SCHOOLâ€™S SoundsGood takes advantage of every ALWAYS opportunity to learn & stay on top
CULTURE CLASS 6 Steps to better store synchronicity Laaaasers: Markland Designs shares its first experience with precision tooling
Smooth It Out: High-efficiency practices and processes for the bay Books, Bass & Bros: What is KnowledgeFest to you?
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Volume 42 // Issue 5
Articles 14 18
FEATURES 14// What’s Happening: Six Ways to Improve Store Culture When it comes to improving store culture, retailers agree that small changes can go a long way. Staying organized, keeping the shop and showroom clean, and demonstrating care and concern to both team members and clients will transform the workplace atmosphere for the better.
26// Real World Retail: SoundsGood Auto Titan Motoring started in the back of a van, and has since become a thriving business that continues to grow year after year. Keys to its evolution include open communication, team-building, cross-training and shared goals that aid in cultivating positive store culture.
40// Difference Makers: Paragon Sales & Marketing After unexpectedly losing the company’s founder, Paragon Sales & Marketing looks toward the future with the same set of steadfast guiding principles that have shaped the business since its infancy.
44// Strategy & Tactics: The Installer’s Guide to the Galaxy Technicians can increase efficiency and productivity by making small improvements around the bay. Business owner Brandon Green shares highlights from KnowledgeFest, focusing on how these techniques can help make an installer’s life easier.
48// Tech Today: Laser Printer Fab for the 12-Volt Industry In the final installment of this series on advanced fabrication tools, Erick Markland of Markland Designs shares how a laser printer has helped increase efficiency and productivity at the shop, as well as adding additional revenue streams.
On the Cover COVER DESIGN: Manny DeJesus Keith McCumber, owner of SoundsGood Auto, said he can’t get enough professional training. As a result, the business created its own classroom where visiting trainers can share their knowledge, skills and strategies with the team. Featured in this month’s Real World Retail, SoundsGood Auto is a living example of how continued education can benefit a business.
4 Mobile Electronics May 2019
18 Retail News / Who’s Who 54 Installs
Departments 6 Editor’s Forum 8 Feedback 12 Helpful Stuff 58 From The President
Ad Index AAMP Global: Echomaster........................…p. 33 Accele Electronics…....................................p. 2 & 3 Alpine…......................................................................p. 5 Audiomobile…......................................................p. 43 Brandmotion.....................................................…p. 42 Connected Car Show....................................…p. 47 DD Audio.............................................................…p. 37 Directed…...............................................................p. 36 DS18......................................................................…p. 46 Escort….....................................................................p. 11 Firstech; Momento........................................…p. 59 Harman: Infinity...............................................…p. 31 HD Radio...............................................................…p. 17 Hertz......................................................................…p. 12 InstallerNet.......................................................…p. 55 MEA: KnowledgeFest...................................…p. 39 MECP....................................................................…p. 57 Orca: Focal.............................................................…p. 7 Powerbass.........................................................…p. 29 Race Sport Lighting….......................................p. 41 Rockford Fosgate............................................…p. 21 SiriusXM..............................................................…p. 13 Sony.........................................................................…p. 9 Voxx Electronics.............................................…p. 60 Wet Sounds......................................................…p. 35
facebook.com/MobileElectronics â€‚ 5
Great stores follow the same advice they give to customers: RTFM. Think moving a store is hectic? Try moving a magazine. Mobile Electronics was sold by a traditional publishing company—and by traditional, I mean they produce more than 25 magazines and 10 trade shows as their legacy business—to what was then called the Mobile Electronics Retailers Association, or MERA. Since then, the organization has lost some weight and dropped the ‘R,’ though you still hear diehards using the four-letter acronym from time to time. But because MEA isn’t a traditional publishing company, it contracted with a small publisher (and by small, I mean ONE magazine and ONE trade show) to put the magazine together. Aaaannnnndddd, that’s when the trouble started. When you’re a “one” operation—one product, one person, one service—you can create processes and come up with solutions to problems that are specific to your one thing. But double that one thing, and those processes don’t work for two, or three, or four. Car stereos and school buses? Not a whole lot in common. The publisher had no clue about the intricacies of car audio, security and safety, and had to accommodate a different staff (namely myself and a few other industry gearheads) and our out-of-the-box personalities. Suddenly, tried-and-true processes that were the bedrock of their smooth-running operation were no longer applicable. Needless to say, the small, efficient publishing company went through a yearlong, painful growth period. The company had to create broader processes. A scheduling book became a scheduling platform. Whiteboard notes migrated to a cloud-based app. Monthly meetings became weekly planning sessions. And after a year, the publishing company was
6 Mobile Electronics May 2019
a different business, with defined procedures that allowed the company to take care of two industries, and even scale to cover more. How was your experience adding a location, moving from one employee to two or more, or going from one trusted product line to multiple lines? Many small businesses in our industry do what’s called organic adjustment, which means changing processes or policies on the fly as issues come up. And in talking with a lot of retailers over the years, that’s where they are today. However, this is not true process development. It’s just a bigger, augmented version of the “one” operation. If this defines you, I don’t blame you at all. It’s definitely defined me at several points in my career. It’s because we’re creatives, and by nature, creatives are inefficient. We want to paint oneoff Picassos rather than mass-produce Picasso prints. Business models inherently go against a creative nature, so it takes effort to create a repeatable, scalable system around our creativity. Every business scales in some way. But how you manage the process determines how well you can take advantage of opportunities. Having a predictable business model carries three major benefits: 1. People involved in the business have a roadmap, know what’s expected of them and feel more secure in a defined work environment. 2. It’s a lot easier for a manager or owner to evaluate and adjust the performance of a person, product or service. 3. Onboarding of new people, products and services doesn’t upset your store operation. So let’s look at the three steps needed to put our process together. 1. Determine. Take a deep dive into each aspect of your business: staffing
training, inventory, security, service, appearance, etc. For each of these, start from the end. Define your desired result first, i.e. you want to create a uniform staff look and feel for your customers, or inventory should be on the shelves sorted by brand. Then think about the steps needed to get you there. These steps should accommodate every product, person or service in your business. If they don’t, make them broader until they do. 2. Document. Once you’ve outlined objectives and related steps for different parts of your business, save them. Create a manual in a format that can be viewed from any electronic device. Your “manual” can be as simple as a collection of PDFs in a Dropbox folder, or a managed online solution like Process Street. The point is that it can easily be referred to from anywhere and distributed to new staffers or affiliates. 3. Deliver. Start your own, possibly painful process. Make it a requirement that every person understands and follows the new guidelines. During your transition, attach incentives (and reprimands) to adherence. When questions come up about policies, refer staffers to the manuals. And keep in mind that it’s a dynamic document: If it makes sense to add new procedures or policies to cover unforeseen circumstances, do so, and communicate the additions to the people involved. And most important, lead by example. Sometimes the toughest change involves those who grew the business from its roots, and staff will only buy in if the owner buys in. Be a stickler until you’ve created the business model and store culture that works for you.
Never Settle for Less
ADVERTISING SALES Kerry Moyer 978.645.6457 • email@example.com
EDITORIAL Solomon Daniels Editor-in-Chief 978.645.6463 • firstname.lastname@example.org Rosa Sophia Managing Editor 978.645.6466 • email@example.com 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Retailers advise demonstrating value to clients, and using the ‘top down selling’ method to show them what they could have versus what they wanted when they first entered the store. “I always tell my boss to do ‘top down selling.’ He is always amazed at how I close a sale when he misjudges a customer. It really works if you implement it. It’s always easier to get a happy customer when they realize what they could have versus what they wanted when they came in. Educate your customer. It pays off in the end.” Gary T. Gates, Rolling Audio, Roseville, Calif. “We operate in a busy, fast-paced industry. Sometimes we can all benefit from stepping back, taking a deep breath and taking a good look at how we’re managing ourselves. Once you do that, you can make sure you’re doing the most production, and highest quality work possible. That can help in the install bay or on the sales floor. Being detailed and thorough will result in better quality work and a better working environment.” Chris Rossi, Tunes-N-Tint, Lakeland, Fla. “Never settle for less. Explain to your clients why you are different.” Adrian Manrique, Mid-State Distributing, Broadview, Ill. “If a potential customer wants a $5,000 system for $3,000, let him walk. Your time is better spent on more profitable jobs.” Johnny Nicholas, Oklahoma Customs, Oklahoma City, Okla.
8 Mobile Electronics May 2019
Kerry Moyer, VP Strategic Partnerships 978.645.6457 • email@example.com Solomon Daniels, Dir. Media and Communications 978.645.6463 • firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Basler, Dir. Technology Solutions 978.645.6449 • email@example.com 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
Get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music, all in a way that allows you to stay focused on the road. Just connect your iPhone or Android phone and go.
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www.sony.com ©2018 Sony Electronics, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony and the Sony logos are trademarks of Sony Corporation. 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 are trademarks of Google Inc. Apple CarPlay works with iPhone 5 and newer phones. Apple CarPlay and its logo are trademarks of Apple Inc. Features and speciﬁcations are subject to change without notice.
Is KFest Best? Number of KnowledgeFest Events Attended in the Past 12 Months
14% 16% THREE NONE
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Fewer than before
More than before
All of them
Barriers to Attending More Events
Plans for New Orlando KnowledgeFest 32%
4% Didn’t know about them
10 Mobile Electronics May 2019
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facebook.com/MobileElectronics 11 DETECTION. PROTECTION. INTEGRATION.
