Mobile Electronics Magazine - February/March 2024

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12// What’s Happening:

Most of All, Be Kind

In classrooms and during the Industry Awards banquet, industry professionals urged colleagues to support each other and—most of all—be kind.

18// Industry Awards:

The Wild Ride

Installer of the Year Phil Cantu talks about the intersection of efficiency and creativity, and the importance of friendship and networking.

32// On the Show Floor:

Refining the Sound

This year’s KnowledgeFest Las Vegas saw the launch of a few new products, and new companies at the show, including Shop Monkey and Trulli Audio.

52// Strategy and Tactics:

Smart Business Strategies

Tomas Keenan of Step it Up Academy shared crucial aspects of business growth—including setting and tracking targets, creating effective hiring processes and more.



4 Editor’s Forum

6 Feedback

At the Industry Awards at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, Phil Cantu was named Installer of the Year. In this month’s feature, he talks about his love of music and cars, and how he’s been able to grow his skillset and express his creativity in his current position at Mobile Toys in College Station, Texas.

Volume 56 Issue 2
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Nurturing a tradition of encouragement and mentorship.

At the Industry Awards banquet, the most poignant moment came when Judy Ramsey accepted the Career Achievement award for her husband, Todd. I found it near-impossible to hold back tears when Judy—and some of Todd’s closest friends—shared memories on stage. (If you haven’t already, you can read about his contribution to the industry in the November / December 2023 issue of Mobile Electronics magazine.) Because of the way Todd educated and mentored so many people, and wrote widely-referenced technical articles, even those who’ve never met him have been influenced by him in some way. Many people he mentored went on to become mentors themselves. The more we grow as individuals—continuing to help and support those around us—the more we grow in all other aspects of our lives. This is the kind of positive influence Todd Ramsey had on the many people he nurtured over the years.


In this month’s Installer of the Year feature, Phil Cantu talks about the “creative freedoms” he enjoys while working at Mobile Toys in College Station, Texas and the guidance and trust he’s received from Christerfer Pate. It’s a sense of support and positive culture that allows us to grow in our work, and it’s this nurturing of the creative process that we often witness in a good mentor.

experimentation. The student might not have realized this potential even existed in the first place.

In any walk of life, there’s nothing more valuable than a good mentor/mentee relationship. When we focus on growth by stepping outside our comfort zones, this can naturally draw a mentor into our lives. When we’re ready for the next step, the mentor appears. Who’s the mentor in your life?


A good mentor or teacher nurtures a student, awakening an excitement for learning and experimentation.

In my own experience, my interest in cars, 12-volt and automotive intersected with writing poetry. At first, I didn’t think this was possible. But then I had a mentor in the form of my professor, the poet Julie Marie Wade, who smiled and said, “Why not?” when I asked her if it was possible to write haikus about engines. A good mentor or teacher nurtures a student, awakening an excitement for learning and

Throughout my time in the 12-volt industry, I’ve witnessed a special kind of comradery that I don’t see anywhere else. At the Industry Awards, one of the recipients got up on stage and made mention of the incredible support and encouragement we offer one another, something he and his friends hadn’t seen in other industries. What’s at the core of this? Humility, friendship, a willingness to learn and teach. In a word—mentorship. Lao Tzu wrote the following in the Tao Te Ching:

The superior student listens to the Way And follows it closely.

The average student listens to the Way And follows some and some not.

The lesser student listens to the Way And laughs out loud.

Listen closely and keep learning, but also, don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn from your mistakes and share those mistakes with others so we can all grow together. Always remain a student. Become a mentor to those around you. Share your knowledge. Allow a legacy of education and friendship to inspire you as you move forward in your career and in your personal life.

4 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024
“ ”


Terry Dawson of CarTronics advises industry professionals to try new things, while Jesh Jesty of Sound Evolution considers the importance of understanding the client base.

“I used to think we needed to close every sale that came in through the door and we had to have every customer. This is not true. We need to know who our clients are and what our bottom dollar is. We are running a business and not charity. As long as both parties have their expectations aligned, it will be a win-win.”

“Don’t be afraid to try new things. Last year I entered the Top 12 Installer award for the first year ever, and won the Customer Choice Award. I never could have pictured myself making it into the Top 50, Top 12 or even winning an award at all, but it just goes to show—even being a young guy in the industry, you can’t be afraid of the unknown, you just have to get out there and get after it.”

“The best advice I have for other retailers is to always keep learning and evolving your business. Vehicles continue to evolve with advances in technology, so if we do not continue to evolve our businesses also, we will eventually be rendered obsolete. Almost every vehicle that comes into our shop today has some form of OEM processing and/or EQ. If a business calls itself a car audio shop and has not yet embraced DSP, it is already obsolete. Do not rely on your staff to become experts in the fields you service. YOU must also be an expert to be able to provide your staff with the necessary tools, training, and DESIRE to become an expert in your field.”

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KnowledgeFest Las Vegas

As an attendee based on your overall experience, how likely are you to recommend attending KnowledgeFest to someone in our industry?


Would recommend it.

Since 2020, how many KnowledgeFest events have you attended?

22% 67% 10%

Did you take advantage of show specials from exhibitors at the event?


In terms of your career development, how valuable was education at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas?

Las Vegas 2024 was my first KnowledgeFest

I have attend two (2) to five (5) events

I have attended more than five (5) events

TM mobile electronics association

The Mobile Electronics Association shares survey results from retailers across the nation regarding KnowledgeFest Las Vegas 2024.

How likely are you to attend a KnowledgeFest event again in the future?

How helpful was the content presented at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas?

Thinking about your time on the KnowledgeFest Las Vegas Exhibit Floor:

Retailer Comments

“I learned a lot about online marketing and social media marketing. Mostly that I am doing it all wrong and am going to start implementing what I learned there.”

“How to be a better owner and boss.”

What was the single most valuable thing you learned at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas?

“Networking in our industry is a must and kfest is the perfect opportunity to maximize your network.”

“Hard to pinpoint. Each class I attended I learned something, all equally valuable.”

“The importance of a business structure in any small or medium size business”

“To continue going to future KnowledgeFest events. I learned so many new things that I need to always attend these trainings to continue learning.”

 stats
How would you rate the value for the money of KnowledgeFest Las Vegas?
Extremely Helpful Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not So Helpful Not At All Helpful 61% 32% 7% 0% 61% 19% 8% 37%
6% 0% 0% 33% 0% 41% 48% 2% 0% I Spent Time on the Exhibit Floor all three days I Spent Time on the Exhibit Floor just two days I Spend Time on the Exhibit Floor just one day Somewhat Likely Not So Likely Not at All Likely Extremely Likely Very Likely Extremely valuable Somewhat valuable 15% Excellent 80% Business Owner or Manager 3% 18 to 24 37% 35 to 44 8% 55 to 64 44% Very Good 14% Technician or Fabricator 18% 25 to 34 32% 45 to 54 2% 65+ 26% Good 6% Sales or Marketing Professional 15% Fair 0% Poor Not so valuable Not at all valuable Very valuable I Did not visit the Exhibit floor 41% 0% 0% 58% 1%
Overall, how would you rate KnowledgeFest Las Vegas? 48% 41% 11% EXCELLENT GOOD 0% FAIR VERY GOOD
placed orders (or my company did) from my current vendors for products during the event.
placed orders (or my company did) from new vendors for products during the event.
committed (or my company did) to placing future orders as a result of information presented at the event. For Classification Purposes, survey respondents are: For Classification Purposes, survey respondents age groups are: 8 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024



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In classrooms and during the Industry Awards banquet at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, industry professionals urged colleagues to support each other and—most of all—be kind.

