Dealerscope 2014 40 Under 40 Profiles: Theobald, Vidovich-Parker, Vosika, Voyer, Wilson, Young, Young-Engstrom
(This is the latest in our series of complete profiles of Dealerscope’s 2014 40 Under 40. For the full list, stay tuned on Dealerscope.com this week, or check out our June issue)
Lauren Theobald, 29, Marketing Communications Manager, SANUS – Milestone AV Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Twitter Handle: @LJTheobald
Background: Grew up in New Brighton, Minn.; now lives in Saint Paul, Minn.
Higher Education: University of St. Thomas, Bachelor of Arts – Marketing Management, Economics.
Years in Industry: 7
Brief Description of Role: Manage and lead the consumer marketing communications team, create and implement strategies, plans, positioning, and messaging pertaining to public relations, social media, web development, packaging development, as well as other brand activity.
Main Industry Accomplishments and Why Important to Company/Industry; Proudest Achievement: As of recent, I spearheaded the project to execute the SANUS rebrand across all communications and marketing materials, incorporating key learnings from market research. Over the course of 2013, the SANUS TV Safety campaign reached over one billion impressions and is still going strong. At CES in 2014 we announced our partnership with celebrity interior designer, Genevieve Gorder, to better tie technology within the interior design space. I love driving the partnership and building the campaign around how Genevieve and SANUS can transform consumers’ entertainment space. I have helped to establish SANUS as the #1 best-selling TV mount in the U.S. and the #1 preferred TV mount brand by professionals.
Awards: This is my first big award and I am so very honored. Outside of CE, I judge high school dance teams in Minnesota and I was nominated to drive our advertising and media relations for the organization.
What I Like Best About My Job: The people and the passion. I feel that I always meet interesting, fun and charismatic people. Keeps things interesting.
Favorite Pastime/Hobby: Dance (of course) and music; I love live music.
Last Book I Read: Divergent, by Veronica Roth (yes, I gave in)
Favorite Movies: Ah, the impossible question. Anchorman, for laughs. Casablanca, for a good cry. The Dark Knight series, to cheer on the good guy.
Best Concert Ever Seen: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Summerfest, Wisc. (on a free side stage; yes, that happened).
Who’s My Hero, and Why: My Mom. She was a high-powered CFO in the ’80s, and that is awesome.
If You Could Be Anyplace Else Right Now, Where Would it Be and What Would You Be Doing?: Drinking a cold beer on a hot beach listening to live music with my husband, and our Westie, Jack.
Nicole Vidovich-Parker, 37, Director, Strategic Partnerships & Marketing, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Arlington, Va.
Twitter Handle: @nvparker
Background: Grew up in Morgantown, W.Va.; now lives in Leesburg, Va.
Higher Education: West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va., Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Public Relations, Cum Laude
Years in Industry: 12
Brief Description of Role: I oversee the strategic partnerships and events in regard to the International CES, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, as well as contract negotiations and execution. I collaborate with high-impact industry partners to integrate and grow key audiences at CES. Outside of CES, I lead strategic marketing efforts for partner events and presence at industry events.
Main Industry Accomplishments and Why Important to Company/Industry; Proudest Achievement: I work on the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow; CES has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years and is the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. I collaborate with industry partners, such as the United Talent Agency and Variety magazine, to curate our Entertainment Matters program, which has grown to 30,000 content and entertainment professionals attending CES. I helped to launch and oversee our Entertainment Matters Ambassador, who promotes the importance of technology and CES to the Hollywood community, and has included Eliza Dushku, Felicia Day, and Maria Menounos. New for the 2014 show, we worked closely with Variety to bring their “Breakthrough of the Year Awards” to CES, which honored a select group of rising stars in entertainment and technology. The ceremony was hosted by Nick Cannon of “America’s Got Talent,” with performances from Janelle Monae and Skylar Grey. Working with industry partners such as MediaLink, Brand Studio and Adobe, I have also been instrumental in building our Brand Matters program, which curates a CES experience for the advertising and marketing community, bringing over 5,000 industry professionals to the show. These two groups are crucial audiences to the growth of the industry, as the convergence between their businesses and technology continues to expand.
Awards: CEA has been awarded “The Most Innovative Organization” by Trade Show Executive magazine, and they granted the International CES recognition as “The Most Innovative Green Initiatives by Show Management” and “Highest Growth in NSF of Exhibit Space in Sheer Numbers (Annual Show).” Our marketing team has won several awards including Expo’s Digital Excellence Award as “Digital Leader: Social Media” and “Best Contest/Game.”
What I Like Best About My Job: It’s ever-changing and evolving with the future, so I get to constantly work on new initiatives and with new partners, but at the end of the day, the best part is the people that I work with who have become my family.
What I Like Least About My Job: It takes me away from spending time with my husband and daughter.
