CE Hall of Fame Inductees

2015 Inductees

  • Bob Borchardt

    Bob Borchardt

    President and CEO, Recoton

    Accessories have traditionally been viewed as the side dish or even an afterthought to major big-ticket consumer electronics products – the metaphorical fries to the burgers, the potatoes to the steak and the croutons to the salad. But as president and CEO of Recoton, Bob Borchardt helped elevate accessories to a genuine and necessary profit center for retailers. He also managed to grow his own company's revenue from $3 million to just under $1 billion, establishing Recoton as a global leader in the CE industry.
    Borchardt was born on February 25, 1938, in Paris, France. His father, Herbert, a 2003 CE Hall of Fame Inductee, was a record company executive in London and founded Polydor Records in Paris in 1929. He helped discover and record artists including Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf and Stéphane Grappelli. When Paris fell to the Germans in June 1940, Herbert sent his wife, Mutz, his in-laws and his son into hiding in Marseille, and then stayed in Paris running Polydor until being sent to a French concentration camp. Herbert subsequently escaped to Marseille and rejoined his family, who then sailed on what turned out to be the last ship of immigrants to Ellis Island before the U.S. entered World War II in 1941.
    The family settled in Queens, New York. Robert attended Forest Hills High School and spent his summers at Camp Taconic in Maine. In 1959, he graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in political science.
    After college, he followed in his father's recording business footsteps. He worked at Hill & Range, a music publishing house instrumental in the careers of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. He often accompanied Elvis to meetings with disc jockeys and nights on the town, and often found himself in the RCA Victor recording studio while Elvis recorded his top hits. Borchardt even wrote the liner notes on one of The Beatles' first U.S. albums.
    Due to wartime rationing of raw materials needed to press records, his father left the music business. In 1943, he bought a seven-year-old company called Record Town in Long Island City, which imported and distributed European phonograph styli, record needles and record cleaners, from a former Polydor France acquaintance. In 1952, the elder Borchardt bought styli manufacturer Eldeen and transformed the newly-dubbed Recoton from an importer/distributor into an accessories manufacturer.
    In 1961, his father suffered a heart attack and, while he recovered, he asked his son to oversee operations and to join the Recoton board of directors. Trying to keep his father's legacy in the recording industry alive, Borchardt also founded his own record label, Aravel Records, in Long Island City, New York, in 1963, releasing recordings of several top folk and blues artists including Pete Seeger, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie. In 1968, Recoton expanded into audio accessories and, the following year, went public.
    Borchardt took over as president of Recoton in 1976 and began an aggressive expansion into audio, video and phone accessories by acquiring several companies. He traveled extensively throughout Asia for business, partnering with factories in Japan, Korea, and eventually China, before it became standard practice in the industry. In 1987, he established Recoton Canada, and the company achieved annual revenues of $30 million.
    Under Borchardt's energetic leadership in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Recoton acquired a diverse range of electronics brands including Jensen, AR (Acoustic Research), Advent and Magnat, as well as accessory companies including Discwasher, Ambico, InterAct and GameShark, ultimately marketing about 3,500 different products through multiple divisions and subsidiaries.
    Instead of selling these products and brands piecemeal, Borchardt proselytized a "one-stop-shop" for retailers, many of whom were looking to cut down on the number of vendors. He also showed retailers how accessories could provide high profit margins compared to the thin margins on high-ticket hardware such as TVs.
    By 1994, Borchardt had grown Recoton revenues to more than 10 times what they had been just seven years earlier, and moved Recoton's headquarters to Lake Mary, Florida. By the end of the decade, Recoton's annual revenue topped $710 million.
    Recoton's success in elevating the aura of accessories gave Borchardt the opportunity to create CEA's Accessories Division, and he served as the division's initial chair from 1992-1993. He also served as chairman of CEA's Executive Board from 1997-1998, when he launched CEA's annual CEO Summit, and served as chairman of the Electronic Industries Alliance.
    In 2003, after selling off various divisions post 9/11, Borchardt became president of Digital Science Associates and a Managing Partner of Centurion Associates, consumer electronics technology and engineering investment and consulting firms. He also served for a quarter century on the board of directors of NSTEP, a non-profit dedicated to science and technology education in schools.
    Borchardt was an avid tennis player and was a New York Giant season ticket holder for nearly 40 years, while helping to raise three boys, Nikolas, Erik and Gregory, with his wife Trudi. He passed away in September 2013.

  • Tom Campbell

    Tom Campbell

    Technologist, CE evangelist, retail executive

    Successfully selling stereo equipment requires not only a Midas touch and a golden ear, but also a silver tongue, and Tom Campbell is imbued with all three. Starting out as the motor mouth for Cal Stereo's radio ads in the 1970s, Campbell became a leading retail executive, technologist and industry evangelist, helping a series of consumer electronics (CE) retailers grow to unprecedented success.

    As part of the golden age of independent CE retailing in the late 1960s to the mid-1990s, Campbell was instrumental in the national launch of new products including the first retail CD players, GPS, camcorders, DVD players, HDTVs, 3D TVs and, most recently, the first 4K Ultra HDTVs.

    Born in St. Louis, Missouri, his father Tom owned a furniture store, and his mother Glenna was a homemaker. Fascinated by electronics, Campbell became a licensed amateur "ham" radio operator in his teens, buying his first radio with his father's help and money earned caddying on a golf course. In junior high school, he won a Blue Ribbon at the Greater St. Louis Science Fair for designing and building a relaxation oscillator.

    In high school, Campbell built a sub-10-milliwatt local AM radio station and convinced his neighbors to tune into his evening radio show. After pestering the local radio station KATZ, he gave station identification call letters over the air on weekends. He also emceed shows and was a disc jockey. Campbell later enlisted in the Air Force, and received specialized training in advanced electronics, cyphers and cryptography.

    After leaving the service, Campbell worked at several radio stations, ending up in San Francisco in 1968 in the center of its vibrant music scene. His show on the leading Bay Area radio station, KYA, reached more than half of this growing youth audience. 
    He also was appointed chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Youth by President Nixon, and presented as the U.S. representative to the Ditchley Foundation in Oxford, England in 1969. He hosted “Tom Campbell Stateside” on Armed Forces Radio and, in 1971, toured U.S. European military bases with the band Credence Clearwater Revival.
    Campbell was in demand as a commercial spokesperson during the home stereo craze of the early 1970s when new retailers including DOW Stereo and Cal Stereo found an audience of rock music-loving fans. Campbell announced spots for these retailers and could famously squeeze 90 seconds of ad copy into a 60-second spot, which gave Cal Stereo an extra patina of cool.
    Campbell's exposure to retail marketing through his broadcasting experiences enabled him to execute effective advertising campaigns. In 1981, he joined DOW Stereo & Video as corporate director and worked with manufacturers to build consumer awareness for emerging CE products. As a result, DOW Stereo became a national showcase and launching pad for cutting-edge technologies and products.
    Over more than three decades working for Southern California retailers including DOW Stereo & Video, Ken Crane’s and Video & Audio Center, Campbell collaborated with leading brands to orchestrate the national launches of the first consumer CD player (1982), the first car DAT player (1988), the first CD home recorder (1991), the first flat-screen TV (1992), Photo CD (1992), the 3DO 32-bit game console (1993), WebTV (1996), the first DVD player (1997), the first DTS component (1998), the first HDTV with a set-top box and the first integrated HDTV (1998), the first 1080p big screen HDTV (2005), the first 3D HDTV (2010), the first 4K Ultra HDTV (UHD) (2012), the first curved 4K UHD TV (2013) and the first OLED UHD TV (2014).
    On August 6, 1998, thousands of customers swarmed DOW, and Campbell facilitated the first U.S. retail sale of a 56-inch Panasonic HDTV ($5,499). Three months later Campbell’s promotional prowess was behind the sale of the first integrated HDTV, the Samsung HCH551W at a DOW Stereo event. Six weeks later, DOW’s and Campbell's HDTV marketing efforts received recognition via a salutary resolution offered on the floor of the U.S. Senate, for leadership and ongoing efforts to benefit the American consumer.

    While working with DOW, Campbell also served on the Congressional Internet Caucus, the Washington think-tank Icon Solutions and as an advisory board member of KFX Energy. In 2005, he became a corporate director of COMP USA, facilitating the integration of CE products into the computer domain.

    Campbell, who served as a technology advisor to the White House in three administrations, received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 2001, for his "dedicated service to the White House and the Executive Office of the President." In 2011, Campbell joined Safe Communications as a senior advisory board member and also joined the retailer Video & Audio Center (VAC) as corporate director and chief marketing strategist, where he helped introduce the next-generation of UHD TV. On October 25, 2012, consumers lined up for blocks at the chain's Lawndale store, where the first UHD TV, an 84-inch model from LG Electronics, was sold. Amazingly, a dozen $20,000 LGs were sold that first day.
    Campbell also helped VAC substantially increase its sales volume and market share to make it the Southland's largest independent digital electronics dealer. At the 2015 International CES, VAC received the “Hardware Retailer of the Year” award from DEG – the Digital Entertainment Group - in large part to Campbell’s contributions in positioning the retailer as the nation’s leading independent retailer for 4K UHD TVs.
    Leveraging his distinguished industry and government career, Campbell also serves on the faculty of the Georgetown University Technology Management Graduate Program and as senior advisor to the Georgetown Global Education Institute.

  • George Feldstein

    George Feldstein

    Founder and CEO, Crestron

    Home control via smartphones and tablets has become all the rage. But the idea of the modern connected home with integrated system controls for audio and video distribution, lighting, HVAC, home theater systems, intercom and video security was first conceived and brought to market by the fertile imagination of George Feldstein through the company he founded above a New Jersey delicatessen called Crestron.
    Feldstein was born in lower Manhattan near Houston Street, where his father worked as a sewing machine operator. He attended New York City public schools and displayed a rare engineering aptitude. When he was 12, he acquired a "ham" amateur radio license and was building transistorized amplifiers, and at 15 he won a citywide physics competition.
    At NYU, Feldstein earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering, and also studied bio-medical engineering. While studying for his master's, Feldstein married fellow NYU student Lynda. The couple moved to Cresskill, NJ, in 1969, where they had four children.
    After graduation, Feldstein worked a few jobs before landing a position as chief engineer at an industrial control and testing equipment company in Englewood. But he didn’t see eye-to-eye with his boss and after a few years, Feldstein was fired. So he started his own company in his basement.
    At first Feldstein worked as a glorified handy man, cold-calling businesses to offer his technical skills to build or repair – anything. His first client was household product giant Colgate-Palmolive, for whom he built a laser-leveling device designed to help assembly line machines deposit the exact amount of powdered detergent in each box.
    By 1974, Feldstein moved his operations above a delicatessen in nearby Closter, NJ, and hired his first employee. In May 1975, Feldstein incorporated under the name Crestron Electronics. The first part of the name probably came from Cresskill, but in later years Feldstein would say he chose "crest" to imply the best and "tron" from electronics – best electronics. He also told people that Crestron was a 15th century electrical engineer when he was in a joking mood.
    What turned the corner for Feldstein's fledgling business was a remote to control 35mm slide projectors and window drapes for conference rooms. This success was followed by other audio, video and lighting switches and controls. Feldstein then started designing and manufacturing AV components for the wholesale market.
    Feldstein continued to build Crestron into a leader among high-end home control systems, as well as corporate AV systems. After a few years, Feldstein moved from above the deli to larger quarters in Closter then, in 1980, built Crestron's first building in Cresskill.
    Soon Crestron's systems adorned varying divisions at Microsoft, the penthouse of Trump Tower, nearly all of the Ivy League Schools and even the Pentagon Situation Room. Creston reached its home installation pinnacle when President Clinton had Crestron's SmarTouch line of touchscreen remote controls installed in the White House.
    Crestron's success was such that Feldstein had to move the company's corporate HQ from Cresskill to nearby Rockleigh, NJ, in 1997 and bought a few more buildings in the complex from Volvo for a state-of-the-art Research Center to house 400-plus engineers.
    In 2009, Crestron opened its 8,000-square-foot "Experience Center" in New Jersey.  This demonstration showcase, open to Crestron dealers and partners by appointment only, includes a reception area, a multimedia presentation room, a digital boardroom, the Theo Kalomirakis Home Theater and a technology design studio which showcases the various models, colors and finishes of Crestron’s product portfolio. Crestron would open several other Experience Centers and Design Showrooms in the top design centers across the world to showcase its residential solutions.
    By the time Feldstein handed over his position as CEO to long-time Vice President Randy Klein in March 2014 – his youngest son Dan was named vice chairman with Feldstein moving up to chairman – Feldstein was presiding over a company of more than 3,000 employees worldwide, with 91 offices around the globe, more than 15,000 independent partners and dealers, and roughly $800 million in annual sales. Even though the company is consistently approached with potential acquisition offers, Crestron is still 100 percent owned by the Feldstein family.
    Feldstein believed in sharing the wealth – he paid his employees more than twice the minimum wage. Feldstein was even applauded by Forbes Magazine and CBS’s 60 Minutes for not laying off employees during the 2008 recession, but instead hiring more employees, honing their skills and designing more solutions for the various vertical  markets Crestron served.
    In addition to his innovative work at Crestron, the so-called "tireless tinker" secured 68 patents with designs as diverse as a nerve stimulator used to relieve pain to a bicycle chain cleaner. He was working on a more efficient humidifier and a ceiling fan that didn't wobble or make that annoying clicking noise when he passed away in November 2014.
    Under Feldstein’s leadership, Crestron has received countless awards for its products, website, customer support, training and service contracts. George Feldstein has also won several awards, including the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Awards 2007 - Lifetime Achievement Award, 2010 InfoComm International Adele De Berri Pioneers of AV Award, and 2006 ELF Foundation - Volunteer of the Year. 

  • Vic Hayes

    Vic Hayes

    Father of Wi-Fi

    No one "invented" Wi-Fi. But as founding chairman of the IEEE 802.11 Working Group for Wireless LANs, Hayes led the decade-long effort to tame the wild west of incompatible and competing wireless protocols by shepherding spectrum allocation issues to establish the Wi-Fi standard, earning him the sobriquet of "Father of Wi-Fi."
    Hayes was born in Surabaya, Indonesia, just a few months shy of Pearl Harbor and the Japanese invasion of the soon-to-be former Dutch colony. Hayes' father worked for the General Netherlands-Indies Electricity Company (ANIEM). Mobilized December 1941, his father was taken prisoner in March 1942 and transported to a Japanese prison camp. Hayes lived with his mother, grandmother and two aunts as "outside-camp" people until being re-united post-war.
    In 1950, Hayes' family was repatriated to the Netherlands. In 1961, Hayes received his engineering degree from the University of Amsterdam, and then served two years in the Dutch Air Force as a radio and radar officer.
    After leaving the service, Hayes joined Friden Holland, later Singer Business Machines, which made Flexowriters, paper tape-based typewriters that were also used to feed data into computers, as well as electro-mechanical billing and accounting machines. Eventually, Hayes would play a key role in engineering the first commercial integrated circuit-controlled billing and accounting machine.
    In 1974, Hayes joined NCR's Engineering Laboratory in Utrecht, and authored numerous NCR Corporate Engineering Standards on data communications, including protocols to emulate IBM terminals to give NCR computers access to the large mainframes of IBM, HDLC and X.25 packet level protocols. Hayes also represented the company in standards bodies such as the Dutch Standards Institute (NNI), the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA), where he was chair of the LAN Task Group, and he chaired the Dutch delegation to the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC6 committee. These experiences would later make him an ideal 802.11 group chair.
    The effort to establish a system of wireless communication began May 9, 1985, when the FCC set aside spectrum in the 915 MHz, 2.45 and 5.8 GHz bands for unlicensed spread spectrum-based wireless communications. NCR realized such wireless communication would let its retailer customers create a radio link between its cash registers and back-end mainframes without having to drill holes in marble floors for cables.
    During the development of two prototypes by the NCR Engineering Laboratory in 1990, the company wanted to establish an industry standard for local wireless networking and assigned Hayes to the task. Hayes took the chairmanship of the IEEE Token Bus 802.4 working group but after some study, the task group members concluded that protocol was unsuited for a radio medium. In July 1990, it was decided to establish the IEEE 802.11 WLAN working group and Hayes accepted the new committee chairmanship.
    The first meeting was in September 1990 in Oshawa, at the General Motors plant in Canada. Hayes' and the committee's first technical problem was two incompatible modulation techniques: frequency hopping and direct sequence, each with its pros and cons. Direct sequence required a lot of chip-based mathematics. Frequency hopping was easier to implement, but less robust. Within the working group, the small companies wanted frequency hopping, the bigger companies wanted direct sequence. The committee was stuck at about 50-50.
    Although Hayes' instinct was to limit options, the only solution was to allow both modulation schemes. The 802.11 standard was approved in June 1997 and published November 1997, with 1 Mbit/s using frequency hopping and 1-2 Mbit/s using direct sequence. Eventually, extensions to the standard established direct sequence as 802.11's primary modulation scheme for 802.11b, which increased Wi-Fi's data rate five-fold, and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) for 802.11a were approved in 1999.
    Hayes combined an impartial approach with a penchant for problem solving to achieve his committee and government goals. For instance, he convinced European authorities of the need for radio spectrum for WLANs in Europe, which resulted in the assignment of 83.5 MHz of bandwidth within the 2.4 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi and 100 MHz of bandwidth in the 5 GHz area for high-performance WLAN networks.
    Hayes chaired the 802.11 Working Group until 2000. He then served as Regulatory Ombudsman in the Executive Committee of IEEE Project 802 Standards Committee for two years. In 2001, he established and chaired a regulatory subcommittee within the Wi-Fi Alliance that served as a technical and legal watchdog for spectrum issues, which included the adoption of the worldwide spectrum allocation accomplished in 2003.
    For his singular contributions to the creation and establishment of the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard, Hayes has received a multitude of honors including the IEEE Standards Medallion in 1998, the IEEE leadership Award in 2000, the IEEE's Hans Karlsson Award in 2001, and leadership awards from the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2002 and 2003. In 2004, Hayes was awarded the Dutch Vosko Trophy and the Communications Innovation Award from The Economist, the IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award in 2007, the George R. Stibitz Computer and Communications Pioneer Award in 2012, he was inducted into the CompTIA Hall of Fame, and in 2013 was awarded the Lovie Lifetime Achievement Award.
    Hayes and his wife Frieda have three children and live in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Hayes is currently a senior research fellow on the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at Delft University of Technology.