12 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024  what’s happening

During the Industry Awards banquet on Sunday night at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, Judy Ramsey accepted the Lifetime Achievement award for her husband, Todd Ramsey, whose contributions continue to make a lasting impact. Judy was joined on stage by several of Todd’s friends, including Kris Bulla of Sony Car Audio, who presented a challenge to everyone present.

“Promote someone or lift someone up who needs it. Because that’s exactly what Todd would’ve done. That’s what he did for me,” Bulla said. “I challenge everyone here to do that. Collectively, that will make all of us better in the long run.”

Afterhours during the same weekend, KnowledgeFest attendees gathered to remember Jay Kent, who worked with

We’re all creative people. We do custom car audio. What can you come up with? Design your life.” ‘‘
– Jon Kowanetz

ESCORT Radar and passed away on April 7, 2020. Throughout the show, there was a palpable sense of honoring those who’ve gone before us—a desire to help each other move forward both personally and professionally. During his presentation on Saturday morning, Jon Kowanetz of Pathways Coaching and Consulting said it’d been a couple years since he attended a KnowledgeFest event.

“Last night I went to an annual event to memorialize Jay, whom many of us knew,” he said. “Being here has taught me about the community I was missing. We talked about Jay, how everyone felt about him, and how much support he gave them. Do you realize the community we have here? Most people in this industry would do anything for any one of you if you only asked.”

He paused, adding, “It’s real. And it’s available to all of us.”


During the weekend, Kowanetz taught two workshops: During the first “Cast Off the Crutches” class, he shared his story and personal experiences of overcoming challenges and how doing so improved his life. During a follow-up evening workshop, he presented a helpful worksheet to attendees to help them identify what might be holding them back in their personal and professional lives. The method outlined a process that helps “you get real

with yourself about why you formed this destructive habit or behavior in the first place,” according to Kowanetz, who is also the author of Life Without Crutches: Finding the Motivation, Strength and Balance to Stand on Your Own. The foundational aspect of the classes? A sense of mutual support.

“Whatever you need, lean on the people in the industry who know what it’s like to be in your shoes and do what you do every day,” he said, encouraging attendees to utilize that support to help them get where they need to be.

Kowanetz outlined a set of 12 steps to help work through any issues. (See the full list in the sidebar at the end of this article.) First, he said, identify the problem. “You can’t change anything until you know what the problem is. You have to be super clear. It’s not just a substance or a device. What’s the actual problem underneath all of that? This may take some time, which is why it’s worth giving consideration.”

Next, he said, consider why it’s a problem as defined by loved ones, and why it’s a problem “as defined by you.” It’s very important, he added, to get clarity on all of these things. “Your loved ones see you differently than you see yourself,” he said. “They’re looking at the whole picture and saying, ‘Wow, why are you doing this?’ When you love people, you want to do right by them and take care of them, so it’s important to understand why this is a problem for them.” Finding out why it’s a problem for you, he said, requires internal work.


what’s happening

Sometimes we aren’t ready to change: “Are you ready now? If the answer is no— it’s not okay, but it is what it is,” he said. “When you ask yourself these questions, you can start to get clear on it. There are also professionals who can help us on this path. If you’re not ready yet, suffer some more. Deal with some more pain. I’ve been there, and there’s stuff I still haven’t changed. Life is about growing. It’s okay if you’re not ready yet. When you are, say, ‘I’m ready.’ Then make a commitment to yourself. Find things to support that commitment so you can do what you say you’re going to do.”


Loss often reminds us of what’s truly important. During the presentation of the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award, Bulla advised everyone present to “make a positive impact on everyone around you. Help those who want to succeed. Push them forward.”

Most everyone, he said, has experienced a loss. “When you lose a friend or family member, it’s impactful. When you lose a colleague or industry friend, it’s impactful. When you lose someone who is all of those things in your life, it’s profound. That’s what hit us when we lost Todd.”

Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions in Tempe, Ariz. said, “Todd’s spirit was contagious. His enthusiasm left a lasting mark on all of us. He was a privilege to know. His friendship is something we’ll forever cherish. As we move forward with life, all of us, remember Todd and the simplicity of giving back, of coming together, and cherishing the moments.”


Everyone at the Industry Awards, he said—whether they knew it or not—was impacted by Todd Ramsey in some way. His positive impact on those around him extended from instruction manuals to in-person events.

“It’s important to understand how he affected people,” Bulla added. “No matter who you were, where you worked, or what you wanted to do, he encouraged you to keep going and gave you the tools.”

When Judy Ramsey approached the microphone, she took the time to remind the audience of a few of Todd’s key values and attributes: “He was kind, curious, and ambitious. These are values

I believe we can all embody and reflect on in order to honor his legacy. Todd’s kindness was, in my experience, unparalleled. Let’s honor his legacy by first resolving to be kind,” she said. “Take a moment to consider another point of view. Reach out and say hello even if it’s awkward. Make yourself available to others like he did.”

When it came to education, Judy said, “Todd’s brilliance was rooted in curiosity. When he encountered a problem, he devoted himself to exploring it and learning as much about it as he possibly could. This gave rise to his encyclopedic knowledge of cars and automotive technology.”

According to Chris Jack of Skills USA, who attended KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past February, the Skills USA contest continues to grow and has almost doubled this year. More and more manufacturers have opted to support the endeavor, including DOW Technologies, Sony Car Audio, VOXX Electronics and Kenwood. “We have more and more manufacturers on board,” Jack said. “We’ve added five more this KnowledgeFest who wanted to get involved. We need judges in the Atlanta area the last week of June.” Jack urged people to get involved and support the project. He continues to see enthusiastic young people who want to work in the industry, including one such student who recently spoke with Kicker regarding his interest in designing amplifiers. “All of this will help support the industry,” he added. Those interested in supporting the Skills USA contest should reach out to Chris Jack at:

14 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024 
During a moving presentation of the Career Achievement Award, Judy Ramsey spoke of her husband Todd’s “unparalleled” kindness, adding, “Let’s honor his legacy by first resolving to be kind.”


In his “Cast Off the Crutches” class and workshop, Jon Kowanetz presented an actionable 12-step process for working through life’s challenges. Read more in his book, LifeWithoutCrutches:Finding theMotivation,Strengthand Balance to Stand OnYour Own.

