carpenter, audio engineer to security and audio/video must-attend event at the House of Blues in Dallas.) specialist, salesperson to CEO. Add that together and you have This is your event and we ask that you do your best to get the the makings of a mobile electronics specialty retailer. most out of everything offered. Please let any of us know if we When times are tough, and it seems like all hell is breaking could do anything more to make this your best event ever! We loose, you must take a moment and look inside the core of who want you to head back to your store after the event energized you are. Take solace in knowing you are a talented human being with a renewed commitment to growing your business and thus who can make a difference. You have goals and dreams, and by our industry. opening the doors this morning, you are choosing this day to That was it (with a few notes) and I hope you enjoyed it as accomplish them. As a specialty retailer, you pour your heart, much as I did. I look forward to seeing everyone in Dallas! If soul, sweat and tears into your business to make the most out not, make plans for 2020 now at one of our upcoming events in of every day, and every customer experience. As each day, week Long Beach, Calif., Indianapolis, Ind. or Orlando, Fla. and year passes, you hope your efforts will be greatly rewarded.

74  Mobile Electronics August 2019



VOXX takes BLIND SPOT DETECTION across to the rear, into reverse adding another level of Driver Safety and Awareness!


senses approaching vehicles when in reverse

both systems equipped with front interior LED indicator audio/visual alerts

sensors are installed professionally inside the rear of the bumper

sensors are built into the frame that is mounted around the license plate

In-Vehicle Entertainment has been reborn with the ďŹ rst system to deliver what today’s consumers demand - TRUE UNLIMITED CONTENT CAPABILITIES. Download your favorite apps, connect your favorite devices, enjoy your DVD collection, but best of all, this system offers full control of the system without having to see the actual monitors. Apps developed for Android and Apple allow Mom and Dad in the front seat BLINDthe SPOT LICENSE PLATE BLIND to access and fully control system. No more pulling the car over or reaching around the seats. Innovation at its best!



For more information or to become a dealer visit (ACABSDLP) us at:


Š2018 VOXX Electronics Corporation A VOXX International Company

Profile for Mobile Electronics

Mobile Electronics Magazine August 2019