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This year's Mobile Electronics Industry Awards have been announced during the ceremony at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. The Installer of the Year Award was given to JT Torres of Al & Ed's Autosound in Huntington Beach, Calif. The Retailer of the Year Single Store was awarded to Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security.

Below is the complete list of winners:

Retail Awards

Installer of the Year: Juan Torres

Installer of the Year  RUNNER-UP: Matt Schaeffer

Trusted Tech: Bryan Piper

Retailer of the Year - Single Store: Perfectionist Autosound

Retailer of the Year Single Store RUNNER-UP: Musicar Northwest

Retailer of the Year Store Chain: Stereo King

Retailer of the Year Store Chain RUNNER-UP: Tint World

Career Achievement Award: David “Fishman” Rivera

Rookie of the Year: Tyler Clemence

Most Improved: Auto Trim Design of Amarillo

Best Online Presence: Cartronix

Best Customer Retention Program: Handcrafted Car Audio

Best Store Presentation: Tunes-N-Tint

Vendor Awards

Vendor of the Year: Orca Design & Manufacturing

Expeditor of the Year: American Radio

Distributor of the Year AUTO: DOW Electronics

Representative of the Year: Andy Adkins

Rep Firm of the Year: Marketing Pros

Top Vendor AUTOSOUND & VIDEO: Orca Design & Manufacturing

Top Vendor ACCESSORIES & MATERIALS: Metra Electronics


Top Vendor SAFETY & RETENTION: Firstech



Mobile Electronics Magazine Announces Industry Awards Top 50
Award recipients from the U.S. and Canada move on to compete for the Top 12

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. – May 12, 2016 – Mobile Electronics magazine today announced the Top 50 Retailers, sponsored by Sony, and the Top 50 Installers, sponsored by K40 Electronics. The Top 50 award is the first component of the magazine’s annual Industry Awards competition. Recipients of this award have the honor of being considered the premier mobile electronics retail outlets and installation technicians in the U.S. and Canada, according to the magazine.

“As magazine editor, you get to see how hard these individuals work to perfect their craft and present themselves as problem solvers and dream fulfillers,” said Solomon Daniels, editor-in chief of Mobile Electronics and awards administrator. “In turn, the retail stores have become the authority on vehicle-specific solutions for autosound enhancement, security and safety. I’m very proud to announce these awards and present certificates to the winners.”

In addition to the Top 50, award recipients are eligible to compete for the next phase of the Industry Awards, which through industry and consumer voting narrows the list to 12 retail and installation finalists. The “Top 12” would then submit judging materials to be considered for Retailer of the Year and Installer of the Year. These final awards will be announced at the Mobile Electronics Industry Awards celebration during the KnowledgeFest trade show and conference in Dallas, August 20-22. For more information, visit

Top 50 Installers
sponsored by 

K40 Logo Awards

Tim Baillie – HzEmall – Surrey, BC

Barry Barth – Prestige Car Audio & Marine – Metairie, LA

Charles Brazil – First Coast Auto Creations – Jacksonville, FL

John Cage – Spokane Audio Video Experts – Greenacres, WA

Jeff Cantrell – JC Audio – Jackson, TN

TJ Carlson – Kingpin Car & Marine Audio – Wilsonville, OR

Dan Castro – The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, MO

Steve Coogle – Discount Audio – Louisville, KY

Matt Cropper – Stereo King – Portland, OR

David Cruz – Soundscape Car Audio – Plano, TX

B.J. Curcio – After FX Customs – Stamford, CT

Daniel DiCampli – Windward Audio – Kaneohe, HI

Brandon Douglas – Adrenaline Autosound – Clayton, NC

Andrew Emelander – GNC Customs – Goshen, IN

Andrew Evens – Industry Auto Designs – Las Vegas, NV

Nicholas Frazier – Innovative Concepts – West Springfield, MA

Aaron Garcia – Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security – Anchorage, AK