1. What is the problem that you would like to change?

2. Why is this a problem for you, as defined by your loved ones?

3. Why is this a problem for you, as defined by you?

4. What has this problem cost you?

5. In which ways could your life get worse if you don’t address this?

6. In which ways could your life get better?

7. Why have you not changed this behavior yet?

8. Are you ready to do that now?

9. Make the commitment to yourself?

10. Put together your support team.

11. Create boundaries and substitutions.

12. Track your progress.

In his two-part class “Cast Off the Crutches,” Jon Kowanetz shared personal experiences of overcoming challenges. During a follow-up evening workshop, attendees used a helpful worksheet to help them identify what might be holding them back.

His formal education, she said, included a short stint in college before he went on to attend Installer Institute. During her speech, she reminded attendees to stand up for vocational education and help to “create a pathway toward satisfying careers for young people who are talented and gifted in mobile technology and the trades. Keep that in mind as we move forward.” [Editor’s Note: Check out the sidebar on page 14 to learn how you can support the Skills USA mobile electronics contest this coming June.]

The traditional classroom wasn’t Todd’s thing, Judy noted. “As you might know, he became an ASE certified automotive technician, and he was an honorary master installer. Both distinctions were earned through a personal devotion to this industry,” she said, adding, “We can honor Todd’s legacy by committing to a lifetime of learning. Attend that class, stretch that boundary. Go down that rabbit hole. Great things can happen by extending even a small effort in continued education.”

At the end of the award presentation, Chris Cook, president of Mobile Electronics Association, said, “Thank you, Todd, for all you did for us. And I thank all of

you for continuing to do what he’s always done, and what many of you do—give back to each other, check on each other, lift each other up. That’s what our industry is about.”

At any KnowledgeFest event, we’re often reminded to help each other, create a positive atmosphere for mutual support and share knowledge. At this particular KnowledgeFest and Industry Awards event, though, the focus felt even stronger.

During his class on “Casting Off the Crutches,” Kowanetz quoted industry veteran Marcel Newell: “When do you check the score of a football game? At the end? No, you want to know what it is throughout,” he said. “Do you check at the end of the season? No, you want to keep track so you can see changes and improvements. It’s the same here. Track your progress so there are no surprises.”

Finally, he encouraged listeners to consider how their lives might get better if they make the necessary changes. “Some things, you can’t know or appreciate until you do it. Shoot for the moon,” he said, adding, “We’re all creative people. We do custom car audio. What can you come up with? Design your life.”

16 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024  what’s happening


Installer of the Year Phil Cantu—who works on highend custom builds and hot rods at Mobile Toys—talks about the intersection of efficiency and creativity, and the importance of friendship and networking.

Phil Cantu always had an interest in music and a natural curiosity about how things work, but his entrance into the 12-volt industry around 17 years ago was somewhat by chance. “As a kid, I took things apart and—of course—couldn’t put them back together the right way,” he said. “I took violin lessons. I was in the high school band and I played guitar for several years. I had drum sets, too. It was fun. Once I started driving, I got into the car world with some friends. I brought those things together and found a way to enjoy music, artistry, fabrication and working on cars all in one.”

At 20 years old, Cantu moved to Dallas. He needed a job and Circuit City was hiring, so he applied and got the position. “I screwed up a lot of cars,” he said. “I didn’t have anyone to teach me because the store had just opened. I figured some things out, and before long, I went to work for a different retailer across the street, and learned from some guys who had more experience. For me, that was my real start.”

Installer of the YEAR 18 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024

Later, he worked at Car Toys—first as a tech and then as part of a commercial team doing fleet work all over the country. He also managed two different locations over the course of six years. When he decided to move to Colorado, he was able to transfer his position. Then, COVID happened.

“Everyone got laid off, and it was the height of the panic. No one knew what was going on.” After sitting at home for a week, Cantu said he got a call from the owner of Elevated Audio, who offered him a job. “It was more specialized, boutique and high-end fabrication,” he said. “I had a lot of fun.”

But after getting homesick for Texas, Cantu got in touch with Christerfer Pate of Mobile Toys in College Station, who hired him as a fabricator, designer and technician. “I manage my own builds,” he said, adding, “I’ll have a project and oversee it from beginning to end, and they’ll take direction on what I need done.”


Cantu said he can’t think of a single “boring car” he’s worked on since joining

the team at Mobile Toys. “Everything I work on is some wild, high-end custom car or hot rod.”

One of his most challenging projects was an IASCA competitor vehicle—a 2010 Dodge Challenger—which he featured in his Installer of the Year video. “I’ve never worked on a project for so long. It took a

little over a year to complete. I leaned on some of the others who’ve built high-end sound quality vehicles,” he said. “It was waiting for me when I got here. All the equipment was pulled out, the car was stripped down, and I was told, ‘Go.’ The new design was mine. There was a lot that Chris wanted to implement as far as how

Installer of the YEAR 20 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024

we approached the build so it would have a good shot at being competitive.”

In the process, Cantu learned a lot about the proper way to build a competition vehicle. He hopes the Challenger will become “one of those iconic cars that’s talked about down the road. We’ll see. It was just finished, so it has to run the

circuit first.” The car did well at its first competition, he said, adding that it won first place in Single Seat Expert, beating “some of the best cars in the country” on its first time out.

While the Challenger was his biggest recent project, he said he’s currently working on a 1966 Chevrolet Nova. “I’m

Phil Cantu continues to take on challenging work. Through his first big project at Mobile Toys, which took over a year to complete, he said he learned a lot about the proper way to design and execute builds for competition vehicles.

really proud of it. It’s my first project where I’ve done a majority of the 3D modeling on the computer. That’s allowed me to really cut down on the amount of time I have to physically work on the car because I was able to let the machines do most of the heavy lifting,” he explained.

“If you saw the car in its raw state before I put leather on the panels, you’d notice organic lines that used to be treated with body filler, sanding and manual labor. Now, it’s designed on the computer and the machines do most of it.” The labor, he said, is minimized, allowing the job to be completed faster.

“Before that, I did a full interior on a 1968 Chevrolet C-10. I did the majority of the work.” A normal run-of-the-mill interior


on the C-10, he said, is fairly simple. “It’s a small cab, but this client wanted big bass. We did a bed cut and installed four Sundown 12’s in the bed. It had a classy modern interior, and it was cool to see from beginning to end.” When it came in, he added, it didn’t appear special. “But when we were done with it, it changed my opinion on the vehicle completely. I liked seeing that project come together.”

Being a part of the team at Mobile Toys, Cantu said, has allowed him to express his creativity on another level. “We have an overall goal and plan, but how I reach the end goal is up to me. That allows me to scratch my creative itch and see what I can do next,” he said. “I always try to come up with something different and more unique when I work on a project, so we’re not doing the same thing over and over. The resources we have here make it easier for me to do that. I’ve never had so many creative freedoms, and I credit that to Chris’s trust in me and the team we have here at Mobile Toys.”

“I’m close with Brian Mitchell and Marty Adamschek and a few others, and I lean on them for advice. I do my best to do whatever it takes, and that goes for anything. Whether it’s advice on a build, or even life advice----having those kind of guys in your corner is really important.”


Prior to joining the team, Cantu said he was feeling “stagnant” in terms of build style and knowledge base. “I knew there was a lot more to learn, and this was a good opportunity for me to learn from guys who’ve been doing it a lot longer than me—like Chris, Justin Kush and David Cruz when he was here. They’re incredibly talented in their design and the way they engineer things.”

