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Chris Cook

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[Read] the on the digital platform for Mobile Electronics magazine  
 

 
Face to Face
 
It’s time to reopen KnowledgeFest
 
The sign on the door says we’re open for business. As schools, amusement parks, and, yes, trade shows and conferences reopen, we are excited to begin returning to normal. This June 25th KnowledgeFest will be starting up again in Orlando, Florida. This will be our first event in the Sunshine State. At the time of the event, it will have been over 15 months since we were able to meet in person back in Long Beach, California in February of 2020. It has been a long, hard road for many of us, and for a myriad of reasons.
 
Learning From the Challenges of the Past Year
As an association, we better understand key facets of the industry and how best to provide assistance in times of uncertainty. I can vividly remember the last in-person events I took part in. In February 2020, I was in Germany as a presenter at the Car Media Convention (CMC). In March, I was in the United States as an exhibitor, and I also had the privilege of presenting the keynote at the GoFast Solutions Mobile Expo. Each was at the very beginning of the pandemic.
 
Here’s What to Expect at KnowledgeFest Orlando
Since so many on social media have been wondering what to expect, I thought it would be a good idea to provide perspective on what we’re planning for KnowledgeFest Orlando. The first question: “Do we have to wear masks?” At the time of this writing, the answer is yes—you will have to wear a mask in the trade show floor and in the education and training sessions.
 
While Florida is a mask-free state, we are taking an abundance of caution knowing that many will be traveling from all over the country. Should guidance change prior to the event, we’ll comply with the prevailing wisdom from federal, state, and local ordinances. That said, much of the time you’re in Florida, mask-wearing will be up to your individual preference. The event will have high standards of clean, safe environments designed to provide the highest level of safety for you as the attendee. All the information you need can be found at KnowledgeFest.org/register, then look for “[Click Here] for Information on what to expect at the Orlando Event.” One very important thing to expect is the best live learning experience in the industry and a lot of fun networking with exhibitors and others in the industry.
 
What’s New?
This event will be a bit different from past events. First, it’s in Orlando! It’s a great place to take the family for vacation or connect face-to-face with friends. As an industry, we have a brave history of being able to adapt to new things. This will be a new thing for many of you who have not attended a KnowledgeFest event. To date, Orlando has been our most anticipated event. We will have an excellent line-up of presenters for both the education sessions and the manufacturer trainings. Expect to come home from the event with knowledge and wisdom that will improve your business.
 
Join Us in June
If you are in the mobile electronics industry, take this as an open invitation to join us in Orlando, June 25th to 27th for networking, discovery and just plain fun! If you miss it, remember you’ll have two more chances this year. One in Dallas, August 27th to 29th and the other in Indianapolis, October 8th to 10th. Regardless of the event, I look forward to seeing everyone together again!
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]
 
 
 
North Andover, MA – May 18, 2021 – The Mobile Electronics Association introduces the all-new Mobile Electronics Show! The series premiere, sponsored by Sony, will debut on Tuesday, May 18th at noon Eastern Time. For the first webcast, Mobile Electronics Association president and show host Chris Cook will interview some of the winners from the 2020 Mobile Electronics Industry Awards including Jason Kranitz of Kingpin Car & Marine Audio, Adam Devine of Devine Concepts, Kimberly Trainer of Car-Tunes, and Justin Kush of MTI. There is also a special opening interview with the Sales Pro of the Year, Mike Rundel of Sony.
 
“The Mobile Electronics Show will be broadcast on YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo and will include great interviews with key players in the Mobile Electronics Industry” said Chris Cook, President of MEA. “Each show will bring to life content from Mobile Electronics Magazine in an infotaining, video podcast format that will feature dealers, manufacturers, distributors and key industry personalities."
 
For a direct link to the webcast go to http://me-mag.com/me-show.
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
 
Media Contact:
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978-645-6434
North Andover, MA – May 18, 2021 – KnowledgeFest™ Orlando, produced by the Mobile Electronics Association (MEA), will be held June 25-27, 2021 at the Orange County Convention Center. The event debut will host exhibitors from top brands as well as more than 100 hours of dealer education workshops and vendor sponsored training. Registration is open for the event and for the host hotel, Rosen Centre Hotel. For 2021, MEA is anticipating strong return in participation to KnowledgeFest for 2021 starting with a new first-time event in Orlando Florida. For official information on the event please go to http://www.knowledgefest.org/.
 