  • Noel Lee

    Noel Lee

    Founder, President & CEO, Monster Inc.

    Noel Lee was born on Christmas Day in 1948 and has played Santa for thousands of electronics retailers by revolutionizing, if not outright inventing, the high-end accessory business and vastly increasing their revenue stream and profits. Via his establishment of the high-end audio then high-end video interconnection market, as well as the introduction of the Beats headphone line, the self-described "Head Monster" has been arguably the industry's most enthusiastic proselytizer for improving consumers' audio and video enjoyment. 
    Lee was named "Noel" in honor of the holiday by his parents Chein-San and Sarah Lee. His father worked for the China Central News Agency but moved to the U.S. once the Communists took over. Lee developed eclectic interests in both music and electronics at an early age. After high school, he married, and attended San Francisco City College then transferred to California Polytechnic State University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.
    Lee found work at the prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, before earning a classified patent for work in laser fusion targeting.
    But in 1972, he quit his engineering job to follow his passion and tour with an all-Asian cover band called Asian Wood. The band moved to Hawaii to start a world tour that was cancelled two weeks later. Lee, his growing family and the rest of the band – now having gone electric and playing straight rock covers – performed around Hawaii for the next 18 months. Lee was down-and-out, so he played freelance gigs for the next six months to earn enough money so he and his family could return home.
    Back in the Bay Area, Lee rented a small two-room garage apartment in the Richmond District from his in-laws and took an engineering job at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, supplemented by independent sales work with several small speaker companies. But finding himself bored, Lee quit his lab job.
    Lee found himself at loose ends – find another engineering job? Find another band? Instead, the audiophile tinkerer became an early Silicon Valley garage entrepreneur – even though the engineer freely admitted to being no one's idea of a businessman.
    One thing Lee did want was to improve the sound quality from his home audio equipment. He started tinkering with what he saw as audio's weakest link – lamp cord that doubled as speaker cable. He went back and forth between one wire structure and another, tinkering with varying the thickness, composition and braiding pattern, listening to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture thousands of times. Finally he discovered it was the quality of the winding as well as the quality and greater surface area of the cooper, as well as the insulation of the cable that helped conduct more current from the amplifier to the speaker. Gold-plated connectors were the finishing touch.
    Lee sunk his meager savings to get special wire fabricated. He then paid three family members to help out, setting up a "factory" in the garage, using a pneumatic pump to wind up the cable, which was cut, terminated and boxed on a table consisting of a four-by-eight piece of plywood and two sawhorses. He moved his son into the laundry room to create a marketing and sales office. He dubbed his first product Monster Cable because it sounded powerful.
    With no Internet and no blogs, Lee started selling his cable to retailers door-to-door and focused on the art of the demo. Except skeptical retailers and audio manufacturers didn't believe cables made an audible difference, and wire was given away. Without advertising or marketing funds, he knew his personal demonstrations were key. He set up side-by-side comparisons to illustrate the Monster Cable difference. Retailers starting with Pacific Stereo could not only hear the difference when zip cord was switched for Monster Cable, but they recognized a new profit center.
    He then needed to get the word out to a larger mass of retailers. Dipping once more into his personal savings, Lee convinced a friendly vendor into letting him use an end of his 10 x 10 table to demonstrate his cable at the Chicago Summer CES of 1979. Lee made his first boxes by hand, using rub-on letters and photocopied labels for the packaging and signs. Except the labels came out too light, so Lee bought black felt markers and darkened each label by hand.
    The gamble paid off – Lee got an order from a Canadian distributor for 35,000 units. Since the distributor was unwilling to pay in advance to a nascent company, Lee was forced to take out a bank loan to pay for the initial production, but even that was a challenge. He was turned down several times, primarily because the loan officers weren't music fans. Finally, one banker wanted proof the product actually existed. Lee mocked up a stack of boxes, putting boxes full of packaged wire on top and empty boxes below. The bankers saw the large stack and said, "Okay, you're good to go." Lee was thankful they didn't open the bottom boxes.
    Lee leveraged CES to network and generate word of mouth which helped Monster grow. Noel realized that retail education was critical for the success of the company and developed groundbreaking retail training, by creating special programs for intense retail education. This grassroots approach to training at retail and retailers bundling cable with their products helped boost sales on the selling floor. By the end of 1977, Lee was able to move Monster from the garage to 101 Townsend St., where he hired his first two non-family employees, who still work for Monster today.
    In the following years Noel created and nurtured a profound and deep corporate culture that is still alive today. “Always Lead. Never Follow.” continues to be one of the top mantras for everyone in the company, from product development, training and sales.
    Sales continued to double year after year. Within six years, Monster was earning $50 million in revenue and had grown to 400 employees.
    Lee not only expanded into a growing number of accessory product categories – always offering a premium alternative – but also started a record label, Monster Music, in 1999. Noel was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for George Benson’s High Definition Surround Sound release of "Songs and Stories."
    In 2006, Lee disrupted the headphone category by partnering with rapper Dr. Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine to create Beats headphones. Noel not only engineered and created the groundbreaking sound of the first Beats by Dre models, but also leveraged its longtime retail relationships and distribution to ensure that the headphones were available at mass retail.
    Thirty-seven years in, Monster has more than 300 employees in Brisbane, California, Las Vegas, Ireland, England and Hong Kong. Monster is one of the largest employers and the largest privately-held Asian-owned business in the Bay Area. Monster continues to lead in innovation, having been granted more than 500 patents with 100 more patents pending worldwide, offering more than 5,000 products in more than 160 countries. Lee is still running the show like a startup, although no longer out of his family's garage. 

  • Bernie Mitchell

    Bernie Mitchell

    First Marketing Director and President, Pioneer Electronics of America

    "Uncle Bernie" was how his employees referred to Bernie Mitchell, the first president of the U.S. division of Pioneer Electronics of America. Not only was Mitchell a beloved executive who would invite everyone in the company – office-workers, warehousemen, repairmen – to his home for a party, but also helped grow his company grow 100 fold in just a decade, establishing Pioneer's formidable presence in the U.S. market.
    Mitchell was born May 28, 1934, in Wildwood, NJ. He graduated from both high school and Washington College, where he was awarded the Howell Award for highest academic achievement in economics and social studies. Right out of college, Mitchell landed a job at Westinghouse in 1956, and then spent two years at Panelboard, two more at tape recorder maker Concord as national sales manager and marketing manager, then a year at Toshiba.
    In 1970, Mitchell was introduced to U.S. Pioneer Founder Ken Kai by CES Publishing CEO Richard Ekstract. Kai hired the veteran consumer electronics executive as marketing director, moving up to president in 1972.
    When Mitchell joined U.S. Pioneer, the company was selling just seven products. Mitchell immediately began to expand the company's hi-fi product selection to include both home and car components, amplifiers and speakers at a variety of price points. One magazine profile noted that Mitchell was an "audio democrat who says he wants to bring good music to all the people, and making hi-fi available through more stores accomplishes that goal." This matched Mitchell's stated goal for Pioneer America: "To build great products at reasonable prices and to constantly widen the market for that kind of merchandise." Mitchell was one of the first marketing executives to use artist endorsements with the theme of hi-fi for the masses.
    With more audio products added from what would become seven subsidiaries, including the high-end Phase Linear brand, Mitchell moved U.S. Pioneer from its Empire State Building offices first to a warehouse in Cardlstadt, NJ, then to another facility in nearby Moonachie near the Meadowlands.
    Mitchell's growth plans also included a wider distribution network, but this wasn't as well received by all of Pioneer's retailers, who were used to a small group of manufacturers selling products to a small group of dealers on a friendly basis, often with exclusive rights granted to a line in a specific region area. When dealers complained that competitive pricing caused by several dealers in the same area selling the same Pioneer goods would kill profits, Mitchell told them fair-trade laws allowed manufacturers to specify the retail prices of products, maintaining everyone's bottom line. By 1974, Mitchell had stretched Pioneer's retail network from 500 to 2,800 outlets.
    Mitchell's vision via his product, distribution and facility expansion efforts paid off. In just a decade, Mitchell managed to spark Pioneer's annual revenues to grow from $2 million to $238 million.
    Even though the VCR and home video was still a new concept, Mitchell could see the future of AV. "We've created the impression that hi-fi equipment is for playing music and television is for watching pictures," Mitchell told an interviewer in 1980, just three years after the introduction of VHS. "We have to convince the world that there is an experience at least as good as either one of those, and probably considerably better. By that, I mean harnessing audio and video together to deliver an enormously impressive sound, concurrent with the delivery of pictures."
    Away from Pioneer, Mitchell and his wife, Bernice, raised four daughters and a son. He also served on the board of directors of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and of the Metropolitan Opera, using his corporate ties to fundraise.
    In August 1979, just before the company's introduction of its laserdisc player, Mitchell resigned, believing he had taken Pioneer as far as he could. On February 1, 1980, Mitchell became the fifth president of audio company Advent, originally founded by Henry Kloss, but left in November 1981. Mitchell tragically passed away from cancer less than a year later.

  • Wilfred Schwartz

    Wilfred Schwartz

    Founder, Chairman of Federated Group

    To say Wilfred Schwartz was a retail visionary is an understatement. In 1970, Schwartz founded the Federated Group, and opened the first deep discount consumer electronics (CE) superstore in the nation. Starting with one store, Schwartz grew Federated to 67 outlets all over the Southwest, becoming the most dominant CE retailer by establishing a new retail model.
    Born in Winnipeg, Canada, the son of immigrant parents, Schwartz grew up in a world emerging from the Depression. Determined to earn a college degree, his entrepreneurial activities led to the eventual founding of the Federated Group.
    To help pay for college, Schwartz imported balloons and chewing gum, which had not been produced in Canada during WWII. Successful, he quit college and bought a garage on a busy corner in Winnipeg with a partner, even though they knew nothing about servicing the heavy trucks in which the business specialized. This led to opening a body repair shop, and then parking lots in downtown Winnipeg. Schwartz and his partner later won a bid to run what became a profitable chain of airport and hospital parking facilities across Canada, including at airports in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton.
    Schwartz was fascinated by all things technologically new and exciting, and his interests included cars. Eventually he owned a collection of exotic vehicles including a DeLorean, a Bricklin, a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.
    In 1964, Schwartz grew tired of the cold Canadian winters so he moved his wife and family to Manhattan. Augmented by an impressive $100 briefcase he bought at the B. Altman department store – he felt qualified, by virtue of his previous experience, to become a management consultant. He worked for various publishing and educational companies, then, using his experience in real estate acquired in the parking business, he made an unusually good deal for space for one of his clients in the Empire State Building and was subsequently involved in profitably subleasing that same space.
    A sub-lessor of that space offered Schwartz a job turning around a failing New Jersey-based electronics/audio parts distributor/retailer the company owned, Federated Purchaser. Among his salvage work, Schwartz recommended a West Los Angeles location on Olympic Boulevard either be closed or converted to retail.
    Schwartz continued to do mergers and acquisitions but decided to move to Southern California in 1970 to market art reproductions. He discovered that his former employer had followed his advice and closed the 25,000-square-foot West Los Angeles Federated warehouse location. Seeing an opportunity, Schwartz convinced his old boss to give him the defunct, in-debt company. Schwartz then opened his first Federated store in 5,000 square feet of the abandoned location, soon filling the entire space.
    Schwartz just managed to stay afloat. In 1972, he acquired Sarb Audio Video electronics, another failing electronics business, followed by the two-store Magnetic TVI chain in 1973. But the early 1970's audio boom fizzled, the economy turned, his expansion came too fast and Schwartz came close to insolvency. An act of Congress inspired Schwartz to change his retail model. In 1976, Congress removed then-existing fair trade pricing laws. Retailers were now free to set their own prices instead of having prices dictated by manufacturers.
    Schwartz closed two of his Federated Group stores and built a new 20,000-square-foot "superstore" in the city of Westminster in Orange County, CA. The store was a self-described "cornucopia filled with the most overwhelming selection of audio, video, personal electronics and accessories ever assembled under a single retail roof" – all deeply discounted. "Most people in our industry at that time believed that we were crazy and that we were opening a format that was too unorthodox to succeed," Schwartz later said.
    But Schwartz didn't simply rely on heavily-discounted goods. He surrounded his low-margin inventory with a selection of higher-margin multi-featured, exclusive and limited distribution products and accessories not sold by his competitors – eventually more than 9,000 products from more than 600 manufacturers. This breadth of product and price enabled Federated to serve a wide variety of customers. It also established the success of a new form of high-sales-per-square-foot "power" rapid inventory turnover retailing that dominated the entire CE sales scene for the next generation.
    Within three years, Schwartz opened seven other locations across the Southland. But Schwartz didn't just strew product across Federated's 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000-square-foot show floors. Displays were arranged to encourage customers to play, and stores concentrated on merchandising the newest, latest and greatest, a product mix that emphasized the future.
    In 1983, Federated Group became one of two publicly-traded CE stores. By the end of the year, Federated had grown to 15 superstore locations. By the end of 1985, the chain had grown to 60 locations throughout the Southwest, Texas and Kansas. People referred to the chain, now headquartered in City of Commerce, CA, as an adult Toys R Us – or, as Schwartz called it, "a year-round Consumer Electronics Show." Los Angeles airways were peppered by commercials that featured a sinister, self-mocking character called "Fred Rated," played by LA radio personality Shadoe Stevens.
    As testament to the innovation and success of the superstore concept, Federated and Schwartz have received numerous awards from the industry, manufacturers, analysts, trade and national media. In 1987, the now 67-store Federated Group chain was acquired by the Atari Corp. Schwartz is now retired and lives with his wife, Lita, in Rancho Mirage, CA.