Cantu said he’s been able to fast-track himself into becoming a better installer, a better fabricator and—overall—a more efficient worker. “Before coming here, I never worked with computers or machinery. I was doing everything manually, and I did okay, but it was a slow process. I couldn’t get the results I was looking for in a timely manner.”

Learning to automate certain processes and use computer-based design tools has helped him to work a lot faster, he said, and he aims to continue refining

22 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024 Installer of the YEAR

everything he’s learned over the last two years. “Learning to operate a laser, a 3D printer, a CNC machine, all the software, the machine maintenance, how they work and how to fix them—it can be overwhelming. Now, I feel more comfortable.” Now, he added, “I can dive into the finer details. If my machine goes down, what happened and how do we fix it?” Cantu explained he wants to obtain a deeper understanding of everything he’s learned so far.

When it comes to increasing efficiency, he advised other 12-volt professionals to first create a plan. “I see a lot of guys just build—and I used to do it, too—where you throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. You might modify this, or add on here.” However, he said, “Thinking about something from beginning to end before you cut material is really important. Come up with a game plan and solve all the little problems before you start.”

It helps to have the resources and the tools to be able to make the work more efficient. Either way, Cantu said, “Come up with a solid plan. Build experience over time so you know where you might have issues, and the problems you’ll need to address before they get worse.”

Now that he’s been named Installer of the Year after making the attempt for four years in a row, he said he feels a sense of relief. “Every year, I felt like I was getting closer. Every year, I learned something new about myself and what I could do to make my video better and what it took to get closer to the goal,” he explained, adding that past failures encouraged him to refine his skills.

Throughout the process, he said, he learned the value of documenting his work. He also learned video editing skills. “My video was over two hours long. I didn’t intend to do that, but the car I covered and the way I answered my questions required that amount of detail and thought. It also takes hours to cut everything down. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done and I’m proud of the effort I put into it.”

Documentation also helps in working with clients, he said. While Cantu himself doesn’t usually have a front-facing relationship with customers, being able to share photos with the client allows the


team to demonstrate where it’s headed. “We’re able to make sure it’s what they want and that we’re going in the right direction,” he explained. “It gives us a chance to make sure we’re not over-building or under-building.”

At Mobile Toys, Cantu said he works with a designer who creates renderings for customers. “That’s a nice road map to help me understand the expectations for the client and the build, and it helps set those expectations. I feel lucky to be able to do that. Most of the stuff I work on, I work off renderings and it helps in that communication with the client so there’re no surprises.”

Cantu recalled previous positions in which he dealt with clients more one-onone. “I felt like I did a good job explaining things in detail. A lot of it has to start in the sales process, creating that expectation from the get-go of how things are done. A client can have input, but it’s

Installer of the YEAR
24 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024

important to steer them in a way that will benefit them.” This is balanced with Cantu’s style of building and how he personally approaches certain things. “To me, over-delivering is most important. I want to make sure it’s done right and it’s safe and to the client’s liking.”

The Industry Awards process gave Cantu a chance to reflect on the previous year. He was able to take a closer look at all the new things he’d learned and the processes he’d put into place.

“If you want to win, you have to find a way to refine the process and get feedback from others,” he said. “Luckily, I know several past winners, even beyond the guys I work with at the shop. I’m close with Brian Mitchell and Marty Adamschek and a few others, and I lean on them for advice. I do my best to do whatever it takes, and that goes for anything. Whether it’s advice on a build, or even life advice— having those kind of guys in your corner is really important.”

If he could change anything, Cantu said he wished he’d embraced networking and training sooner in his career. “I’ve been in the industry a long time, but I’ve only been involved in that kind of way in the last six or seven years,” he said. “It’s helped me grow a lot. Once I was exposed to more, outside my own bubble, I was

able to expand my skillset. Networking has allowed me to grow as a technician and as an individual. We can compare notes and support each other.”

Cantu advised other technicians and 12-volt professionals to embrace technology. “Don’t get left behind.” While 3D modeling and other high-tech tools might seem unattainable to some shops, Cantu said more and more are adopting these avenues to increase efficiency. “I wouldn’t say it’s as specialized as it used to be. There are more people than ever

doing this. Try your best to keep up with everyone else. If you have the opportunity to create your own way, or your own new thing, that’s great—but it’s important to make sure you aren’t left behind.”

What’s in Cantu’s future? Every time he’s been asked about it in the past, he said, his answer was wrong every single time. “I don’t know what the future looks like. If it means continuing to work here in College Station and build hot rods, interiors and vehicles,” he said, “I think that’s a really cool direction.”


POWER @ 4 Ω : 8 X 165W RMS

POWER @ 2 Ω : 8 X 250W RMS







SNR: 114.7dB











28 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024

On the show floor at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, George Smith of Mobile Works / Tint Works networked with Meyer Distributing. Smith said the company has been especially supportive of his business, helping it to increase revenue via accessories. For retailers considering expanding, Smith said it’s important to ask distributors and vendors about


marketing assistance, as many will offer free displays.

“When I was at SEMA, I walked into the Weather Tech booth and the rep said, ‘Sign up for a chance to win.’ I won that week and came home with six sets of free floor mats. That started it all for me,” he explained. After that, other companies supplied free displays, which opened the door for category expansion and increased revenue.

“Now I treat my business almost like four businesses,” he said. “There’s a car audio business, there’s a truck accessory business, there’s a spray-in bedliner business and there’s a window tint business. For Meyer Distributing, the amount of products and delivery, the service—it makes everything so easy to do.”

According to the distributor’s representatives, encouraging dealers to diversify is an important focus right now. Smith said there are simple ways to expand into additional categories, such as by selling easy-to-install trailer hitches, tonneau covers or other accessories. “Diversify to sell more,” he said. “There are a lot more avenues to make more money than standard car audio, especially with Meyer Distributing offering so many opportunities.” Smith added that the distributor has been a huge asset to his business.

Recently, Mobile Works / Tint Works completed a headliner install in a Ford Escape. “I shampooed the carpets and put new leather in, along with a top-of-the-line Kenwood radio and a backup camera.”

Smith noted that some shops might be afraid to try something new, and he hopes that KnowledgeFest classes will continue to discuss diversification and accessorizing. He also said he feels that it would helpful to do more education on how to expand a business. “We all talk about declining sales throughout the year. But there are so many brands that offer free displays. Maybe people don’t realize they can get some of this for free, or they might be afraid to learn how to install it. But,” he added, “a lot of it is bolt-on, like putting steps on a truck.” He urged retailers to reach out to distributors for more information on what’s available or what they might try in their stores. “Now I can do fleet. There’s a lot you can add. We’ve grown our numbers a lot.”

 retail news 30 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024
Meyer Distributing attended KnowledgeFest Las Vegas this past month with a goal of encouraging dealers to diversify into additional categories, such lighting and accessories.


Experience incredible music detail with Hi-Res Audio Playback on the Next-Gen Alpine Halo Displays

iLX-F507 iLX-F511


This year’s KnowledgeFest Las Vegas saw the launch of a few new products, and the presence of companies new to the show, including Shop Monkey and Trulli Audio.


