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Theme for annual show and conference in Dallas focuses on keeping up with advancing technology, consumer patterns.

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS., June 27, 2016 (MEDIAWIRE) — The Mobile Electronics Association® (MEA) announced the theme for its 2016 KnowledgeFest® trade show and conference, scheduled for August 20-22, 2016 at the Hilton Anatole Resort & Convention Center in Dallas. "SHIFT" will be depicted on all show signs and artwork, signifying a call for industry professionals to take their expertise, drive and professionalism to a higher level.

The KnowledgeFest theme is chosen annually by MEA staff after carefully evaluating changing trends that directly affect the mobile electronics community. This year, the focus has been on evolving safety and driver assistance products and technologies.

"Carmakers are using significant advertising budget to promote safety features on new vehicles, and almost all of the available OEM options have aftermarket counterparts," said Chris Cook, MEA president. "Retailers can take advantage of a new profit center in which consumer value has been stoked high by OEM messaging."

The media is also heavily covering autonomous vehicle technology and how cars will make decisions based on input from vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) networks. The potential changes to the driving experience hold future opportunity for retailers and installation technicians. 

Celebrating its 20th year, KnowledgeFest will employ its own shift as well. The educational component of the conference will undergo a change from individual classes to three-class courses. Each course is intended to enhance the educational experience with graduated lessons from class to class, as well as a broader view of how the chosen curriculum works within the store structure.  Attendees who complete each course will receive wall certificates marking their achievement.

The "SHIFT" theme is visualized by a classic car gear shifter that also includes a button, presumably to employ nitrous oxide, which propels a vehicle faster by increasing the amount of oxygen available for combustion.  

“The shifter and its nitrous button are the perfect representation of how we need to keep up with opportunities that come from evolution in the vehicle space," concluded Cook. "Shifting gives us more headroom to be able to react to changing market conditions. Then we hit the button and put all of our resources into overdrive."

Registration for KnowledgeFest 2016 is currently open, and attendees will be able to select and reserve space in education courses in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit  

About the Mobile Electronics Association®

The Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) strives to grow the mobile electronics industry by supporting its retailers, salespeople, technicians and manufacturers with integrated services built around the group’s 1100-plus members, its Mobile Electronics® magazine, KnowledgeFest® tradeshows, Partnership Program, point-of-sale system and data products. Through these offerings, Mobile Electronics delivers education, networking avenues, business and marketing resources, and promotes partnership between retailers and manufacturers to increase sales and profits. For more information, contact MEA at 85 Flagship Dr., Suite F, North Andover, MA 01845, telephone: 800-949-6372, or visit

Mobile Electronics® announced final figures for its recent KnowledgeFest educational conference and show in Dallas. Record-breaking attendance topped more than 950 mobile electronics industry professionals. The increase over 2014 can be attributed to new, first-time attendees and renewed growth in the specialist channel.

KnowledgeFest is the mobile electronics industry’s largest educational event. Dallas offered 36 hours of business management, sales and installation training and 40 hours of manufacturer training. Retailers responded: Dealer attendance at workshops and manufacturer trainings in Dallas increased over 2014.

“In the six years since re-inventing KnowledgeFest, this year’s event in Dallas was our biggest and best ever,” said Chris Cook, president of Mobile Electronics. “Our objective is to grow our new April show in Indianapolis in the same way, while making Dallas even better for our attendees and exhibitors.”

The Dallas show floor featured 46exhibitorsrepresenting over 60 brands and 50,000 square feet of exhibit space. Booth selection for KnowledgeFests 2016 took place onsite. Exhibitors renewed booth space for Dallas and choose space for Indianapolis 2016.

Eight new manufacturer partners also came onboard. Joining the fifteen other Mobile Electronics Partners are: Directed (Diamond Partner), Stillwater Designs (Diamond Partner), Voxx Electronics (Diamond Partner), AAMP of America (Gold Partner), Arc Audio (Gold Partner), K40 Electronics (Silver Partner), Accele (Silver Partner), and Cerwin Vega (Silver Partner).

“These vendors represent the diversity of products available in our industry. They control many of the best brands available to our dealer members,” said Kerry Moyer, vice president, strategic partnerships for Mobile Electronics. “We are pleased to welcome them onboard as business partners and appreciate their continuing support for our mission and the specialist channel.”