Brandon Green – The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, MO

Alan Hogan – Baileys Audio – Lake Charles, LA

David Kosakowski – Total image – McKees Rocks, PA

Brent Leavitt – Low Notes Garage – Boise, ID

Sam Lee – Audio Xcellence – City of Industry, CA

Dan Macilwain – Sound Advantage – Rochester, MI

Erick Markland – Markland Designs – Lithonia, GA

Aaron Markwell – Godspeed Rides – Sarasota, FL

Scott Miller – Explicit Customs – West Melbourne, FL

Rob Miller – JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO

Jeremiah Mojica – GNC Customs – Elkhart, IN

Jonathan Moore – Dreamworks Motorsports – Roxboro, NC

Michael Oechsner – Mobile Edge – Lehighton, PA

Chris Ott – Amplified Autosports – Tampa, FL

Christerfer Pate – Mobile Toys Inc – College Station, TX

Adam Perkins – Sound Wave Customs – Virginia Beach, VA

John Phillips – Stereo One Carbondale – Carbondale, IL

Bryan Piper – Resonance Auto Craft – Corpus Christi, TX

Carlos Ramirez – NVS Audio – Linden, NJ

Alain Sainvil – NVS Audio – Linden, NJ

Mike Sandoval – Sound Warehouse – Salt Lake City, UT

Matt Schaeffer – Safe & Sound Mobile Electronics – Chantilly, VA

Jon Schmitz – Mach 1 Audio – Washington, MO

John Schumacher – Audio Solutions StL – St. Louis, MO

Mike Schwitz – Sound Connection – St. Joseph, MN

Cj Silvey – Foss Audio and Tint – Puyallup, WA

Jason Stone – Stereo Solutions – Redding, CA

Vinny Tullo – VIP Customs – Earlysville, VA

Bryan Turvaville – Auto Trim Design – Amarillo, TX

Miguel Vega – Titan Motoring – Nashville, TN

Colton Wadley – Pro Audio – Provo, UT

Warren Williams – Hi-Tech Car Audio – El Cerrito, CA

Tyler Wilson – Spokane Audio Video Experts – Greenacres, WA

Top 50 Retailers
sponsored by

Sony Logo Industry Awards

Absolute Electronix – Rockville, MD

Adrenaline Autosound – Clayton, NC

Al & Ed’s Autosound – Los Angeles, CA

Audio Designs & Custom Graphics – Jacksonville, FL

Audio Expert Car Stereo – Clearwater, FL

Audio Solutions StL – St. Louis, MO

Auto Trim Design – Amarillo, TX

Autosound Lab – Fresno, CA

Blvd Customs of Lakeland – Lakeland, FL

California Audio – WVC, UT

Cartronix – Valparaiso, IN

Cartunes – Atlanta, GA

Cypress Auto Sound & Tint – Cypress, CA

Distinctive Car Toyz – Pleasantville, NJ

Dr Dashboard – Evansville, IN

Dreamworks Motorsports – Roxboro, NC

Driven Audio Ltd. – Abbotsford, BC

Driven Mobile Electronics – Chantilly, VA

Elite Audio – Spartanburg, SC

Explicit Customs – West Melbourne, FL

Extreme Audio – Mechanicsville, VA

Foss Audio & Tint – Tukwila, WA

GNC Customs – Goshen, IN

Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo – Pikeville, KY

Industry Auto Designs – Las Vegas, NV

JC Audio – Jackson, TN

JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO

Kingpin Car & Marine Audio Inc – Wilsonville, OR

Mobile Toys – College Station, TX

Musicar Northwest – Portland, OR

NVS Audio – Linden, NJ

Ocala Car Audio – Ocala, FL

Prestige Car Audio & Marine – Metairie, LA

Radios Knobs Speakers and Things – Pontiac, MI

Sound Auto – Hamilton, NJ

Sound Depot and Performance – Gainesville, FL

Sound FX, Inc. – Lewes, DE

Sound Solutions – Gulfport, MS

Sound Wave Customs – Virginia Beach, VA

Soundscape Car Audio – Plano, TX

SoundsGood Auto – Coquitlam, BC

Spokane Audio Video Experts – Greenacres, WA

SRQ Customs – Sarasota, FL

Stereo King Oregon – Portland, OR

Stereo Solutions – Redding, CA

The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, MO

The Sound Shop – Indian Trail, NC

Tip Top Customs – Morris, IL

Tunes-N-Tint – Lakeland, FL

Westminster Speed & Sound – Westminster, MD

About Mobile Electronics®
Mobile Electronics strives to grow the mobile electronics industry by supporting its retailers, salespeople, technicians and manufacturers with integrated services built around the group’s 1,100-plus-member industry association, the Mobile Electronics® Association, its Mobile Electronics® magazine, KnowledgeFest® tradeshows, Partnership Program, point-of-sale system and data products. Through these offerings, Mobile Electronics delivers education, networking avenues, and business and marketing resources, and promotes partnership between retailers and manufacturers to increase sales and profits. For more information, contact Mobile Electronics at 85 Flagship Dr., Suite F, North Andover, MA, 01845, telephone: 800-949-6372, or visit

Better Than Yesterday

To break out of a stalling career mindset six years ago, Matt Schaeffer made the conscious choice to challenge himself every day. Today, he stands atop the 12-volt industry as Installer of the Year.  