“KnowledgeFest is the only industry event devoted exclusively to the mobile specialist, the installing dealer. The addition of the event in Orlando brings KnowledgeFest to a coast-to-coast nationwide audience” said Chris Cook, President of MEA. “Combining an exhibit floor with dealer education and manufacturer training, KnowledgeFest delivers a tremendous value for the entire industry."
 
Those attending this year’s event should know that we put their health and safety at the top of our list. We have collected information regarding the best-known processes and procedures designed to provide attendees with a safe and successful education, training, and trade show experience. We look forward to providing all participants an event that allows them to come together and learn from one another.
 
For more information and to register for KnowledgeFest, visit KnowledgeFest.org
 
Upcoming KnowledgeFest events:
  • August 27-29, 2020 - Dallas, TX
  • October 8-10, 2021 - Indianapolis, IN

About the Mobile Electronics Association

Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
 
Media Contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
978-645-6434
 
Alpine Seeks Product Planner in Auburn Hills, Michigan

Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. is the industry-leading manufacturer of high performance mobile electronics. Alpine is the only manufacturer specializing in mobile multimedia, an integrated system approach incorporating digital entertainment, security and navigation products for your mobile entertainment. As a consolidated subsidiary of Alps Electric Co., Ltd., one of the world's premier manufacturers of electronic components for computer, communications and car electronic equipment, Alpine is the specialized supplier of quality mobile electronics systems.
Job Summary:
The Product Planner will conduct research, evaluates new products/technologies and consumer/market trends toward product/market requirements, business case and development feasibility. 
How to Apply:
To view the full job description and/or apply online please follow the link below.
Alpine offers competitive salaries with a great work environment. Our comprehensive employee benefits package includes: 
  • PPO Health Benefits (medical/dental/vision): Effective on Start Date
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan with Company Match
  • Opportunity for Annual Bonuses
  • Generous PTO and Holiday Schedule
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Employee Product Purchase Discounts
  • Wellness Reimbursement Program
  • Life, AD&D, Short and Long-Term Disability Insurances
Alpine values its members as individuals and is committed to forming an energetic and attractive company where the quality of work is enhanced.
Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is the policy of Alpine to consider all job applications on the basis of merit without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic.
Devil’s in the Details

Apicella Autosound aims to provide detail-oriented perfection in integration and tuning, which has led to fast-paced growth year over year.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
Stony Point, New York-based Apicella Autosound began by catering mainly to hobbyists, according to owner Nick Apicella. Now, the shop is drawing a wealthier clientele which he noted tends to have full confidence in the team when it comes to letting them guide the project. While the shop still does custom work with competition-style sound quality builds, the majority is now focused on OEM integration.
 
Until about two months ago, the staff consisted of only Apicella and technician Kevin Mullings. The shop now has a staff of four. Apprentice Kyle Dunn started out as an enthusiast who often called the shop for advice. The newest addition, Matthew Kim, moved from Oregon to join the team. About 90 percent of the business’s projects consist of car audio, with smaller percentages in radar, laser detection and remote start. “We do a few remote starts a week,” Apicella said. “Kevin is very skilled at remote starts and alarms, but we don’t make an effort to do a ton of them.” Tuning is the shop’s main money-maker.
 
From High-End Cars to High-End Sound
When he was younger, a journey to purchase a high-end subwoofer from a dealer in Manhattan opened doors for...Read the rest of the story CLICK HERE.
Providing over 45 hours of great education for the Mobile Electronics industry
 
North Andover, MA – March 19, 2021 – The Mobile Electronics Association kicks off their second virtual KnowledgeFest event focused on West Coast specialty retailers. The event starts today, Friday, March 19th and continues through Sunday, March 21st and will be held on Pacific Time to include the many retailers that would have attended the Long Beach California KnowledgeFest event. While focused on the Western half of the nation, the virtual event is great for everyone to attend regardless of their Time Zone. The event will produce three keynotes, 21 education workshops, and 22 manufacturer training sessions for over 45 hours of valuable education.
 
“While nothing can replace the excitement of an in-person event, KnowledgeFest LIVE is designed to deliver a feeling of connection that will help the industry enjoy the awesome education, vendor training, and networking KnowledgeFest is known to provide.” said Chris Cook, MEA President. “Our virtual experience delivers the best way to connect when in-person events are not yet possible.
 
The event will be presented through MEA’s digital event platform allowing attendees to participate in education workshops, manufacturer trainings, and take a virtual tour of exhibitor spaces to preview their featured products and show vehicles.
 