This guitar-pick retail display is now available to JVC dealers in two sizes. “We love music. That’s why we’re in car audio. We wanted to translate that into a display designed to catch the customer’s eye when they walk in,” said a JVC representative. The displays are also designed to be turn-key: They are ready to plug in right out of the box. The company worked with 5-Axis Innovations to create the final product. The goal is to elevate JVC as well as retail stores in a fashionable and tasteful way.

32 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024


The AR1 line of digital PreAmp interfaces from RDV Technologies are advanced electronic devices designed to replace the factory-installed amplifier in select vehicles. This product is engineered with the existing radio and provides improved sound quality and functionality without the need for extensive modifications or rewiring. There’s no need to use the high level, heavily processed output signal from the OEM amplifier. This line offers a good opportunity for older vehicles in which amplifiers become damaged or fail, so the amp can easily be replaced with the pre-amp interface and a new amplifier can be put in place of the original.


Trulli Audio made its first appearance at KnowledgeFest in Las Vegas. On the show floor, the company displayed the BASS 50—a no-install 10-inch subwoofer. It features a built-in battery and seven hours of play time at full, heavy bass, or 20 hours of moderate bass. It comes with a 600watt built-in amplifier, and Bluetooth. A vehicle kit allows the subwoofer to connect to the car using SKA technology. Additionally, a phone application guides the user, stepby-step, for time synchronization and alignment. Then, a profile is saved for the vehicle. If the user wishes to switch vehicles, the BASS 50 can be moved to another car, and another profile can be saved.


On The Show Floor


The Rydeen PV8 is an OEM replacement mirror that offers a full digital screen and two inputs, one for the front and one for the rear. Or, one input can be used for the rear and the second channel can be split into a turn signal activation. The bright, full screen display retains a slick, OEM appearance. Shipping in March.


Alpine’s first vehicle-specific system for Tesla Model 3 and Model Y comes with a highly efficient DSP amplifier. If the system is played at high volume for an hour, it effects less than a mile of driving range. All the equipment bolts easily into the factory placements. All the drivers are very light-weight, efficient motors that deliver high output. They offer a blue carbon fiber cone, with hammer surround for output and control over the drivers. The four-inch components have neodymium magnets that are lightweight and efficient. The subwoofer and its molded enclosure fits into the back of the vehicle, replacing the factory sub. Available now.


The new static in-store display for SoundShield dealers is made of acrylic and takes up a small footprint. While it’s designed to be mounted on the wall, it can also be free-standing. For SoundShield dealers, the company can assist by negotiating different order sizes to break up the cost of the display. About thirty have shipped so far. The displays were manufactured for SoundShield by Mobile Solutions.

34 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024


Kicker’s new subwoofer enclosures are factory-fit and available for Ford, GM and Dodge Ram. The Ford and Ram enclosures will have 10-inch L7T subwoofers built-in. The Ford enclosures don’t require grilles, according to Kicker. The Ram enclosure is up-firing and features press-to-fit grilles on top to protect the subwoofer from the underside of a seat. The GM enclosure can fit 12-inch subwoofers. All enclosures fit a variety of vehicle models. The 10-inch versions are rated for 1,000 watts RMS, while the 12-inch is rated for 1,200 watts RMS. All of them are two ohms at the terminal cup. They are ready to set up and ready to use with any amplifier the customer chooses. Available now.


Easy to install on the bumper or the roof. Strobe lights for off-roading or pickup trucks. This is a line of LED lighting products for off-roading.



These new enclosures from SoundSkins first saw a “soft opening” at SEMA, and then arrived at KnowledgeFest Las Vegas for the grand debut, according to company representatives. The enclosures feature highstrength terminal cups, ¾-inch thick MDF wood, a double baffle design and perfect fit technology to prevent leaking. The enclosures can also be upgraded to lined, and they come in a variety of colors. Built to order, made in the USA and available now.


Shop Monkey is a cloud-based all-in-one shop management system which helps automotive repair or accessory shops run everything from customer intake, to quoting jobs and following up. Brett Kinsfather of Shop Monkey stressed the importance of being able to access resources that allow an independent business owner to “punch above their weight class” from the standpoint of customer experience, organization and efficiency: “It empowers these small businesses to operate like a larger business without unnecessary costs, hassle and learning curves.”

36 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024  On The Show Floor
To Learn More Visit: Or Contact: Shawn Spedding 816-385-1944 or © 2018 HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Infinity is a trademark of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, registered in the United States and/or other countries. Feature, specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice. RALLY BAR • Available in 20” and 35” • 20” 150 W • 35” 300 W • RB/RBXL - Party Light • Flexible Mounting • Bluetooth Broadcast • Dome Light • IPX Rated


The new floating head units from BOSS Audio are offered in 14-, 12-, 10.1- and 8-inch screen sizes for various dash configurations. Small cosmetic changes have been made to the face of the device, including adding hard buttons. They offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both wired and wireless.


At the company’s first ever trade show—and first ever KnowledgeFest—representatives from 1sixty8 media shared ways in which they can help businesses grow. The company builds websites and specializes in content marketing for the 12-volt industry. 1sixty8 media also runs, a consumer-facing publication. They also handle social media marketing and graphic design, and consider themselves a full-service digital marketing agency. “We are also the exclusive reseller of Mitchell1 ProDemand to the 12-volt industry,” said David MacKinnon. “A retailer can come to us and get a substantial discount for it that they won’t find elsewhere. We also offer free training with our inside reps at Mitchell1.” Additionally, any subscriber can benefit from the training. “It’s a great tool to have.”

has a single-DIN design to fit more vehicles. The units also come with quick release buttons to remove the face for any security reasons, which also makes it easier to install: Simply install the chassis instead of the entire radio, and when the installation is complete, plug it onto the face of the unit. Pictured here is the BOSS Elite BE14ACP.WX.

38 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024


These 6.5-inch shallow basket subwoofers are a direct drop-in solution that fits all 2014 to 2023 Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Street Glides. It features a carbon matrix cone, a waterproof tweeter and 300-watt power handling, among other features. The mounting depth has been shortened by a half-inch. It is shipping now.



This new Harley-Davidson head unit from Precision Power offers an 8.3-inch screen. Bluetooth can be connected regardless of brand. Additionally, both the rider and the passenger can partake with their own Bluetooth headsets. The driver can use Bluetooth to answer a phone call or use navigation, while the passenger can listen to their own music at the same time. Also, this product features Rally Mode: The user can name the radio, and any bike within 330 feet can connect, allowing everyone to play the same music. It also features wireless CarPlay and Android Auto and built-in navigation. Attendees stopped by the booth to learn more and inquire about show specials.



In Las Vegas, Jason Kranitz and Kingpin University taught a hands-on class on CNC Laser Setup and Alignment. The class aimed to familiarize students with the machinery, as well as software, power requirements, maintenance and build ideas.


This BPA-HX80DSP from Blaupunkt is a mono-block D-class amplifier, with 30-band EQ. It comes with software to adjust using the computer. It is Bluetooth capable and has optical input.