  • Dr. Floyd Toole

    Dr. Floyd Toole

    Pioneering Acoustic Researcher and Engineer

    What constitutes "good" sound? Pioneering psychoacoustic scientist Dr. Floyd Toole was able to identify the technical loudspeaker measurements correlating with what listeners identified as "good" sound in double-blind testing. As a result of his work, many speaker makers changed how they designed their wares, and his measurement methods have been codified into an industry standard.
    Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1938, Toole’s mother was a teacher and his father an airport administrator who also was a consummate do-it-yourselfer with a fully-equipped woodworking shop in the basement. Toole developed his own tinkering skills, building radios, power amps and loudspeakers and developed a love of music.
    After earning his electrical engineering degree in 1960 at the University of New Brunswick, Toole accepted the Lord Beaverbrook Overseas Scholarship, which took him to the Imperial College, University of London. On the way, Toole met another scholarship recipient, Noreen, and within a year they married.
    At Imperial, Toole and two professors decided to apply engineering methodologies to the investigation of psychoacoustic phenomena. They would use new signal processing methods to aid in the design of experiments in auditory perception. He found that the perception of auditory "center" was a learned concept, one of many forms of adaptation that allow humans to cope with varying acoustical conditions in the real world.
    In listening to the pulse-train audio signal used in the experiments, Toole could hear and localize the lower tonal harmonics. They followed individual predictable trajectories, something that was not accommodated by prevailing theories of hearing. As results accumulated, Toole and his professor published their results in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
    Toole's studies were partially funded by a special scholarship from the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC). Just before he graduated with his PhD in 1965, the NRCC recruited Toole to work as a research scientist in the Acoustics section of its Applied Physics Division.
    In preparing for sound localization experiments, Toole was surprised to discover that well-regarded speakers of the time did not measure well in the anechoic chamber – they were flawed in different ways. However he discovered that listeners in unbiased blind testing agreed on what sounded good and the loudspeakers that sounded best exhibited the best measurements. This led to progressive improvements in the anechoic descriptions of loudspeaker performance and to better methods of eliciting trustworthy opinions from listeners. There were, in effect, two parallel measurements: one technical and one subjective. The NRCC provided facilities for both, something not available to most designers and audio product reviewers.
    Toole published these findings in Canadian audio publications, through which he made contact with Canadian loudspeaker makers who began to rent the NRCC facilities for product development. Later some U.S. companies joined. The science-based process evolved and good sounding loudspeakers became more common. In those days LPs were the source of listening test material, so Toole studied the intricacies of phono cartridges and turntables to maximize performance from this problematic system.
    In 1981, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) launched an investigation to identify the best speakers for its in-house use. Toole oversaw the testing of more than two dozen speakers of varying sizes and designs as well as conducting blind listening tests. Out of the resulting data came the basis for an understanding of what truly makes good sound. Toole published his findings in the Audio Engineering Society Journal. While it was regarded as heresy to some, to most it provided a clear, logical path to good sound.
    The following years were spent filling gaps in the scientific foundation of how loudspeakers and rooms interact with human listeners – psychoacoustics: relating what we measure to what we hear. The resulting “science of audio” story was generally well received. Toole was invited to join Harman International in November 1991, after 25 years at the NRCC. His mission was to bring scientific methods to product development processes in the Harman family of brands.
    Toole convinced Harman it needed a research group, not involved with product development. New anechoic chambers added to engineering capability, and innovative listening rooms provided new potentials for subjective evaluations. The entire process was improved, with trustworthy subjective data fed back to design engineers. Harman encouraged Toole and his colleagues to publish, in the scientific tradition of sharing knowledge, all with the goal of improving loudspeaker design and sound delivery.
    After retiring in 2007, Toole encapsulated his 40 years of psychoacoustic work in Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms (2008). The loudspeaker measurement method he began at the NRCC is now embodied in ANSI-CEA 2034, Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (2013).

    Toole has been awarded two Audio Engineering Society publication awards, an AES Silver Medal Award and then the Gold Medal in 2013, and also served as AES president. He was awarded fellowships by the AES, the Acoustical Society of America and CEDIA, along with lifetime achievement awards from CEDIA and the loudspeaker designer association ALMA International.

    Toole, lives in Southern California with his wife, continues to consult for Harman, participates in SMPTE and AES standards work, writes manuals and teaches courses for CEDIA. 

2014 Inductees

  • George Antheil

    George Antheil

    Co-inventor, frequency hopping/spread spectrum

    In a ridiculous case of truth being stranger than fiction, the origins of spread spectrum – the technology that makes it possible for millions of people to securely connect to wireless communications for voice and data including cordless phones, cellular, satellite and Bluetooth – includes player pianos, the Nazis, one of the world’s most beautiful women and an avant garde composer known as the “bad boy of music,” George Antheil. 
    Born to German immigrant parents in Trenton, NJ, on July 8, 1900, Antheil started taking piano lessons at the age six and, at age 16, started studying with a former student of Franz Liszt. When he was 19, Antheil starting socializing with leaders of New York's modernist movement, then traveled to Europe to start his composing career, meeting with modernist luminaries including Igor Stravinsky, Ezra Pound and Jean Cocteau. Reactions to his work were mixed, but his Carnegie Hall performance of his best known work, the radical Ballet Mécanique, performed by an orchestra that included 16 synchronized player pianos, turned into a disaster when a wind machine went awry.
    Disappointed, Antheil moved to Germany, where he served as an assistant music director. The rise of Hitler, however, drove Antheil back to the U.S. in 1933. Three years later, Antheil moved to Hollywood, where he soon became a sought-after composer for the movies, scoring 30 films for directors including Cecil B. DeMille and Nicholas Ray.
    Antheil also wrote a mystery novel, music criticism for Modern Music magazine and articles on a number of disperse topics for Esquire magazine, including one on glands. In the summer of 1940, his gland article caught the attention of actress Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr asked mutual friends, costume designer Adrian and his wife, actress and singer Janet Gaynor, to ask Antheil to dinner. After dinner, Lamarr quizzed a flustered Antheil on how a glandular treatment might help her enlarge her breasts.
    Antheil discovered the actress was an amateur inventor; her former husband was a munitions manufacturer in her native Austria and she had picked up knowledge about science and engineering. She proposed a scheme to ensure a radio-controlled torpedo could reach its target without being detected or jammed by the enemy.
    The screen siren and composer continued to work on their invention for the next several weeks. It was based on something called “frequency hopping,” randomly altering the radio signal between the control center and the torpedo across 88 bands – 88 being the number of keys on a piano – so it couldn’t be tracked. The actual frequency hopping mechanics were controlled by something Antheil knew something about – player pianos, using the same synchronization techniques he had employed in his cacophonous ballet.
    On August, 11 1942, the U.S. government issued Patent 2,292,387 to Antheil and “Hedy Kiesler Markey,” Lamarr’s married name at the time. Except the government wasn’t interested, so Antheil and Lamarr simply returned to their day jobs.
    Antheil wrote his best-selling autobiography, Bad Boy of Music in 1945, and continued to write movie scores including the Humphrey Bogart starrer In a Lonely Place (1950) and The Pride and the Passion (1957) with Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant, as well as for the Walter Cronkite-narrated TV series The Twentieth Century (1957-66). He also continued to compose his own works; his opera Volpone opened to mixed reviews in 1953.
    Meanwhile, in the late 1950s, Sylvania’s Electronic Systems Division, not knowing the origins of the patent since Lamarr had used her maiden name, devised an electronic version of frequency hopping technology and applied it to the problem of securing military communications, later using for ship-to-ship communication during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis quarantine, unbeknownst to frequency hopping’s inventors.
    Even though Lamarr’s and Antheil’s patent expired in the late 1950s, frequency hopping, which morphed in a digital technology called spread spectrum, began to be commercialized in a variety of fashions by a variety of government and commercial entities in a variety products and wireless platforms. No wireless data technology would be viable without some type of spread spectrum employed.
    Unfortunately, Antheil did not live to see the success of his and Lamarr’s brainchild. Antheil suffered a heart attack and died February 12, 1959, in New York City. But an original version of his player piano-centric ballet, Ballet Mécanique, was performed in 1999 at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, followed by sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall and by the San Francisco Symphony.
    Antheil’s and Lamarr’s role in the invention of this foundational technology wasn’t widely known until 1997, when their roles were acknowledged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation after a campaign by an online net freedom activist named Dave Hughes. In 2014, Antheil and Lamarr were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

  • C.W. Conn

    C.W. Conn

    President and Chairman of the Board, Conn’s

    When C.W. Conn took over the reins from his father of their eponymous Texas-based appliance stores, Conn’s had four stores and $4 million in sales volume. Under Conn’s leadership, and despite the growth of national big box competitors, Conn’s grew exponentially; at its peak, the regional chain consisted of more than five dozen stores in five states generating nearly $500 million in annual sales revenue.
    The business that became Conn’s was a Beaumont, Texas, plumbing and heating company founded in 1890. Early in the Depression, the business failed and it was taken over by a local bank. It was soon acquired by a local oil baron, who simply wanted ready access to a plumber. In 1933, Conn Sr., who had been selling appliances for an area gas company, was hired to run the business with an option to buy it. A year later, he exercised his option and re-named the business Conn Plumbing and Heating Company.
    On June 25, 1930, C.W. was born. At the age of three, he earned the generous fee of a dollar – nearly $20 today – for cleaning out a bathtub at the store and began working alongside his father. In 1937, Conn Sr. began selling refrigerators, gas ranges, home furnishings and appliances. As a result, the company was re-named Conn Appliances, and moved to a more suitable retail storefront at 268 Pearl St. in Beaumont, in 1940.
    Conn graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and married Dorothy Anne Stafford, in 1951. They now have three daughters, Carolyn, Susan, and Elizabeth. After completing his service in the Korean Conflict, Conn returned to the family business in 1953, and proudly received a Master Plumbers license. By this time, the store started selling TVs and other nascent home electronics.
    Father and son expanded from their single store to a second Beaumont location in 1959. The location, then considered the outskirts of town, was on Eleventh Street in an old dairy barn converted into a show floor by laying down a cement floor. Three years later, Conn Jr. recognized that customers needed dependable, quality service and founded Conn’s repair service and maintenance operations, Appliance Parts and Service. Two years later, he launched a credit operation to offer customers more flexible financing for products needed in their homes. Just before C.W. Jr. took over from his father for good in 1966, two more Beaumont retail locations opened. Both Conn Jr. and Sr. were dedicated to their customers and to the idea that they should receive value for their dollars they spent on the products they offered in their stores. Their dedication was so strong that they often directed their employees to seek out unsatisfied customers to find out what the company could do to make them happy. 
    In 1969, while earning his MBA at Beaumont’s Lamar University, Conn began an aggressive expansion process, opening multiple locations in southeastern Texas and the first stores outside of Texas, in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
    When his father died in 1975, Conn Jr. was named chairman of the rapidly expanding chain. Now fully in charge, he opened stores in Port Arthur, Orange and Baytown, Texas, and in Lafayette, Louisiana. New stores in New Iberia and Opelousas, Louisiana, soon followed. Conn also expanded from smaller to larger cities such as Houston (1983), where there would eventually be 18 stores, despite hard times in the oil business, the primary economic engine of the so-called Golden Triangle region. In 1993, the same year the first Conn’s in San Antonio, followed by Austin, opened, the chain experienced its first $100 million sales volume year.
    In between opening new locations, Conn supported local conservation and education efforts. In 1981, he bought the 5,000 acre-plus Texas Mountain Ranch, which works closely with Soil Conservation Services, the Texas Fisheries and Wildlife Department, and Texas Parks & Wildlife to improve soil composition, water retention and wildlife habitat.
    He also supported BISD School Partnership relationships at Lucas Elementary School and taught entrepreneurship courses at University of Houston and Texas A&M to senior undergraduates and graduate students. Conn established the C. W. Conn, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund at Lamar University, which provides $500 per semester for up to eight semesters for business majors, especially those who concentrate in marketing and exhibit the kind of leadership, integrity and character traits Conn learned from his father.
    In 1993, Conn stepped down as president, CEO and chairman of the business, but didn’t officially retire until 1998 when the Arkansas-based Stephens family bought a controlling interest in the chain from the Conn family.

  • Dr. Levy Gerzberg

    Dr. Levy Gerzberg

    Co-Founder, Zoran Corporation

    For most executives, retirement enables a dwindling dedication to high-maintenance activities. But in his semi-“retirement,” Dr. Levy Gerzberg swims from 60 to 90 minutes in open water several times a week, illustrating the passion and dedication he brought to the founding and building of Zoran, which became the pioneer and leading supplier of system on a chip (SoC) devices for digital cameras, DVD players, Dolby Digital sound processors, HDTV sets, HDTV converter set-top boxes, color printers and printer imaging software.
    Levy Gerzberg was born near Tel Aviv, Israel, on March 24, 1945, to Nachum, who helped newcomers to Israel, and Chaya, an arts and crafts elementary school teacher. Gerzberg’s mother taught him how to build things and how it was better to be good in all things than excel in only one, fostering his belief in the value and power of interdisciplinary concepts. Gerzberg attended Ort vocational high school, which honed these values.
    After graduating from the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology in Haifa, with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 1969 and a master’s in medical electronics in 1972, he moved with his wife and daughter to the U.S. and earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1979 from Stanford University, under the mentorship of Prof. James Meindl, later a Zoran board member and mentor. His thesis, “Monolithic Power Spectrum Centroid Detector,” became the technology of choice in the (then new) Doppler blood flow measurement and imaging systems as well as other signal processing-based applications.
    While associate director of Stanford’s Electronics Laboratory in 1981, Gerzberg yearned to integrate advanced signal processing technologies into high-end and, later, consumer affordable devices. So Gerzberg and a friend with finance and marketing experience, Yuval Almog, co-founded Zoran, from the Hebrew word for “silicon.” The pair wrote their first business plan in a Palo Alto garage, conceiving of integrating DSP-based solutions on a chip, what would later be called Systems on a Chip (SoC).
    Gerzberg gathered a team of systems, applications, software, algorithm and IC engineers from Stanford, Silicon Valley companies, the Technion, Israeli companies, and the defense industry in both the U.S. and Israel. Gerzberg and his team raised their first seed money from several sources including Elron Industries, led by its founder and CEO Uzia Galil, who became Zoran’s chairman in 1983 and would serve on Zoran board until 2011.
    Initially, Zoran created sophisticated silicon chips for use in the medical, industrial and military markets; the first of nearly 1,000 Zoran patents was Gerzberg’s 1982 invention of a new non-volatile programmable device. But recognizing the burgeoning digital age, Gerzberg switched to designing chips for consumer electronics products centered on “Standard Plus” – standards-based solutions with an added set of unique features, initiating a “high-end to high-volume” philosophy.
    Zoran’s first consumer electronics product was a credit card-sized battery-backed memory card digital camera SoC dubbed COACH – Camera On A CHip – used in the first consumer digital camera by Fujifilm and soon other camera manufacturers. Gerzberg soon established Zoran as the go-to supplier of digital camera SoCs; it is estimated that Zoran-designed chips captured and processed nearly a billion pictures a year. For instance, Zoran supplied the SoC and algorithm for the top-selling Flip pocket digital video cameras that stabilized jumpy footage shot while walking, as well as the first “selfie” dual-screen cameras by Samsung.
    Zoran was also the first to enable digital cameras to display high resolution photos on HDTVs via an HDMI connection, pioneered direct printing from a camera to a printer without an intervening PC, and integrated advanced camera technology into feature-phones and smartphones.
    Gerzberg lead Zoran in the design of innovative ICs to enable Dolby to become the standard for audio in DVD players as well as for the first digital home theater systems, software and SoCs for printers and digital TVs. In Washington, D.C., Zoran’s demos of its digital-to-analog converter set-top box helped accelerate Congress’ mandate to switch TV broadcasting from analog to digital.
    Zoran was able to deliver greater capabilities within each product generation for OEMs by reducing the number of chips in a system, costs and time to market. Even though multiple suppliers in a given category might have used Zoran SoCs, software customization allowed each to compete and differentiate them. As a result, Zoran rose to top market positions in each segment it entered.
    Gerzberg was Zoran’s president until 1985, when he demoted himself to executive vice president and chief technical officer. In 1988, he was renamed president and CEO. Zoran became known as “a $500 million, 20-year-old startup” and expanded its Standard Plus offerings and its global presence, with headquarters in the U.S. and sites in China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the UK. By the time it merged with CSR in 2011, Zoran had powered over a billion products in homes, workplaces and cars.
    In 2003, Gerzberg, who holds 10 patents, was named Northern California’s “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year” in the semiconductor category, and received the California Israel Chamber of Commerce International Partnership award the following year. He also served the Consumer Electronics Association in several capacities, including stints on its Board of Industry Leaders. With his wife Liora and daughters, Taly and Rony, in 2002, he founded the Liora and Levy Gerzberg Family Foundation, a charity organization supporting health and education.
    When Gerzberg retired, his family wanted to know how he planned to spend his now expansive “freedom.” Gerzberg joined a swim club and began training for treacherous one-and-a-half-mile swims from Alcatraz. Gerzberg swims not only for himself, but often for needy children and other causes.
    Mirroring his business philosophy, Gerzberg’s swim coach described him as “always positive, always encouraging and always very open to receiving the proper advice [and] has taught me so many things, like, no matter how big you might get in life, and how many accomplishments you have, you still must remain humble and share with everyone.”

