Thursday, January 17, 2013

CE Pro Names Top 20 Most Influential People of 20 Years

Celebrating 20 years in print, CE Pro magazine, the leading publication for the custom electronics channel, has named the 20 people that made the biggest impact on the industry in the past two decades.
The top three most influential people, selected by CE Pro editors and the community, are Runco founder Sam Runco, Monster founder Noel Lee and Crestron founder George Feldstein.

The magazine names 17 other influencers, as well as well as 27 honorable mentions. In addition, CE Pro names the six industry pioneers who might be considered the “Father of Home Automation.”

To assemble the list, CE Pro first turned to the community for nominees, and then put the top nominees to a formal vote. Top vote-getters made the list, and then CE Pro editors and a small circle of insiders selected five “relatively unheralded wild cards who we felt should have made the list but didn’t,” says Julie Jacobson, CE Pro editor at large and co-founder of parent company EH Publishing.

EH Publishing was founded by Jacobson and CEO Ken Moyes in 1994 with the acquisition Electronic House, which has been published since 1986 and remains the only consumer magazine focused on the connected home.

CE Pro’s Humble Beginnings
The first issue of CE Pro – the trade magazine for professionals who install and integrate audio, video, home automation, and other home technologies – appeared in 1993 as an insert in Electronic House. At the time, it was called H.A. Pro for “home automation.”

The first standalone issue of the magazine was published in 1995 with Tom Doherty – one of CE Pro’s Top 20 – on the cover. He was then, and still is an influential integrator with Doherty Design Group. He also co-founded CEDIA, launched the music management category with Escient and spawned the CD database aggregator Gracenote.

“Doherty might not be as well known as some of the other influencers on the list,” says Jacobson, who authored the Top 20 piece, “but those who have been in the business for 20-plus years will recognize his enormous contributions to the industry.”

Indeed, many on the list are the “forgotten ones” who pushed the industry forward either through technological innovations, training, evangelism or sheer passion, according to Jacobson.

“We felt it was our duty to celebrate some of the people who got us here, even those like Russ Herschelmann, who left the industry many years ago to run a bed-and-breakfast,” she says.

Jacobson adds, “I suspect it will be a very controversial list and we look forward to the feedback.”

The Top 20 story appears in the February issue of CE Pro magazine, and it is now live in the digital issue of the magazine. The entire story will be posted at CEPro.com on Wed., Jan. 23.

Throughout the year, CE Pro will reminisce over the past two decades and industry long-timers are invited to participate by sending photos and anecdotes to jjacobson@ehpub.com or tweet @juliejacobson.

The List: CE Pro’s Most Influential People of the Past 20 Years
#1 Sam Runco, Founder and CEO (retired), Runco International
#2 Noel Lee, founder and CEO, Monster (formerly Monster Cable)
#3 George Feldstein, founder and CEO, Crestron
Jeremy Burkhardt, former owner and president (retired), SpeakerCraft
Scott Struthers, founder and principal, Sonance, iPort, TruFIG
Joel Spira, founder and CEO Lutron Electronics
Tomlinson Holman, founder, THX
Joe Kane, founder, Joe Kane Productions
Joe Piccirilli, managing director (retired), AVAD
Chris Stevens, founderPhoenix Systems, AudioAccess, iControl; president, Harman Kardon
Will West and Eric Smith, founders, Control4
Tom Doherty, founder, Doherty Design Group
Russ Herschelmann, home theater designer
Anthony Grimani, founder, PMI, Ltd.
Don Stewart, EVP, Stewart Filmscreen
Eric Johnson, Product developer, instructor
Tricia Parks, founder and CEO, Parks Associates
Joel Silver, president and founder, Imaging Science Foundation
Bob Carver, founder, Sunfire
Daniel Tonks, founder, RemoteCentral.com

Next: Z-Wave Launches Next Gen Chipset, Apps
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