The OE Direct Fit series was designed to be plug-and-play from the factory. It features very easy installation, with no drilling or wire-cutting necessary, and a factory look that fits easily behind the panel. With faster installations, the installer can increase efficiency and get more customers in and out each day. Additionally, the speakers serve as an ideal starting point which can be upgraded later by adding an amplifier and subwoofers, if desired.

40 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024 On The Show Floor


ATOTO attended its first KnowledgeFest in Las Vegas. The company is currently entering North America and seeking reps and distributors. It shared information on its S8 flagship series of head units, which features a vehicle locator, 48 connection and a 10-inch screen. Download apps such as Google, Spotify YouTube and others. It also features HDMI input, and the ability to connect to television services such as ROKU. Additionally, it can also connect to game systems, making this line ideal for roadtrips.


This advanced lighting system allows users to choose from a range of colors and effects to create the perfect atmosphere inside their vehicle, according to the company. Besides adding visual flair, this system helps to improve visibility inside the vehicle. Additionally, the gentle illumination can help reduce eye strain and fatigue on long journeys.


The Tury FAST throttle control system includes AUTO LOCK, which automatically locks the pedal based on the lack of smartphone presence or MAGIC KEY. If the car is stolen, but the magic key remains in the owner’s pocket, the car will go into valet mode, limiting the throttle incrementally until the car is immobile. FAST MAX also features ECO MODE to minimize fuel consumption. Available now.


On The Show Floor


Audiomobile announced initial deliveries of the latest Solopass compact subwoofer systems. The all-new SPEED series (Stealth Perfect Engineered Enclosure Design) represents a unique set of attractive solutions, tailored to meet the needs of upscale specialty retailers and their clients. These enclosures, as well as all Solopass enclosures, use premium ¾-inch USA MDF, while the front baffle features a duallayer ¾-inch to insure maximum rigidity and “flush-mount” the drivers. This also allows all models to be easily inverted, for “down-fire” applications, using the optional “Iso-feet” kit. This feature also “floats” the enclosure, which is especially useful in trunk and cargo applications, where clients do not wish to compromise the utility of limited storage space.


ZZ-2 is releasing ITZ-SYNC2, a CarPlay and Android Auto integration for all SYNC2 8-inch radio screens for Ford and Lincolns. Features camera integration and smartphone mirroring.

42 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024



This year, Metra released the JP-1018 cut-in grille kits for Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators. The line comes with a cut template and a metal-stamped grille with ABS trim ring to increase the amount of sound that comes out of the dash. According to company representatives, Metra took the suggestion directly from Dean Beyett of Five Star Car Audio and brought the idea to market. The kit complements the fit of JP-1017 speaker covers and JP-1014 speaker pods. Available now.

This new plug-and-play 13-inch screen from Linkswell comes with everything needed to easily install it. The 2023 truck displayed in the Linkswell booth at KnowledgeFest also featured a 1,000-watt DSP amplifier, Kicker speakers and a PSA speaker box. According to the company, the Toyota Tacoma is one of the most accessorized vehicles available today, which makes this product and category a good opportunity for retailers.



New loaded enclosures from AudioControl featuring their Space and Spike series subwoofer are shipping now. The Space Series enclosures can handle up to 600 watts RMS and are available in both a single 10-inch and 12-inch variety, known as the SPC-W10 and SPC-W12, respectively. The Spike series enclosures are available in single 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch models, called the SPK-V8, SPK-V10, and SPK-V12 with power handling being listed as 500 watts RMS for the 8-inch, and 700 watts RMS for the 10- and 12-inch. All models are a single 2-ohm impedance design.

According to the company, all enclosures are wellconstructed from MDF with front baffles that are double layered, which not only increases strength, but also allows for countersinking of the woofers for better clearance in tight spaces and a more aesthetically pleasing look. They are internally reinforced to maintain rigidity and reduce unwanted flex, and the SPK series feature a special internal brace that hugs the magnet, reducing stress on the baffle and keeps the subwoofer from shifting. Both series are sprayed in Stinger Roadkill on the top, back, and bottom, which helps to control noise and vibration, and won’t scrape off like traditional bedliner sprayed enclosures. Marine-grade vinyl is applied on the front and sides, which adds weather and abrasion resistance, plus adds visual appeal with a unique texture.

Both series feature an integrated mounting solution, complete with metal brackets and stainless-steel hardware. The SPC series can fit both under a seat or behind it because of its slim, slanted wedge shape, and can be installed standing up or laying down using the provided hardware. The SPK series is a more traditional tuned vented enclosure, with a slanted back panel to snugly fit against the rear of a backrest. All enclosures feature both a traditional spring-loaded terminal that can accept bare wire or banana clip connectors, as well as an XT90 quick-connect terminal with a pigtail, so there’s no need to worry about wires touching if the customer temporarily removes the enclosure, and no possibility of improperly reconnecting the speaker wires.

The Space Series is intended for installs that are tight on space, but still require great bass response. The Spike Series is more of a “daily driver” style enclosure that provides high output in nearly any style of system, according to the company.

On The Show Floor 46 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024


UTV Stereo displayed its “show-stopper vehicle” on the show floor, complete with the company’s speakers on the roof. “This build shows who our brand is and what we can do,” said company representatives. “This is all UTV Stereo brand equipment. It features six of our Signature Series 6.5s, four of our new 12-inch subwoofers, one of our head units and four 1,000-watt monoblock signature amplifiers. It also has two of our 4-channel signature amps to power it. All the work was done in-house. We’ve been in business for eight years, designing, building and engineering all of our products. We only do ground up design for side-by-sides.”



This new touchscreen radio from Diamond Audio is a plug-andplay unit featuring a 10-channel built-in DSP, and independent crossover controls for each speaker set. It offers built-in wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi, and a Maestro iDatalink module built into the radio which allows for vehicle data access as well as programmable outputs to help control accessories directly from the radio.


In the coming months, users can expect to see more vehicles and solutions added to the 12V Dashboard. In the coming year, the company will also be offering an opportunity for retailers to incorporate a tool on their store websites that any visitor can use look up a car and find out what products are available for installation.


On the show floor at KnowledgeFest, Arc Audio demonstrated its iData Maestro integration using a 2023 Harley Davidson Road Glide. According to the company, Maestro manufactures an iData module that fixes the factory EQ. Arc Audio offers a motorcycle-based DSP that integrates with the module and flattens the EQ. These are also available for automotive use.



Firstech strives toward 100 percent plug-and-play, but the company has faced an obstacle: Various head units utilize different microphone types and have their own processing to remove noise due to difficulties adapting the factory mic. Firstech has been working on an interface called ADS-MIC1, which takes the factory microphone and modulates it to work with an aftermarket radio. This provides a full t-harness plug-andplay solution. This small module will be flashed via the website—like all other Firstech modules.



The Musway M10 is a 14-channel DSP amplifier, inheriting accolades from its predecessor, the M12, according to the company’s website. With a slimmer design, it offers 10 channels of Class D amplification, providing eight channels for multi-channel systems and two channels with enhanced power for subwoofers. The core of the M10 is its 14-channel DSP, offering audiophile-grade features, customizable through Musway’s free PC software or the optional BTA2 dongle for smartphone control. Available now.