Words by Ted Goslin
Photos by Tim Causa

Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up. Some wander the world in search of a dream job with no particular focus, hoping that some mystical force will guide them into their ideal life. But it doesn’t work that way. Some people never find their calling and wind up taking whatever career path is most convenient. And then there’s Matt Schaeffer.

At the age of 11, Schaeffer received his first four-wheeler and fell in love. Cars became a passion off the bat for the future installer, who learned quickly what his favorite hobby and future career would become.
“I became obsessed with building it, customizing it, making it my own. I even got into making panels and customizing my four-wheeler,” Schaeffer said. “Then when I was in high school I got an Eclipse GSX. Using the mentality I had with my four-wheeler, I customized the GSX with panels, fabricating and installing.”

It was during this time period in the early 2000s that master fabricators like Dave “Fishman” Rivera, Steve Brown and Chris Yato were making the rounds in various magazines, showing off their work to a new generation of 12-volt enthusiasts. The build articles featured things like how to build fiberglass panels, Schaeffer recalled. “I would reverse engineer my parts from those articles to figure out what I wanted to build,” Schaeffer said. “For me, I fell in love with building, making things my own. I built my Eclipse to be a show car on the East Coast. It won Best in Show at the Funk Master Flex show in Daytona. It showed the artistic place where my passion lies and I knew that’s where I wanted to take my career.”

After high school, Schaeffer sought out a school to learn his craft. But instead of heading straight for 12-volt, he started with the basics at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Orlando, Fla., where he received an education in automotive repair. “I learned transmissions, suspension, all the things I wasn’t versed in. As I’m installing something in a car, I’d want to be more versatile and be able to diagnose problems in a car,” Schaeffer said. “I had a lot of fun there and use a lot of what I learned now with wheels, tires, lift kits and performance upgrades. It’s something I hold dear to my heart that’s a nice change of pace from doing custom installs and head units. In my opinion, Universal Technical Institute would be the college for our industry.”

Upon graduating in 2006, Schaeffer attended the Installer Institute, which lasted about two weeks. He then went to a week-long training with his idol, Dave “Fishman” Rivera, called “Fish Camp.” The camp opened his eyes to what is possible with fabrication.
“That was the first time I realized how easy it could be. Fish made it look so easy and effortless,” Schaeffer recalled. “Seeing him layer different pieces together, this piece into that piece, I never realized how easy it could be. I just looked at it and thought, ‘so that is how they do it.’”

Click here for the full article.

10-3-2017, Mobile Electronics -- Among the biggest truisms of human beings is their tendency to let history repeat itself. While some things—like war and genocide—are best left in the past, others might be worth repeating. In 2010, Matt Schaeffer had hit a professional wall. Eager for a change, he set out on a path of improvement. Six years later, he was Installer of the Year. It turns out, in 2017, history would repeat itself again.

Six years ago, Chris Pate was in a similar situation. After what would seem like a lifetime full of achievement that included fronting a touring band, 36 car audio championships and buying/creating a two-store retail chain, Pate hit his own wall, finding himself stagnant as an installer. To solve the problem would take a combination of long hours, family approval and industry support, not to mention an openness to new ideas.

The Early Days

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Pate began his life as a builder. "I built everything," he proclaimed. His parents bought him every building toy they could, including Erector sets and Legos, to satisfy his creative urges. As he grew older, he started building half-pipes. Then, at age 13, he built his first speaker box. Having access to a woodshop and the encouragement of his father, brother and grandfather helped as well.

"My dad and brother were into car audio. They would do stuff at local stereo shops, come home and want to build it. My brother would build speaker boxes and once I said 'Let me try,' Pate said. "We were building speaker boxes in my dad's driveway in Houston. When I was 13, my dad threw me into an S-10 pickup to install a radio. He gave me a test light and crimper and said, 'Go to town.' It worked. It took me about three hours, but I knew enough about positive and negative to figure it out."

Eventually, his family moved from Houston to a town called Harden, located in East Texas, where Pate went to high school. "In high school, I was in marching band. I did a lot of music. That's where most of my drive comes from—music," he said. "A lot of guys know me for fabrication and building cool cars. But a lot of what I do, what I consider that higher level, is building good sounding cars. I've built sound quality cars for as long as I can remember."

Pate started off playing the trombone, a practice that began in the sixth grade. The same year, his dad bought him his first guitar. Within three to four months of each other, he played both instruments. "Those are the two main instruments that I play. I've learned to play drums and bass guitar since then," he added. His musical prowess led him to become head drum major in the high school band. 