In 2016, KnowledgeFest will return to Dallas in August. KnowledgeFest Indianapolis takes place April 9-11 at the Indianapolis Convention Center. For more information, go to

The Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA), representing more than 1,000 specialist locations nationwide, announced it has acquired In Car Experts (ICE), a Swedesboro, N.J.-based firm that specializes in providing marketing infrastructure and strategic product acquisition services to well-established retail businesses in the in-vehicle technology sector. The acquisition will serve to broaden MERA’s capabilities in providing resources to its members, and to strengthen MERA’s brand within the mobile electronics community.

“The decision to acquire ICE started with a partnership that we announced during CES,” said Chris Cook, president of MERA. “As we discussed the elements of the partnership, we began to see how the benefits our organizations supplied to retailers were complementary. ICE represents the upper echelon of retailers that have demonstrated success on several levels. MERA supplies the proverbial ladder that helps retailers grow to that level of success. At that point, the conversation changed and evolved into the announcement we’re making today.”

As part of the acquisition, ICE will maintain its current operation under the guidance of Jason Denton and Cory Mayo, both of whom have managed the day-to-day operations of the firm for the past few years. Founder and current Executive Director Robert Elliott’s experience and counsel will take on a broader focus with his new position on the MERA Board of Directors. 

“We anticipate that nothing will change for current ICE members and vendor partners during this ownership transition, and for the foreseeable future,” added Cook. “Jason and Cory are accomplished professionals who have met the needs of the membership and are partners in every respect. Our position will be to support them in every way with MERA’s applicable resources, and to help to introduce new products and programs that fit the group.”

One immediate benefit to ICE members is that they automatically become members of MERA as a condition of the acquisition, gaining access to the organization’s sales and marketing support programs, as well as a vastly expanded peer network. In addition, MERA plans to develop a program that coaches its members to meet the requirements of ICE membership.

“We have already identified a number of MERA member businesses we feel are ideal candidates to become part of ICE,” said Cook. “The goal is not to lower the requirements for ICE membership, but rather to build a path by which retailers can raise their performance to a level that makes them eligible.”

ICE was started by former mobile electronics retailer Elliott in 2006. The firm used images of wolves in its initial marketing campaigns to represent the “pack mentality” it felt retailers needed to take to maintain and grow market share and viability in an ever more competitive consumer space. ICE quickly grew, with a selection of retail business that had achieved a certain level of sales success but still needed the benefits offered within an environment of like-minded professionals.

Despite its achievements, ICE made the deliberate decision to maintain a low-key presence in the industry, choosing to focus its efforts internally for the benefit of its membership. The firm currently offers a full suite of programs to develop competitive pricing and marketing advantages for its members.

“ICE was started to provide retailers with proven, enhanced marketing and vendor programs that are only available to retailers when functioning as part of a larger group,” said Elliott. “Over the past eight years, our members have benefitted from better product pricing, marketing support and a close-knit network of successful entrepreneurs sharing best practices. MERA’s acquisition ensures that these benefits will not only continue, but will be expanded and enriched with more resources and new leadership.”

About the Mobile Electronics Retailers Association:

The Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA) strives to grow the mobile electronics industry by supporting its professionals with education, networking opportunities and legislative support. Members include retailers, manufacturers, distributors, manufacturer’s representatives and others who realize professionalism and continuing education are cornerstones for successful business. In addition to numerous member benefits, MERA publishes Mobile Electronics magazine, the premier industry trade resource, and produces KnowledgeFest, the industry’s only trade show and education conference dedicated to mobile electronics professionals. For more information, visit or call (800) WHY-MERA. 

Mobile Electronics® announced that it has added six new Vendor Partners: ADS, Compustar and Harman International (its Infinity and JBL brands) have become Diamond Vendor Partners; and, AudioControl, JVC and Kenwood have become Platinum Vendor Partners.

“These are vendors who have been long-time supporters of KnowledgeFest®, Mobile Electronics® group (formerly MERA) and the specialist channel,” said Kerry Moyer, vice president, strategic partnerships, Mobile Electronics. “We’re happy they’ve taken the decision to grow our relationship beyond membership. We welcome them onboard as partners and look forward to doing good things together.”