Last Book I Read: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Best Concert Ever Seen: Monster hosted a private concert at CES with Stevie Wonder – it was amazing!
Who’s My Hero, and Why: My mom, because she faced unfathomable things while here on earth, but she always did it with a smile, kindness and grace; she knew all we ever have is the present moment with each other, and that is a gift I hope to pass on to my daughter.
If You Could Be Anyplace Else Right Now, Where Would it Be and What Would You Be Doing? On a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands with my entire family.
Jimmy Vosika, 33, CEO/Director of Partology, ShopJimmy.com, Burnsville, Minn.
Twitter Handle: @JimmyVosika
Background: Grew up in St. Louis Park, Minn.; now lives in Lakeville, Minn.
Higher Education: Brown College, Computer Programming
Years in Industry: 7+
Brief Description of Role: I handle all the stress and beer drinking for the company.
Main Industry Accomplishments and Why Important to Company/Industry; Proudest Achievement: Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” (Upper Midwest, Distribution) in 2010; Reverse Logistics Association “Best Reverse Logistics Vendor Solution” in 2011; NESDA “PARTner in Excellence” in 2009-2011.
Awards: Inc. 500/5000 List 2011-2012; MSP Business Journal “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2012; Star Tribune “Top Work Places” in 2012; MSP Business Journal “Fast 50” in 2012; Forbes “America’s Most Promising Companies” in 2011.
What I Like Best About My Job: Coming up with ideas to disrupt the industry.
What I Like Least About My Job: Dealing with accounting.
Favorite Pastime/Hobby: Flying airplanes.
Last Book I Read: The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss
Favorite Movie: Top Gun, duh.
Best Concert Ever Seen: Lady Gaga at the O2 Arena in London
Who’s My Hero, and Why: Tim Ferriss. He has taught me how to be more productive in less time, be a better cook, enjoy life more, and lose some excess blubber.
Favorite CE Product of the Year: Nest thermostat.
If You Could Be Anyplace Else Right Now, Where Would it Be and What Would You Be Doing?: Onboard Allure of the Seas, sitting at the boardwalk bar with my laptop and a tall Coors Light.
Eric R. Voyer, 39, Vice President, TraQline – The Stevenson Company,
Background: Grew up in Orlando, Fla.; now lives in Louisville, Ky.
Higher Education: Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. B.A. – Business Administration (Marketing).
Years in Industry: 17
Brief Description of Role: As vice president, I manage several aspects of one of the industry’s leading market share and consumer behavior products. These functions include marketing and sales, oversight of the account management team, assisting in product development, etc.
Main Industry Accomplishments and Why Important to Company/Industry; Proudest Achievement: There is a lot of information in the CE world, and much of it is either a) fragmented and vague or b) narrow and too specific. I’ve worked with the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers, and partnered with trade associations like CEA in order to distill this information into insights on key issues such as showrooming, product trends, and disintermediation. I consider it a huge accomplishment to share critical information with the industry on who, what, where, and why consumers are buying CE products and what trends and features are important to them. Through these efforts, the industry is better informed, more innovative, and more agile than previously possible.
Favorite Pastime/Hobby: My favorite pastime is finding various excuses to get outside to hike, play soccer, backpack, scuba dive, mountain bike, etc.
Last Book I Read: Leading Change, by John Kotter
Favorite Movie: Like a true geek – Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. (Did you think I’d say Return of the Jedi??)
Best Concert Ever Seen: Tiesto, Las Vegas, 2011
Who’s My Hero, and Why: Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m a huge fan of people who stand up and fight for what’s right, even when confronted with adversity and personal sacrifice.
Favorite CE Product of the Year: I remain excited and intrigued by the possibilities that the new wave of consumer 3D printers bring to the marketplace!
If You Could Be Anyplace Else Right Now, Where Would it Be and What Would You Be Doing?: Snow skiing with my family in the Swiss Alps. (Naturally, I’d be checking emails every night.)
Shane Wilson, 38, Senior Product Manager, VOXX Electronics, Hauppauge N.Y.
Twitter Handle: @detroitshane
Background: Grew up in Roseville, Mich.; now lives in Clinton Township, Mich.
Higher Education: Macomb College, Warren Mich.
Years in Industry: 17
Brief Description of Role: Responsible for all Telematic and M2M products at VOXX Electronics, including our Car Connection-branded OBD product line.
Main Industry Accomplishments and Why Important to Company/Industry; Proudest Achievement: Launching telematic and location-based services in the aftermarket consumer space. As you know, Connected Car is the buzzword these days with the OEMs and wireless carriers. Knowing that we here at VOXX are leading the way, providing a platform of telematics and location-based services to the consumer, has been a great achievement, and I’m proud to be a part of it!