For more information on KnowledgeFest West LIVE or to Regsiter for the event visit KnowledgeFestWest.Live.
 
Mark your Calendars for Upcoming KnowledgeFest in-person events:
June 25-27, 2021 – Orlando, FL – In-Person with Live Streaming
August 27-29, 2021 – Dallas, TX – In-Person with Live Streaming
October 8-10, 2021 – Indianapolis, IN – In-Person with Live Streaming
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
 
Media Contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
978-645-6434
###

09 Mar

Sales Pro of the Year - Clean Slate

Tuesday, 09 March 2021

When COVID-19 disrupted business nationwide, 2020 Sales Pro of the Year Jason Kranitz chose to transform this challenge into an opportunity.


Words by Rosa Sophia
After Kingpin University and Kingpin Car & Marine Audio moved from Oregon to Las Vegas in 2019, owner Jason Kranitz quickly booked classes. When COVID-19 hit, he had to cancel classes and refund the students. Additionally, his landlord sold the building, and with no income from the school, his focus shifted to retail.
 
While searching for a new retail location, he’s had to conduct sales and installations out of his manufacturing facility. “No one knew me, I had no showroom—just pictures of previous work—and no one could even visit me because of COVID,” he explained, adding that while the business has been down in numbers, he doesn’t have much to compare it to because of the move. However, he added, “I feel that since we’ve started, we’re growing every month.”
 
Kingpin has been named Retailer of the Year in the past—twice—and has earned other distinctions such as Best Customer Experience. Also, Kranitz has held the Installer of the Year title. Once, he submitted materials for Sales Pro of the Year and wasn’t chosen. Although he hadn’t planned to attempt it a second time, COVID changed his mind because he felt the business was already uniquely structured to handle the challenge. For the last seven years, the shop has been appointment-only with locked doors, unlike many other retail locations. Kingpin University—the education branch of the business—opened its doors five years ago.
 
Kranitz finally decided to pursue the...Read the rest of the story HERE.
MEA announces the next event for the Mobile Electronics Industry
 
North Andover, MA – February 16, 2021 – The Mobile Electronics Association announced the next Live Virtual event to be held March 19-21, 2021. KnowledgeFest is going West to provide great education and training for the many retailers that will not be able to benefit from an in-person event in the first half of 2021. The event will be held on Pacific Time to include the many retailers that would have attended the Long Beach California KnowledgeFest event. While focused on the Western half of the nation, the great thing about a virtual event is that everyone can attend regardless of their geographic location.
 
“The industry can expect highly relevant education workshops taught by some of the best instructors in the industry.” said Chris Cook, MEA President. “In addition, top manufacturers will be featuring education on their products and services all in an effort to better prepare specialty retailers for the 2021 selling season.” “We took the time to survey the retailers that attended the past three KnowledgeFest Long Beach events and they overwhelmingly stated that they would attend a virtual event targeted towards the Pacific Time Zone.” added Cook.
 
While nothing can replace the excitement of an in-person event, KnowledgeFest LIVE is designed to deliver a feeling of connection that will help the industry enjoy the awesome education, vendor training, and networking KnowledgeFest is known to provide.
 
MEA expects to conduct webinars over the next few weeks to demonstrate the virtual event for attendees and exhibitors. KnowledgeFest LIVE is a virtual experience for retailers, sales reps, and manufacturers to connect when in-person events are not possible. The event will be presented through MEA’s digital platform allowing attendees to participate in education workshops, manufacturer trainings, and take a virtual tour of exhibitor spaces
 
To register for KnowledgeFest West LIVE or get information on how your company can become an exhibitor, visit KnowledgeFestWest.Live.
 
Mark your Calendars for Upcoming KnowledgeFest events:
  • - March 19-21, 2021 – Virtual Event
  • - June 25-27, 2021 – Orlando, FL – In-Person and Live Streaming
  • - August 27-29, 2021 – Dallas, TX – In-Person and Live Streaming
  • - October 8-10, 2021 – Indianapolis, IN – In-Person and Live Streaming
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
 