Diamond, Platinum and Gold Vendor Partnership is by invitation. These five new partners join Diamond Partners: Alpine, HD Radio™, Metra Electronics, SiriusXM, Sony, and Orca Design and Manufacturing (which includes brands Focal, Auditor, Gladen Audio / Mosconi, Blackhole, and Illusion Audio). Other Platinum Partners include DD Audio, Memphis Car Audio and Scosche. Vendor Partners support Mobile Electronics’ Mission: To support the specialist channel to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Partners also support Mobile Electronics’ efforts to educate retailers, improve their businesses, and support their marketing campaigns.

Mobile Electronics® Partnership includes participation in its Marketing Program; and, partners receive additional savings on their KnowledgeFest exhibit space and their advertising in Mobile Electronics® magazine, Hotwire newsletter and on

Mobile Electronics® Vendor Partners and what they’re showing at the upcoming KnowledgeFest® Dallas will be highlighted in the July issue of Mobile Electronics® magazine and partners will receive special recognition as sponsors onsite. KnowledgeFest® Dallas takes place August 15-17 at the Hilton Anatole. This year’s event is setting-up to be Mobile Electronics’ biggest and best show and conference to date with 50 exhibitors and 1,000 attendees expected. For more information, go to

‘Mobile Electronics Association’ to provide strong branding, kick off membership campaign

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. – July 6, 2016 – Mobile Electronics® has approved a new name to represent the membership component of its industry offerings. Mobile Electronics Association™ (MEA) and its new logo will stand alongside KnowledgeFest®, the educational element, and the trade publication Mobile Electronics® magazine. In addition, a new website,, will provide retailers and vendors with information on the benefits of membership.
The Mobile Electronics Association is a vertically-integrated association with over 1,100 dealers, installers and manufacturers as its members. MEA provides a forum and voice for the mobile specialist channel and manages shared business resources and solutions for its retail members. In addition, through integration with Mobile Electronics magazine and KnowledgeFest, MEA promotes education and peer networking to advance the professionalism and profitability of the industry.
“In 2014 we officially retired the MERA (Mobile Electronics Retailers Association) brand and consolidated our three entities under the Mobile Electronics corporate brand,” said Chris Cook, president. “And while Mobile Electronics magazine and KnowledgeFest retained strong recognition, the identity of the membership was lost in the shuffle. MEA is a strong identity that also represents a broadened approach to membership.”
MEA will work to include all parts of the mobile electronics industry, welcoming vendors, retailers and service providers as members, while leaving the door open for other service and technology providers that significantly impact the market. The goal of the association is to increase participation and provide a better platform for networking and sharing of information through a diverse membership environment.
The new logo will be presented at the upcoming KnowledgeFest trade show and conference, August 20-22, in Dallas. The association will also launch a new campaign aimed at increasing membership and communicating the benefits of MEA to the mobile electronics industry. For more information, please visit

Mobile Electronics announced final numbers for its new KnowledgeFest event, Spring Training 2015, held last month in Indianapolis. The event, which combined a 30-manufacturer exhibit floor with dealer training and education, attracted over 480 attendees from 33 states, including the east and “near” east metro centers, and two Canadian provinces.

“We added Indy as a second KnowledgeFest for three reasons,” said Chris Cook, president of Mobile Electronics. “First, manufacturers weren’t seeing many dealers from east of the Mississippi in January; second, to maintain their competitive edge, 12-volt specialists want and need training and education; and, early April is a great time to deliver training on new products manufacturers are just starting to ship.”

With April’s Indy event in the book, Mobile Electronics is now focused on its second KnowledgeFest in Dallas August 15-17 at the Hilton Anatole. This “original” KnowledgeFest is the largest networking and educational event for mobile electronics retailers in the United States. Its objective is to provide peer-based and professional training to owners, managers and installation technicians through classes, a tradeshow and focused networking events.

“Since acquiring KnowledgeFest, every year we have grown and improved upon the event,” said Cook. “For 2015, we’re returning to having a keynote speaker to kick-off our Town Hall Meeting. Tim Parenti, president of MVP Dynamics, will address the topic of ‘Attitude – The Power to Direct or Misdirect.’ The keynote is sponsored by K40.”

Mobile Electronics has issued a “call for speakers.” For those wanting to be part of the KnowledgeFest conference program, go to Additional program enhancements will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information and to register to attend, please visit

After only one day, KnowledgeFest 2015 may be on track to surpass the success of last year's event. Taking place here at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, this year's event kicked off with a number of unique attributes, including having to share the complex with a bodybuilding competition, making for an interesting walk to dinner after the trade show and manufacturer trainings concluded.