Howard Stern Comes Again BY HOWARD STERN
Howard Stern has said his latest book Howard Stern Comes Again took up every vacation and weekend for the last two years, but it was well worth it. The book highlights his career, beginning at his departure from radio in 2005, to his move to SiriusXM the following year, to his work since then. It also features excerpts from groundbreaking interviews with celebrities such as Madonna, Mike Tyson, Lady Gaga, Jerry Seinfeld and others—with his additional commentary as to what made them great in his mind. Stern is planning a promotional tour in support of the book, which he noted is quite different from his previous projects. It is available for pre-order now and will be out May 14.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century BY YUVAL NOAH HARARI
Published in 2018 by professor and historian Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential and intriguing. According to Harari, clarity is power. He noted that censorship works not by blocking the flow of information, but by overwhelming people with disinformation and distractions. The goal of his book is to cut through all of that and confront the most urgent questions on today’s global agenda. There are chapters on work, war, nationalism, religion, immigration, education and 15 other weighty matters. The book asks many questions, yet provides very few answers, if any. At the end of the day, this loose collection of themed essays comes down to this—the importance of mindfulness.
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Site to See: NASCAR WWW.NASCAR.COM
At the very end of last month, NASCAR returned to its largest venue, the Talladega Superspeedway. Delivering as real a feel as you can get online, the NASCAR site offers videos, galleries, articles, schedules, driver stats and TV schedules. One of the upcoming biggies on the circuit is the Coca-Cola 600 (known as the longest race) held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway over Memorial Day Weekend—Sunday, May 26th. Check out this site for all the details, and you just might find yourself heading to the raceway to see it live.
Everything You Love To Hear. Right Here. Kelly Clarkson on
SiriusXM subscription sold separately by SiriusXM. © 2018 Sirius XM Radio Inc. Sirius, XM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc. All other marks, channel names and logos are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. facebook.com/MobileElectronics 13
Six Ways to Improve Store Culture When it comes to nurturing a positive store culture, retailers agree that small changes can go a long way. Staying organized, keeping the shop and showroom clean, and demonstrating care and concern to both team members and clients will transform a workplace atmosphere for the better. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA
#1 Say Thank You With Small Gestures
In Waterbury, Conn., KarTele Mobile Electronics celebrated 25 years in business this April. The shop has held a positive reputation in the area for a long time, according to owner Mike Hungerford, who took over about two years ago. “To celebrate, we’re running a bunch of specials on backup cameras and remote starters,” he said. When it comes to maintaining a positive store culture, he said it’s the little things that count the most. “I feel like a lot of little things make a big impact without having to really try that hard,” Hungerford added. “I’ll have coffee ready for them in the morning, and I’ll buy lunch three out of the five days of the work week.” To begin building and maintaining a positive store culture, retailers agree there are a number of small changes owners and managers can make today.
When it comes to the stress of the everyday work week, it helps to reward the team. At Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security, the business often buys lunch for everyone. “We get really busy, especially in the wintertime, because we do a ton of remote start systems,” said Robert Kowatch, a sales manager at the shop. “We can average anywhere from 15 to 20 cars a day, which is amazing. So, we buy lunch for everyone. We do that quite often, and it allows us to not have to take extra time to get food.” Hungerford noted the importance of thanking the team. “At the end of every day, whether we leave early or if it’s a late night, I always say thank you to my team for their work that day. Even if they were only in for a few hours or a whole day.” Even though they’re getting paid to be there, saying thank you can build confidence, instill pride in one’s work and
14 Mobile Electronics May 2019
encourage employees to feel as if they’re part of something bigger.
#2 Nurture an Attitude of Belonging Even something as simple as uniforms can make employees feel as if they’re part of something greater than themselves, Hungerford said. “Even if I have a subcontractor coming in who works on a Saturday because that’s our busiest day, I’ll give him a polo shirt to wear that day,” he added. “While you’re here—here’s a shirt, have fun and be part of the team.” Creating that sense of belonging encourages employees to be more open and communicative. Additionally, allowing for leeway when it comes to personal and family time is important, too. “One of my installers is female, and she had a baby. She was worried she wasn’t going to be able to work. I said, bring him in,” Hungerford explained. “So, all last winter we had a toddler running around,
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and it was fine. It allowed her to be able to come to work and get things done, and also not have to pay for daycare.” Additionally, KarTele allows employees to use the shop to work on their own cars, as long as everything is cleaned up and clients’ vehicles are given top priority. “If someone says they want to put a radio in, they can purchase it at cost. If they use any supplies, they replace or purchase at cost. It’s on their time,” Hungerford added. Even if it’s Sunday, when the business is closed, employees are welcome to use the bay as long as it’s cleaned up by morning.
#3 Plan Team Outings and Have Fun Together In a recent response to a survey by Mobile Electronics magazine, Philip Lindsley of Titan Motoring stated that the team often partakes in activities outside of work. “We go to NHL and NFL games, concerts and more,” he said. “Hanging out outside of work lets staff discuss issues in a stress-free environment while bonding with each other.” KarTele Mobile Electronics sponsors a local duck race called Duck Day, Hungerford said. “Besides preparing and attending the event [we participate]. Last year, we built a remote controlled duck with music and lights on it. That broke away from the normal every day.” Getting different types of work also helps break up the monotony in the shop. “We do a lot of marine stuff. After working on 20 cars in a row, we might put the same stuff on a boat, jet ski or golf cart, and it feels different,” he said. “It’s fun.” In the summer, the team has a barbeque. They’re also considering doing a car show this year, Hungerford said, as long as the remodel is finished in time. “We’ve been here a long time, so we get referrals from people up and down the street,” he added. “The auto parts places, like Auto Zone and O’Reilly’s, send people to us. It’s a very busy road.” If they do a car show, he noted, at least 200 cars will fit in the lot on a Sunday when everything else is closed. Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security also endeavors to improve store culture
through team outings, according to Kowatch. “We make a conscious effort,” he said. “We do a lot to improve store culture. John Schwartz, the owner, loves to do things as a group. Next Monday, we’re going to go watch the new Avengers movie. We’ll close the store down half the day, go to the KarTele Mobile Electronics operates on a foundation of open movie, come back communication, which continually improves store culture. Pictured and finish up. It’s from left to right is installer Rich Dery, owner Mike Hungerford, and always a fun thing salesman George Mowad, Sr. to do stuff like that. We also do fishing trips together in the summertime, and we can’t, it’s a learning experience. After go bowling. There’s a lot that we do as a each day, we try to reflect on how we group to get closer, rather than just work- could’ve done something better. It goes ing all the time.” back to the role playing, too—let’s reenact what just happened if we didn’t get #4 Work Together in Continued the sale, and let’s see how we could have Training and Education done it differently. Where did we fail Kowatch also facilitates role playing for there? Where did we fail to get the inforsales training. “Depending on how busy mation over to the customer?” things are, I like to spend at least 30 minTraining benefits everyone in multiple utes on this every day,” he said. “I have ways, according to Hungerford. KarTele a couple people I’m training, so it helps Mobile Electronics attends training semispeed up the process. [We discuss] how nars twice a year in Massachusetts. “I just we like to deliver our full sales experience went to one in Atlantic City by myself,” to customers. It’s easier for them to pracHungerford said. “I am hoping that next tice with me than on customers.” year I can get at least one or two of my Kowatch stated that one salesperson guys to come along with me. It was a bit will play the customer, and then they’ll of a drive, and an expensive trip, but it switch so that each person is able to gain was fantastic.” a different perspective. “A lot of it is pracEmployees are paid to attend trainticing overcoming objections, and finding ings, and the shared knowledge continues the buyer’s dominant buying motive,” he to instill confidence. “It benefits me in added. the long run, too,” he added, “having my Training together in this fashion helps employees attend the trainings, learning to build confidence, Kowatch said. “Role and picking up new techniques.” playing builds confidence, and with confidence you see more results. With that, #5 Foster Open Communication and you get more confidence. People who Transparency aren’t having fun in their jobs tend to not Hungerford said that his 20 years of be exceling. Every training possibility is experience as an installer has given him helpful.” a unique perspective that he’s applied to Any interaction can potentially be his business to help ensure an open line used for training purposes, he added. of communication between him and his “Whether we can help [the client] or we team members. facebook.com/MobileElectronics
Having personally witnessed how a poor store culture can negatively impact staff, Mike Hungerford chose to foster a positive environment that encourages the KarTele team to have fun and enjoy their work.
“[At previous jobs] I had concerns that I wanted to bring up with the management or owner,” he said. “Sometimes it was no problem, and other times I had to bite my tongue.” If there’s a communication problem in a shop, “You don’t stay there long,” he added. “If you’re having trouble at a shop like that, you stay there as long as you need, and then you find something better. I don’t want my employees to [ever feel like they have to] leave because there was a situation with me or the shop in general.” Because of his past experiences, he said, he tells his own employees they
16 Mobile Electronics May 2019
Perfectionist AutoSound – The team at Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security makes a conscious effort to nurture a positive store culture. Pictured is Robert Kowatch, who works in sales.
can come to him with anything. “My door is always open. I’m usually in the back with the installers, so if there are issues, I tend to see it firsthand.” He added that the same goes with sales. “I’m back and forth all day. If my sales guy has an issue, he’ll tell me, and I’ll come up and walk him through it.” Regular team meetings also help to encourage open communication. Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security has monthly store meetings, according to Kowatch. “The managers do a meeting at least every other week,” he said, “and then it’s our responsibility to translate everything to the rest of the employees.” The business prioritizes communication and transparency. “Everyone knows what’s going on and what’s expected of them.”
