Dealerscope 2019 Hall of Fame: Dave Rogers, Harman International
Dave Rogers, who, at the helm of Harman Consumer Audio, has shepherded the division he leads to reside among the top five brands in market share in total audio, got what was perhaps the best jumpstart that a top audio hardware company executive could have in a storied career history: Working retail.
To put himself through university in the early ’80s, he took a job in the stockroom at Highland Superstores, a dominant A/V retailer in the Michigan and Northern Ohio markets that expanded from 17 stores to 100, at one point. “They were as big as Circuit City at that time, with about $1 billion in revenue,” Rogers recalls. “I worked my way up with them from 1980 through 1991, running retail stores,” selling multiple categories but spending time in the audio department, where he got his first exposure to high-end audio’s delights. The next part of his career journey took him to Florida and retailer Sound Advice, where he steeped himself further in premium audio retailing, while forging lasting relationships with colleagues and suppliers.
From there, Rogers made the leap to the manufacturing side in 1995, to Klipsch, where he worked for 14 years, and where he also discovered one of his earliest professional mentors. “When I started, the guy who held the training class I joined to get acclimated and taught some of the basics was [Klipsch founder and industry legend] Paul Klipsch.