  • Loyd Ivey

    Loyd Ivey

    Founder, MiTek Electronics and Communications Corporation

    His attraction to science and engineering dated back to his early childhood. His first jobs were at steel and wood mills where he learned metallurgy and cabinetry. While learning to play jazz saxophone, he became fascinated by music and sound amplification. Loyd Ivey combined these experiences, avocations and interests to found MiTek, which has become one of the U.S.’s largest manufacturers of car and home audio electronics.  
    Ivey was born May 18, 1951, in rural Scopus, MO, to a large family of five brothers and seven sisters. As soon as he could talk, Ivey found himself giving direction to everybody – and everybody listened. Ivey also developed a love of learning. As early as the third grade, he was fascinated by the interaction between matter and how it could change into different states by various processes. At the age of 15, he learned to fly both airplanes and helicopters.
    Not surprisingly, Ivey finished high school early, but was too young for the military or college. Instead, he boarded a bus and headed to Chicago to make his own fortune. He got his first job working at a steel mill, where he learned metallurgy and the characteristics of different types of metals. He then worked for a wood mill that manufactured speaker enclosures for companies including Motorola, Admiral and Zenith, as well as turntable bases for BSR. After a year, he decided it was time to start his own company and be his own boss.
    In 1971, he founded Ivey Electronics, located at 1822 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL. His first products were 6.5- and 8-inch two-way bookshelf speakers encased in a spill- and burn-resistant walnut laminate, perfect for university students at nearby Northwestern University. He also manufactured 10-inch 2-way, 12-inch 3-way and 15-inch 4-way versions. Ivey sold these products out of his manufacturing facility, which was in the basement of a local sound recording studio. He employed student reps to sell the products, but Ivey would deliver the speaker directly to the customer on campus.
    Ivey continued to manufacture in the same location, producing all five of his speaker models, for the next three years. In 1974, Ivey joined CEA and his company presented its first product at the Consumer Electronics Show. Later that year, Ivey Electronics merged with American Case Company, owned by George Miller, a manufacturer of musical instrument cases and other enclosures, spawning the creation of American Acoustic Labs. AAL displayed its first speakers at the Consumer Electronics Show in the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago in 1975.
    1979 was a pivotal year for Ivey and MiTek. First, American Case Company officially became MiTek Corporation. Then, Ivey bought car speaker maker Matrecs Electronics, renamed MTX in 1981. Finally, to accommodate the newly enlarged company, MiTek moved its offices from Chicago to Winslow, IL, where Matrecs had been manufacturing its speakers and which remained the company’s headquarters.
    In 1983, Loyd bought out Miller giving him complete control over MiTek. Over the subsequent years, Ivey acquired a plethora of speaker and non-consumer tech companies including Magnum Loudspeakers, Soundcraftsmen, Coustic, StreetWires, DCM, Xtant, Oaktron, Atlas Sound and Innovative Electronic Designs.
    Ivey’s inventive interests have continued to extend beyond consumer electronics. For instance, he designed the SCRAM, an electronic pest control device, as well as a toothbrush with an integrated vacuum function that enabled nurses to brush the teeth of bedridden patients.
    Over the years, MiTek’s business operations grew from a 5,000 square foot facility to more than one million square feet in six states, with offices in Europe, Canada, China, South America and Southeast Asia. Even with its global footprint, MiTek remains one of the few audio component makers still manufacturing in the United States. Ivey also has held several leadership positions in CEA, including chairman.
    In 1990, Ivey won the Entrepreneur of the Year award for all manufacturing in the Midwest; at the award ceremony he met the winner from Southern California, future congressman Darrell Issa, with whom he became lifelong friends. Ivey also was recognized as the Rockford, IL, Business Leader of the Year, and was named number 57 in the Inc. 500 with 3700 percent compounded growth over a three-year period. His philanthropic interests include medical research, youth organizations and educational foundations as well as animal rescue and wildlife preservation. He also is dedicated to delivering a negative carbon footprint for his company.
    Outside of the technology sector, Ivey is active in local, state, and federal governmental activities, and in Bollinger County, MO, he serves as a sheriff’s deputy and department pilot. He also is an honorary member of the USMC; each year he attends the Easy Company E25 reunion. Over the years, to indulge his need for speed and adrenaline rushes, Ivey has been a jet plane and helicopter pilot, performed aerial combat maneuvers, performed multiple sky dives, raced open wheel and stock cars, dragsters and motorcycles cross-country, served as a USCG river boat captain, and a Mesoamerican/Mayan explorer.
    Married to his wife, Debi, since 1968, the couple has two children and five grandsons.

  • Hedy Lamarr

    Hedy Lamarr

    Co-inventor, frequency hopping/spread spectrum

    How one of the world’s most beautiful women and most popular film stars of Hollywood’s golden era came to co-invent the most important wireless communications security technology – frequency hopping – is a strange and wonderful story.
    Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna on November 9, 1914. Growing up, her father would accompany her on walks and describe how the machines they came across worked. By her late teens, the young beauty had appeared in five films, including a now infamous nude scene in the Czech movie Ecstasy in 1933.
    Soon after making Ecstasy, she married Fritz Mandl, an Austrian munitions maker. Mandl, thought to be the third richest man in Austria, entertained clients including Adolf Hitler and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini at dinner parties at their home. Mandl displayed his wife as arm candy at these parties and at meetings with scientists and munitions engineers, sparking anew her interest in applied science and engineering. While Mandl didn’t mind showing off his wife at parties, he prevented her from pursuing her acting career.
    Frustrated at her husband’s controlling and restrictive behavior, Lamarr disguised herself as her own maid, wearing all her jewelry beneath the uniform, and escaped in 1937. She made her way to London, where she was discovered by MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, who took her to Hollywood where she soon became Hollywood’s new exotic beauty queen.
    But when she wasn’t making movies, Lamarr tinkered and invented; she even set up an “inventor's corner” in her home.
    Even though she was a renowned beauty, Lamarr was self-conscious about her figure. Soon after the release of her fourth film, Boom Town, with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy in the late summer of 1940, she read an Esquire magazine article by peripatetic film composer George Antheil about glandular treatments. Wondering if he could suggest ways to enhance her bust line, she asked mutual friends Adrian, the costume designer, and his wife, actress Janet Gaynor, to invite the composer to dinner. A flustered Antheil fielded questions from Lamarr about her figure not only after dinner, but again at a second dinner the following night. But soon their conversation wandered toward the war in Europe and Lamarr’s desire to aid her adopted country in what would soon become their war.
    Lamarr expressed her desire to quit show business, guilty that she was making so much money when horrors were being perpetrated in her homeland, and joined the U.S. government’s new Inventors’ Council. She explained her munitions background and interest, then showed Antheil some of the ideas she’d been working on. After several meetings over the next few weeks, she read of the September 17 sinking of the City of Benares by a German radio-controlled torpedo. This gave her an idea, explained by author Richard Rhodes in his 2011 book, Hedy’s Folly:

    “If a radio transmitter and receiver are synchronized to change their tuning simultaneously, hopping together randomly from frequency to frequency, then the radio signal passing between them cannot be jammed. Hedy called this idea “hopping of frequencies,” a grammatically German translation of the German compound word Frequenzsprungverfahren, “frequency-hopping process” – in colloquial English, “frequency hopping.”
    But Lamarr was at a loss as to how to accomplish this feat. Antheil, however, was also somewhat of a mechanic. Fifteen years earlier, he had written a short avant garde ballet called Ballet Mécanique, performed by an orchestra that included a number of unusual “instruments,” including 16 synchronized player pianos. Antheil proposed using an 88-band frequency – the number of keys on a piano – and using the same synchronized player piano technique he’d used on the ballet to generate the random frequency codes.
    On August, 11, 1942, the U.S. government issued Patent 2,292,387 to Antheil and “Hedy Kiesler Markey,” Lamarr’s married name at the time. Except the government wasn’t interested in adopting the technology. So Antheil and Lamarr simply returned to their more artistic day jobs.
    Lamarr became an even bigger star during World War II and beyond, making more than 20 films, including her iconic performance in Samson & Delilah (1949), before retiring in 1958. In recognition of her iconic status, she got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
    While she was making movies, Sylvania’s Electronic Systems Division, not knowing the origins of the patent since Lamarr had used her maiden name on the patent, devised an electronic version of frequency hopping technology. Morphing into “spread spectrum,” it was first used by the military for ship-to-ship communication during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis quarantine, unbeknownst to Lamarr.
    Over the following decades, spread spectrum would be utilized in an array of fashions by a variety of government and commercial entities in a variety of voice and data wireless products and platforms including cordless phones, cellular phones, satellite communications, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No wireless communications technology or standard would be secure without spread spectrum.
    Lamar’s and Antheil’s roles in the invention of this foundational technology, however, wasn’t widely known until 1997, when Lamarr was given a Pioneers Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation after a campaign by an online net freedom activist named Dave Hughes. A year later, Lamarr sold 49 percent of her patent claim to Ottawa, Canada-based Wi-LAN.
    The entire story of Lamarr’s and Antheil’s frequency hopping invention finally reached the general public via Rhodes’ book. In 2014, Antheil and Lamarr were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

  • Dr. David Lee

    Dr. David Lee

    Founder, Silicon Image

    Every child grows up with a big dream. Dr. David Lee’s aspiration to become a diplomat rooted from his desire to make the world a better place. While these youthful political goals proved to be short-lived, Lee’s impact on society has been anything but that. Every time we sit down to watch a high-definition television program or see a crisp digital image cross our computer monitors, we owe Lee a debt of gratitude. As the founder of Silicon Image and the mastermind behind the HDMI and the DVI PC interfaces, it is Lee’s innovations that seamlessly connect our AV devices and fuel our high-definition world.
    Born in Seoul, South Korea in 1956, Lee and his family immigrated to the United States in the 1970s after he completed his service in the Korean Air Force. At the University of California, Berkeley, Lee began his studies in electrical engineering and computer science. Working on a graduate research project known as SPUR (Symbolic Processing Using RISCs) and studying under the leadership of notable professors including Dave Hodges, Dave Patterson and Randy Katz, Lee found his calling in technology. Lee earned his bachelor’s degree in 1983, his master’s in 1985 and a Ph.D. in 1989. Soon after graduation, Lee married his fiancée Joanne, a woman poised to play a pivotal role in his future endeavors.
    As a professional engineer, Lee’s career began in 1989 at Xerox PARC, the famed Palo Alto Research Center, where he led multiple projects including the development of the world’s first 6.3M pixel active-matrix LCDs, integrating high-resolution display technology with high-performance computing. He went on to become principal investigator at Sun Microsystems, focusing on balancing performance on computers across processor, memory and I/O bandwidth.
    As time progressed, Lee continued to run into the frustration that high-speed connections and bandwidth weren’t more economically available. Bandwidth was overly expensive and only available in lucrative network markets. Hoping to lower the costs and replace analog audio/video cables with high-speed digital connections that could service emerging high-definition digital displays, Lee founded Silicon Image in 1995. Along with graduate school colleague Prof. D.K. Jeong of Seoul National University, Silicon Image set out to create a semiconductor solution that would deliver high-speed digital data at cost-effective rates.
    What began in Lee’s family room quickly attracted the attention of professional investors; a turning point for Silicon Image and validation of its technology and business ideas. Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor company then, made a strategic investment in the company. Silicon Image raised more than $20 million in venture capital and achieved profitability spending just a fraction of that.
    Going public four years after its launch, Silicon Image ranked No. 9 in Red Herring’s count of the top technology IPO’s of the year.
    The first product born from Silicon Image was DVI (Digital Visual Interface), a technology concept Lee originated. DVI debuted in 1998 and quickly became a PC industry standard in conjunction with the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG), a trade consortium comprised of Silicon Image, Intel, IBM, HP, Compaq, Fujitsu and NEC Corporation.
    Working with top consumer electronics companies, Silicon Image extended DVI’s digital video transmission capabilities to include multi-channel digital audio and compatibility with home HD components. The goal was to bridge the connections between HDTVs, Blu-ray players, digital set-top cable and satellite set-top boxes with a high-powered, efficient connectivity solution. Silicon Image led the project while working together with Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Philips, RCA Thomson and major Hollywood studios. Together, the group created the digitally secure HDMI standard. Lee was responsible for forging the critical collaborative relationships that led to this achievement.
    The HDMI 1.0 specification was announced on January 13, 2003, and the first consumer products featuring HDMI debuted later that year. By the tenth anniversary of the HDMI specification’s initial release, an estimated three billion plus HDMI devices had been sold. In recognition of the major contribution it made to modern television and role in improving the home theater experience, HDMI was awarded the 2009 Technology and Engineering Emmy Award by National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).
    Lee served as Silicon Image’s CEO for five years after the company’s IPO. In 2004, he left the company to spend time with his family and explore new entrepreneurial challenges, founding Dual Aperture, a Silicon Valley startup company focused on new photography technologies, in 2011.
    In addition to his corporate roles, Lee is active in a variety of academic and non-profit initiatives, both locally and globally. He has generously helped to fund and establish new facilities, endow professorships and fuel academic research in medicine, theology and technology at universities including U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University and Seoul Theological University.
    Lee is the father of two daughters, Lydia and Laura, and currently resides in Palo Alto, CA with his wife Joanne and their dog Apple.

  • Cowboy Maloney

    Cowboy Maloney

    Founder, Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City Super Stores

    “Cowboy” Maloney was not really a cowboy. He actually started out in show business, owned a gas station, did construction work and finally bought a lumber yard in Jackson, Mississippi. But when the TV boom hit in the early 1950s, Maloney discovered a more profitable source of income. Maloney built his eponymous electronics business so successfully that “Cowboy” Maloney’s Electric City was chosen to be the first retailer to launch DirecTV and Sirius Satellite Radio.
    James C. Maloney was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on October 30, 1911, the oldest of four brothers. His parents, Irish immigrants Conal and Bridget, moved the family to San Antonio, Texas, where his dad opened a grocery store. When he wasn’t helping out his parents in the store, Maloney and his brothers grew up playing in the Alamo and going to school.
    Maloney graduated from St. Bernard College in Cullman, AL, where he later served as president of its alumni association and received an honorary doctorate degree in literature and law. Interested in theater more than retail, in the midst of the Great Depression Maloney moved to the theater capital of the world, New York City, where he found work as a master of ceremonies on the radio show The Original Amateur Hour with Major Bowes, the American Idol of its time.
    Unable to join the military at the outbreak of World War II because of bleeding ulcers, Maloney was hired to run a Sinclair gas station in Washington, D.C., servicing political and special military vehicles. During the war, he married Leah “Dolly” Schimpf, and the couple had three sons, Con, Eddie and Johnny. In 1945, doctors found Maloney’s ulcers to be terminal and gave him six months to live, so he moved his young family back home to Jackson.
    Maloney proved the doctors wrong. He got a job building houses then, in 1952, he opened a lumber yard at 119 Mayes Street that also sold built-in appliances. In true mom & pop retail fashion, the whole family pitched in: his wife ran the office and his sons helped wherever they could. When TV came to Jackson, Maloney wanted to purchase three for his brothers and one for himself. However, to purchase the sets wholesale, he had to buy six, so he figured he’d just sell the remaining two sets. Maloney placed the TVs in an enclosure at the yard called The Bargain Corral for dispersal. But before the day was out, all six sets got sold. The next day he bought a dozen more TVs at a better price, and they were sold in two days. A new business was born.
    Building materials at that time were marked up 10 percent above cost, but Maloney went to 15 percent on the TVs and quickly had the leading TV sales floor in Jackson. He sold all brands and had an advertiser from the local newspaper create “The Bargain Corral at Maloney’s” ads. Since he was the head of the corral, Maloney went from being “Jimmy” to “Cowboy” Maloney and The Bargain Corral. Henceforth, all the stores in future chain would be known by the colorful, evocative name and the Stetson-wearing Maloney became a local personality.
    His large, cartoon-laden, off-the-wall ads, always featuring a comic photograph of Maloney, were often more entertaining than the editorial around them. Just as George Washington could throw silver dollars across the Potomac, one ad proposed, Maloney could throw dollars of savings at customers. Pictured in an electric chair, Maloney illustrated how his “high voltage deals” would kill you. With a picture of Abraham Lincoln staring down at him, “Wilkes Booth” Maloney assassinated high TV prices. To see if you suffered from “priceitis (limited moo-la),” the reader was instructed to breathe on a large black spot at the top of the ad. If the black spot then turned white, you were instructed to see a doctor. If it stayed black, “see Maloney for the best prices on spotless television.” And, of course, “Cowboy” Maloney buried high prices on Boot Hill.
    The success bred by Maloney’s larger-than-life advertising persona and TV pricing policies allowed him to open a second location in 1956. By the early 1970s, “Cowboy” Maloney’s two stores were generating $1 million in annual sales.
    Besides selling TVs, Maloney involved himself in local Jackson life, including the City Auditorium, the Arts Center and represented Jackson at an international art meeting in Florence, Italy. He also was president of the Home Builders Association.
    In 1973, Maloney sold the business to his eldest son, Con, who quickly opened additional Cowboy Maloney’s in Jackson, Vicksburg and Hattiesburg. In 1979, a flood wiped out their lumber business, and Con concentrated solely on appliances and TVs. In 1991, the three brothers partnered to purchase Electric City, the merchandising arm of Mississippi Power Co., and the name of the business was changed to Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City Super Stores. On June 17, 1994, the nation’s media gathered in Jackson to watch Cowboy Maloney’s, and its tuxedo-clad associates, become the first retailer to sell the DirecTV satellite TV system.
    “Cowboy” Maloney passed away in 1976, but he left to his three sons a strong foundation in work ethic, community involvement, a strong understanding of customer treatment and the total commitment to honesty and integrity. Cowboy Maloney’s now employs 300 associates in 13 stores in Mississippi and Tennessee with total sales of more than $50 million.
    Maloney’s greatest admonition to his sons was to keep their last name on the building but keep customers first, advice they have successfully followed.