#6 Create Structured Store Policies and Stay Organized Customer care translates over to increasing and maintaining positive store culture, according to Hungerford. The previous owner of KarTele Mobile Electronics began hanging a “thank you” card on customers’ rear view mirrors, and Hungerford continues this tradition. As part of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration, he invited anyone who still
has one of these cards to bring it in and redeem it for 25 percent off. Hungerford said he thought it would be a good way to bring back previous clients. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those people,” he added. “Every vehicle that goes out has the rearview mirror hanger. I like to have a nice, neat appearance [in the car] and I want the car to leave here cleaner and nicer than it [was when it] came into the bay.” Every car is vacuumed before it’s returned to the client. “That passes along to my employees, too,” Hungerford added. “We also keep our showroom nice and clean.” Because of the store’s policies in dealing with customers’ cars, he said, employees tend to keep their work areas neater, too. To further improve things, the shop will be undergoing a full remodel. “The whole store is getting redone. The installation bay is getting a redo to make it easier to work in, and more organized,” he explained, adding that staying organized also contributes to a positive store culture. “There’s nothing worse than trying to find a screw when you can’t find the bin with the hardware in it. We want nice easy access—get in and get out,” he said. “The less you have to think about it, the better.”
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Santa Rosa Cartunes Adds Staff Member Dedicated to Graphic Design, Social Media WORDS BY LAURA KEMMERER
More shops have recently been bringing talent dedicated to graphic design and social media in-house, to keep both social media channels updated and websites looking good. Santa Rosa Cartunes did just that by adding Nicole Meza to the team. Meza is a graduate of Santa
Rosa Junior College specializing in graphic design, and the daughter of shop owner Michael Meza. “When my daughter decided to go into her own business, I said, ‘Why don’t you set up an office in our facility?’ And then she did, and I was giving her so much work that she just decided to dedicate the majority of her time to me.” In this capacity, Nicole could both help her father’s
business and take on additional clients as she saw fit. “I just elected to go that route because I’ve seen the cause and effect of having a good website and a good social media presence,” Michael Meza said, adding that the social media has been rolling out slowly as the website is being finetuned. “I just believe the website is the foundation of the social media.” He also emphasized the importance of having a website that’s well thought-out and well-organized.
North Starters Hosts Off-Road Sound Competition to be Made into Annual Event Community-building is crucial in the mobile electronics industry, and for Roscommon, Michigan-based North Starters, this meant hosting an off-road sound competition as part of a larger event, something they’ve sponsored for some time. As a business, North Starters tends to specialize in powersports, which includes marine and side-by-sides. According to shop president Aaron Goldman, the event was held at the St. Helen ORV Jam, which occurred in August. (Goldman described the St. Helen area as the central hub for an off-roading community in northern Michigan.) An ORV Jam is held every year. Goldman noted that the owners of the ORV Jam approached the business to do an audio side of things. Roughly 400 people showed up to the overall event, and the shop had 47 entrants into the sound competition, which was called Show and Shine.
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“We’re one of the major sponsors [of the ORV Jam],” Goldman said. “We help set the event up and help promote the event.” The owners of the ORV Jam event asked Goldman to make his part of the event something annual, and Goldman plans to adjust and adapt his portion to fit the needs of something recurring. “[The shop’s event] is bringing a focus to the audio sector in the side-by-side community,” Goldman said. “It’s awesome. I’ve had so many people say they’re going to have a sound system for next year.” Nicole Meza obtained her associate’s in graphic design from Santa Rosa Junior College. A semester before graduation, she was hired at Flowmaster, an aftermarket exhaust parts manufacturer,
where she worked for a couple of years before striking out on her own in 2015 to get more control over the creative process. Since then, she has been working on logos, branding, car graphics and has completely redone the Cartunes websites, as well as taking on other projects.
Sound Wave Customs Adds Two New Staff Members to Team The core of any good business is its employees, and expanding your team should be considered a worthwhile investment. Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Sound Wave Customs did just that with the recent addition of two new staff members, both industry veterans: Stephen Krell, from Syracuse Customs in Syracuse, New York, and Bob Mickonis, from Mobile Edge in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. “I’m always looking to grow,” said shop president Ethan Blau. “Obviously within any business, there’re multiple categories when you discuss the word ‘growth.’ […] My shop is very demanding, and I have [very high expectations]. I think that’s why the store has made leaps and bounds in such a short amount of time.”
Previously, Krell owned his own shop, Syracuse Customs. Blau noted that the two of them had already established a friendship, which included multiple trips to KnowledgeFest and other out-of-state dealer shows. A similar story applied to Mickonis— investing in networking and friendships may be a way to attract new talent that will help a business grow. Hiring someone with the background of a business owner has also been a huge asset for Blau; it helps facilitate communication in the shop as well as build more mutual understanding. Mickonis’ own experience is also proving to be an invaluable asset to Sound Wave Customs: In his previous role, he handled many managerial
responsibilities. “I have Bob’s expertise,” Blau said. “He can install, he can tint, he can do the corporate side if need be. He’s very well-versed.” Blau added that though the new staff additions’ expertise sounds similar, they can do almost “completely different things.” Blau emphasized how well Krell and Mickonis have meshed with the team, and how much value they’ve brought to the shop. (As well as how much stress they’ve alleviated.) As for other shops who may be looking for their own talent, Blau emphasized the importance of networking and building relationships. “You never know where a relationship will go.”
Faces in the Industry Oscar Rodriguez Oscar’s Audio Designs Position: Owner City: Corpus Christi, Texas Years of Industry Experience: 15 Hobbies: Spending time with family, fishing and working on my own audio projects. What you’re really good at: Troubleshooting, fiberglass work, system design and coming up with new, fresh ideas.
Joseph Norton Sound Wave Customs Position: Mobile electronics technician City: Virginia Beach, Virginia Years of Industry Experience: 15 Hobbies: SPL/SQ competitions, car shows and pestering my wife. What you’re really good at: Remote starts, cruise controls, anything that has to do with wiring and pestering my wife.
Mario Gallegos Store: Sounds Like Security Position: Owner City: Hammond, Indiana Years of Industry Experience: 20 Hobbies: Weight lifting, mixed martial arts. What you’re really good at: Everything 12-volt related.
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Fleet Complete Specializes in Fleet Technology for First Responders Toronto, Ontario-based Fleet Complete, a company that does business in 10 different countries and spoken languages, specializes in mission-critical technology. This includes covering first responders, as well as other industries. “We did hit a mandate at the beginning of the year called ‘electronic log detection,’” said team lead and global installing operations specialist Matthew Taylor. “Fleet, and then Audio T is coming in,” Taylor added. “LTEM is opening up the doors to a lot of things now. We even track turtles in the state of California. Everything from how far farmers spray the crops.” Between the progress made with 5G technologies for first responders and LTEM, the shop has established a foundation for an almost limitless public service network. For those looking to specialize in technology for first responders, Taylor recommends focusing on the backbone of support. “To get some of these big contracts, [you] need to have licensed installers. […] They have to select the right resources to do these jobs. Make sure [you’re] focused on the big projects, [and] are really educated and really dedicated to their industry because first responders are essentially our lifeline.”
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Demonstrating Value Retailers and installers agree: Showing off the value of the product, and the installation skills, remains the best way to overcome any client objections to cost or labor price.
Alpine ILX-F309 Halo9 Head Unit
Submitted by: Eric Trouts, Custom Trim of America, Akron, Ohio Main Selling Features: “The large touchscreen interface [attracts customers] with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “With the features the unit has, it almost sells itself.”
Audiofrog GB60 Component Speakers
Main Selling Features: “A quick technical explanation of audible benefits versus competing products helps sell the product.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “We explain its value and show that competing products costing significantly more can’t hold a candle to its performance.”
Pioneer MVH-2400NEX 7-Inch CarPlay, Kenwood eXcelon DNX995S Navigation, Android Auto Bluetooth CarPlay, Hi-Res Touchscreen Submitted by: Gary T. Gates, Rolling Audio, Roseville, Calif. Main Selling Features: “We solder all connections, tape up harnesses, use Tesa masking film to protect work areas on cars, and customers can visually see how much pride we have for our industry and the care that goes into every install.” Primary Objection: Labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “[We overcome objections] by showing the customer what goes into our install, and by comparing our labor procedure to our competitors and/or the big box install.”
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Submitted by: Jayson Cook, Columbus Car Audio, Columbus, Ohio Main Selling Features: “This particular unit has Garmin navigation. People are familiar with that and most have used one in the past.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “[If they want to spend less] I show them the DDX9905S, which is a unit that has all the same features but no navigation.”
JL Audio FIX 86 and TWK 88
Submitted by: Andy Lee, AP Sounds & Customs, Anaheim, Calif. Main Selling Features: “Our knowledge of the product, how to properly install it and [being able to recognize] or learn the customer’s needs.” Primary Objection: Missing features, compatibility and learning curve. How to Overcome: “We have a lot of support from the vendors we deal with.”
Rockford Fosgate DSR1 Digital Sound Processor Main Selling Features: “Offers the ability to improve the quality of the sound system being installed.” Primary Objection: Price, learning curve and labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “[We explain] the ability to [provide] a higher value to a sound system. This saves time and labor when adding or tuning additional amps.”
AudioControl D-6.1200 6-Channel DSP Amplifier
Hertz Audio ML Power D-Class 5-Channel Amplifier
Submitted by: Josh White, Car-Toys, Bellevue, Wash. Main Selling Features: “This amp provides great power for a variety of speaker combinations, but also has a built-in DSP for fine tuning. I use one in my personal vehicle.” Primary Objection: Labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “Labor cost is a common objection. I explain the vehicle disassembly, mounting, wiring process and tuning required for optimal performance.”
Submitted by: Shaughnessy Murley, Visions Electronics, Red Deer, Alberta Main Selling Features: “This is a compact design that packs a ton of power—a great amp for a small DSP system using BiAmped fronts with a sub.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “As always, a proper demonstration will calm any pricing fears.”
