Michael Abt graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in biology, environmental conservation and has a teaching certificate in high school science. He taught biology, skiing and instructed at the Colorado Outbound School for four years before going to the University of Vermont Medical School for one year.
Abt returned to Chicago in 1989 and began working for his family electronics and appliance business. In addition to working for the family business he also work for the University of Chicago Business School as a team builder for first year students. Abt has also volunteered at the Shedd Aquarium as a naturalist and has worked for intercity children’s programs as a team leader.
Michael is currently on the Board of Directors for the Pro Buying Group which consists of the finest electronics dealers in North America and is a current member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, Chicago Chapter.
Executive Vice President
Education: Lafayette College, AB – Business & Economics, 1988
Pennsylvania State University, MBA – Marketing, 1991
Current Responsibilities – Consumer Electronics Product Management
- Product Procurement & Coordination
- Product Pricing & Monthly Programs
- National Marketing Campaigns
- Key Vendor Interaction
- Inventory & Returns Management
- Web Marketing
Chairman of the Board
Vice President, Communications
J&R Music & Computer World
It almost seems as if it were a page in a fairy tale storybook. Two sweethearts ready to get married, come up with a great idea and begin their own business. J&R Music World was born in 1971 and was a dream come true for Joseph and Rachelle Friedman as they opened a 500 square foot basement store (using their wedding money) in downtown New York City.
Today, built on the same dedication and service that was established nearly 30 years ago, J&R has become an international, one-of-a-kind electronics megastore (occupying a full city block), excelling in retail, mail-order and on-line sales.
Rachelle Friedman (the “R”) is the negotiating arm of J&R. She is a member of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) Advisory Board and is the immediate past chairperson of the NARM Board of Directors. She has twice served on the Host Committee of the Grammy Awards and serves on the Board of Directors of the Polytechnic Institute of New York, Alliance of Downtown New York and Heritage Trails. She was recently noted in Crain’s New York Business magazine as one of New York’s 100 Most Influential Female Executives and has appeared on Working Women’s magazine’s listing of the Top 50 Women Business Owners. Rachelle has been continuously noted in publications for her efforts and achievements.
Joseph Friedman (the “J”) has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the City College of New York and has worked as anengineer with Western Union as J&R began to grow and flourish. Joe is known to be the architect behinds the scenes, helping J&R grow and expand with new ideas and insights. He plays an active role with the American Jewish Congress (AJC), the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), and Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, among other philanthropic organizations.
Joseph and Rachelle maintain their total commitment to family life with their sons, Jason and Daryn. Jason presides over the company’s website, jandr.com, and Daryn works at J&R during summer vacations from college.
David Lorsch, President and CEO of DBL Distributing, has been in the consumer electronics industry since graduating from high school. He began his career in consumer electronics working in the warehouse of a chain of stereo stores. When he graduated college, he accepted a position as a manufacturer’s representative selling consumer electronics. At the age of 24, he was promoted to Sales Manager with overall responsibility for $50,000,000 in sales.
When David was 26, he formed his own manufacturer’s representative firm, Digital David, Inc. This venture lasted a brief six months. After closing the rep firm, he worked for Xantech Corporation and Ross Electronics. When Ross Electronics decided to cease operating in the United States, he found himself unemployed.
Wanting to stay in the consumer electronics industry, David prepared six, one-page overviews of potential business ventures. DBL Distributing was one of them. The concept for DBL was to be a wholesale distributor of consumer electronics accessories selling to independent retailers in the Western United States. David perceived a gap in the market years ago because there were no accessory distributors in the Western United States. Ultimately, the gap was larger than he expected.
In June of 1989, David and his wife (then finance) Cindy went to the Consumer Electronics Show and convinced approximately 20 manufacturers that they had a good idea. The beginning marketing strategy of DBL was to create a direct mail, wholesale catalog and mail it to independent consumer electronics retailers in the 13 western states. So, with the help of a graphic artist, he produced a 16 page catalog, mailing to 6,000 distributors.
As time progressed, DBL was viewed as an upstart in the industry. DBL rapidly expanded its distributor list further eastward, and by 1994, was mailing to the entire United States. One of the biggest challenges David faced was to convince the major manufacturers that DBL could bring them sales which were very incremental to their business. Today, DBL Distributing is the largest distributor of consumer electronics accessories in the United States. In 2001, DBL will sell merchandise to over 25,000 retailers. DBL employs over 170 people in its 60,000 square foot, Scottsdale, Arizona headquarters.
In 1996, DBL was named to the “Inc. 500” as one of the fastest growing private companies in America. Over the past eleven years, DBL has received over 50 awards for sales achievement, 12 of which were received for sales achievement in 2000.
Thomas C. Malone
Senior Vice President
Audiovox Electronics Corporation, a subsidiary of Audiovox Corporation
Mr. Malone’s responsibilities include directing all sales and marketing efforts for the subsidiary (Audiovox Electronics Corp.). Mr. Malone also manages product development efforts, new product design and marketing strategies.
He has been with Audiovox since 1986, where he started as Security Division Manager. In 1989 he was promoted to assistant vice president; promoted to vice president, Security in 1993; group vice president, 1997; senior vice president 2000.
Vice President, Product Marketing and Distribution
Chief Executive Officer
Jon has been the president of Myer-Emco for 12 years. Myer-Emco is a specialty audio/video company specializing in the design and installation of home electronics including audio, video, home security, lighting control and home computer networks. The Company has locations throughout the Washington Metro area, and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and was founded in 1955.
During Jon’s tenure, the Company has experienced significant growth from three stores and $5.7 million in revenue in 1989 to nine stores and projected revenue of $33 million in revenue in 2001.
Jon previously worked for Structural Analysis, Inc. of Boca Raton, FL for two years as Director of Marketing.
He received a B.A. in Marketing from James Madison University in 1983. He was President of PARA (Professional Audio/Video Retailer’s Association) from 1997 to 1999, and has served on the board of the Home Theater Specialists of America, a specialty buying group.
Jon has also served on the board of the Washington/Baltimore chapter of the Young President’s Organization.
Vice President, Sales
Vice President, Consumer Electronics Merchandising
Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing
Samsung Electronics North America
Director, Consumer Electronics
Vice President of Brand Marketing & Communications
Alpine Electronics of America, Inc.
As vice president of Brand Marketing and Communications, Stephen Witt is the corporate spokesperson for Alpine. He is also responsible for brand strategy, marketing platform development, advertising and public relations for the company.
Previously, Witt served as assistant vice president of Marketing and oversaw the marketing and promotions efforts for Alpine’s retail channels. He established the customer segmentation mapping concept for Alpine product planning and marketing use globally.
Witt joined Alpine in 1982 and was promoted to vice president of Sales and Marketing at Alpine of Canada. In that role, he directed all sales and marketing planning as well as creating the company’s first youth focused advertising campaign. He also created and launched Alpine Canada’s brand training and communication program for retail dealers.
Witt earned his B.S. in acoustical sciences from the University of Kentucky. He is a member of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the elected chairman of the CEA Mobile Division for 2001-2002.
President & CEO
Wood & Associates