After graduating high school, Pate attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, which he would eventually call his permanent home. Unlike his predecessor, Matt Schaeffer, Pate didn't start his career with a laser-pointed focus on car audio. It was more general than that, centered on design creativity. That urge, first nurtured by his box-building days during childhood, turned into music, then returned to building in college.

"They didn't have a music department at Texas A&M. I started off majoring in aerospace engineering. I wanted to have an engineering degree but didn't want to take as much math as I was taking the first year. I decided I would transfer to the architecture department. It was really a design degree, which is what I wanted," Pate said. "It ended up being computer animation. I ended up taking most of the math classes anyway. It was an interesting process. As a kid, you think you're going to get out of something, but I ended up taking all the things I wanted to avoid. Environmental design was the only design degree they had."

To pay for the degree, Pate worked at Circuit City, quickly moving up to the role of sales and installation manager. After finishing school, he left Circuit City and began working for Audio/Video, where he remained for five years. "I talked them into opening a car audio-only store that was separate from the rest of their business," he said.

A Short Segue

This might be the part of the story that transitions to how Pate got into being the owner and lead installer of his own car audio business. But that would leave out an important part of what makes him who he is. "In 1999 I went to my first world championship. Some buddies of mine ran a different shop. They competed. They were going to the Kansas City USAC competition. For me, it was about going to a car audio show and seeing some cars. I was totally blown away. The extent these people would go to make a car sound better to me was extremely interesting," Pate said. "Also being in a rock 'n' roll band [lead singer and guitarist for the band, Linus], I thought, 'This is what you're trying to do. Create those types of live music environments in a car."

Hoping to make an impact in that scene, Pate started building his first competition vehicle in 2001, a 1993 Mazda RX7. He took the car to his first finals where hundreds of other cars were competing. "I got fourth place, which felt pretty neat for a guy who didn't know what he was doing," he said. "You get clients that are into it; it ended up being a great selling tool. We would invite customers to hang out and build cars for them, then take them to events."

The small group of car audio buffs, which included friends and clients, would travel together to championships over the years, piling into cheap hotel rooms during their stay. "From 2001 to now we won a bunch of championships for cars I built and tuned, cars I helped build and tune and my own personal vehicles," Pate said. "I was never able to use my personal vehicles because I was always doing work for customers. In 2007 I was finally able to win expert class with my own vehicle." 

Read the rest of the story HERE.

World-class technician and fabricator to manage custom car division

LEWES, DEL. – September 6, 2017 (MEDIAWIRE) – Sound FX, award-winning retailer of advanced-technology entertainment, safety and information solutions for the car and home, announced that Matt Schaeffer, 2016 Mobile Electronics magazine Installer of the Year, has joined the company as Lead Vehicle Fabricator at its retail location in Lewes, Delaware. Schaeffer now heads the store’s vehicle customization division and will be instrumental in expanding its service model to draw customers from other states. The high-profile addition to the Sound FX staff enables the store to significantly grow its capabilities and offer a wider range of services.

Matt Schaeffer is an accomplished and recognized custom installation professional, carrying ASE and MECP Master certifications. He specializes in designing and building premium in-vehicle entertainment systems that meld with the factory-installed style and function while improving the driving experience with the latest technology. His work encompasses daily drivers and exotic vehicles alike, and has been featured in magazines around the world. Videos of the vehicles he’s transformed have been viewed more than half a million times on YouTube.

“Matt’s fabrication ability speaks for itself,” said Brian Layton, who owns Sound FX along with his business partner, Mike Wright. “We would welcome him on that fact alone. But he brings so much more to the table. Someone who is willing to share and teach his expertise and still learn from others. A true professional who makes others better, whether they work with him or in other stores. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome him and his family to our store and our community.”

Sound FX was voted Retailer of the Year by Mobile Electronics magazine in 2014. Co-owners Layton and Wright revamped the store’s service offerings and marketing approach in 2013 to address a savvier and information-hungry customer base. Its website,, which features more than 50 pages of in-depth product and technology content, is indicative of the store’s continued evolution to provide the highest level of service and capability in its market.

“My career goals have always centered on improving myself and building on my experience,” said Schaeffer. “In talking with Brian, as well as seeing how Sound FX is continually evolving to leverage opportunities in its market, I felt we shared the same vision. I am happy to have accepted the position and look forward to writing the next chapter of my life and career in Lewes.”