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Compustar Drone Mobile DR-5400 Smartphone Controlled Remote Starter
Submitted by: Christopher Labonte, Vibe Car Audio, Red Deer, Alberta Main Selling Features: “[This has] proven to be the best available and worth every penny of its higher costs for the product and installation.” Primary Objection: None. How to Overcome: “The value of the product is solid.”
Main Selling Features: “Ease of use and convenience.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “I agree with the customer about their concerns. We talk about what other systems cost and what they do. Then we show the value in this product.” facebook.com/MobileElectronics 23
DD Audio Redline 506 6.5-Inch 500Watt Subwoofer Submitted by: Troy McGregor, McGregor Auto Styling, Pagosa Springs, Colo. Main Selling Features: “The overall size of the product and space required hits home with customers.” Primary Objection: “People do not think a small woofer will perform.” How to Overcome: “I offer a live demonstration.”
JL Audio VXi Amplifiers with Built-In DSP Submitted by: Jaime Palafox, Agoura Autosounds, Agoura Hills, Calif. Main Selling Features: “Sound quality and ease of installation, which saves the customer money.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “I often use the line, ‘The price is forgotten long after the quality is remembered.’ It’s up to us to educate the customer, and that is exactly what I try to do. I show them what good value is.”
Sony XAV-AX5000 In-Dash Media Receiver with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Submitted by: Adam Devine, Devine Concepts, Naples, Fla. Main Selling Features: “The focus on safety [is a main selling feature]. Most clients as with many people these days are tethered to their smartphones. I focus my presentation on their ability to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, but still be able to respond to text messages, handle phone calls and have up-to-date navigation.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “I don’t receive very many objections.”
24 Mobile Electronics May 2019
Kenwood DMX905S Touchscreen CarPlay Unit Submitted by: Chris Rossi, Tunes-N-Tint, Lakeland, Fla. Main Selling Features: “This unit has a simplistic format. It’s easy for a lot of customers to understand how to use. Also, most people are not interested in having a CD player, so this is a perfect piece to use in that situation, along with having both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This unit allows the latest technology in a simple format.” Primary Objection: Additional parts required and labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “I let the customer know these parts are required to make sure everything in their vehicle functions as it does now. I explain to them that, without the proper required harness and whatever else may be needed, they may lose features as well as other vehicle functions. Another way I overcome the objections is by letting the customer know that I have various financing options.”
Mosconi AMAS-96K Hi-Res Bluetooth Audio Streaming Device Submitted by: Ethan Blau, Sound Wave Customs, Virginia Beach, Va. Main Selling Features: “This product offers sample rates up to 96K and a lot more to a client, in a very small unit with an affordable price. This is not your everyday seller, but it certainly should be.” Primary Objection: Learning curve. How to Overcome: “We try to educate every one of our clients who is interested in experiencing the true sound of their favorite artists through the systems we sell, build and install in their vehicles.”
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From personal development training, to KnowledgeFest and beyond, SoundsGood Auto has increased its year-over-year revenue by making education a priority. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA
After working for other car stereo shops over the years, Keith McCumber decided he wanted to open his own store. He’d noticed, he said, that every business he worked for eventually closed. “They were in the race to zero,” he said, “and they won!” McCumber’s first location made up 1,500 square feet, and was born with the intention of creating a better solution for clients. “In my first year, I brought in $154,000. I found my customers, sold them products and services, picked up the products and installed them,” he said. “There were some long days, but I persevered.” After a while, he started looking for his first employee. “I found Mike Maltais to help sell and install the aftermarket accessories with me. We found more installers and salespeople to help grow [the business]. We became a force to be reckoned with.” Today, SoundsGood Auto brings in about $2 million per year with two locations. The business has fourteen employees, and McCumber hopes to add three more in the coming year. In the future, he intends to double the team and add another facility.
Personal Development and Professional Training Encourages Growth The business has grown a lot, but it stagnated for about five or six years. It was KnowledgeFest that really helped to spur the most growth, McCumber said, adding that the training gained at the event encouraged the shop to grow by “leaps and bounds.” “We went from 600 grand a year to around two million,” he said. “Training makes that much more of a difference. Once I started my desire to learn more, it facebook.com/MobileElectronics 27
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Location: Coquitlam and Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada Number of Stores: 2 Facility Square Footage: Burnaby, 3,300 square feet; Coquitlam, 4,500 square feet, plus 2,000 square feet for stockroom, offices and classroom. Store Type: Traditional Number of Employees: 14
Owners: Keith and Maggie McCumber Manager, Burnaby Facility: Ruben Rivera-Arauz Manager, Coquitlam: Justin Wingfield Install Manager, Burnaby: Jesse Gillespie Install Manager, Coquitlam: Steve Sheppe Install Technicians: Brian Atkinson, Mike Fodey, Kobren Tirmizi Apprentice Installer: Jack Poelzer Operations Manager: Benjamin DelGrosso Vehicle Security Specialist: Geoff Neale Outside Business Development Manager: Wayne Oberst IT Specialist: Jamie Chou
MAIN FOCUS 40% Car Audio 20% Security 30% Vehicle Safety 10% Boats and Powersports
just grew into this thing where I can’t get enough training. I want to be the best at whatever I do.” The path toward increased abundance was also a deeply personal one, he said. “When I found Landmark Worldwide and Personal Success Institute [PSI], I was at a point in my life where I was really pushy and bossy. People left because of it. I lost two-thirds of my staff because of my bad attitude,” he admitted. “After taking those classes and learning what I could be, it changed everything. Some of the people who quit actually came back.” The personal development training system involves self-improvement workshops, and he added, “it’s about the people we can affect in a positive way.
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What I took out of each incident [in my past] was, ‘this is how I am going to treat these things in the future.’ When someone bullied me as a child, I said, ‘that’s never going to happen again,’ so I became a bully. I took control and created a new future, which I understand now is not very effective.” Coming to terms with this, he added, “gave me the opportunity to change it because I didn’t see it before.” Personal development training showed him it was time to change, he said.
Personal growth, coupled with the training available at KnowledgeFest, continues to impact SoundsGood for the better. The average staff tenure at the shop is about five years, and the business provides employees with extended health
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Storeowner Keith McCumber sees a direct link between the business’s increased revenue and the training sessions the team attends month to month. and dental insurance as well. KnowledgeFest is part of the package. “We go to Dallas. Everyone goes, as long as they’re able to. I’ll pay for them to be there,” McCumber said. “We have What’s App—a group chat we all look at—so I’ll send information that way and get it going so people know what’s up for the weekend. We have a Google Calender everyone uses, and our morning
meetings and monthly meetings reflect the information.” After returning from any training event, everyone shares what they learned. “Our goal is to allow everyone to work with great pride. If they want to learn something that will take their abilities to new levels, we train on that.” McCumber said the staff trains in categories such as sales, customer service,
management, leadership, installation, fabrication and life skills. “We want people to grow in all aspects of life.”
On-Site Classroom Provides Learning Opportunities To help bring education home, SoundsGood even has its own classroom. “We are the only car stereo shop in Canada— that I’m aware of—that has its own
Numerous Great Vendors Provide Ample Backing “We have so many great vendors. Trends Electronics in Burnaby is one vendor, and they are all about the relationship. We have been a Trends partner for about five years. They treat me like a brother. Fortunately, they are in between our two stores, so it’s super easy to visit. “Grant McFatter is our local rep. James Chevrette is a rep from three hours away. They both treat us the same—with dignity and respect! The owner of Trends is someone I also have major respect for, and he’s all about creating solutions for us. “Audison is an innovative company that provides terrific solutions for European cars. The Forza amplifier has shown its value as a major contender in its category. Since most of our builds include a processor, this one really hits home with size; versatility and output.”
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Conduct Research Before Hiring a Marketing Company “I have hired many marketing firms over the years. I had an authorized Google Partner working all of my Google related marketing. That was a very expensive lesson. “My goals were as always: educate, offer a great reason to visit us and demonstrate our abilities. I interviewed the marketing people, showed them my vision and allowed their creativity to provide the leads. “The major component of the plan was to show the vitality of the SoundsGood operation. [We focus on] quality before quantity, accuracy and attention to detail. My request [to a marketing firm] was always the same: Educate the consumer on our abilities and what we stand for. “Some companies lied to me. They promised their undivided attention, yet never gave it. If I could go back and do it another way, I would have vetted them differently.”
The shop’s fabrication facilities are fully loaded, with router tables, table saw, sanding devices, drill press, metal brake, welder, chop saw and full dust collection systems. SoundsGood will soon be acquiring an industrial sewing machine and a laser.