Media Contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
978-645-6434

###

04 Feb

Installer of the Year Profile - Artist by Design

Thursday, 04 February 2021
Installer of the Year Justin Kush brings an artistic background to his custom audio builds, continuing to grow and evolve by learning from those around him.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
After his first time pursuing the Industry Awards, Justin Kush was named Installer of the Year during December’s KnowledgeFest.Live event. Kush specializes in fabrication at Mobile Toys in College Station, Texas, where he’s now one of three team members who’ve earned the illustrious title. “I’m an artist. I draw a lot and I paint. I went to the Art Institute of Seattle and got a degree in 3D Animation,” he said. “The art side of it, the fabrication, the vision has always been there for me. Being able to explain to a customer what I’m seeing and being able to draw a quick sketch helps out a lot.” Kush has also taken the reins when it comes to creating renderings for clients so they can get an idea of what the end result will look like. He added that the things he learned about video editing while in college also helped him in the process of submitting material for the awards. He uses Procreate to give clients an idea of what he can do for them. “It’s the closest thing there is to drawing with real pen and paper,” he said, though the program provides tools that, once mastered, can also help someone who isn’t an artist accomplish their goals. The user’s hand doesn’t need to be perfectly steady, for example. “The program will fine-tune your work. You just need to know the techniques to bring out your vision. It’s like fabricating: You have the strategy. You just need to apply it.”
 
Thirsty for Knowledge
About 15 years ago, Kush began his career working at Circuit City. “I knew nothing,” he said, adding that he...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
 
11 Jan

What's Happening - The Cyber Classroom

Monday, 11 January 2021
In-person training events and trade shows have shifted to online platforms in the wake of COVID-19. Retailers discuss pros and cons of education in a cyber setting, and their hopes for the coming year.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
 
Due to COVID-19, some decisions regarding meeting with retailers have had to be made on a case-by-case basis, according to Mike Lewis of Echo Sales. The company is a rep firm covering seven states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. “Under normal circumstances, our business is set up to call on independent accounts,” Lewis said, adding that they also host trainings to support retailers. This year, he noted the company started to stock more inventory themselves, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because of all the backorders.
 
According to Lewis, Echo Sales has had to approach their day-to-day business in a hybrid fashion. “A couple of months ago, they removed some local restrictions, but we were still being cautious,” he explained. “We were only visiting accounts with specific needs. I was focusing a lot of my travel around afternoon and evening trainings. Now we are back in more of a hybrid again, not traveling as much, and I’ve put offers out to do Zoom meetings, but most conversations have been on the phone.” There are certain things, he added, that must be done in-person—for example, it’s necessary to visit a new account to see the store. “If we do go somewhere, though, we’re very specific about what we’re doing.”
 
A year ago, the company moved into a new facility with a dedicated in-house training space, but because of COVID-19, only one training has.... Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
31 Dec

Thankful - Mobile Electronics Editors Forum

Thursday, 31 December 2020
[Read] the on the digital platform for Mobile Electronics magazine  

Thankful
Finding blessings in the midst of chaos
 
All of us have our own stories about the challenges we faced this year. It seems as if no one has escaped the pandemic effect. However, we all have something to be thankful for, too. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to pause and perhaps reflect upon things for which we can be thankful. You see, being thankful doesn’t mean you enjoyed the situation. But it does mean that, in the end, you understood and met the challenge, leaving you appreciative that you either overcame it or learned a valuable lesson that helped you grow personally, professionally or both.
 
My opening subtitle states, “Finding blessings in the midst of chaos.” When I think of chaos, I look at the many things at work to divide us. I found it heartbreaking that topics in the daily news left us arguing with each other. The complete lack of understanding by those who were chosen to lead us through this pandemic contributed to the confusion. Some news outlets reported good information while others reported not-so-good information. As a result, many of us argued these points amongst ourselves.
 
Many of these arguments played out on social media. Otherwise rational people chose sides and defended what they believed to be the truth. While I enjoy a robust and engaging discussion as much as the next person, this went beyond reasonable discussion. I spoke to many who lost friends in these arguments over topics such as medical and political information. This was the chaos to which I referred in my opening subtitle.
 
Yes, the pandemic, riots and political posturing were not the only things that produced chaos. The real chaos was related to all of those we’ve lost over the past year. Those for whom we can only seek to honor their memories. For those who’ve lost someone or something this year, I can only say that I am truly sorry you had to bear the brunt of the heartbreak produced in part from this pandemic.
 
I also opened this column with the title “Thankful.” Why? Where is the blessing, the silver-lined cloud we seek?
 
I am thankful for my family, friends and those of you who are part of the family we call our industry. I know every industry has unique attributes which give it an identity. But when I say I am thankful, I refer to the mobile electronics industry. We are unique in ways I have not experienced in other industries. Our identity is rooted in our desire and actions to help and support others in time of need. Arguments aside, I believe the blessing is in our actions to reach out and lift up those in need, those torn by forces out of their control. Acts of kindness greatly outweigh the chaos and go a long way toward defining who and what we are as an industry.
 