  • Gerald McCarthy

    Gerald McCarthy

    President, Zenith Sales Company

    A native of Chicago, Jerry McCarthy got into sales as soon as he discovered how much he enjoyed waiting on customers. At the age of nine, he was a paper boy; from ages 11 to 15, he worked as a clerk and a stock boy at a small local grocery store owned by a Holocaust survivor and frequented by Yiddish-speaking customers in the mixed Irish/Jewish/Italian neighborhood. One day, his language skills would give him a leg up on his sales competitors.
    He continued to work part-time while in school and graduated from Loyola University in 1963 with a degree in political science. He then entered the Army and served two years as a lieutenant in an Air Defense Artillery unit.
    After leaving the service, he landed a job in the order department with Zenith Radio Corp. Over the next several years, he worked at Zenith and as a part-time sales person at Chicago electronics retailer Polk Bros. His hard work at both ends started to pay off at Zenith in the early 1970s, when he was named supervisor of black-and-white TV production planning, and then moved to assistant manager of television product development, black-and-white TV product manager, national sales training manager and director of TV planning.
    In the late 1970s, McCarthy started his tour through Zenith’s executive suites, moving from vice president of Zenith Sales Company’s western division and corporate vice president of consumer products sales to executive vice president of the Zenith Sales Company in 1982. He then became president of the Zenith Sales Company, to president of Zenith Radio Canada, then corporate senior vice president of sales in 1983. McCarthy was named corporate executive vice president, sales and marketing, of the parent company and appointed to its Board of Directors in 1993. He continued as Zenith Sales Company president until 1996, when he retired.
    Over the years, McCarthy’s fingerprints were found all over the company’s successes and breakthrough products, including the industry’s first stereo TVs, first closed caption TVs, first TVs with electronic program guides and first TVs with premium sound systems.
    In 1982, JVC was getting ready to announce the VHS-compact (VHS-C) camcorder format to compete with Beta video recorders, which were smaller than bulky VHS camcorders. Zenith had a partnership with JVC, which at the time was not a well-known consumer brand. McCarthy was able to convince JVC to launch VHS-C under the Zenith brand, the hugely popular VM 6400.
    For most of his career, the industry was driven by regional distributors who served tens of thousands of mom and pop dealers and traditional TV-appliance sales and service shops, where McCarthy’s Yiddish served him well.
    But the mid-1980s marked the emergence of big-box retailers, necessitating a shift in how products reached stores. McCarthy was instrumental (along with a handful of industry executives from RCA and Magnavox) in managing to move the industry from the traditional two-step distribution system to a single-step one, essentially dealing directly with the buying groups and the big-box stores without the regional middlemen, to serve this new breed of power retailers.
    Considered a leading industry statesmen in the day, McCarthy served as a long-time member of the Board of Governors of the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and on the Board of Directors of the EIA Consumer Electronics Group (now CEA).
    After McCarthy retired, he became, and remains today, a professor of marketing and management at Dominican University, as well as a consumer electronics management sales, marketing, distribution and channel management consultant. He also has served on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit boards.

  • Walter Mossberg

    Walter Mossberg

    Technology Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

    Frenemies Steve Job and Bill Gates didn’t make public appearances together. When Microsoft made its famously unexpected $150 million investment in the revived Apple in 1997, Bill Gates showed up at MacWorld via satellite feed rather than live. But after phone call to each of the two pillars of personal computing from Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg, both appeared on stage together for a now legendary joint interview at his fifth All Things Digital 5 conference in May 2007.
    Declared by The Washington Post as “one of the most powerful men in the high-tech world” and “a one-man media empire whose prose can launch a new product,” Mossberg has been arguably the most influential technology reporter of the digital era. From his weekly “Personal Technology” column each Thursday, anchoring the The Wall Street Journal’s Marketplace and Personal Journal sections from 1991 through 2013, and from 2007 through 2013, to the All Things Digital (AllThingsD) Web site, Mossberg not only reported on the technology industry but “[c]hances are he has influenced the look, feel and performance of your laptop, mobile phone and MP3 player,” according to Wired magazine.
    Born in Warwick, Rhode Island, on March 27, 1947, Mossberg was eldest of three sons; his father, Jack, was a door-to-door salesman. In high school, Mossberg started co-writing a column for his local newspaper with his friend, James Woods. Woods decided to concentrate on acting, while Mossberg became “mesmerized” by journalism. In 1969, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brandeis, where he met his future wife, Edith. During his sophomore year, he landed a summer job at the local Providence Journal, covering everything from local politics to crime to fraternal organizations.
    In 1969, Mossberg attended Columbia University, where he earned a master’s from the Graduate School of Journalism in 1970, dreaming of a national newspaper job in Washington, D.C. His desire was partly fulfilled when he was hired by The Wall Street Journal right after graduation – but was assigned to the paper’s Detroit, not Washington, bureau, where he helped cover the automotive industry with future Journal managing editor Norman Pearlstine.
    After three-and-a-half years, Mossberg finally got his wish and was transferred to the Journal’s Washington, D.C. bureau to be one of two full-time labor reporters; he also handled assignments covering energy, international economics and the Pentagon. In 1987, he was promoted to national security correspondent, often covering U.S. Secretary of State James Baker.
    Around this time, he became fascinated with his first PC – a Timex Sinclair that he connected to a black & white TV. As PC technology advanced, Mossberg’s fascination turned into a hobby. He would often debate fellow reporters on Baker’s press plane about whether Macs or PCs were superior.
    Yet following around the secretary of state entailed a lot of travel, which Mossberg began to hate. In May 1991, he wrote Pearlstine a seven-page prospective outlining his plans for writing a column about his true obsession – technology. Even though the Journal had never carried an opinion column, Pearlstine agreed.
    Mossberg’s first column, “Personal Technology,” appeared October 17, 1991, and quickly proved popular with readers. In addition, Mossberg answered readers' questions in “Mossberg’s Mailbox” and wrote, then edited, “The Mossberg Solution,” and appeared regularly on TV including on CNBC, NPR and PBS.
    For the next 22 years, Mossberg's influential reporting and reviews forced even the largest and most influential companies in technology to abandon products or make changes to features he criticized; he could make tech company stock prices rise or fall. At one point, after constant requests to privately lend his opinion, Mossberg was forced to send a missive to public relations people to let them know he was not a consultant. “Few reviewers have held so much power to shape an industry’s successes and failures,” Wired magazine once noted.
    In 2003, he and fellow Journal tech reporter Kara Swisher, whom he recruited from The Washington Post in 1996, held the first D: All Things Digital conference and later initiated the AllThingsD Web site.
    In 2008 and again from 2010-2013, Vanity Fair magazine listed him as a member of its “New Establishment” list of the top leaders of the Information Age.
    In January 2014, Mossberg left the Journal and, with Swisher, founded Revere Digital, which operates Re/code, a new tech and media news, reviews and analysis site, and the Code Conferences.

  • Victor and Janie Tsao

    Victor and Janie Tsao

    Co-Founders, Linksys

    Victor and Janie Tsao began their story in Taiwan, both coming from humble beginnings. They met at Tamkang University in Taipei while earning their bachelor’s degrees, Victor in computer science and Janie in English literature. Janie moved to the U.S. in 1975 and landed a job with Sears Roebuck in information technology. Later, she also held system manager positions at TRW and Carter Hawley Hale. Victor moved to the U.S. in 1976 to continue his education. He earned his Master of Science in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1980 and later in his career, earned an MBA from Pepperdine University. Victor worked in various software programming and system integration jobs at Montgomery Ward, Kraft, TRW and Taco Bell. Having witnessed corporations’ large-scale adoption of information systems and communication networks, Victor and Janie had the vision to bring the same applications mainstream for everyday home users.

    In the early 1990s, the Internet was still in its infancy. Users had one phone line and a dial-up connection that was slow and unreliable. Victor and Janie incorporated Linksys with the goal of improving connectivity for everyday users. They bootstrapped Linksys with no outside funding out of a garage in Southern California by selling a variety of connectors and adapters to homes and small businesses. With full control over the company, Victor and Janie were able to quickly and effectively adapt to product changes while focusing on new product developments. By the mid-1990s Linksys began selling its own line of switches and hubs, the nuts and bolts of the home network and precursors to the router.

    While their early products sold well, Victor and Janie believed that being agile and first-to-market with new technologies was a key to success. Then in late 1995, Microsoft unveiled Windows 95, which integrated networking functions to make it easier for homes and small offices to construct their own internal network. Linksys capitalized on the new cable and DSL broadband technology by developing the first affordable retail router – Linksys 4-port Ethernet Cable/DSL Router, Part Number BEFSR41.

    From switches to routers, Linksys, helped invent the concept of the home network – a seamless integration of multiple users with multiple points of data and communication devices. In 2000, as Wi-Fi technology became more robust and stable with the introduction of IEEE 802.11 standards, Linksys pushed the boundaries of the home network to the next level by introducing the first wireless router. The wireless router was more than just a product for consumers; it was a lifestyle shift that set the world on a path of increased mobility, allowing home users to live, work and play more efficiently. 

    The routers were an immediate success, but not without countless hours of hard work and mutual trust. The Tsaos equally divided their workload within Linksys. Janie focused on business development and sales, increasing reach by continuously pushing products into new retail and e-commerce channels. Early on, Janie was tasked with educating and convincing retailers of the home network’s legitimacy. She helped move products carried by regional retailers, such as Fry’s Electronics, to national retailers, such as CompUSA. Janie recalls that one of the biggest moments came when she signed Best Buy as a retail channel.

    Victor spent the majority of his time focused on product development, supply chain management and customer support. Victor pushed the envelope for “plug and play” features, a then revolutionary experience albeit a seemingly archaic word today. With Victor and Janie’s combined efforts, Linksys’ little blue and grey box quickly became a common household device.

    While many overnight IT companies disappeared after the dot-com bust, Linksys continued to grow organically. In 1997, Linksys had 60 employees with $32 million in revenue. However, by 2003, Linksys had grown to more than 300 employees with more than $500 million in revenue, putting Linksys on Inc. 500 magazine’s ranking of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., seven years in a row.

    By 2003, Linksys products reached millions of homes and changed the way people interacted with the World Wide Web. Linksys was in every major retailer—from Best Buy to Staples to Amazon. With wireless technologies going global, Linksys looked to develop partnerships to increase its global sales and marketing distribution. Victor and Janie sold Linksys to Cisco Systems in June 2003 to allow Linksys to extend its global reach.

    Victor and Janie continued to work at Linksys as senior vice presidents for Cisco Systems until they decided to retire from corporate life in 2007. They have two children, Michael and Steven. Victor and Janie remain active in technology through investments in venture capital and startups. They also remain active in the communities that have supported them and have funded charitable projects through their private foundation.

  • Tim Westergren

    Tim Westergren

    Founder, Pandora Internet Radio

    The phonograph and the radio were revolutionary ways to listen to music. Tim Westergren innovated another way – Pandora Internet radio. Using a complex algorithm, Pandora enables users to create targeted, personalized streaming radio stations and now attracts a monthly audience of more than 75 million listeners through its seemingly ubiquitous and de rigueur mobile and more than 1,000 other connected devices.
    Born four days before Christmas 1965 in Minneapolis, MN, Westergren took up the piano as a seven-year old while living in France where his family had just moved. He learned about blues and jazz, and then got swept up in 80’s pop music in England, where he spent his teenage years. Following a two-year stint at a Michigan boarding school, Tim enrolled at Stanford where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. But music remained his passion, and he became facile with sound design, recording hardware and digital recording.
    After graduation, Westergren worked for nearly five years as a “manny” to make ends meet while woodshedding for hours every day on the piano. He then spent several years performing in rock bands, frequently living out of a van. He then set up a recording studio in the San Francisco Bay Area and embarked on a career in scoring film, which is when Westergren came up with the idea of a musical taxonomy. When trying to discover a director’s musical vision, he would play clips from CDs and ask for “more like this, less like that” feedback to build a musicological description of the director’s taste, and then eventually compose.
    He happened upon an article about singer/songwriter Aimee Mann and the trouble she was having reaching her audience. He wondered whether the solution to this creative problem might lie in his informal profiling methodology. Why not try to codify the musical taxonomy and marry it to mathematics to build a recommendation engine – to connect one song to another by understanding their musicological content to help consumers discover new music.
    Former college classmate Jon Kraft was excited by the idea and suggested they draw up a business plan to attract some venture investment. Kraft contacted a mathematician/computer scientist friend, Will Glaser, to see if he’d be interested in joining. In March 2000, the newly-dubbed Music Genome Project raised $1.5 million from angel investors, rented a studio apartment in South San Francisco and hired a team of software engineers and musicians.
    Westergren and musician Nolan Gasser built the taxonomy, Glaser architected the technical layer and Jon ran the operation. The team ultimately identified 450 musical “genes” covering every detail of vocals, rhythm, harmony, melody, lyrics and instrumentation – along with a unique, high-performance algorithm that could compute the musical “distance” between songs. Then, a team of 70 highly-trained “music analysts” laboriously scored thousands of recordings, one song at a time, using pencil and paper. A single analysis could take from 15 minutes for a pop song to more than an hour for a symphony.
    It took a year to build the first batch of 10,000 songs for the testing prototype, running inside Microsoft Excel. They typed in a song by The Beatles into the spreadsheet, and waited anxiously for the macro to deliver the match results – a Bee Gees song. Initially chagrined by the result, Westergren discovered the song was an early Bee Gees recording at a time when their sound was a virtual knock off of the early Beatles. The algorithm worked, and the team went from despair to elation.
    On the slow and arduous journey to develop a commercially viable business, the founders chewed through the initial investment. Westergren maxed out numerous credit cards and fell hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. The company was threatened with eviction, and the company’s 50 employees – including Westergren – worked for several years for little or no salary. Westergren pitched Pandora 347 times before finally convincing Walden VC to lead a $9 million series B financing. Westergren happily paid back every employee, and the company was granted a new lease on life.
    In 2004, following a lengthy strategic deliberation led by the company’s new CEO, Joe Kennedy, the team decided to re-purpose the Genome Project and create a personalized radio playlist product.
    In the fall of 2005, with a new name, Pandora, 200 of the team’s closest friends and family were given password-protected access to a demo of the new product. Within weeks, thousands of people were accessing the demo. Once officially launched in October, Pandora soon started adding tens of thousands of users a day, mostly by word of mouth, attracted by the prospect of creating a personal radio station.
    In the summer of 2007, Pandora faced another crisis when Internet radio royalty rates were nearly tripled by an arbitration panel in the copyright office. Faced with ruinous rates, and arguably the end of Internet radio, the company organized a massive grassroots political campaign, appealing to its listeners to contact their members of Congress. Hundreds of thousands of people responded, ultimately catalyzing congressional intervention and a supervised renegotiation in the fall of 2008 allowed the company and Internet radio to survive.
    Simultaneously, the launch of Pandora’s iPhone app dramatically changed Pandora’s growth trajectory. New registrations doubled the day of the Apple App Store launch, and dozens of major CE manufacturers began clamoring for Pandora to integrate the service into their connected devices. By the end of 2011, 70 percent of the listening hours were taking place on smartphones, hundreds of devices were Pandora-enabled and Pandora’s share of radio listening crossed five percent in January 2012, making it one of, if not the largest radio station in virtually every major market.
    Pandora’s music codification process remains constant. Thousands of new songs are added monthly and the algorithm continues to refine as a large data science effort.
    Pandora went public in 2011, and today counts more than 1,300 employees, with 45 offices in three countries.

2013 Inductees

  • Jim Barton

    Jim Barton


    How many times do you bump into someone before you realize karma may be at work? It seemed wherever Jim Barton worked, Mike Ramsay was already there. After the third such coincidence, Barton finally realized there were forces larger than himself at work, so he called Ramsay. Over a series of lunches, the pair created TiVo, which forever changed the way we watch TV.

    Barton was born in Denver in 1958, where his parents, both college graduates, had met after his father’s Navy stint in the Pacific during WWII. Barton grew up in a suburb of Denver, graduated from high school and went off to college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering and computer science in 1980. While in school in the late 1970s, Barton worked for the University Computing Center, first as a computer operator and later as a systems programmer, when computers were big, bulky mainframes occupying vast air conditioned machine rooms.

    After graduation, Barton began working for AT&T Bell Laboratories in Denver as a systems programmer while earning a master’s degree in computer science in 1982. At Bell Labs, Barton wrote software for the then-new UNIX operating system (OS) running on the new VAX 11-780 minicomputer from Digital Equipment Corp. He was responsible for the development of computer networking software components for Bell Labs’ vast array of computing systems during the expansion of the UNIX-based ARPANET, the foundation of the Internet.

    In October 1984, Barton moved to Silicon Valley to work for Hewlett-Packard, as a part of a team implementing a new UNIX-based desktop workstation computer based on HP’s new RISC computer architecture. The system promised lower cost and higher performance than mainframes and minicomputers.

    It was at HP that Barton first met Ramsay, who was a high-level manager in charge of the project Barton worked on. In mid-1986, Barton moved to Silicon Graphics (SGI), where again he bumped into Ramsay. At SGI, Barton led the software development of a multiprocessor OS for SGI’s new line of RISC workstations based on the MIPS microprocessor developed at Stanford.

    But perhaps Barton’s most important experience at SGI was gleaned from his involvement in the inception and development of Time-Warner Cable’s “Full Service Network” in Orlando, Fla., the first video-on-demand system.