32 Mobile Electronics May 2019
classroom,” McCumber said. “We have it because we train so much that it makes sense to [have] the space.” Outside instructors are invited in, and McCumber is also able to use the space to mentor some people. “I have them come out from different areas of Canada to sit in on our trainings,” he said. The most recent training is within the month of May. “I have someone coming from Ontario, and probably Alberta.” The training classroom is used several times a month, depending on the focus of the class. The shop recently signed a contract with Kingpin University to act as the sole trainer for one year. “Jason Kranitz teaches from a place of integrity,” McCumber said, adding that Kranitz will train the staff on numerous topics. Other visiting trainers have included Del Ellis, Marcel Newell, Andy Wehmeyer, Gary Biggs, Fred Lynch, David MacKinnon and many others, including manufacturer trainers. “We are also IASCA SQ judges, as I am the Western Canadian IASCA Director,” McCumber added. “We have made it to many KnowledgeFest shows as well as PNWCEE, B&B Expo and any show that works for our schedule. We have even closed the stores down to get trained.” Kingpin University will be training the team on a weekly video conference, and will show up four times per year for a week to provide intense
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Modern Media Geeks Helps SoundsGood Spread the Word “Jon Dewar and Modern Media Geeks has provided an incredible campaign so far. I started with them in February this year. An informed customer can make a wise decision. A customer looking for the best price will always be looking, as there is always a better price out there. “I wanted more—emails, phone calls and walk-ins. I also wanted to educate customers, not sell them on cheap prices. I told Jon that my budget was $4,000 a month. We chose which categories to educate customers on because of [a few variables, including] weather, current activities and the news cycle. “Modern Media Geeks really came to the table quickly for us. We had to show them our brand so they could do their jobs better. This work is an ongoing goal. When we educate customers, they get interested in our brand. For me, marketing is all about getting people into the store so they can experience what we are really good at—service! If I could do anything differently, I would have been more involved from the beginning.”
When sales and customer service trainers come to SoundsGood, all employees participate so everyone is on the same page when it comes to interacting with clients. Pictured is salesman Ruben Rivera-Arauz.
training. “This week, we are discussing how to effectively demonstrate how products work for the consumer when they come to pick up their vehicle,” McCumber said.
Three Core Values Support a Customer-Focused Business Model Continued training has informed everything the business does. SoundsGood finalized their policies and procedures only recently—in the past year, McCumber said, adding, “Our standard
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greeting is, ‘Thank you for choosing SoundsGood!’ We got this from Del Ellis.” The business is supported by three core values: “Reputation, transparency and family,” he said. “When these values correspond to our customers’ needs, then things work out. If they don’t, then we explain why and try to come to a resolution. If that doesn’t work, then we refer them to somewhere that can fulfill their needs. We are able to do many great things, but they must work within our values.”
The appearance of the shop is also kept neat and tidy to reflect the business’s values. “We all help out to keep our facilities efficient and effective, either at the beginning or at the end of each day.” Once again reflecting back to their training, McCumber stated that his team follows the Del Ellis sales system: “Greet, qualify, create value, answer objections and close.” Utilizing Jason Kranitz’s system of sales has also increased sales effectiveness, he added. To help ensure clients are getting the best value for their needs, all sales staff are salaried. “We do this to ensure that the only reason for [salespeople] to offer certain items to consumers is for the customer’s best interest, not the employee. We don’t offer spiffs or kickbacks to our staff,” McCumber said. “We want our clients to be certain they’re getting the best value for their needs, not what’s in the best interest of the salespeople.” Three sales a year help draw new clients and repeat customers: Black Friday, Boxing Day and finally, the Spring Clean sale, which allows the shop to clear out older stock to make way for new products. As part of their responsibilities, salespeople need to ensure SoundsGood “is a place where they would proudly bring their loved ones,” McCumber said. “This keeps things really simple. Make it clean and inviting—with no missing parts.” Additionally, the team came together to create a cohesiveness that has firmed up the company’s foundation. “We have
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whiteboards in our training classroom,” he added, noting that they had a clear discussion to help decide what meant most to them as a team. “We talked about it and boiled it down to our three core values,” he said. “We came to the conclusion that reputation
is the most important thing that any company can ever have. We also want to have healthy family values. When you’re sick, stay home. If your wife or parents are sick, go take care of them. Just communicate that you can’t be in that day. It keeps it simple, focused, clear, concise and loving. Most of us at SoundsGood have taken these courses to
see what was missing for our personal happiness. We each found something different to work on as a way to transform into the people we’re destined to be.”
Follow-Up Calls with Clients Help Maintain Great Relationships SoundsGood Auto has spent up to five percent of its income on marketing, according to McCumber. “Since finding
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Modern Media Geeks, we have brought that down to two percent.” Google is the business’s most powerful ally, he added. “I ask every person I meet at SoundsGood this question: How did you know we were here? Facebook, Instagram and local forums are where
we spend the rest of our funds.” However, eighty to 95 percent of customers find the business via Google. One of the most effective tools, though, are personalized phone calls. “Kingpin University has changed our whole philosophy on this,” McCumber said, thinking
back to training. “We do follow-up calls. Ten days after they had the car in, we call them back and ask how things are going. If there’s an issue, we book them back in. If not, we thank them for their time and that’s it.” One year after the customer’s visit, SoundsGood calls them again to wish them a happy anniversary. “We ask if they have any questions or issues. We do that again at the two-year mark and the three-year mark,” he said. “I find it helps maintain a great relationship whether they come back in or not. The goal is to maintain the relationship [not increase sales]. The outcome is that people are always happy to come back.” The highest amount is spent in December, generally, when it comes to marketing. McCumber said this is around 10 thousand. In the springtime, audio equipment sells the most. Once the sale is completed, he said, “if a customer has a defective product, we will install a new one for the entire manufacturer’s warranty period.
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No one else has this policy in Canada. This was created from my experience as a consumer. I thought that if they could offer a warranty for a period, it should be completely covered for that whole period, not just 30 days. When someone comes in with a broken product, we send that out for service and give them a brand new one. Then we put the fixed product back on the shelf, and when Spring Clean comes around, we sell that fixed product cheap.”
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Training Has Helped Shape Policy Decisions and Future Goals Because each day is carefully structured, McCumber said, less mistakes are made. The shop’s policies and procedures in the installation bay help to maintain this. “Our installation managers have the most skill,” he said. “Steve Sheppe has been trained by Bryan Schmitt and Jason Kranitz, so he is at the top of his game for fabrication. Steve has also won the Top 50
Installer Award in the past. Jesse Gillespie and Geoff Neale are incessant about their wiring craftsmanship and really excel at vehicle security, remote starters and inventing new ways to make our customers dreams come true. The rest of our installers are training to be the best in their class. Everyone is trained on how to use an oscilloscope, RTA, phase tester and DSPs.” With careful check-in and check-out policies, the team ensures nothing is missed. “Any notes or issues are relayed to the customer,” McCumber said. “If the installer runs into problems, he asks for help after five minutes. If the installer breaks something, he takes it to the salesperson immediately so that we can find a solution for the customer. Transparency is critical at SoundsGood. It affects our reputation and our ability to work as a team.” When things get busy, installers are also trained to help out up front. All staff members attend the sales trainings held at SoundsGood. “The same goes for customer service training,” he added, “so everyone gets an understanding of how we want to treat customers.” McCumber views the development of the business as a continued byproduct of nurturing leadership within the company. “The more I lead people into positions of increased responsibility, the more they can lead others into new positions—creating companywide growth,” he added.
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Rising from the Ashes After unexpectedly losing the company’s founder, Paragon Sales & Marketing looks toward the future with the same set of steadfast guiding principles that have shaped the business since its infancy. WORDS BY LAURA KEMMERER
When the owner and founder of a company unexpectedly passes away, the question of what to do next becomes a crucial one. For Wayne Smedile, Principal of California-based Paragon Sales & Marketing, that meant stepping in to take over the business. Paragon Sales & Marketing was originally founded by William McKinley,
40 Mobile Electronics May 2019
more commonly known as Bill, in 1999. Just over two years ago, McKinley passed away at a consumer electronics show, and Wayne Smedile, long-time business associate, stepped in.
Founding Principles Continue to Shape Paragon’s Future “The way the company has gone since I took over has definitely changed a little bit [in terms of ] direction,” Smedile said.
“But it’s still founded on certain principles that I agreed with and that I believe in.” For Smedile, these principles include: to be in touch with clients, and to be faceto-face with them; to provide immediate and outstanding service; and to be able to deliver value, with an emphasis on meeting the customer’s needs. This also includes keeping abreast of understanding what those needs are, and knowing
Rising from the Ashes
customers well enough to anticipate their future needs and wants. McKinley was extremely dedicated to Paragon, and he had been planning to retire within the next three years, which would have been around 2019. Smedile emphasized that he has been honored to take over McKinley’s business, describing McKinley as a well-respected man of integrity. “That’s how he ran the company, and that’s how I run the company,” Smedile said. “That’s part of our formula for success.”
Utilizing a Hands-On Approach to Training and Education Smedile’s own background prepared him to step in to take over the company when it was necessary. He worked for 10 years for a retailer, specifically as a shop manager. Smedile then went on to work as a sales representative for Alpine Electronics for around 13 years, gradually moving into owning his own automotive specialty customizing business for a year and a half. His career also includes some time in sales in other industries, but he facebook.com/MobileElectronics 41
eventually found his way back to the car audio industry. Smedile worked with McKinley for three years before McKinley passed away.
One of the things that makes Paragon Sales & Marketing unique as a company is that many of the team members have a strong technical background, according
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to Smedile. This aids in training and education. “They understand the vehicles we work on today, and they understand the technical skills,” Smedile said. “We can sell customers DSP products and literally come into their store and walk them through the applications of it, all the way down to setting up and tuning, and that’s a big part of the car audio business today.” A number of shops have not embraced this, according to Smedile, due to the significant investment in training and education. Paragon seeks to bring those things to these businesses, as well as providing leadership in the future of car audio. On top of this, Paragon also represents a number of other premium products, including Orca Design and Manufacturing, and AudioControl, which was one of the first companies the venture began to work with, among others. Most recently, the company added Opal Solutions as a training and supply company for those working in 12-volt. In terms of on-the-ground training, Paragon also offers mobile options to help make shop trainings more available. The business handles a lot of one-on-one training, as well as in-store
Rising from the Ashes
“[It’s about] market distribution, evaluating that, and not only finding new business opportunities, but better serving the market for the manufacturers,” Smedile said. “Most of all of them want additional sales and more growth.”