This year nearly all of us have suffered loss and disappointment in some way. In that, we have grown closer as an industry. We have also reaped the blessings of increased awareness and business which have in turn provided for our associates and our families.
Today, I challenge you to pause and reflect on the many blessings we have, and seek to mend any damaged friendships, because it’s important that we be there for each other and support one another in times of need—regardless of differing opinions.
 
I look forward to the New Year, to new beginnings and to blessings I know we’ll have as we continue to grow together to produce the awesome experiences that only our industry can provide.
 
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]

Small-Town Charm

Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo has found its niche by offering something for everyone, with personalized service, multiple 12-volt categories—and even a specialty gift shop.
 
Words by Rosa Sophia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         From the time he was a teenager, Greg Tackett worked in the electronics business with his father and uncle. The family business persevered as a tire shop, doing mechanical work for 20-plus years. It wasn’t until September of 2007 that Tackett and his wife, Tammy, found a place to rent where they could finally open their own business. Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo welcomed customers for the first time in November of that year in Pikeville, Ky.
 
After years of renting, the business purchased its own building a short distance away from the previous location, opening on the second of January, 2019. This was momentous, Tackett explained, because for eleven years, Greg’s operated out of a single-bay garage that wasn’t even large enough to accommodate a crew-cab truck with the bay door shut. Now, the shop has two full-size climate-controlled bays and plenty of room to expand into additional categories.
 
The building needed a lot of work which is ongoing today. “My wife walked in and said, ‘There’s no way we can do this,’” Tackett recalled. “This was right before Christmas. We had until December 31 to get out of our old place. That day, we got out of our old location at about 10 at night.”
 
Since the community is a small one, Tackett said a lot of people knew the business and the situation, but they also utilized Facebook, Instagram and local radio shows to spread the word. Along with car audio, remote start and accessories, the shop offers truck tires, wheels, powersports, motorcycle and marine audio, as well as home audio and video. As a mom-and-pop retailer, Tackett said all employees chip in when it comes to...Read the rest of the story HERE.
 
MEA’s first virtual event hosted a record number of retailers
 
North Andover, MA – December 22, 2020 –The Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) hosted its largest KnowledgeFest to date as a virtual event. The trade show and conference led with an industry first technology that allowed attendees to connect live with exhibitors. Exhibitors received nearly 13,000 booth visits with nearly 20,000 views of exhibitor-related content. The event also launched a new sales rep networking feature called “Rep Connect.” Over 45 sales reps were engaged with hundreds of attendees. When it comes to KnowledgeFest education and training, no event can compare. The education and training had over 5,600 in attendance for the 60 hours of education workshops, manufacturer trainings and keynotes. And when it came to live interaction, over 1,200 attendees enjoyed the new live booth experience allowing them to connect and interact with exhibitors.
 
“Due in part to the event’s online platform, KnowledgeFest.Live saw a record number of attendees totaling over 2,500 from across the country and around the globe,” stated MEA president Chris Cook. “the event featured more than 30 brands, 24 show cars displayed in the online platform, five keynotes and events, and 57 manufacturer trainings and educational workshops.”
 
Finishing the event was the annual Mobile Electronics Industry Awards that that was live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube. The event has more than 4,000 views and 850 comments making it our largest audience to date. At the opening of the awards, Mr. Cook encouraged viewers and attendees to see the coming year as a “comeback,” and to take the time to develop new relationships with customers, new opportunities for businesses, and instead of a “new normal,” focus on utilizing newly acquired knowledge to spark future successes. “It’s been a difficult and challenging year,” Mr. Cook noted, adding, “One we will never forget and for many, we can’t wait until it’s over. Let’s make sure we reflect on this experience and think about how we adapted, learned and—in many cases—conquered.”
MEA will host the KnowledgeFest.Live education workshops, select manufacturer trainings, keynotes on-demand through the end of 2021. Stay tuned for future KnowledgeFest.Live event announcements for 2021 as MEA looks towards the future of online and hybrid events to meet the education needs of our industry.
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers.
 
Learn more at mobile-electronics.com
Media Contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
978-645-6434
The virtual event was broadcast live to thousands of viewers
 
North Andover, Mass. – December 13, 2020 – The Mobile Electronics® Association (MEA) announced the winners of the 2020 Mobile Electronics Industry Awards. The awards were presented Sunday evening at the conclusion of a successful KnowledgeFest.Live virtual event. The awards recognize and honor professionals in the mobile electronics industry that exhibit outstanding service, business ethics, professionalism, and expertise in their field.
 