Awards: VOXX Electronics Employee of the Year (2013).
What I Like Best About My Job: The constant evolution of technologies; every project is different. I love the fast pace and constantly changing market.
Favorite Pastime/Hobby: Cycling; cross-fit
Last Book I Read: The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren
Favorite Movie: The Bourne film series. I wouldn’t mess with Jason Bourne – just saying.
Best Concert Ever Seen: Imagine Dragon, Qualcomm 2014 CES. Thanks, Qualcomm!
Who’s My Hero, and Why: My Mom. I grew up in a single-parent home, and my work ethic comes from her. She did whatever it took to provide for my brother and I. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.
If You Could Be Anyplace Else Right Now, Where Would it Be and What Would you be doing?: Spending time with my beautiful wife and daughter on some remote beach.
Daris Young, 32, Buyer and Replenishment Manager, InMotion Entertainment Group / Jacksonville, Fla. (Parent companies: BRS- Bruckmann, Rosser, & Sherill; also Paladin Group)
Background: Grew up in Jacksonville, Fla.; now lives in Jacksonville.
Higher Education: Florida State College (FSCJ) formerly known as FCCJ.
Years in Industry: 12
Brief Description of Role: Buyer and replenishment manager.
Main Industry Accomplishments and Why Important to Company/Industry; Proudest Achievement: Started as a Sales Associate and worked my way up the chain to IME Distribution Center Manager, to Replenishment Manager, and now one of four buyers. This track has given me insight and understanding of operations and the flow of product from multiple perspectives. This knowledge enabled me to help improve my company’s efficiency in reference to the buying, distribution, and selling of products; improving company turns and inventory dollars on hand. Favorite accomplishment: the first to partner with and launch the House of Marley in the Airport market, helping to make them a premium competing brand.
Awards: 10-year-plus “hard work & dedication” IME Award.
What I Like Best About My Job: I enjoy sourcing and testing new products. I also love the traveling aspect and meeting new people.
Favorite Pastime/Hobby: Watching movies. Hanging out at the beach.
Last Book I Read: Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki
Favorite Movie: The Usual Suspects
Best Concert Ever Seen: R&B artist Usher
Who’s My Hero, and Why: Sean ‘Jay-Z’ Carter. In a non-traditional fashion, he worked to become a highly respected businessman in multiple arenas.
Favorite CE Product of the Year: Mophie Spacepak, or the Monster Skydrive
If You Could Be Anyplace Else Right Now, Where Would it Be and What Would You Be Doing?: In Hawaii, on my bogie board.
Katie Young-Engstrom, 30, Sales/Pure Sleep Manager Art Van Franchise #1; Sales/Buyer/Marketing Strategy, Young’s Appliance; Owner, The Boat House Marine & Storage; Ranked BeachBody Coach; Pampered Chef Consultant; Mom to Ella and Brody; Alpena, Mich.
Twitter Handle: @kitchenkatiee
Background: Grew up in Alpena, Mich.; now lives in Alpena.
Higher Education: Western Michigan University.
Years in Industry: 8
Brief Description of Role: Art Van: I am the cheerleader for our associates; create an easier environment to sell and promote the Art Van Brand to the best of my ability. At Young’s, I manage our digital and print media, appliance/electronics orders and sales, and provide a cooking show with Pampered Chef, demonstrating our appliances. Being a BeachBody coach has allowed me to assist other busy moms and career-driven individuals to structure their day and take on the industry and their life to the best of their ability. I own the boating business with my husband to promote our unique waterfront lifestyle to Northern Michigan.
Main Industry Accomplishments and Why Important to Company/Industry; Proudest Achievement: Proudest achievement came when merging two family businesses (Young’s and Art Van) to increase value, profits and employment in our small town, while maintaining each brand’s integrity and mission.
Awards: Snowman award, Multiple Brand Certified, Cyber Scholar, Dealerscope 40 Under 40 this year.
What I Like Best About My Job: I love connecting with my community in which I grew up and delivering passion and conviction with each transaction – relationship-building.
What I Like Least About My Job: I skip lunch, a lot. Cold coffee.
Favorite Pastime/Hobby: Photography and photo editing.
Last Book I Read: Failing Forward, by John Maxwell
Favorite Movie: My Fair Lady
Best Concert Ever Seen: Lollapalooza 2009
Who’s My Hero, and Why: My hero is my boss, my dad. He directs our amazing ship with integrity and a true love for this industry. He taught me the value of communication, ethics and value to all things retail. As a fifth-generation [family member], I hope to do all he has done for our family and community.
Favorite CE Product of the Year: Sharp 4K TV
If You Could Be Anyplace Else Right Now, Where Would it Be and What Would You Be Doing?: I would be navigating the North Channel with my family, exploring at a slow pace, and anchoring for days, if we wanted.