Focused on Training, Growth and Building Relationships training with retailers. “We spend a lot of time with them helping them to learn how to set up cars,” Smedile said, going on to add that Paragon always has a training emphasis in mind. “We think the next generation of those to get in to the mobile electronics industry will be completely new to it, so we want to be on the forefront of that,” Smedile noted. “We want to help the industry on that side of it.”
Looking ahead, Smedile hopes to continue to expand on training as well as helping retailers become better trained at what they do and also eventually becoming better staffed. Smedile also noted that a lot of retailers are relying on those already in the
industry to facilitate training. The problem with this model, however, is that those numbers are dwindling, due to some leaving the industry—among other reasons, he said. To keep his team on the cutting edge of future developments, Smedile encourages team members to stay involved with as many industry-related opportunities as possible, and to stay on top of it. He also emphasized that there is a lot of interpersonal sharing within the company, which includes four sales reps, Smedile himself and an employee who works in administrator position. “McKinley had some of the best relationships with customers I’ve ever seen,” Smedile said. “That’s the direction I’m taking and encouraging all my guys to take as well. Get to know these people and have long-term relationships. It’s not about a quick sale today. It’s about helping them see their business in 10 to 20 years and have a relationship with them and planning to do business with them for the long haul.”
Studying Demographics to Meet the Needs of the Market In his time with the company, Smedile has found that there have often been holes in the market in which there was an insufficient number of dealers, and while those needs have been met, it draws attention to needing to address these issues as they arise. Smedile noted that when he worked for Alpine, the business would take a look at a given market, and would decide that if there wasn’t a dealer in a 20- or 30-mile area, it was something that needed to be addressed. The company endeavors to bring the product closer to the customer. Smedile recommended that approach to the business, as well as taking a closer look at the demographics in any given market. Two retailers right down the street from one another could cater to two completely different markets within the same area. facebook.com/MobileElectronics 43
strategy & tactics
The Installer’s Guide to the Galaxy Technicians can increase efficiency and productivity by making small improvements around the bay— including implementing a standard shop size for hardware, and keeping common materials, tools and fasteners close at hand. WORDS BY BRANDON GREEN
Last July, Mike Schwitz and Josh White asked me to help present a class for KnowledgeFest in Dallas, and then again in Long Beach and Indianapolis. Shaughnessy Murley stepped in at the Long Beach class, and Chris Ott at the Indy class, as Josh was unable to attend. The purpose of the class was to focus on fundamentals, industry best practices, proper materials and fasteners, tools, finishing enclosures and speaker adapters, as well as some efficiency tips for day to day installation. For those of you who were unable to attend, here are the highlights.
Finishing Enclosures and Speaker Adapters We demonstrated some of the more common techniques for wrapping an enclosure and seaming the material, and then we moved forward with a rabbeting technique which allows the seems to tuck in and not be nearly as noticeable, while also providing a place for the material end to tuck in to prevent it from peeling over time. This is an excellent detail you can use to show your clients the extra step you take to set your work apart from the rest. Moving on to speaker adapters, we showed several examples of different fabricated rings and some of the composite materials we use for proper speaker mounting. There are a few materials that
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work well to machine, including HPDE, expanded PVC, and acrylic. Installers will find there are great benefits to using these materials for speaker mounting in places where moisture and rigidity are important aspects to consider for a quality installation, including being able to angle and recreate the best spacing for the speaker to match the OEM panel angles, with foam rings to complete the process.
Threaded Inserts, Tools and Magnets Many installers use threaded inserts, but I still think it’s important to discuss the five most commonly seen and used today, including the proper use of nutserts, as well as fine and coarse threaded inserts, t-nuts and rubber threaded inserts. There are many types and sizes of threaded inserts made from different materials for different applications. A variety should be kept on hand and organized so they are easy to find. Making a “standard” shop size allows you to keep necessary hardware on hand without spending thousands on every size fastener and bolt. This practice also takes the guesswork out of what goes back in, should the installer become lost upon assembly or maintenance. In vehicle applications, use zinc coated nutserts to resist corrosion. These are designed to provide a solid threaded mounting point to sheet metal for things like mounting enclosure brackets,
amplifier plates or racks and more in an OEM fashion. Serviceability or removal in the future becomes much easier. Nutserts should be properly painted and protected from the elements to prevent long-term damage. T-nuts are better for softer materials as well, but more forethought is needed in the design and fabrication process. A couple good examples of use for these would be subwoofer mounting and also boat interior fabrication. In class, I also demonstrate some panel attachment methods using magnets. Remember: •Don’t use magnets to hold pieces on panels that receive a high level of vibration when closed, such as door panels or trunk lids. •Don’t use magnets where they may become flying objects in an accident. •Additionally, make sure the poles are correct for installation.
The Installer’s Guide to the Galaxy
Stainless threaded T-nuts, washers and bolts were used in a boat interior rebuild.
Double-sided Tapes, Glues and Retaining Clips There are quite a few double-sided tapes to choose from. Each has their own particular best suited uses. They tend to be less than effective when improperly used on the wrong material or surface, so having a variety and knowing what to use, when and where, is important. Another thing to consider is adhesive promoter for the tapes you use to ensure a clean surface and good adhesion. CA (cyanoacrylate) glue comes in a variety of viscosities for securing pieces, or putting inserts or magnets in place. Also, all-purpose cement and primer for PVC and acrylic cement along with application are covered in this section. This is another place where having a variety on hand, along with knowing what to use and when, can drastically increase a technician’s efficiency. We also have to deal with a lot of retaining clips and fasteners in any modern vehicle, with more coming out from the OEM every year. Being able to recognize and remove them properly to prevent damage to the client’s vehicle is crucial, along with having tools that won’t damage or scuff any panels. These vehicles have been tested for crash safety as well as reliability, and items should always be replaced with the same OEM equivalent to ensure the car is in as good or better condition than when the client dropped it off. Today, many vehicle manufacturers use one-time use clips for body parts as well as panels when they are meant
Here’s an example of good wire management and routing.
to release and go in a certain direction, like an airbag. For this reason, should there be an accident, always use the right replacement parts. This is a good place to think about having an organized bin with replacement parts for common vehicles in a particular installation bay.
Wiring, Power and Signal Routing, and Soldering We like to demonstrate examples of proper wiring termination, both at the source or amplifier and at the crossovers or speakers themselves, covering such things as proper connector size and options including ferrule connectors. For many of us, such concepts as not using a ¼-inch connector on a 1/8-inch terminal may seem ridiculous, but we often see it come through our facilities, which means not everyone is aware. And not having wire strands poking out the side, or not using quality connectors— or even any at all—seems to happen frequently. These are some basic fundamentals that should always be of concern. Power and signal routing as well properly securing the wiring also seems to be overlooked, especially when there are more and more day-to-day installations in a shop. Properly going through a grommet or boot, routing to prevent damage due to moving parts, proper separation of cables, and securing them to OEM standards are what we want a technician to consider (and follow) on every job. Certain tools are important, along with soldering connections and terminals properly. This includes options for
covering a connection, which could mean both heat shrink and electrical tape. There are several accepted ways to secure wiring and solder it, but the main thing to keep in mind is that the final connection should be solid and not have loose, cold solder joints.
Use the Right Tools for Testing There are certain tools every technician should have in their arsenal, such as a Digital Multimeter (DMM), Oscilloscope, speaker/polarity tester, and a Real Time Analyzer (RTA). For this class, we give an overview of these tools and some examples regarding why we need them as technicians, and how they can speed up our installs as well as help prevent issues or solve any problems should they occur. There is an in-depth class—called “Tools of the Trade”—regarding the use of facebook.com/MobileElectronics 45
strategy & tactics For installation integrity and longevity, using the proper hardware and the right tools—with the right materials—is the only way to ensure the very best results.
Keep Training and Gaining Knowledge
Every technician should have the right tools, including items such as a Digital Multimeter (DMM), Oscilloscope, speaker/polarity tester, and a Real Time Analyzer (RTA).
Here, we used Tesa double sided tape to adhere amp trim parts together, and magnets to hold trim and hide mounting hardware. these as well as other tools, and it’s well-worth attending at your next KnowledgeFest, where you’ll learn much more detailed information regarding what you can use these tools for and how you can implement them.
We want technicians to think about what they do and how they can take their careers to the next level, while giving some valuable information that can be implemented as soon as they return to work. Look around your bay and ask yourself: •What can you do to improve your facility and yourself? •What needs to be done to organize (there’s that word again) and streamline processes to make your shop profitable? •What can you do to set yourself apart from everyone else in your town? •What do you need to learn and improve on, and how can you make that happen? It all starts with training and knowledge, to help implement best practices in the industry. Make the investment. Going to KnowledgeFest, and other industry trainings like Kingpin University or Mobile Solutions, will give you what you need to succeed. The use of these tools and techniques on a daily basis will allow for better results—as well as demonstrate to your clients that you are skilled and able to complete the necessary work on their vehicle.
I strongly believe all the presenters and companies at KnowledgeFest have the same goal every year, and I would personally like to thank each and every one of them for putting in time and effort to make an impact on the future of our industry. I also would like to thank Chris Cook for allowing us to present, as well as for the information you gave me in Indianapolis to help improve my public speaking abilities. Thank you to Mike Schwitz, Josh White, Shaughnessy Murley and Chris Ott for being a part of this class and helping me, as well as Jason Kranitz for assisting with the other class in Indy. I also want to thank Bryan Schmitt, John Schwartz, Ray West, Ata Ehdaivand, Christopher McNulty, Ken Ward, Chris Bennett, Tom Miller, Chris Cope and Andy Wehmeyer for your knowledge and expertise, and allowing me to watch and learn from your classes and presentations. Also, thank you to Solomon Daniels, Rosa Sophia and everyone at Mobile Electronics magazine for your hard work on a great publication every month. When Mike first asked me to be a part of this, I have to admit I was scared, but I made the commitment to try to learn and improve—and I could not have done it alone.