    Barton left SGI in 1996 to explore opportunities to develop new kinds of services arising from the expansion of the Internet. After he’d heard that Ramsay had left SGI, Barton called him for lunch. The two decided to form a company initially called Teleworld in August 1997 to pursue consumer-focused products based on digital forms of content. After abandoning the idea of an expensive home network server, the pair decided to narrow their focus to a device that would use sophisticated software and inexpensive hardware to allow consumers to pause live TV and to schedule the recording of TV programs. This device became the first commercially available consumer digital video recorder (DVR).They then changed the name of the company and device to the more TV-flavored TiVo.

    As the primary technical designer, Barton chose Linux, a reimplementation of UNIX, with which he had ample experience, as the operating software. Using open-source software wherever practical allowed Barton to focus on the real innovation needed to construct the recorder.

    Barton also wanted to make controlling TiVo as easy as possible. During the early stages of hardware design, the hardware manager asked Barton, “Where do you want to put the power switch?” Barton replied, “There will be no power switch or reset button on a TiVo.” Barton and Ramsay wanted to make TiVo work reliably all the time, like a television, designing it so even Barton’s mother could use it.

    Unfortunately, Barton and Ramsay weren’t the only DVR developers. TiVo and a company called ReplayTV both announced their products at the 1999 International CES, each promising products within a year.

    In early March 1999, however, TiVo was behind its promised end-of-the-month delivery date. After working 24-hours a day during the final weeks on what was named Project Blue Moon, TiVo shipped its first product on March 31, 1999, beating ReplayTV into the market.

    The idea of pausing live TV and easy one-button recording caught on. TiVo went public in September 1999 and grew rapidly through its own retail efforts and through strategic relationships with DirecTV, Sony, Philips, Comcast and many other CE and TV provider companies.

    By 2013, a DVR was present in 46 percent of U.S. homes. The time-shifting TiVo enabled has become so prevalent it has changed television advertising models and pushed Nielsen to change its TV ratings methodology to compensate for viewers no longer watching programs when they originally air.

    Barton left TiVo in March 2012 and re-joined Ramsay to form InVisioneer. The pair hopes to revolutionize video entertainment all over again.

  • Dr. Samar Basu

    Dr. Samar Basu

    Inventor, lithium-ion battery anode

    Luck, it is said, is a residue of design. And University of Pennsylvania post-doctoral researcher Samar Basu had plenty of luck when he stumbled across the key to enabling the development of the modern rechargeable lithium-ion battery while researching something completely different.

    Basu was born Sept. 1, 1943 in Simla (now Shimla), India, the capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayan foothills, but grew up in the industrial city of Howrah, West Bengal, India. He became interested in chemical reactions in the ninth grade thanks to the influence of his high school chemistry teacher.

    After he earned his B.S. in metallurgical engineering from Bengal Engineering College, Howrah, in 1966, and his master’s (1968) and Ph.D. (1972) in chemical metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur, Basu returned to Bengal Engineering College to teach metallurgy until 1975. Basu then immigrated to the U.S., where he joined a team at the University of Pennsylvania doing research work on lithium batteries, studying titanium and tantalum sulfides for use as cathodes.

    All batteries include plus/positive and minus/negative electrodes – or, technically, cathodes and anodes – to direct the flow of electrons for discharging and recharging. While Basu pursued cathode materials under Worrell, fellow researcher Jack Fischer was working on graphite intercalation compounds (GIC) with an objective of replacing heavyweight copper cables in transformers or heavy electrical equipment. Fischer wanted to combine lithium, the lightest solid element, with graphite to produce the simplest GIC to serve as a model material for physicists to conduct fundamental studies. However, there seemed to be no way to combine the two elements to create a pure compound.

    Basu, while working on intercalation compounds at Penn’s Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM), found a solution: he would synthesize the pure material by dipping solid graphite into a pool of molten lithium under circulation argon in a glove box at -200 degrees Celsius. After removing the solidified lithium around the edges, Basu had successfully synthesized the pure compound LiC6.

    Sure enough, LiC6 satisfied Fischer’s needs, and many enhanced physical properties were reported, but one in particular: its high electrical conductivity, which was measured to be about half that of pure copper. Basu began to focus more of his research with Worrell on cathode materials and occasionally experimented with LiC6, to prove the compound could serve as a lithium battery anode exhibited by its properties.

    The main problem with lithium batteries was the thick surface coatings of lithium oxide, hydroxide or carbonate eating away the lithium electrodes after multiple charging/discharging cycles. Several attempts were made during the late 1970s to replace pure elemental lithium by lithium alloys and compounds, but none seemed to work until LiC6.

    In 1978, Basu was recruited to join Bell Labs’ Battery Development Department, in Murray Hill, N.J., to try and solve these problems and further develop the technology toward a commercially viable anode material. Initially, Basu ran into problems with poor interaction between LiC6 and the battery’s organic electrolytes. But during the second half of 1978, he found that a molten inorganic salt (LiCl-KCl) mixture worked at elevated temperatures. It took another year to demonstrate cells with an organic electrolyte worked at room temperature and a real cathode material to work with the LiC6 anode. Bell Labs’ researcher Gunther Wertheim proved that lithium existed as lithium-ion in the LiC6 solid, which is how the name “lithiumion battery” was assigned by the industry.

    But all was not smooth sailing for recognition of his work. After the patent applications were approved, Basu faced a corporate gag order against publication of the research results in journals until the end of the 1980s. It wasn’t until the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Labs approached Bell Labs in 1992 to develop a product based on Basu’s two patents – and forceful arguments from Basu himself – that the gag order was lifted and Basu’s paper was published in 1999.

    In 1990, engineers at Sony Energy Technology converted Basu’s patents, together with the cobalt oxide cathode material of John Goodenough, into the first commercial lithium-ion battery, which powers most modern rechargeable portable electronic devices.

    For recognition of his contributions to the invention of the lithium-ion battery, Basu received the Lucent Technologies’ Patent Recognition Award in 1998.

    Basu took early retirement from Bell Labs in 2000 and accepted the invitation for the Tata Chair Professorship from his alma mater, Bengal Engineering College, to pursue his lifelong dream of developing lithium-ion-based electric vehicle batteries. Subsequently, he moved to the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in 2003, to set-up an R&D facility on campus. Basu retired in 2008. He now spends summers in Hawley, Pa., with his wife Soma and two sons, Samik and Avik, and winters in Calcutta, India.


  • Gary Burrell

    Gary Burrell


    Experiencing first-hand the need for a new technology has always been an innovation driver or in the case of Gary Burrell, an innovation pilot.
    As a certified pilot in the early 1980s, Burrell saw the usefulness of developing a product that used the still under-construction global positioning system (GPS) network to help guide flyers, boaters and other adventurers. This led Burrell and co-worker, Dr. Min Kao, to co-found Garmin, which launched the GPS phenomena.
    Gary Burrell was born in 1937 in Stilwell, Kan. He was interested in aviation and aerospace from a young age. He earned his electrical engineering B.S. degree from Wichita State University, then a Master’s degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in Troy, N.Y.

    During his career, Burrell worked in various positions including director of engineering and vice president of engineering at marine and aviation electronics companies including Lowrance Electronics, King Radio Corp. and Allied Signal.

    It was while Burrell was working at King Radio that was later acquired by Allied Signal in Olathe, Kansas, that he recruited Taiwan-born engineer Dr. Min-Hwan Kao, who was working at defense contractor Magnavox.

    By the late 1980s, the talk of the engineering world was the GPS network that was under construction by the U.S. government. Following Kao’s development of the first aviation GPS receiver, Allied Signal squeezed research funds for GPS receivers, especially the marine-focused products Burrell envisioned.

    Over dinner at a Red Lobster in Olathe, Kao asked Burrell if he’d ever thought about starting his own company. Half-jokingly, Burrell replied he’d only do so with Kao.

    They met around a card table at Kao’s home in Olathe to plot strategy. Within months, the two left Allied Signal, committing their personal savings to the new venture. In October 1989, after quickly putting together a business plan, they raised additional funds from families and friends, eventually raising $4 million. The two then flew to Taipei to find manufacturing partners, established an office in nearby Lenexa, Kan. and hired a dozen engineers to build a prototype.

    At first, the company was called ProNav. Unfortunately, that moniker already had been claimed by another company, so Burrell and Kao resorted to simply merging their two first names – Gar and Min: Garmin. In 1995, the company moved back to its home town of Olathe, where the company is still headquartered.

    Among the company’s first customers were coalition forces that used Garmin GPS products to navigate the desert during the first Gulf War. In mid-1992, the company unveiled the GPS 100 Personal Navigator, a $2,500 panel-mounted GPS navigation receiver for boaters and the first consumer GPS device.

    An immediate success, the GPS 100 generated a 5,000 unit backlog as soon as the prototype was unveiled and before it went on sale in October 1992. This strategy of stoking demand by showing off prototypes didn’t slow Garmin. The co-founders believed in vertical integration, which keeps all design, manufacturing, marketing and warehouse processes in-house to maintain greater control over timelines, quality, and service and maintain high profit margins.

    Burrell and Kao ran their growing business conservatively – they never needed to raise additional capital again. They reinvested in the company and established disciplines such as having cash in the bank, maintaining sufficient inventory levels and staying debt-free. Those practices helped avoid a lot of hurdles. Burrell was particularly keen on pleasing the end user, often known to say, “We live and die by customers’ perception of our products.”

    Garmin also pioneered new products in new markets and systems that integrated a variety of technologies, enabling the company to supply complete glass cockpits to airplanes, full lines of electronics for boats and in-dash “infotainment” in cars. The company also developed deep relationships with some of the world’s leading OEMs such as Cessna, BMW and Chrysler. In December 2000, the company went public. By 2002, Garmin was selling more than half of all consumer navigation devices. In 2003, the company launched its first GPS-enabled PDA, the iQue 3600.

    Burrell served as Garmin’s president from January 1990, then as co-CEO from August 2000 to August 2002. Burrell retired from Garmin in 2004, but remains as chairman emeritus.

  • Manning "Manny" Greenberg

    Manning "Manny" Greenberg

    Home Furnishings Daily

    Manning Greenberg was not a reporter to be trifled with. When a co-worker casually mentioned how great a singer Bing Crosby was, the devoted classical music lover Greenberg exploded, accusing Crosby, Elvis and Sinatra, of destroying the Western musical tradition. It was this zeal that made Greenberg one of the most influential and respected consumer electronics trade journalists of his time, and a beloved mentor to dozens of today’s trade reporters.

    Greenberg was born in 1927, in Bridgeport, Conn., to Benjamin, best known for making pickles and delivering them to delis all over Bridgeport, and Fannie, a voice and piano teacher. At the age of 17, during the last year of World War II, Greenberg joined the Navy, and served as a pharmacist mate in Quantico, Va. Returning home, Greenberg attended New York University, initially as an English major, on the GI Bill. Later Greenberg switched to journalism because he thought it was more practical, and he liked rooting around getting information and talking to people. He received his degree in 1953.

    Greenberg first saw his future wife, Hattie as a teenager dancing on a table top at a family party. Eight years later, Greenberg was reintroduced to now grown-up Hattie at a family gathering. While courting her in a row boat, he whistled the entire first movement of a Beethoven string quartet. The tactic was successful – the two married, living first on Bleeker Street before moving to a two-family house in Stamford, Conn. Alex, Michael and Abby soon followed.

    Greenberg began his journalism career as a copy editor at Home Furnishings Daily (now HFN), published by the legendary Fairchild Publications, publishers of Women’s Wear DailyHe eventually joined HFD’s TV & Appliances section, first as a reporter and then as section editor. During that time, he worked with future CE Hall of Famers Henry Brief, Frank McCann and Aaron Neretin, covering the nascent color TV business, the emergence of electronics/appliance retailers and Japanese CE suppliers.

    Greenberg created HFD’s “Focus 200,” a list of the top 200 electronics retailers by annual sales volume, and a similar list for major appliance retailers, both of which were later adopted by TWICE. After a salary dispute in the mid-1960s, Greenberg joined Fedders Air Conditioning to head up its public relations department. After a brief stay with Fedders and then Muzak, Greenberg rejoined HFD in 1970 as editor of the renamed “Electronics” section. In the 1980s, Greenberg was made editor of a monthly spin-off Fairchild magazine called Electronics Retailing, profiling regional chains that became national players such as Best Buy and Circuit City.

    Greenberg worked hard even while on vacation. While visiting his son Michael, who had relocated to Gothenburg, Sweden, he wrote an article on one of Sweden’s largest home-electronics retail chains, Siba, and its founder Bengt Bengtsson.

    Greenberg considered Electronics Retailing the crowning point of his career. But the magazine eventually folded, and he returned to HFD’s Electronics section, this time as senior editor, where he helped cover compact disc players, personal computers, video games and VCRs.

    Along with David Lachenbruch at Television Digest, Art Levis at Consumer Electronics monthly magazine and TWICE’s Bob Gerson, Greenberg became one of the most influential editorial voices in consumer electronics. For instance, Greenberg got two leading CE executives to conclude that only one, not two, CES shows were needed, which helped to lead to the elimination of the summer Chicago show. And his feature story about Nintendo of America attempting to enter the market with its first video game system in the 1980s helped establish it as the number one brand.

    While other reporters cultivated sources with diplomacy, Greenberg was voracious, always looking to get the scoop – deadlines and polite niceties be damned. For Greenberg, breaking and reporting a story first and accurately was everything. While Greenberg could be gruff, he also could be quiet and generous. His lasting legacy may be the next generation of reporters he trained and worked with while at HFD, freely sharing expertise and sources. By dropping his name co-workers instantly got reticent company executives to take their calls.

    Among his many honors is a Distinguished Electronics Meda Award from the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai Brith in 1986. After leaving HFD, he freelanced until he retired. Off the job, Greenberg liked to hike in the woods around his Chester, Mass., home, teaching his children about plants, trees and bird songs, before moving to Southbury, Mass., to be closer to his son, Alex. He was well-read and extremely conversant about art, especially abstract painters. He served for a period on the board of the Norwalk Symphony. And in his last years, Greenberg became a University of Connecticut Huskies basketball fan.

  • Dr. Marcian (Ted) Hoff

    Dr. Marcian (Ted) Hoff

    Father of the Microprocessor

    Electronic products are everywhere, most controlled by one or more microprocessors, tiny computers in the form of integrated circuits. Hoff helped launch this age by proposing a “computer on a chip,” which resulted in the world’s first microprocessor.

    Marcian E. “Ted” Hoff was born in Rochester, N.Y. on October 28, 1937. He became interested in technology at an early age – chemistry from age nine and electronics from age 12 – inspired by an uncle’s gift subscription to Popular Science, from which he answered an ad for an Allied Radio catalog. When he was 15, Hoff won a $400 scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C., from the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. By the time he graduated from high school he had built himself an oscilloscope and had done a bit of television set repair.

    Later as a sophomore at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., Hoff applied for, and was later awarded (1959), two patents for designing two circuits for General Railway Signal, where he worked summers and college holidays as a lab tech.

    Hoff was awarded his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rensselear in 1958, then his master’s degree (1959) and his Ph.D. (1962) from Stanford University’s Electrical Engineering graduate school. While at Stanford in 1960, Hoff and his professor, Bernard Widrow, studied neural networks and co-developed the LMS (least means squares) algorithm, a signal filter still used in many products such as modems, speech recognition systems and noise-cancelling systems. In 1968, former Fairchild engineer and integrated circuit co-inventor Robert Noyce invited Hoff to work for a new startup called Intel. Hoff, employee number 12 at the new chip company, wrote application information for Intel memory, and patented several memory concepts.

    Intel initially designed custom circuits, the first for Busicom calculators. In June 1969, Hoff served as liaison between the Japanese Busicom engineers and Intel’s chip developers. 

    Naturally curious, Hoff reviewed the specifications, which called for up to a dozen chips performing many functions, such as scanning a keyboard, operating a printer, displaying results on LED display devices, as well as performing regular calculator memory and calculation functions. The set proposed to use shift register memory, which used six transistors per bit and was relatively slow. Hoff was concerned the project might be too demanding for Intel and reported his concerns to Noyce, who asked if there might be a way to simplify the design.

    Hoff proposed a more condensed solution, which would use programs to perform the functions of the dedicated chips in the original set. The shift register memory also would be replaced with dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which used three transistors per bit and was much faster to access.

    These changes allowed primitive instructions to be executed quickly and allowed more complex operations to be performed rapidly enough to meet the calculator requirement. The resulting chip set consisted of only four different designs; only those in the CPU would be of higher complexity while the other chips would perform primarily memory functions.

    This proposed architecture for the CPU included slightly more than 2,300 transistors, well within Intel’s manufacturing capability at the time.

    After some initial pushback, Hoff ’s computer-on-a-chip approach was accepted by the Busicom board in October 1969 and silicon fabrication began in February 1971.