North Andover, Mass., September 17, 2020 -- The Mobile Electronics Associaiton announced the last day to make your selections to recognize our best. Voting Ends Sunday, September 20, 2020!
It's your last chance to vote for all categories of the annual Mobile Electronics Industry Awards! Select your choices for finalists from the Top 50 Retailers, Top 50 Installers and Top 20 Sales pros, plus five retail performance categories.
And don't forget the Supplier Categories, Trusted Tech and Rookie of the Year!




Hello All,

It’s Time! This is the official notification that the 2014 Industry Awards are underway.

This blog is intended to outline the process and rules for the awards, starting from selecting the Top 100 Installers and Top 50 Retailers, all the way to selecting the final winners. Those winners will be announced and celebrated at the Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA) KnowledgeFest event in Dallas, August 16-19.

For those of you who don’t know, The Industry Awards recognize the top performers in our industry. At the retail level, we identify the Top 100 Installers and Top 50 Retailers. Each of these groups narrows down to the Top 12, and finally we select winners from this group. This year, we’ve made changes to the Retailer of the Year awards. There will be one winner and one runner-up award given in two categories: single store and chain. The Installer of the Year award remains unchanged.

And there are other awards as well. The Trusted Tech award goes to the individual installation expert who is not only an excellent troubleshooter and detail-oriented worker, but has also earned the recognition and respect of their peers. The Rep of the Year and Rep Firm of the Year recognize sales representatives who go beyond the transaction to provide support and encouragement to retailers. Distributor of the Year (new for 2014) and Expediter of the Year award the top performers in these sales channels. And our Vendor of the Year awards celebrate the hard-working staffs of our suppliers and manufacturers in several different categories.

Before we delve more into the details, I want to first thank the members of the Mobile Electronics Advisory Group for their time and valued input. My goal for the group was to streamline the rules and policies of the awards so that we can present a fair and transparent process to the industry. The guidelines you see below are the result of their dedication.

Good Luck to All!

Solomon Daniels, Editor-in-Chief


2014 Mobile Electronics Industry Awards – Rules and Guidelines

Retailer Qualifications:

A publicly accessible, licensed brick-and-mortar or mobile business that has a dedicated mobile electronics department with full sales, retail and installation support. The business must have been open for a minimum of two years, regardless of location. (Home-based business must meet the same criteria and be licensed by local municipality to operate a mobile electronics retail business in its location.)

Installer Qualifications:

Installation specialists with a minimum 5 years of experience under a licensed business (company or sole proprietor) who are gainfully employed as a professional installer. Installation must be their primary duty within the business.


Vendors, Expediters, Distributors, Reps and Rep Firm Awards


A vendor, manufacturer's representative, distributor or expediter that produces, sells or supports products in the mobile electroncis industry.

Vendor Awards:

Expediter of the Year

Rep of the Year

Rep Firm of the Year

Distributor of the Year

Top Vendor - Vendor – Autosound / Video

Top Vendor – Security / Convenience / Safety

Top Vendor – Power / Installation Components

Top Vendor – Processing and Integration



June 3: Voting to Select the Top 12 Begins

Individuals who vote are divided into two categories:
Consumers / Enthusiasts – people who are customers, family members, friends or competitors and are NOT employees in the mobile electronics industry in a professional capacity.

Industry professionals – people who work for an industry manufacturer, supplier, distributor, affiliate company or a retail location.

Because this is primarily an industry award, the value of an industry vote will be higher than that of a consumer vote:

  • If a candidate gets fewer than 5 industry votes, the consumer votes do not count.
  • If a candidate gets 6 to 9 industry votes, the consumer votes are worth 1/5 of one industry vote each.
  • If a candidate gets 10 to 19 industry votes, the consumer votes are worth 1/4 of one industry vote each.
  • If a candidate gets 20 to 29 industry votes, the consumer votes are worth 1/3 of one industry vote each.
  • If a candidate gets 30 to 39 industry votes, the consumer votes are worth 1/2 of one industry vote each.
  • If a candidate gets 40 or more industry votes, the consumer votes are worth 3/4 of one industry vote each.
  • Each person may select one retailer and one installer. Voters must supply contact information for verification purposes, and IP addresses are monitored to reduce the possibility of fraudulent voting. (Multiple store employees may vote from the same computer / IP address.)

    June 20: LAST DAY to VOTE!


    August 18: All winners announced at KnowledgeFest

    Errors and omissions:
    If, throughout this process, we determine that there is an error or more detail / clarification is required, we will publicly announce the adjustment via Hotwire, our email newsletter. 

    Copyright - Mobile Electronics Association 2020

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