46 Mobile Electronics May 2019
The Installer’s Guide to the Galaxy
at CE Week in New York City Jacob K. Javits Convention Center | 655 W 34th St, New York, NY | June 12-13
The Connected Car Show at CE Week will bring together large segments of the industry – from retailers, distributors and entrepreneurs, to powerful media, key inﬂuencers and passionate tech enthusiasts. Don’t miss your opportunity to showcase your most innovative technology and connect to key decision makers through matchmaking, high quality content and networking. Listen to a series of thought-provoking panels that will explore the future of automotive technology and outline how autonomous technology will change the driving experience. Featuring SAE’s Connect2Car™, dedicated to the future of connected vehicles.
Sessions will focus on all aspects of the Connected Car including: Connected Travel: Enhancing the In-Vehicle Experience Mobility: A Gateway for Innovation, Collaboration and Services The Future of Electriﬁcation – Charge! Personalization: Upgrading Safety in the Connected Car Conference Partner
mobile electronics association
www.ConnectedCarShow.com facebook.com/MobileElectronics 47
ďƒŽ tech today
Laser Printer Fab for the 12-Volt Industry In the final installment of this series on advanced fabrication tools, Erick Markland of Markland Designs of Atlanta shares how a laser printer has helped increase efficiency and productivity at the shop, as well as adding additional revenue streams.
48â€‚ Mobile Electronics May 2019
Laser Printer Fab for the 12-Volt Industry
FOREWORD BY JOEY KNAPP WORDS BY ERICK MARKLAND
This article wraps up the final in our series on advanced fabrication tools that are being utilized in our industry. So far we have looked at 3D printing and CNC machining. This installment rounds out the fab trifecta with a look at lasers. Not on the heads of sharks, but in the shops and hands of talented fabricators. One such fabricator agreed to share his recent experiences with the purchase of his laser. I am pleased to share with everyone a little insight from the 2018 Mobile Electronics Installer of the Year, Runner Up, Erick Markland of Markland Designs of Atlanta. I have watched Erick’s work over the years and have been continually impressed with not only his fabrication talents, but also his positive attitude. It was nice to see him recognized, and I expect we will be seeing even more of him in the future!
Why did you choose a laser printer for Markland Designs? I chose to purchase a laser printer for Markland Designs mainly because of its ability to cut very small and detailed parts. One of the limitations with the current equipment in the shop was that I always had to resort to a third-party service when I needed detailed emblems, logos and signage—preferably from a laser shop. By going with a third-party service, it always required extra time and finances I had to account for it in the project’s cost and turnaround time. Fumes and dust are something that most shops must battle with in the woodshop, and in my case, this was no different. Any fumes or dust are expelled out of the laser into my high-powered dust-collection system that was fitted especially for the laser. When choosing new equipment, I also must be space-conscious, and the Glowforge Pro measured at 38 by 21 inches, making it a perfect fit because it did not take up vital work space in the shop. It fits on most toolboxes, tabletops, and workbenches. The Glowforge Pro has a smaller footprint when compared to conventional CNC routers. An added benefit to
Little space is lost due to the small footprint and compact design of the Glowforge Pro. choosing the Glowforge Pro is its ability to pay for itself with other jobs, such as making keychains, custom parts, templates, trophies and other engravable items. I do not plan on replacing my routers and tables—the Glowforge Pro laser printer just allows me to cut items I cannot safely cut by hand.
There are many 3D laser printers on the market, so what were the deciding factors for choosing a Glowforge Pro 3D Laser Printer? I researched many 3D laser printers. I ultimately chose the Glowforge Pro because of its overall size, the unlimited cutting size due to the pass-through it has, the price and the availability of technical support regarding any issues with the laser. There is also a built-in camera allowing me to visualize the work-bed on my laptop and that helps with precision alignment and cutting. This particular laser also has an app that can be downloaded to most smartphones and tablets. If I’m not near my laptop, I can send a design from my iPad, which is extremely convenient. The ability to scan and trace parts in the work-bed is an added benefit as well. Compared to some printers on the market, the Glowforge Pro does not require large power consumption when in use. For the wants and needs of my business, currently the Glowforge Pro is
perfect for my application. Later this year, I may add an additional laser if production stays on the current pace.
With such an awesome 3D printer, what software system does it use? And which do you recommend using to maximize productivity? When I first purchased my laser, I started out using Adobe Illustrator and then transitioned into Fusion 360. I had zero prior experience with either software. I watched many tutorials on the Internet, and joined many live streams asking various questions until I became more efficient with the software. Many nights after work, I would practice an additional three to five hours designing and cutting using Proofboard material until I became more proficient. This is one of the main reasons I was hesitant about purchasing a laser printer; the design time always seemed like it was very long and intimidating, so becoming proficient was vital to making this huge purchase and investment. One of the main limitations when using Adobe Illustrator was the level of difficulty when I tried to draw my designs. I found that Fusion 360 was more user-friendly and intuitive to my needs in a design software. There are a ton of software options available and I found that the learning curve was not as fast as I expected, but in the end, if you spend the time using it, you will be facebook.com/MobileElectronics 49
Here is the laser cutting custom rings that will attach to the magnet structure of a Hybrid Audio Technologies subwoofer for a one-of-a-kind look.
The finished acrylic rings—fresh out of the laser—with the protective tape removed, and ready to be installed on the subwoofers. more familiar and it really becomes userfriendly, making the options endless.
What are some pros and cons when comparing a 3D laser printer to a CNC router and a traditional 3D printer? No matter what equipment is being used, you will have various pros and cons when compared to other options on the market. The pros and cons can be major or minute, depending on what you are
50 Mobile Electronics May 2019
looking for and what your expectations are. For me, the laser printer wasn’t time consuming when compared to a 3D printer, and other pros included accuracy, size, ability to laser print small details and lack of dust accumulation when compared to a traditional CNC router. As of now, the average printing time is 15 to 25 minutes and that’s if I’m printing a project like a panel insert.
Some cons were the inability to print full-sized, three-dimensional parts from scratch or use various filaments like that of a 3D printer. The larger CNC routers have far more cutting space, changeable bits for different profiles and some even having built-in tool changers and the ability to cut at various depths on more material types, such as a thicker acrylic and aluminum which is a plus for the CNC router.
Laser Printer Fab for the 12-Volt Industry
Custom laser-cut rings give the exposed subwoofer a unique appearance, adding detail to the overall project.
We’ve seen the Glowforge Pro in action, so what materials have you used and recommend for others? Acrylics are what I chose to use most of the time. In addition, I have also used other materials such as MDF along with various other types of wood. Acrylics machine well when dealing with large and small projects, which is a perfect choice with a laser printer. Some vehicles have wood inserts in the doors and dash which creates a very elegant and stylish design in the interior. Using wood in conjunction with the laser can add a custom touch that blends well with the cosmetics of the vehicle’s interior. Also, a lot of the late model vehicles are using a lot of gloss blacks, silvers and aluminums as accents in the cabin areas. Using two-color or frosted acrylics to match those interiors can give more of a professional detailed appearance. When adding parts to the interior of a vehicle, I’m always cautious about how they will blend in to the factory panels or overall design. The laser’s software allows me to design and cut prototype parts to make sure they fit and are cosmetically pleasing. I tend to do my prototype mock proofs on Draftboard (or cardboard) because it is more cost-efficient versus wasting expensive resources. With the laser, I have also been able to engrave or score on various leathers and suedes giving my projects a luxurious finish and a custom touch that resembles an original part and design.
How efficient is the Glowforge Pro? The Glowforge Pro is very efficient for my individual needs. I can draw a design, send it to print and leave it to tend to other projects I have going on simultaneously. The precision of the laser has been superb so far with no issues from the laser itself.
The laser has allowed Markland Designs to make custom keychains, logos and signage for local businesses, creating another revenue stream. Every Markland Designs client now receives a custom keychain with their completed project. More often than not, if there is an issue with precision, it has been because of how I programmed the design, which goes back to the reason I use Draftboard and cardboard for prototype parts. The file sharing capabilities of a laser printer makes it even more efficient in that I can share designs between myself and others in the industry and edit or manipulate them for my needs or their needs. I feel that the laser is an employee within itself, so I try to get the most out of each project. Just like a working an employee, when I need him to make a certain sales goal each hour, I expect my laser to make a certain amount of money per job while operating. So far, within the three months since purchasing my laser, it has almost paid for itself with the revenue it created and continues to generate with each passing day.
Are there any limitations to using the Glowforge Pro? I did quite a bit of research prior to my purchase, so I was familiar with what the Glowforge Pro could and could not do. The only real surprise was the cutting material that this brand of lasers can use. The cutting bed height is lower than some of the other printers on the market. The Glowforge brand interface uses a cloud-based software which can mean delays in getting updates and sending a file to the laser for printing. If the server were ever to go down, the laser printer would be unable to receive any files for printing because it is not hardwired to a device like most traditional lasers on the market which use a USB connection. For this reason, some laser software programs, such as Lightburn, do not support the Glowforge brand of laser printer, which is unfortunate because it is an extremely nice software facebook.com/MobileElectronics 51
Using the laser, I can make custom grilles and accessories. The one shown above is a trim insert for a vehicle featuring a honey-comb designed acrylic grille. Detailed and complex designs like this are the very reason I decided to go with a laser.