    Intel suddenly realized what it had on its hands, and acquired the rights for its custom chip from Busicom. In a November 1971 edition of Electronics News, Intel officially announced the world’s first microprocessor, the single chip 4004, a 4-bit chip comprised of 2,300 transistors.

    After the microprocessor was launched, Noyce asked Hoff to look at the telephone industry to see if Intel might play a role. Hoff assembled a small group, and produced the first commercially-available telephone codec, a device for translating telephone communication between analog and digital formats. His group also produced one of the first digital signal processing (DSP) chips, critical steps in the move from analog to digital telephony.

    Hoff also aided in the design of Intel’s first 8-bit microprocessors, the 8008 (1972) and the 8080 (1974), direct forbearers of the Intel 8088 chip used in the first IBM PC a decade later. In 1980, Hoff was named the first Intel Fellow, the highest technical position in the company.

    Hoff left Intel in early 1983 to become vice president of corporate technology at Atari. When the company was sold the following year, Hoff began a consulting career with Teklicon, which provides technical assistance to intellectual property protection attorneys.

    Hoff retired from Teklicon in 2007, but still dabbles in his own home electronics lab and a small machine shop, complete with a milling machine and a small metal lathe for turning out prototypes. He is married and has three adult daughters.

  • Dr. Min-Hwan Kao

    Dr. Min-Hwan Kao


    Dr. Min Kao understands not only how to take advantage of an opportunity, but how to provide it. When what would become the global positioning system (GPS) was under construction in the late 1980s, he and co-worker Gary Burrell left their jobs to found Garmin, the first and largest GPS receiver maker. And once his fortune was made, Kao quietly provided funds to educate the next generation of engineers.

    Min-Hwan Kao was born in 1949, in Jhushan, a small town in Nantou province in Taiwan. He graduated from National Taiwan University with a B.S. in electrical engineering, then emigrated to the U.S. in 1973 with his wife, Fan, and earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee.

    He initially did research for NASA and the U.S. Army. Then, he was hired as a systems analyst at Teledyne Systems where he worked on inertial Doppler radar, as well as other conventional radio navigation and fire control systems.

    When Kao first learned of the GPS system being developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, he was intrigued by its accuracy and its potential, and joined Magnavox Advanced Products, which had received a government GPS contract. While at Magnavox, Kao designed the Kalman filter algorithms for Phase II GPS user equipment.

    Kao was then recruited by King Radio, where he led a team of engineers who developed the first GPS-enabled avionics certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Following Kao’s development of the first aviation GPS receiver, Allied Signal, which had bought King Radio, squelched research funds for GPS receivers.

    Over dinner at a Red Lobster in Olathe, Kan., Kao asked another frustrated Allied GPS receiver developer, Gary Burrell, if he’d ever thought about starting his own company. Perhaps only half-jokingly, Burrell replied he’d only do so with Kao.

    The two met around a card table at Kao’s home in Olathe to plot strategy. Within months of one another, the two left Allied Signal and committed their personal savings to the new venture. In October 1989, after quickly putting together a business plan, they raised additional funds from families and friends, eventually raising $4 million.The two then flew to Taipei to find manufacturing partners, established an office in Lenexa, Kan., and hired a dozen engineers to build a prototype.

    At first, the company was called ProNav. But because that name was already claimed by another company, Burrell and Kao resorted to simply merging their two first names – Gar and Min: Garmin. As Kao later noted, Mingar didn’t sound as smooth.

    There were some early tense moments for the pair. In 1991, the company unveiled the GPS 100 Personal Navigator, a $2,500 panel-mounted GPS navigation receiver for boaters, and the first consumer GPS device that generated an almost immediate 5,000 unit backlog. To ensure every product that came out of the factory met the stringiest requirements, Kao and Burrell put the first shipment through rigorous testing, including at extreme temperatures. Except, a sensor in the temperature testing chamber failed, and the high heat melted an entire batch of the first Garmin products. Despite the setback, the GPS 100 was an immediate success when it went on sale in October 1992.

    In 2006, the now public company opened its first retail store on Chicago’s “Miracle Mile” Michigan Avenue. By late 2008, Garmin became the worldwide automotive navigation leader with about 37 percent of the market. By 2011, Garmin had sold more than 100 million GPS receivers, was generating nearly $3 billion in annual sales, and employed 9,000 people in 40 locations worldwide.

    Described as a genuinely modest man, Kao is prolifically – but privately – philanthropic. One well-publicized recipient of Kao’s largess is education, especially STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.

    For instance, in 2007, Kao established the $10 million Garmin Electrical and Computer Engineering Initiative, which each year provides 20 students with $5,000 undergraduate scholarships. In addition, this initiative offers hands-on engineering internships at Garmin, which not coincidentally ensures that the company is provided a steady stream of young engineering talent.

    Also in 2007, Kao and his wife contributed $12.5 million to his alma mater, the University of Tennessee, for the construction of the 150,000-square-foot Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building on the university’s engineering campus. The building opened in spring 2012. Kao and his wife also donated $5 million to create the Min H. Kao Scholars and Fellows endowments and the Kao Professorship.

    In December 2012, Kao stepped down as CEO of Garmin and became executive chairman. His entrepreneurial success has rubbed off on his children. After attending New York University and the Parsons School of Design, his daughter, Jen, launched her own fashion line in New York, and his son, Ken, is a film producer in Los Angeles.

  • Mikio Katayama

    Mikio Katayama

    Chief Director of Liquid Crystal Display Development

    In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sharp was the acknowledged pioneer and market leader in liquid crystal display (LCD) TV research, development and sales. Sharp’s LCD dominance – in fact most large screen LCD technology for TVs – can be traced to Mikio Katayama.

    Katayama was born Dec. 12, 1957, in Okayama Prefecture, and earned a degree in engineering from the University of Tokyo. Upon graduation, he immediately joined Sharp, in April 1981, assigned to the company’s R&D center, helping to push Sharp’s pioneering work on LCD technology.

    Katayama enjoyed a swift rise through the Sharp ranks, serving in several LCD development positions. In the late 1990s, he played an important role in developing large LCD panels. He was appointed division deputy general manager of Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Division I, and then promoted to deputy group general manager of TFT LCD in October 2000. In February 2000, he was assigned group general manager of Systems LCD Development Group, where he helped to advance the development of system LCD.

    It was Katayama’s work in LCD, however, that helped turn Sharp’s fortunes around. When Katsuhiko Machida took over as Sharp president in June 1998, he pronounced that LCD TV was the company’s future. There was just one problem – there was no such thing as an LCD panel larger than those used in computer screens.

    It was Katayama’s job to transform a display technology that had been used for nothing larger or more grandiose than computer screens to challenge 42- and 50-inch plasma flat-screen TVs then taking hold of the public imagination around the world. Katayama led and worked with several Sharp teams to advance the art of big screen LCD, filing dozens of patents as work progressed to increase the brightness and resolution of LCD.

    By March 1999, Katayama and his team succeeded and Sharp started selling what was then the industry’s largest LCD TV, a 20-inch model, jump-starting the LCD TV business. Katayama also developed manufacturing processes for TFT LCD, and established the manufacturing process for sixth-generation glass substrates, G6, as well as G8, and G10, which enabled the effective manufacturing of large size LCD panels.

    Katayama’s efforts continued to push Sharp to develop larger LCD TVs with higher quality and faster response speed, while cutting costs so sets became more price competitive with plasma. In 2001, the company unveiled its AQUOS TV brand. By 2004, Sharp had captured 50 percent of the Japanese LCD TV market and was acknowledged as the market leader in both high-quality and large screen LCD TVs.

    By 2002, Katayama and his cohorts developed integrated liquid crystal panels that molded substrate functional elements, such as sensors, drivers and peripheral circuits directly to the liquid crystal glass. This advance created an LCD display for mobile devices that was lighter and thinner than previous panels, with higher resolution and lower power consumption – key advances and characteristics of all mobile phones and smartphones to come.

    In June 2003, Katayama was named a Sharp corporate director, in 2005 a corporate executive director, and in 2006 corporate senior executive director. In 2007, newly developed Sharp LCDs included the Mobile Advanced Super View LCD for mobile phones with an industry-high 2000:1 contrast ratio and one of the industry’s widest viewing angles (176 degrees) and fast response speed (8ms); the System LCD with embedded optical sensors, which offered input through touchscreen and scanning; and, ultra-thin LCD TVs boasting incredible image quality, ultra-thin 20 mm displays with advanced environmental performance in sizes up to 52-inches.

    Katayama and his LCD teams received the 2009 Technical Award of the Okochi Memorial Foundation, presented annually since 1954 for “industrial engineering in Japan, research and development of production technology, and outstanding achievement for the implementation of advanced production method,” for contributing to “the developing and practical applications of LCD panel which is integrated with peripheral ircuits using high-performance crystalline silicon TFT.”

    Katayama was named chairman after retiring as Sharp president in April 2012 and senior executive fellow on June 25, 2013.

  • Katsuhiko Machida

    Katsuhiko Machida

    President and CEO

    Two years before Katsuhiko Machida became president of Sharp, the Grand Alliance high-definition television (HDTV) standards were adopted. Taking a big gamble on liquid crystal display (LCD) as the future of HDTV, Machida transformed Sharp from a struggling company into a market leader in the new LCD flat-screen TV category, and also helped resurrect Japan’s economy.

    Machida was born June 22, 1943, in Osaka, coincidentally, Sharp’s home city as well. He graduated from Kyoto University with a degree in agriculture in 1966, and then joined Sharp in 1969. Machida quickly rose through the corporation, holding different positions across the company’s divisions – including general manager of the TV systems division of the TV & Video Systems Group, group deputy general manager of domestic sales, group general manager of Sharp’s household appliance group, and group general manager of overseas business. He became a corporate director in June 1987, corporate executive director in April 1990, and corporate senior executive director in October 1992.

    When Machida rose to Sharp’s leadership as president and CEO in June 1998, the company’s prospects, largely dependent on the flagging computer LCD and semiconductor businesses were bleak, with profits down and the brand weak. As it became apparent that HDTV was the future of television, Machida made a bold, public pronouncement: Sharp would switch its line of domestically marketed televisions from cathode ray tube (CRT) to LCD by 2005.

    “We had to break away from old technology,” Machida reflected. “As I saw it, the only logical conclusion was to develop a quintessential next-generation television.”

    Sharp had been known as a center for LCD development. For instance, in 1973, the company produced the first portable calculator with an LCD screen. In 1992, Sharp pioneered the use of LCD screens instead of viewfinders on camcorders with the ViewCam. And in 1994, Sharp developed the industry’s first reflective color TFT LCD that could be viewed outdoors. Several other LCD firsts followed over the subsequent decades.

    As a result, Machida had confidence in Sharp’s in-house LCD development, led by the company’s TFT division general manager, Mikio Katayama. While outwardly confident of his LCD strategy, Machida later admitted he was only 60 percent confident on the inside, leading to many sleepless nights.

    Not only was Machida worried about Sharp’s ability to realize his LCD strategy, there was also an industry and media chorus of LCD naysayers. LCD was still unproven in sizes larger than laptop PC screens, and cheaper plasma technology had already begun to dominate the new flat-screen TV market.

    Part of Machida’s ability to focus on the seemingly impossible came from his passion for Nordic skiing. “Once you are on a mountain side, nobody is watching you,” Machida said. “If you get lost with no one else there, you will only be defeated by yourself. It is very important to work hard even if no one else is watching. You have to have self-discipline. I also learned about strong spiritual power and personal toughness.”

    Machida launched a company-wide effort to bring the rest of Sharp’s employees on board. He made almost daily trips to Sharp offices and factories and held town hall-style meetings, repeating the same mantra to sullen and unconvinced employees – “If we don’t do this, Sharp has no future.”

    In March 1999, the company started selling what was then the industry’s largest LCD TV, a 20-inch model, jump-starting the LCD TV business. In 2001, the company unveiled its AQUOS TV brand, and, by 2004, Sharp had captured 50 percent of the Japanese LCD TV market and was acknowledged as the market leader in both high-quality and large screen LCD TVs.

    In August 2006, Sharp opened the first factory to produce larger-screen eighth-generation glass substrates, and created a global five-base production system to produce products in the region in which they are used. At the 2007 International CES, Sharp displayed the world’s largest LCD HDTV, a 108-inch model. LCD now accounts for more than 90 percent of all TVs sold.

    LCD wasn’t Sharp’s only marquee product breakthrough under Machida. He bolstered the company’s semiconductor and computer monitor business and established Sharp’s presence in the solar panel market. In November 2000, the company made worldwide headlines when it introduced the world’s first camera phone, the Sharp J-SH04, produced in the company’s Hiroshima factory.

    By 2003, Machida’s LCD strategies had paid off. The company enjoyed the best fiscal year in its history, with new records set in each of the next four years under Machida’s stewardship. Based on this unprecedented management success, Machida was elevated to company chairman in April 2007. He then became Sharp’s corporate advisor in April 2012 and a special advisor on June 25, 2013.

  • Pierre Omidyar

    Pierre Omidyar


    There’s an oft-repeated story that the inspiration for the founding of eBay was Pierre Omidyar’s fiancée’s passion for collecting Pez candy dispensers and her inability to find local trading partners. It wasn’t. The story was a PR invention, which obscures the real passion of Omidyar himself, the creator of the most original and influential shopping experience ever conceived.

    Omidyar was born Piyer Morad Omidyar on June 21, 1967, to Iranian immigrants sent to France by their parents to attend college. His father became a surgeon and his mother a well-known academic; but the couple separated when Omidyar was two. Omidyar attended a bilingual school, so he knew English when both his parents moved to Maryland when he was six.

    Omidyar was always fascinated by gadgets, especially expensive calculators. When he was in the third grade at Maryland’s Potomac School, he owned a Radio Shack TRS-80 and learned how to program BASIC on it. Like any budding nerd, he would cut gym and sneak into the computer room to tinker. He also had a tendency to take gadgets apart and then try to fix them.

    He attended eighth and ninth grades in Hawaii, then returned to Maryland for his final three years of high school. After graduating in 1984, he attended Tufts University in Boston, where he taught himself how to program for the Apple Macintosh, and earned a degree in computer science in 1988. He then moved to Silicon Valley to work for Claris, an Apple subsidiary, where he helped create MacDraw.

    In 1991, while working for General Magic, an Internet phone venture backed by Apple, Omidyar co-founded Ink Development, later reconceived as a shopping site called eShop after it was bought by Microsoft in 1996.

    This short dabble in e-commerce led Omidyar to program a direct person-to-person auction site. He launched AuctionWeb on Sept. 4, 1995 – Labor Day.

    The first item posted for auction was a broken laser pointer that Omidyar was about to throw away, which he only meant to list as a test. He was shocked when it was purchased for $14.83 by a guy who collected broken laser pointers.

    At first, Omidyar treated AuctionWeb as a hobby, but the auction idea proved contagious. Within six months he was earning enough to cover his costs; within nine months he was making more through AuctionWeb than he was at his General Magic day job.

    The fees Omidyar collected from each auction financed the site’s expansion, but made him realize he’d need help with this hobby. After an introduction by mutual Silicon Valley friends, Omidyar recruited Jeffrey Skoll, a Stanford MBA and a newspaper executive trying to pull his reluctant employers onto the Internet. Skoll, who became president, wrote the first business plan to help the company make the transition out of startup mode.

    Just one year and 250,000 auctions later, AuctionWeb started selling airline tickets. By early 1997, the site had hosted two million auctions and, by the middle of the year, was hosting nearly 800,000 auctions a day. For the first two years, the company grew 20-30 percent a month, far beyond Omidyar’s wildest expectations.

    One of the transitions from hobby startup to full-time business was redesigning the company logo and renaming the company. The first AuctionWeb logo was a black-and-white box, dubbed “the death bar” by the site’s staff. Fortunately, the logo changed with the site’s name. “eBay” was a shortened version of Omidyar’s consulting business, “Echo Bay” and the now-familiar – and decidedly friendlier – colorful, overlapping letters logo was created.

    In March 1998, Omidyar brought in business executive Meg Whitman as president and CEO; six months later, eBay went public, transforming Omidyar and Skoll into millionaires. Through the years, eBay has provided the market for items even stranger than a broken laser pointer – old gum, water left in a cup drunk by Elvis Presley, a Gulfstream II jet sold for an eBay record of $4.1 million, spouses, and the entire town of Bridgeville, Calif., population 25 – listed four times.

    But mostly, eBay created a new market for goods usually found only at flea markets and garage sales. eBay now has a presence in 22 countries, 15,000 employees, and a user base of more than 90 million people worldwide who sell more than $1,900 worth of goods every second.

    Omidyar married his fiancée, Pam, now a management consultant with a degree in molecular biology and more than 400 Pez dispensers, in 1999. In 2004, Omidyar and his wife founded The Omidyar Group to represent their philanthropic, personal and professional interests. From poverty alleviation to human rights and disaster relief, the Omidyars carry out their efforts through four primary organizations: HopeLab, Humanity United, Omidyar Network and Ulupono Initiative. Omidyar lives in Honolulu with his wife and three children.