50 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024
On The Show
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It’s essential to keep crucial aspects of business growth top-of-mind—including setting and tracking targets, building an action plan and creating effective hiring processes.

At KnowledgeFest Las Vegas, Tomas Keenan of Step it Up Academy covered crucial aspects of business growth, including setting and tracking targets and creating effective hiring and onboarding processes. He began his presentation by asking attendees to consider the best choices for their own businesses.

“When we have clarity, it brings forth decision. Without clarity, we don’t know what choices to make,” he said. “Some

of this is related to core values. If you don’t know them, you should.” Core values, he added, are the guideposts in decision-making.


Keenan told the audience he works with companies to help make them more efficient. One of the tools used is

called a SWOT analysis. “In my opinion, this should be done quarterly,” he said. “This helps the company decide the most important focus for the next 90 days.” During the analysis, there’s a team meeting in which everyone has a chance to offer input. It begins by looking at strengths, which helps to build confidence and see how far the team has come. “It’s an opportunity to sit together as a group and look at the

 strategy & tactics 52 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024

cool things you’ve done over the past few months. You get to share some of your accomplishments.” This can be difficult, he added. “It’s hard to speak positively about ourselves whether it’s personal or our business.”

Strengths often don’t need work right away, according to Keenan, who added, “You might need to work on a strength later in an effort to keep up and continue to grow.”

After listing strengths, Keenan said weaknesses and opportunities will make up the bulk of the list. During his presentation, he asked attendees to name a few weaknesses. Staff issues and communication problems came up in conversation. As the discussion moved on to threats, Keenan noted that there’s often overlap in all categories. While competition can be a potential threat, he said, it can also be an opportunity or a strength, “especially if the competition isn’t very good.”

The list, he added, may take an hour or more to complete. “You’ll hit points where you draw a blank. Just take a break.” The pause, he said again, forces clarity. And it doesn’t end when the list is complete. “Do we stop and go back to the same old thing? No,” he said, adding, “We work on the business.”


After assessing the list, it’s time to look for key initiatives: “I like to take the entire SWOT analysis and ask the team [their thoughts on] weaknesses. Number and score these issues. I rank them with a one, two, or three,” he explained. “If I put a one next to it, we have to deal with it fast. Two, we’ll get to it as soon as we can. Three, it’ll probably happen next year.”

After assessing which items require top priority, it’s time to choose three to five key initiatives from the analysis, which will form a 90-day action plan. “I prefer to choose three because these are not small projects,” Keenan said, adding that he recommended progress be tracked and documented. This can be done using software, or through a simple shared note on an iPad, or Google Sheets. The goal might

be to rebuild a website—or buy and install a laser, which is a much larger project. However, he added, “There are many micro-tasks within that project. Someone who’s been through the process should build a checklist. The checklist goes into whatever task management software you decide to use.” Regardless of the chosen method, the record has to be available to the team to review on a regular basis so everyone stays accountable. Otherwise, it runs the risk of being forgotten.

During meetings, targets should be established. These might be financial targets—for example, he said, “How many remote starts you’d like to install by the end of the fourth quarter. What are your targets? When you have those targets, especially when you project them, it gives you the ability to envision what the future will look like.”


Which team members will handle which tasks? Keenan urged business owners and managers to create a document work chart for the staff. “This organization chart is something that’s imperative in my opinion,” he said. “It should be visible and accessible to the team, and available during onboarding

and hiring, so it’s clear who’s responsible for what. The chart allows us to document everyone’s responsibilities.” The organizational app Monday can be used to document it, or it can be laid out on a board.

For those stores in which an owner is handling multiple jobs, such as inventory manager, salesperson, and more, Keenan advised considering, “Are you paying yourself for all of these responsibilities? Probably not.” It’s at this point, he said, a business needs to consider hiring and delegation.

“If we don’t have enough staff, we have to hire people.” Some store owners might feel they can’t afford to bring someone on, he said, adding, “But you can’t afford not to. Especially if you’re taking on too many tasks that distract from working on the business.”


To ensure a new hire is prepared and has all the necessary skills, Keenan recommended being more intentional about reviewing applicants by using project management software. “There are different stages in the hiring process. When someone applies, I’ll get an email notification and a resume,” he said. “If


Organizational Tools to Increase Efficiency Monday allows you to streamline work and increase productivity. Get on top of tasks and centralize processes and procedures with your team, using this app on both your computer and smartphone. This process management software will help business owners and managers to create tasks and track processes for increased efficiency. It can also integrate with other software and forms, such Google Sheets, Mailchimp, Monday and more.

Gusto: This provides a simple tool for hiring, paying and managing a team.

they do it properly, they’ve submitted a DISC assessment. They will answer a few questions [about their skills].” This is done, he said, to ensure they follow directions. “If they don’t do basic things on day one, how will they be six months from now?”

Keenan told the audience not to be afraid to turn people away during the hiring process. “You want them to show you who they are, and you want to believe them up front,” he said, adding that the process helps filter out candidates who don’t fit. “In the hiring process, I’m trying to get as few candidates as possible. I’m looking for every reason to eliminate them.”

Before an in-person interview, Keenan said he schedules a Zoom call. “Between 40 and 60 percent of people who schedule a Zoom

screening won’t show up to the Zoom,” he added. “Implementing a Zoom screening will save you months and thousands of dollars.” If they log in for the meeting, “How do they show up? How are they put together? Are they doing the call on their lunch break at their current job? That’s fine. If they’re at home, is it a mess? If you hire them, their workplace will be messy, too.”

While some owners and managers might be resistant to using Zoom, Keenan urged attendees to reconsider. After the Zoom call, he said he reassess and decides whether to move the candidate to the next stage, or to cut them.


While discussing hiring, Keenan used Chick-fil-A as an example of a company

that uses a detailed and successful onboarding process. The entire process can be viewed at Process Street offers software which helps users to build processes and document them. Chick-fil-A, he said, has a 19-step onboarding process which begins with the offer letter. Businesses can use Wizehire in combination with Gusto—a small business payroll software—to send a pre-written offer letter listing roles, responsibilities, the individual’s direct manager, salary and more. “Depending on how the employee is loaded into Gusto, it will merge automatically so you don’t have to rewrite this offer letter,” he said, adding that it’s merely personalized before being sent.

Once someone is hired, there should be processes in place for orientation and training. “There should be companywide

 strategy & tactics 54 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024

training regardless of the role or position and it should be one to two days minimum,” Keenan said, adding that it covers the company, what it does, how it was founded and who all the key people are. “Use the organizational chart you created to show them.” The training process should include shadowing an established employee, knowing the products, understanding the point-of-sale system, greeting customers and dress code, to name a few. Also, he said, it’s important to train the staff on how to handle customer complaints: “They have to know who to talk to if they aren’t the right person to handle the situation.”

Map out the entire first week on a schedule, as well as expectations. Post-training, he added, ensure the new hire offers feedback on the person they shadowed. Management should be involved to ensure everything goes well.