But before the visual buffet of body donnas took place, attendees were treated to a wide array of educational seminars that featured part one of the "Tuning Cars" series with Andy Wehmeyer of Audio Frog, in which Wehmeyer discussed the pitfalls of trying to tune a car by ear, claiming that "tuning by ear sucks." He went on to describe the beginnings of the process. Tomorrow's seminar will feature Larry Frederick, who will likely use his own fun assortment of colorful metaphors to bring the topic to life.

Another engaging seminar featured Steve Witt of American Road Products and Derek Smiedl of NAV-TV discussing the power of a growing safety category in the class, "Safety is No Accident: Creating a Successful Safety Business." The two were able to execute convincing arguments on ways to sell the products to reluctant customers by providing convincing anecdotes, including one about a teenage boy betting t-boned in his brand-new sports car by an elderly couple. The couple ran a red light, making them at fault. But when questioned by the officer who arrived on-scene, they claimed the boy ran the light. Had it not been for his trusty dash cam streaming and recording video to his smart phone, he may have ended up at fault.

As night fell, cocktails emerged and this year's opening night ceremony commenced, beginning with a keynote by Tim Parenti, president of MVP Dynamics. The speaker, new to the 12-volt scene, discussed "Attitude - The Power to Direct or Misdirect." The presentation centered on a person's ability to change their situation with the power of attitude. Citing various case studies and having attendees write out various exercises, Parenti kept the crowd intrigued and made a strong argument for his topic.

Following that, Chris Cook, president of the Mobile Electronics Group, introduced this year's Town Hall panel, which included Joshua Landau of JML Audio, Brian Layton of Sound FX (current Retailer of the Year), Gary Stackpole of Benchmark Soundworks, Jason Digos of elettromedia, Steve Wood of Directed and Andy Wehmeyer of Audiofrog.

The discussion centered on four topics, including customer impressions of the business, how to grow the market, the installer shortage and future impact, and how to promote expertise and value. Regarding the last topic, answers varied from focusing on the install bay and showing customers what the business is all about to protecting product by keeping an eye on manufacturer selling practices to third party vendors looking to undercut retailers.

Overall, it was a successful first day, featuring packed class rooms and a total number of 794 attendees filling the seminars throughout the day. Stay tuned for Day 2 coverage.

4-9-2017 -- Thanks to the growing popularity of the event, and great weather, the turnouts for the seminars on the opening day of KnowledgeFest were high, with many rooms filled nearly to capacity. Retailers, installers and sales staff were in high spirits, eager to make the most of this year's spring training experience.
This was showcased particularly well in Eric Carter's "Word of 'Mouse': Dealing with Social Media & Online Reviews" course when, due to a computer delay, he took questions from the audience, creating an instant rapport with the audience where the air of positivity and excitement was palpable. The course tackled the best ways to enhance and maintain your store's social media presence with humorous anecdotes and situational-based how-to's like how to handle a bad review when it was accidentally clicked by a happy customer. 
Marcel Newell took retailers in a more serious direction by emphasizing how critical it is to budget every facet of your business to prevent unforeseen losses. The course, called "Budgeting Without Balding," took attendees through the specifics of creating and maintaining a budget, using it to measure their business performance and as a planning tool. One stand-out moment of the presentation was when Newell explained the importance of retailers taking time on their own away from the shop to study the financials and find new ways to maximize efficiency. "Budget vs. Actual is your score card as an entrepreneur. Get better over months at what you buy and what you sell. Understand the gap," Newell explained. "You guys are way smarter than anyone in finance. If you do this, you will improve your business. Plain and simple."
The manufacturer trainings featured memorable offerings as well, with JL Audio offering a tuning session with laptops available for each attendee to use. DD Audio went over a series of enclosure builds it conducted over a 30-day period to help educate its dealers on how best to build enclosures for its various subwoofers. Sony explained the ins and outs of its XAV-AX100 smartphone receiver, a popular head unit for the brand. 
Seminars and events will continue through Tuesday, April 11, and include a town hall presentation, networking night and the Mobile Electronics show, which offers retailers the chance to mingle with vendors and peers about new products and trends in the industry. If the first day is any indication, it's likely this show will be a huge success both for individual retailer's and manufacturers as well. 
Find out more about the show, including a complete schedule of seminars and events, at




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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