One of the benefits of the laser is the ability to engrave and score on high-end materials, such as leather and suede like the photo above. This breaks away from the traditional way of branding, giving a project a more upscale finish. program. Hopefully, they’ll come out with a larger version in the future that addresses these issues. With the convenience and the ability to have no prior experience, a novice can design and print in minutes. Therefore, you can’t really go wrong with the laser printer. These were some of the critical issues I found.
52 Mobile Electronics May 2019
So far, what are the biggest benefits to the Glowforge Pro 3D Laser Printer? Having the laser has allowed me to explore deeper into my imagination. At one time, there were things that I could not cut or make by hand, but now I can cut objects to make projects a lot more detailed. I can now give a more OEM
appearance. There is nothing worse than having a client request for things to be built, created, or labeled that you physically cannot complete. The laser has allowed me to increase my clientele base because of my added ability to custom fabricate parts as needed for their application.
Laser Printer Fab for the 12-Volt Industry
With the laser, the ability to add small details that are often overlooked was a key focus of mine. Adding details to amplifier covers and speaker grilles can give your projects the simple but catchy flare that can set you apart.
Once the design is proofed, edited, and finalized, the material is switched out in the laser and we have a finished product.
Details and labels give a very elegant presentation while actually having form and function. Three years ago, I had to use a label maker to label all parts to ensure serviceability, but now I can add labels and markers right into the designâ€”eliminating wear and tear found with paper labels.
Using Draftboard and cardboard allows for you to physically visualize placement and cuts prior to cutting on the final material. This helps eliminate wasting of costly resources. Also, the laser printerâ€™s versatility has allowed me to explore other revenue-generating opportunities such as making logos for various shops, keychains for local businesses and signage. At this time, a CNC router is not beneficial to the needs
of Markland Designs; the laser printer was the ideal choice. I may add a CNC router down the line, but at this time, the laser printer is the most effective and efficient option for me. Using the same design, I made a slightly larger version with holes at both ends. As an installer growing up and then as a shop owner, I always thought it would be nice to have badges to add to enclosures that I built. Now I had the capability to make those myself! As with the keychains, I filled the badges with epoxy, too. Some of the badges I polished, and some of them I sanded in one direction to offer a brushed aluminum look. facebook.com/MobileElectronics â€‚ 53
KILLER KILLINGSWORTH SUBMITTED BY JUSTIN MCKEE, ROBERTS AUTO ELECTRONICS, LOUISVILLE, KY.
Those of you who attended this year’s KnowledgeFest in Indianapolis might remember seeing and hearing this stunning 1969 Impala Kingswood station wagon. This great looking and sounding car was created by the crew at Roberts Auto Electronics in Louisville, Kentucky. What started as a locally owned daily driver has been radically transformed into a masterpiece. The source unit of this audio system upgrade started with the Sony RSX-GS9 High Res Media Center. Feeding the Sony its songs is a 12-inch iPad Pro. Processing for the system is by Focal, via their FSP-8 Digital Signal Processor. The processed signal leaves the DSP and travels to Focal amplifiers and then to a host of Focal Flax speakers and subwoofers. The long lines waiting to hear this Killer Kingswood at KnowledgeFest are proof of the successful transformation this wagon has undergone. More than one industry veteran stated it was one of the best demo vehicles they had ever heard.
54 Mobile Electronics May 2019
P P ORT NTENT CO
F T N GS HI
facebook.com/MobileElectronics 55 www.InstallerNet.com • 800-444-1644
56â€‚ Mobile Electronics May 2019
The Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) program is the only nationally recognized program of its kind.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR RECENTLY CERTIFIED AND RE-CERTIFIED TECHNICIANS AND SPECIALISTS MOBILE PRODUCT SPECIALIST (MPS) Jared Bahley Anthony Tozzi Jarrett Willis Richard Wong BASIC INSTALLATION TECHNICIAN Jaide Abriam David Acierno Ii Juan Agudelo Todd Anderson Juan Arroyo Daniel Aviles Zarric Baker Christopher Baldwin Stephen Bittick Blaine Boersma Clifton Brown William Burgoon Maurice Burnett Zachary Butler Joseph Buzzard Elias Carrera Jr Fernando Casillas Jr Jamie Castillo Matt Clark Joshua Collins Michael Cooper Benjamin Cramer Terry Danielly Jerome Davis Jonathan Dawson Peter Diaz Jon Dickey Egon Doerr Vance Dubbeld Andrew Duenas Andrew Dunn Jose Duran Brandt Eisler Tyquan Ennis Derek Fields Chris Ford
Micheal Gagnon Reynaldo Gallegos Hector Garza Steven Giannico Charles Goins Guillermo Gomez Daniel Green Kalyb Griffin-Pugh Nolan Griffith Carlos Guerrero Jamie Haldemann Bodee Hall Zachary Hancock James Hart Mark Haywood Paul Hazel Anthony Holmes Albert Jimenez Desmond Jones Mason Karamol Cameron Karr Makaio Kekumu Louis Kimble Ethan Kimmel Noah Kraus Zachary Leech Michael Lewis Liam Loomis Jesse Lotierzo Michael Luna Jeffrey Maldicas Kevin Manzanares Edgar Martinez Abraham Martinez William Marx Christopher Mavis James Mccollum Martin Metzger Jacob Murrell Michael Myslinski Cassius Neal Wagner John Nguyen Jonathan Nov Christopher Pedersen Sabbath Peralta Rob Prewitt Alexander Quinonez
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Visit MECP.com to learn more!
Michael Devine Scott Fandrey Joshua Farmer Matthew Foley Xavier Guzman Clifford Henline Brandon Johannsen James Jones Shawn Lowe Robert Lucas Michael Lue Mark Madarang Jared Parshley Dennis Radell Joseph Rhyans Kevin Rodriguez Uriel Rojas Steve Rowley Ernie Ruiz Sean Sargent Edder Segura-Galvez Primitivo Sustaita James Wakeley MASTER INSTALLATION TECHNICIAN Javed Bartlett Adam Devine Mark Duffaut Joshua Fernelius Nicholas Frazier Jaime Medrano Jr John Reel David Schonrock Christopher Torchia
from the President
The Numbers Don’t Lie
According to survey results, KnowledgeFest has become the premier source for education and networking in our industry. With the addition of the Orlando event in 2020, KnowledgeFest will truly be a coast-to-coast experience. Mobile Electronics magazine recently completed a survey on KnowledgeFest with a summary of the results in the Stats section of this month’s magazine. I took some time reviewing the results and comments from individuals. The results reveal trends worth noting.
Which KnowledgeFest to Attend? Most of the respondents attend one KnowledgeFest event per year driven by a few factors: geographic location of the event, perception that education would be about the same and cost of attendance. The cost was more about time away from the business. For those who missed KnowledgeFest, the top response was time away from the store. As a former retailer, I can attest that leaving your business to attend any event will cost business in the short-term. However, thinking short-term can lead to some unintended results. What you can learn will provide enough value to exceed anything you would lose by leaving the store. I would recommend sending some of your team to each event, thus keeping your business open if you are not able to close the store. KnowledgeFest is coming to Orlando, Florida, May 15-17, 2020. This new event will be held at the Orange County Convention Center. KnowledgeFest is becoming a coast-to-coast experience. Based on survey results, many of you plan on attending. Face it, taking the family for a much-needed vacation just got easier and will provide a great excuse to learn and connect with the industry while you are in town. I look forward to seeing you there!
Perception or Reality Launching new products was a common reason to make the annual trek to Vegas. Today, not so much. Many suppliers are launching at KnowledgeFest Dallas just in time for the all-important fourth-quarter of the year. Some are doing the same at the beginning of the year in either KnowledgeFest Long Beach or Indianapolis. Based on the survey results, the perception is that most suppliers are launching something new in Dallas. This means you should stay in tune with your suppliers to find out when they’re showing off something new. Very few of them exhibit in Las Vegas. A big improvement over Vegas events is that not only will your supplier launch new products, they will have training sessions designed to teach you how to market, sell and install their technologies.
58 Mobile Electronics May 2019
Another key point was interaction with vendors. This is accomplished through the exhibit floor and vendor training sessions. Getting one-on-one time with everyone from senior executives, your sales reps and technical liaisons was rarely achieved at other events. The industry experiences camaraderie at KnowledgeFest. To me, this is what it’s all about—coming together for a common purpose and to support one another. New this year, KnowledgeFest starts each exhibit floor opening with “Beer and Business,” a networking opportunity to show your appreciation to your vendors for supporting education. This allows vendors to provide special offerings for coming to KnowledgeFest and visiting them. Make sure you connect your favorite vendors, and be prepared to take advantage of additional value and savings. This is a great way to help pay for your trip!
Catching Up with Long Lost Friends and Making New Ones Many of us still feel that our best opportunity for networking in our industry is at a Vegas event. Not so. KnowledgeFest has become the main event for all things networking. And survey results point to Dallas as the top networking location. This may have something to do with that grand celebration we have on the final evening of the Dallas event. The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards has grown into an “academy awards” for our industry. It is my favorite night of year!
Never Leave the Way You Came The survey results point to significant improvements in both skills and operations for running your business. If there was no other reason to attend KnowledgeFest, this would be my top choice! Learning something new that can help you drive more business has high value. In addition, refining your operations with newfound knowledge can help you run a more efficient business. I have the privilege of speaking to many of you at or after KnowledgeFest. The stories are all unique, but they have a common thread. You will leave with more knowledge than when you arrived. You will be motivated to be better than you were before. You’ll feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself. Regardless of your personal experience, please know that attending and supporting your industry event is what has made KnowledgeFest the best place to learn, connect and drive our industry forward to continued success.
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