Chris Cook, President of MEA, hosted the event which was viewed online by thousands of industry professionals, including family and friends, from the United States and around the globe. Top honors for Installer of the Year went to Justin Kush of Mobile Toys Inc. in College Station, Texas. Retailer of the Year (single store) was awarded to both Divine Concepts, Naples, Fla. and Car-Tunes, Greenville, Miss. Sales Pro of the Year went to Jason Kranitz of Kingpin Car & Marine Audio in Henderson, Nev. and Trusted Tech of the Year went to Chris McNulty of Kingpin University in Henderson, Nev. Vendor of the Year went to AudioControl and Distributor of the Year went to DOW Electronics.
 
Installer of the Year
Justin Kush – Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
 
Installer of the Year – Runner-Up
Dean Beyett – Five Star Car Stereo – Clearwater, FL
 
Sales Pro Award Winner
Jason Kranitz – Kingpin Car & Marine Audio – Henderson, NV
 
Trusted Tech Award Winner
Chris McNulty – Kingpin Car & Marine Audio – Henderson, NV
 
Retailer of the Year
Car-Tunes Inc. – Greenville, MS
 
Retailer of the Year
Divine Concepts – Naples, FL
 
Retailer of the Year Runner-up
Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
 
Retailer of the Year Runner-up
Traffic Jams Motorsports – Buford, GA
 
Rookie of the Year
Oscar Rodriguez – J’s Tint & Car Audio – Dallas, TX
 
Most Improved Store or Chain
KarTele Mobile Electronics – Waterbury, CT
 
Best Online Presence
NVS Audio – Roselle, NJ
 
Best Customer Retention Program
JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO
 
Best Customer Experience
Elevated Audio – Denver, CO
 
Best Store Culture
Traffic Jams Motorsports – Buford, GA
 
Customer Choice Award
Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX
 
Career Achievement Award
Tom Malone
 
Expeditor of the Year
American Radio
 
Distributor of the Year
DOW Electronics
 
Rep Firm of the Year
Marketing Pros – Arlington, TX
 
Rep of the Year
Mike Rundel, Sony
 
Vendor of the Year
AudioControl
 
Top Vendor: Autosound & Processing
Sony
 
Top Vendor: Security, Safety and Driver Assistance
AAMP
 
Top Vendor: Accessories and Materials
Metra Electronics
 
Top Vendor: Infotainment & Multimedia
Sony
 
Top Vendor: Powersports & Marine
JL Audio
 
About the Mobile Electronics Association
Mobile Electronics Association (MEA) is a trade association comprised of installing dealers and product vendors dedicated to serving the needs of the mobile electronics specialist industry. MEA owns and produces KnowledgeFest, regional trade-only industry events that combine educational programming and vendor training with a trade show floor. MEA owns and publishes the monthly Mobile Electronics® magazine, which is the industry’s #1 resource, as well as other digital media, including websites and the industry’s e-newsletter Hotwire. MEA provides software and data-driven services to vendors and retailers. Learn more at mobile-electronics.com.
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05 Nov

A Victory for Right to Repair

Thursday, 05 November 2020
Victory for the Aftermarket
 
Question 1 "Right to Repair" wirelessly that was on the Massachusetts ballot passed by a 3 to 1 margin. Massachusetts became the battleground again for automakers versus independent repair shops and the associations representing them, to require automakers to make available the vehicle data sent wireless (telematics) for all vehicles sold after 2022.
The original Massachusetts Right to Repair act passed in 2012 requiring automobile manufacturers to provide the necessary documents and information to allow anyone to repair their own vehicle. While not passed at the federal level, the major automobile trade organizations signed a memorandum to agree to abide by Massachusetts' law in all fifty states starting in the 2018 automotive year. This action will be an amendment to the existing 2012 law. If this amendment is also adapted to the existing agreement covering all 50 states, this could be a game changer for the mobile electronics industry allowing universal access to the vehicle bus, something the aftermarket industry has been desiring for decades.
 
