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8-21-2016 -- During the town hall panel on the KnowledgeFest opening night, five industry vendors presented their opinions on the industry's current status and how it can adapt to changing technological threats, including OEM advancements. The answers centered on the need for retailers to stay on top of ermerging technology and finding a way to communicate its usefulness to consumers.

The presenters included Jeff Fay from Harman, Brett Riggs from AAMP Global, Mark Ruttledge from Automotive Data Solutions, Manville Smith of JL Audio and Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions. After the conclusion of their presentations, Chris Cook, president of the Mobile Electronics Association (MEA), asked the panel several questions about how the industry can "SHIFT" with technological trends. Core ideas from the group included using passion to drive innovation, which will in-turn inspire customers to want to learn more about 12-volt products, taking products out into the community to events as a marketing tool and relating to customers by installing powerful systems in the vehicles of those who are selling. 

"We need our own systems in our cars," stressed Schmitt, who received an applause for the comment. "We need something compelling. I put a system in my wife's car and played her favorite artist, Norah Jones. She cried and I thought 'This is what it's all about.'" Jeff Fay added to the idea by suggesting owners/managers install systems in their employees' cars to help empower them to take more ownership of both the products and business as a whole. 

The event closed a successful opening day that saw classrooms filled to capacity with many attendees having to stand in the halls while watching classes through doorways. The event continues through Monday, concluding with the Industry Awards on Monday night. For more information, visit


4-10-2017 -- During the town hall presentation at KnowledgeFest Spring Training in Indianapolis, Ind., Mobile Electronics Association President Chris Cook announced the upcoming dates for the next three KnowledgeFest events, including the first ever California KnowledgeFest event in Feb. 2018. 

"We are on a mission to educate, inform and empower the industry... Our next event is going to be in Dallas. It's coming up August 12th through 14th," Cook said. "Our new event is going to be in Long Beach, [Calif.] February 23rd through 25th for all of our West coast friends." 
Next year's spring training event will take place March 17 through 19 in the Indianapolis, returning the event to a weekend after taking place at the beginning of the week this year. This year's KnowledgeFest in Dallas will be held at the Dallas Convention Center due to it outgrowing the previous venue. The Omni Hotel will serve as the main hotel for the event and a surprise location has been chosen for the industry awards.  

The second day of KnowledgeFest Spring Training culminated in the Town Hall discussion, a staple for the event. The panelists consisted of five of the top retailers in the business, who answered questions based on the theme of what it takes to be successful in 12-volt today. 

The discussion was moderated by Chris Cook, president of the Mobile Electronics Group, and included Eric Carter of Cartronix, Brian Layton of SoundFX, Josh Mojica of GNC Customs, Matt Schaeffer of Safe & Sound Mobile Electronics and Ken Ward of Musicar Northwest. Questions for the panel ranged between having the right mindset with the business, what to look for in staff to ensure their success, and how to create a customer experience that makes a business stand out and build rapport. 

"We treat employees and customers like family. It's part of my vision on how to do things differently," said Mojica. "Passion is the reason we are here right now," said Schaeffer at another point. "You can't teach passion. Passion is just there."

The event took place after a full day of educational seminars and manufacturer trainings at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind.  


Panelists will discuss going beyond average to build a successful, longstanding operation

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. – March 25, 2016 (MEDIAWIRE) – The town hall meeting at the upcoming KnowledgeFest Spring Training show and education conference will feature five prominent retailers, discussing how specialist mobile electronics outlets can continue to grow their businesses. "Breaking Through the Retail Ceiling" will focus on the strategies and practices that elevate a business from moderate performance to legitimate success and sustainability. 

The town hall signals the midway point for KnowledgeFest Spring Training, following the first full day of exhibits and education. Its purpose is to present and discuss topics that concern or benefit the industry, led by an informed group of panelists.

"This year, we felt it was important to let retailers speak to retailers," said Chris Cook, Mobile Electronics president. "KnowledgeFest has always thrived as a peer environment, where people in the same profession can network and share ideas. For the town hall, we've selected a group of retailers who have achieved above-average levels of profit, market share and repeat clientele, and all of them are excited to relay their experiences and advice to our attendees."

The 2016 retail panelists are all current or prior recipients of awards from Mobile Electronics. They include:

  • Eric Carter of Cartronix in Valparaiso, Ind., multitime Top 50 and Top 12 Retailers award recipient
  • Brian Layton of Sound FX in Lewes, Del., a recent Retailer of the Year award recipient and multitime Top 50 Retailer
  • Josh Mojica of GNC Customs in Goshen, Ind., a recent Top 12 Retailers award recipient
  • Matt Schaeffer of Safe and Sound Mobile Electronics in Manassas, Va., 2015 Installer of the Year runner-up
  • Ken Ward of Musicar Northwest in Portland, Ore., previous Retailer of the Year award recipient

KnowledgeFest Spring Training leverages the time of year when new products have begun to ship and retailers are most in need of instruction on product features and specifications as well as selling strategies. The event will be held April 8-10 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind. Professionals who wish to attend can register at Prospective attendees can view and register for available workshop classes, reserve seats, and print out a personalized itinerary at Find more information on KnowledgeFest Spring Training, travel to the event, and accommodations at

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