Keenan also advised making things simpler by using Chat GTP: “Tell it that you need a documented process for a particular role in the mobile electronics industry. Look at what it creates in less than three minutes. It won’t be perfect, but it gives you a framework to build from.”

Additionally, an owner or manager can record videos of various processes, and how to use different software applications. “Now, your staff has a video library,” he said, adding that it cuts down on time spent answering questions.

Finally, break down delegation and consider whether something can be automated or delegated: “Can we eliminate this completely? If we stopped doing this process, would the business crash and burn? Fifty percent of the time, the answer is no,” Keenan said. “Then why are we still doing this? Is it because we’ve always done it? If we

stop doing this, my time might be better spent elsewhere.” A repeatable process with documentation, he added, can usually be automated.

“If we can’t automate or eliminate, then we have to delegate,” he said. “Is there someone on the current team who has the capability, understanding and know-how to take on this task? If there isn’t, we have to start building roles and responsibilities for that person and hire them. Then comes onboarding. This is a cycle that repeats over and over.”

Most of all, Keenan advised business owners to learn what works best for them. “When we get stuck, we lose clarity and motivation and we do things ourselves. But if we keep living with that mentality, we won’t grow,” he said, adding, “If you do a little bit of foundational work, it will help you to keep growing.”

 strategy & tactics 56 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024

Motorcycle Kit

The SXMKR97 is the smallest and most compact SiriusXM® Satellite Radio motorcycle kit on the market. The Commander Touch system features a beautiful full-color touch screen display controller that allows you to pause and rewind capability SiriusXM® programming. The display controller dimensions are 4.1" W x 1.7" H x .5" D. Perfect for a discrete and clean installation into any motorcycle dash or console.

•Touch Screen Display

•Water Resistant Case

•Hide-away Tuner

•3 Mounting Options

•Universal Audio Adapters

•Advanced SiriusXM® (800) 595-0845


The goal of this 2019 Toyota Tacoma is a simple one—to demonstrate the possibilities in JVC products, and the kind of system a customer can get with a smaller budget.

 installs
58 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024 59

This 2019 Toyota Tacoma demonstrates JVC products in an everyday vehicle.

“The Tacoma is my daily driver,” said Josh Bowen of JVC. “We just swapped everything out with OEM speaker locations.” The radio is a KW-Z1000W. The build features CS-DR6931 front speakers, and CS-DR621 rear speakers. It also has two 10-inch CS-DR104 subwoofers, and two KSDR2004D amplifiers, and a

KS-DR2001D amplifier. The truck is used to demonstrate possibilities for a customer with a lower budget.

“In the demo, we’re using the KW-Z1000W to demonstrate the tuning possibilities found within the receiver. DSP properties, time alignment, parametric EQ, and great audio quality,” Bowen explained. “Then we use that to show listeners they can still achieve

a system that meets their expectations when paired with JVC amps, speakers, and subs for a great value. We put people in the truck so they can hear the abilities within the JVC family of products. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t use DSPs, but for an everyday customer who doesn’t have a $7,000 budget, this is what we can do for around $2,000 dollars retail and get pretty good sound.”

60 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024  installs
Get Certi o ed Questions about how to get certiied or link your retail location? Contact us at! Verify Credentials The Mobile Electronics Certioed Professional (MECP) program is the only internationally recognized program of its kind. Verify A Retailer


Attend the best networking event our industry has to offer. Come to KnowledgeFest where you can learn, connect and gain the necessary tools to help you excel.

Hopefully, you are off to a great start for 2024. There are a few very important things you should consider for your business as the year progresses. Learning more about your profession should be near, if not at the top of your list. There are many resources available to assist you in becoming the business owner, manager, technician or sales guru you want to become. Every day is a learning experience if you take the time to properly reflect upon your day. If you are looking for a real and highly beneficial learning experience, there is nothing that compares to participating at a KnowledgeFest event.


Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, or a relative newcomer to the mobile electronics industry, KnowledgeFest has something for you. Each event includes over 40 hours of educational workshops with specialized training for owners, managers, sales and marketing professionals as well as technicians and fabricators. The education sessions are not brand specific. They serve to provide informative and relevant information designed to keep your business on the cutting edge.

New products are now available from many of your favorite suppliers. Why spend the time figuring out how best to sell and install them when you can experience over 70 hours of vendor training all at one location? Every major manufacturer and many specialty manufacturers will be there to provide an unparalleled learning experience. What you learn will assist you in becoming a product and installation expert in your market.

The best networking experience for our industry is at KnowledgeFest. There are many social activities going on during the event and afterhours that offer much needed face-to-face networking opportunities with your vendors and peers. This is a great time to have conversations about your business with other professionals in the industry.

The best vendors in the industry are presenting their finest! They are featuring the latest in aftermarket technology for the automobile and demonstrating the best way for you to offer these products to your customers. Talk one-on-one with the people you do business with (or should be!).

You will never enjoy adding to your skillset more than by attending KnowledgeFest!


Pick your event. WE just finished up a great event in Las Vegas this past February and are looking forward to doing it again in Las Vegas for 2025. The remaining events for 2024 are Nashville in April, Atlantic City in June, and or Dallas in August. Make your hotel reservation, book a flight if needed and register. Then make a list of exhibitors you want to visit, what you want to learn and who you want to meet. Planning will allow you to reach out to your vendors

and discover what they’ll be offering. Will they have special deals? Are they introducing something new? Are they having a dealer event afterhours?

These are things you need to know to make the most out of your experience. Contact your industry colleagues and plan to connect. Review the event education and vendor training schedule and make reservations for the classes and training sessions you want to attend. Go to KnowledgeFest with a purpose in mind—to improve yourself and your business.


The event has something great in store for everyone in your business. The education tracks have content targeted at owners, managers, sales and marketing professionals as well as technicians and fabricators. Vendor training is great for anyone selling or installing. Regardless of your position in the industry, KnowledgeFest has something for you. For the upcoming Nashville event we are Introducing the Truck and Off-Road Accessories category lead by RealTruck™ and featuring a product demonstration stage for you to learn about the opportunities in this exciting product category. This dynamic event will spotlight a variety of truck and off-road categories, featuring top-notch products such as truck bed covers, step and nerf bars, weather protection, and much more.


There is nothing quite like the experience of participating in a KnowledgeFest event. Education sessions are taught by others in our industry who’ve had both successes and failures. They are eager to teach you what they learned. They will be ready to answer your questions during class and afterhours. The exhibit floor provides all the top vendors in one place, and they’re ready to share their best to help you be your best!


This can be overwhelming because you’re stepping back into reality with a laundry list of things you have learned. Your first thought may be to do them all. However, the best thing to do is make a list, and organize it according to what you feel will have the greatest impact.

The best thing you can do is pick one to three key takeaways and formulate a plan to implement them one at a time, beginning with whatever seems to offer the most positive outcome. If you are unsure, reach out to one of the instructors or one of your industry colleagues for insight.

Our industry is blessed with many who want to help you be your best. It’s one of the many things I love about this industry. If you find that you have no one to call, feel free to call me and I would be glad to help! I hope to see you soon at a KnowledgeFest event!

62 Mobile Electronics February/March 2024
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