Although independent repair shops could still diagnose vehicle problems through the OBDII port, automakers had an unfair advantage of doing so wirelessly with vehicles having connected services. They could receive maintenance alerts and contact vehicle owners for service in advance. In some cases, they may even be able to make repairs by resetting error codes or updating software over the air. These same Telematics services enable automakers to offer vehicle owners APPs that will allow them to identify vehicle diagnostic information as well as receive alerts related to low battery voltage or vehicle movement. A signal is required to be sent to the vehicle to run the diagnostic test. This type of control is leveraged to lock and unlock doors and, in some cases, remotely start the vehicle.
 
This new legislation could be significant to the aftermarket mobile electronics industry. Just as mobile electronics manufacturers have been able to innovate new products connecting to OBDII port, now aftermarket devices and/or APPs can be developed to enhance or enable many vehicle owners’ features. For example, a future keyless entry and remote start add-on may simply be done by downloading an APP setup by the vehicle owner with proper vehicle access credentials. No doubt, aftermarket devices requiring installation will be designed to take advantage of this universal connected service. As Massachusetts based companies, both InstallerNet and the Mobile Electronics Association collaborated with the Auto Care Association to provide testimonials early this year at a hearing held by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection of Massachusetts Legislature regarding Massachusetts Vehicle Data Access Legislation. That hearing was the first step in the state’s consideration of the data access legislation that has now become law in Massachusetts. The new law amends the state’s existing Right to Repair law —thus ensuring consumers continued choice in vehicle repair.
November 5, 2020 - North Andover, Mass. - The Mobile Electronics Association is proud to present interviews and insights with leaders in the Mobile Electronics Industry. Chris Cook, MEA President, will be conducting an interview with Dunja LaRosa & Rick Kojan of SONY. They will share his insights and perspective as it relates SONY and the future of the mobile electronics industry.
 
You don't want to miss this one!
 
Details: Wednesday, December 2 at 2:00 PM Eastern
 
 
Click on a name below to learn more about:
 
Come Together
 
One industry, association and purpose.
 
A little over ten years ago—November 4, 2009 to be exact—I stood on a stage at the SEMA Show with a few other industry leaders to announce the purchase of MERA (now MEA) and that we would be re-launching a new KnowledgeFest on October 10, 2010 (10-10-10) in Dallas, Texas. At that launch, we played a fitting tune: The Beatles’ “Come Together.” Why that song, you ask? It was the prelude for our mission to unite a very fractured industry. It came from a strong desire to create an association that brought a group of talented albeit underrepresented individuals together for a common purpose, to improve upon each other and the industry in the process. To create an association with benefits that either saved or made our members money. One that focused on great education opportunities and provided highly relevant information, thus empowering our industry to thrive.
 
Bringing Benefits to Specialty Retailers
Back in 2008, the association had dwindled to less than 100 members and was no longer able to support the trade event that had been held every year since 1993. Knowing this, we set out to relaunch the associations premiere trade event, KnowledgeFest. Looking back, it was a great accomplishment and a good first step to creating something that provided a learning environment for the benefit of the entire industry. However, an event was not the only thing to revive. Next, we set out to review the offered benefits from the association and decide how best to move forward with value for our members.
 
Our goal was to create an association that provided benefits to assist specialty retailers with technology and services. These benefits should either save retailers money, help them make money, or both. We added the industry’s best-known point-of-sale and scheduling software, Total Sales and Scheduling (TSS), to our arsenal. Then we added a long-time standard for vehicle fitment and wiring information, the Mobile Automotive Information Database (MAID). Both were transferred from our parent company, InstallerNet. These two technology offerings provide high value to our members. To date, most of our members use them. Soon after, we added websites and in-store signage solutions to round out these offerings. However, this was only the beginning.
 
Nurturing Continued Growth Year Over Year
Next, we sought out partners to provide great member benefits that met or exceeded our standards. One of those partners is the Member Savings Program. Our partnership provided benefits that save members thousands of dollars per year through the buying power of a group purchasing alliance made up of over 150 associations.
 
In an effort to present our members to consumers, we created a consumer-focused website that provides members with a listing including their location, hours of operation, company slogan and links to website and social media sites. Check it out at www.MEAPreferred.com. Take some time to review the benefits, and you’ll find discount shipping programs, savings on payroll processing, free registration to KnowledgeFest events, professional business coaching and Mobile Electronics magazine. These are just some examples of the many cost-saving and money-making benefits of being an MEA member.
 
Today, MEA is over 1,000 members strong. Your mobile electronics (trade) association consists of manufacturers, retailers and service providers of automotive aftermarket technology products. Through our coast-to-coast offering of KnowledgeFest trade shows and conferences, we can provide top-notch education, networking opportunities and business services designed to advance professionalism and profitability for all of the industry's stakeholders.
 
Providing Top-Tier Education
Our publication, Mobile Electronics magazine, is the industry’s #1 resource with more than 18,000 digital subscribers. The monthly publication acknowledges top retailers, installers and suppliers through the annual Mobile Electronics Industry Awards.
Finally, KnowledgeFest provides a three-day event with emphasis on experience, learning and connecting with others in the mobile electronics industry. These events provide you with the best opportunity to learn from other successful industry professionals at either Long Beach, Calif., Indianapolis, Ind., Orlando, Fla. and or Dallas, Texas. Finishing out 2020 we will celebrate with our first-ever virtual KnowledgeFest.
 
When it comes to the Mobile Electronics industry, many of us who’ve been around a few years will tell you that when it comes to organizations looking to represent this unique group of people, there have been a few that properly represent all stakeholders. Know that the Mobile Electronics Association will always be here to lead the industry though both the good times and the not-so-good times. I look forward to hearing from you on how we can service you better. Please feel free to contact me or any of our team to learn how you can reap the benefits.
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]
 
 
[Read] the on the digital platform for Mobile Electronics magazine  
 

Taking Time out for a Pandemic
 
This year continues to bring new beginnings to our industry—and endings.
 
When the year began, many of us celebrated. We may have taken time to reflect on the past year and our performance related to both our failures and accomplishments. For some reason, we tend to view the first of January with a renewed sense of commitment to our future selves. As the year progressed, we discovered life might not be unfolding the way we were hoped. While pondering global issues is great for an evening of pontification on Facebook, it’s far from what each of us has endured over the past few months. I don’t believe any of us could have predicted or even imagined these unusual circumstances.
 
First, let’s look at some of the endings. As of this writing, Yelp disclosed that, as of the end of August, over 160,000 businesses indicated they have closed. That was down from the 180,000 that closed at the very beginning of the pandemic. This represents a 23 percent increase in the number of closures since mid-July. In addition to monitoring closed businesses, Yelp also considers the businesses whose closures have become permanent. That number has steadily increased throughout the past six months, reaching nearly 100,000, representing 60 percent of closed businesses that won’t be reopening. We have also witnessed businesses scaling back, filing for bankruptcy protection, and closing for good on a scale that few of us have ever seen before. Names like Brooks Brothers, Gold’s Gym, Neiman Marcus, JC Penny and Hertz, to name a few, have all filed for bankruptcy protection. Regardless of who you are, chances are that this scaling back and business closures have affected you in some way. I am thankful that very few in our industry have had to close. The reports we received revealed a handful of specialty retailers that haven’t made it through the pandemic.
 
However, in the midst of tragedy, our industry has flourished. Many businesses had to temporarily close at the beginning of the pandemic. Some were able to operate as essential businesses, but with limited opportunity since many potential customers were staying home. But the vast majority reported that once they’d reopened, business not only went up, but way up. Many attributed this initially to stimulus checks and additional income from stimulus-related unemployment benefits. While that has since dried up, the increase in sales have not. If fact, they continue to increase despite industry shortages, continued restrictions and unemployment numbers. It seems that our industry continues to benefit partially from pent-up demand and from an influx of new customers who are spending on vehicle technology rather than experiences like concerts or theme parks. And with reduced air travel, people are upgrading for family road trips.
 
There have also been other new beginnings. New terms have entered our conversation, terms like social distancing, flattening the curve and community spread. None of them should appear on your favorites list. In addition, we have learned to Zoom, or use video conferencing and webinars, instead of meeting face-to-face. This new trend is being used to attend schools, have government meetings, and for our industry, provide continuing education. This shift in socialization has allowed our industry to stay connected despite having to miss all important events like KnowledgeFest, SEMA and even CES. On a more regional level, some distributors have used Zoom-like technologies to host events with good success. I have personally spoken as a panelist, keynote and presenter at countless events. I can tell you firsthand that while I appreciate the opportunities, I truly miss the face-to-face presentations which allow greater interaction with the audience. But for now, I am thankful for every opportunity to connect with other industry professionals regardless of the challenges that webinars present.
 
Until we are all able to meet once again face-to-face, I challenge you to take the time to attend as many webinars as you are able. Also, take the time to pick up the phone and call someone and encourage them. As you do, you will find that all of us have a story and all of us have learned lessons that will be part of some great conversations when we all can meet again. Until then, stay safe and healthy!
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]

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