  • Michael Ramsay

    Michael Ramsay


    Michael Ramsay viewed America as a “Disneyland for technologists” from his far away perch working for HP in Scotland. When he was recruited by HP to transfer to the U.S., he, like millions of immigrants before him, became an American looking for opportunity. He transformed that opportunity into TiVo, the first commercial DVR, whose success turned the name of the company into a verb and “time-shifting” into a life-shifting pastime.
    Ramsay was born in Scotland in 1950. He graduated from Edinburgh University at the top of his class with a B.S. degree in engineering, financing his way through school by writing software to help Dolby Laboratories run its manufacturing and by working with a local electronics firm. This experience provided Ramsay important lessons about innovation and product designs.

    After graduation, Ramsay joined HP as an electrical engineer, designing hardware and ICs. He was recruited by HP to transfer to the U.S. and immigrated with his wife, Carol. During the next six years he worked on the design of HP’s data terminal products.

    In 1980, Ramsay joined his first startup Convergent Technologies, as director of engineering. As employee number nine, he experienced firsthand the excitement of creating a company from the ground up and building a successful business. Convergent grew fast, went public and Ramsay was promoted to general manager in charge of Convergent’s workstation products.

    After five years, Ramsay got restless. After a brief stint back at HP, he joined Silicon Graphics (SGI) in 1986. Still a small company, at SGI Ramsay took responsibility for a new generation of products – the Personal Iris, Indigo, O2 and all related hardware and software products. In addition to managing SGI’s workstation business, Ramsay also ran a subsidiary of SGI – Silicon Studio, which was responsible for business development and strategic relationships with the media industry leading to SGI becoming the dominant hardware supplier to studios developing 3D special effects for movies and video games. Ramsay rose to senior vice president at SGI, and developed a keen interest in the use of computer technology for entertainment.

    During his stint at HP, Ramsay made the acquaintance of Jim Barton, who was working on a project Ramsay was overseeing. They reunited at SGI in 1986, then again after Ramsay left SGI in 1997. Over a series of lunches, the pair combined to form Teleworld, later changed to TiVo – a nonsense name indicating nothing but more reflective of the company’s intention to change TV – with Ramsay as CEO and Barton as CTO, in August 1997.

    The original plan for TiVo was to create a network server for the home. When the pair realized it would be tough to explain to consumers what they’d need a home network server for, they pared their idea down to a hard drive-based TV recorder dubbed a personal video recorder (PVR).

    Unfortunately, Ramsay and Barton weren’t the only entrepreneurs dreaming of a digital replacement for the analog and tape-based VCR. TiVo and a company called ReplayTV both announced their products at the 1999 International CES, each promising products in a year.

    In early March 1999, however, TiVo was behind its promised end-of-the-month delivery date. Ramsay cajoled his staff to meet their self-imposed deadline and beat ReplayTV to the market. Dubbing the effort Project Blue Moon since there was a second full blue moon that month, the team worked 24-hour days. One of the hall closets was designated just for blankets and pillows.

    TiVo hit its mark, and shipped its first product on March 31, 1999, beating ReplayTV into the market by a couple of weeks. Thereafter, the last Friday in March was proclaimed an official “Blue Moon” holiday for all TiVo employees.

    The idea of pausing live TV and easy one-button recording caught on. TiVo went public in September 1999 and grew rapidly through its own retail efforts and through strategic relationships with DirecTV, Sony, Philips, Comcast and many other CE and TV provider companies.

    Over time the PVR became know as the digital video recorder (DVR). By 2013, a DVR was present in 46 percent of U.S. homes. The time-shifting TiVo enabled has become so prevalent it has changed television advertising models and pushed Nielsen to change its TV ratings methodology to compensate for viewers no longer watching programs when they originally air.

    After 10 years at the helm of TiVo, Ramsay decided to use his experience to help emerging startup companies, and joined the New Enterprise Associates (NEA) as a venture partner, joining several boards of companies in which NEA was invested.

    In 2012, the entrepreneurial bug again bit Ramsay and Barton. The pair founded a new company, InVisioneer, which received initial investments from KP, Redpoint and Andreessen-Horowitz. The pair promised “the re-invention of video entertainment, all over again.”

  • Dr. Ching Tang

    Dr. Ching Tang

    Eastman Kodak
    Co-inventor OLED

    It’s an old scientific story. A researcher is searching for one thing, but ends up discovering something of far greater importance. This is the story behind Dr. Ching Tang’s role as the father of OLED and the founding of a still-growing multi-billion dollar industry.

    Tang was born on a rice and chicken farm in Yuen Long, a poor village on Hong Kong’s outskirts, in 1947. After attending King’s College, a high school in Hong Kong, Tang graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 1970. He went on to pursue his graduate study in Cornell, where he earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1975, and then immediately joined Eastman Kodak as a research scientist.

    Tang spent his first years at Kodak’s research laboratories trying to cook up new materials and device structures that would efficiently enable the conversion of sunlight into electricity. After a bit of struggle, Tang invented the organic heterojunction device structure and adapted it in organic solar cells to achieve as much as one percent efficiency, a major breakthrough in the field of organic photovoltaics (OPV). The organic heterojunction structure – an equivalent of the conventional “pn” junction – laid the basis for a new field now known as organic electronics.

    While testing these OPV devices in a dark room one day in 1980, Tang observed a faint green light from one of the devices when he passed current through the device by applying voltage in the forward-bias direction. A light literally and figuratively went on for Tang when he discovered that he could create electroluminescence from organic thin films with a low voltage. In quick order, Tang was able to demonstrate blue light, a color not readily seen in conventional inorganic light emitting diodes, and thus triggered the prospect of practical use of what he later coined OLED – organic light emitting diode.

    Tang and Steve Van Slyke searched for and discovered many organic materials with highly fluorescent and proper charge transport properties for use in their electroluminescent devices. By adapting the heterojunction structure that Tang discovered in OPV devices, they succeeded in achieving highly efficient electroluminescent devices with all three primary colors. Their OLED work was first published in Applied Physics Letters in 1987.

    Tang’s and Van Slyke’s work culminated in car radios built by Pioneer in 1999. In March 2003, Kodak announced its EasyShare LS633, a 3.1 MP digital camera equipped with a “NuVue” 2.2-inch OLED screen.

    In addition to his basic scientific work on organic photovoltaics and OLED, Tang is responsible for numerous passive and active OLED commercialization innovations, including patterning and backplane technologies for OLED displays.

    Tang was promoted to senior research scientist at Kodak in 1981, research associate in 1990, and senior research associate in 1998. In 2003, he was named Distinguished Fellow of the Kodak Research Laboratories. In 2006, he left Kodak and joined the University of Rochester as the Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Chemical Engineering. He is also a visiting member at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

    Tang has published more than 80 papers, including three influential papers on his OPV and OLED work, and has been awarded more than 70 U.S. patents.

    Among the many honors bestowed on the man considered to be the father of OLED: Tang was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1998, and Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2006 for “the invention of the organic light-emitting device and organic bilayer solar cell, the bases of modern organic electronics.” In 2007, Tang shared the Daniel E. Noble Award from the IEEE, and in 2011, he shared the WolfPrize in chemistry, an honor that many consider to be a stepping stone to a Nobel Prize.

  • Len Tweten

    Len Tweten

    Magnolia Audio Video

    When Len Tweten added a few stereo components to his usual inventory of stationery supplies and cameras in his small neighborhood shop in Seattle, he noticed the uptick in interest from his customers, especially the younger ones. Feeding this interest in music technology, Tweten’s tiny store soon morphed into Magnolia Hi-Fi, the prototype of all highend AV stores to follow. Under the stewardship of his eldest son, Jim, Magnolia Hi-Fi became the most successful specialty audio/video stores in the country.
    Len Tweten was born May 9, 1927, in Hamburg, N.D., to Len, a carpenter and the son of Norwegian immigrants, and Lillian. The family moved to Seattle when Len was a child, joining a vibrant Scandinavian community. After high school, Tweten served in the Navy during WWII in the Pacific theater, including a tour of duty at Okinawa. After the war, Len – already a married man with children – attended school on the GI Bill, graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in business administration.
    Tweten went to work as an accountant for a construction company owned by Gene Conger, who saw promise in the young veteran. One day, Conger approached Tweten to tell him of a small, 500-square foot store available in Seattle’s Magnolia district and suggested he open his own business. When asked what he ought to sell, Conger suggested stationery and cameras. Conger and Tweten’s father-in-law supplied early capital.
    In 1954, Tweten opened Magnolia Stationery. Tweten soon started adding cameras to the mix, changing the store’s name to Magnolia Stationers and Camera Shop. In 1967, he decided to add new-fangled audio gear as an adjunct to the cameras.
    Upon seeing the reaction of his young customers to the stereo equipment, Tweten made the decision to switch his store’s sole focus to stereo equipment. Besides, he thought, music was more fun to deal with than film. He called his sister Anne Marie, and the two of them sold every greeting card in the store for a penny each, liquidating the camera stock as well. From then on, the store became Magnolia Hi-Fi.
    What made Magnolia a destination was Tweten’s interaction with the customers, young and old. “Can I show you something new?” became his well-known greeting as he listened to his customers’ stories and shared his own.
    Tweten also become famous for his loyalty to his employees and his fanatical dedication to customer service. For instance, in the early 1970s, he invited Dr. Amar Bose for a supper meeting. When one of Magnolia’s customers called with a problem with a low-end receiver, Tweten left Bose in the sound room to visit the customer’s house and solve the problem. This individualized attention to service became a personal credo that would become the driving passion of Magnolia for the next five decades.
    Tweten’s switch to stereo proved to be great timing, coming at the dawn of the 1970’s home stereo revolution. Early on, he had introduced not only Bose but also Bang & Olufsen and Nakamichi, when these brands were still largely unknown. Bob Carver came first to Tweten with the prototype of what would become the world’s first super high-powered amplifier, the Phase Linear 700. Magnolia also was one of the first retailers to see Advent’s Videobeam big screen front projection system. Tweten also pioneered the “stereo system” concept – a receiver/turntable/speaker package that offered first rate sound at an affordable price.
    Tweten opened a second Roosevelt store in Seattle’s University district in 1972, appealing to the city’s music-loving college students. Tweten put his 20-year-old son, Jim, with his first-hand insight into the developing music and electronics youth culture, in charge of this no-expenses-spared showcase.
    When this second store proved even more successful than the first, the father-son duo expanded their retail footprint to a peak of 16 locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. To boost the store’s image, the Twetens were early advertisers in regional editions of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated, and also the largest advertiser on the local classical FM station as well as on the core rock stations.
    Magnolia Hi-Fi would go on to become the most award-winning electronic entertainment retailer in the nation, winning Audio/Video magazine’s “Retailer of the Year” award 21 consecutive years, as well as TV Guide’s “Hall of Fame” award.
    In 1992, the elder Tweten handed off active day-to-day operation to his son, Jim, who became president and CEO, and assumed an advisory role. Len Tweten now divides his time between his homes in Monterey, Calif., and Palm Desert, Calif., with his wife, Rebecca, and can often be seen driving his new Audi R8 and his Bentley Speed, or playing golf at Big Horn or the Madison Club in the California desert, and Tehama in Carmel, Calif.

  • Jim Tweten

    Jim Tweten

    Magnolia Audio Video

    It’s always a challenge for a son taking over a business from a successful entrepreneurial father – if you fail, you have not lived up to expectations; if you succeed, your predecessor gets the lion’s share of the credit. But when Jim Tweten took over Magnolia Hi-Fi from his father Len he took a 13-store local chain built over 50 years and, in five years, transformed it into a national high-end audio and video retailing giant with more than 350 locations, while pioneering the now common store-within-a-store retailing concept.
    Tweten was born in 1951, in Seattle. When he was three, his father, Leonard, opened up Magnolia Stationery. Over the next dozen years, Len added cameras and, in 1967, hi-fi gear, creating Magnolia Hi-Fi.
    While this switch to stereo gear was underway, Tweten attended the University of Washington, in Seattle. After a year as a ski instructor in Aspen, Colo., Tweten found himself broke and returned to Seattle in 1972 to work in the Magnolia warehouse, delivering and installing stereo systems and selling hi-fi gear.
    The elder Tweten opened a second Roosevelt store in Seattle’s University district in 1972, establishing Magnolia’s street cred with music-loving college students. Len put Jim, with his first-hand insight into the developing music and electronics youth culture, in charge of this no-expenses-spared showcase.
    Tweten immediately found his passion in working with people and “the sheer enjoyment of introducing new entertainment products to customers. It’s all about the demo and seeing people’s eyes light up on how cool the experience is.”
    A few months later, Tweten was re-acquainted with a high school girlfriend, Ilsa Relle, whom he married six months later. Under the Tweten’s co-stewardship, Magnolia Hi-Fi grew to a peak of 16 locations throughout the Pacific Northwest, and became the most award-winning electronics entertainment retailer in the nation. Magnolia earned Audio/Video magazine’s “Retailer of the Year” award for 21 consecutive years, as well as TV Guide’s “Hall of Fame” award.
    In 1992, the elder Tweten handed off active day-to-day operations to Jim, who became president and CEO. In 1996, Tweten consolidated Magnolia’s administration, warehouse and service departments in a 100,000-square-foot building he constructed in Kent, Wash.
    Under Tweten, Magnolia was generating $100 million in sales a year by the end of 2000, and had several suitors offering to buy the company. The Twetens decided to sell Magnolia and its 13 free-standing stores to Best Buy for $87 million. Tweten was named president of the newly-named Magnolia Audio Video of Best Buy, and began to transform Magnolia into a more services-oriented retailer of premium home entertainment and custom design.
    Tweten also wanted to leverage Best Buy’s ability to generate foot traffic at the chain’s vast number of locations. At the 58,000-square-foot Woodland Hills Best Buy, Tweten carved out 10,000 square feet and put up a dividing wall with a separate entrance to create side-by-side locations. Magnolia’s reputation combined with Best Buy’s traffic proved to be a successful hybrid.
    Tweten arranged an afternoon store visit from Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson. The pair stood in the Best Buy parking lot and watched Best Buy customers walking out of Best Buy and into Magnolia. Tweten asked Anderson, “Why not just put our store inside Best Buy?”
    Once vendor approval was procured, Tweten collaborated with Best Buy leaders to open 1,500-square-foot Magnolias inside two of Best Buy’s California stores, in downtown San Francisco and the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa. These in-store Magnolias featured specialized sales and vendor training, a richer customer experience, more home theater, custom design and installation revenue and profit, and new innovative brand introductions – with no impact on Best Buy’s existing home theater departments.
    With these dual-location successes, Tweten and Best Buy quickly expanded the in-store concept. By 2004, there were 20 in-store Magnolia Home Theater Best Buy stores; by 2007, there were 340 – plus the 13 existing Magnolia AV locations. As of 2013, there are 380 Magnolia in-store locations and four free-standing Magnolias.
    Best Buy furthered the in-store concept with in-store Magnolia Design Centers, Pacific Kitchen & Home and Geek Squad, as well as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft Windows in-store experiences.
    Tweten retired in 2007, and splits his time between Seattle and California with his wife, Ilsa, his two children, Andrea and Jamie, and his granddaughter, Madison.

  • Steven Van Slyke

    Steven Van Slyke

    Eastman Kodak
    Co-inventor of OLED

    Just as we grab a flashlight to scour through drawers or closets searching for an item we know is there somewhere, Steve Van Slyke grabbed a fluorescent light to scour through Kodak’s massive collection of organic chemicals searching for a material that would retain brightness for a lengthy period of time.

    Van Slyke’s ultimately successful search, conducted with Kodak research partner Dr. Ching Tang, resulted in the invention of organic thin film electroluminescence/small-molecule organic light emitting diodes, technically called organic thin film electroluminescence, but better known today as OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode): thin, bright and low-power displays now used in smartphones, digital cameras and next-generation HD and Ultra HDTVs.

    Van Slyke was born in 1956, in Denver, Colo., to Anna and Dr. Barton Van Slyke, a radiologist. During his childhood, Van Slyke displayed a flair for science. He bounced between physics and chemistry in college, but was inspired to major in chemistry by one of his professors at Ithaca College, where Van Slyke spent summers researching solar energy storage. But Van Slyke retained an interest in electrical engineering, which would figure prominently in his later OLED work.

    After receiving his B.S. in chemistry from Ithaca College, Van Slyke joined Eastman Kodak in 1979. He was hired by Dr. Ching Tang, who was working on photovoltaics – solar panels – and thin film electroluminance. Tang had discovered that light was emitted by organic thin film photovoltaics when a light voltage was applied. Van Slyke’s job was to locate the right organic compounds that would sustain this voltage-enabled emitted light.

    Van Slyke and Tang struggled for several years to maintain this light for more than half an hour, studying many classes of fluorescent materials when Van Slyke started his organic materials search. Once he had a list of candidate materials, Van Slyke examined the chemical structures of each – first on index cards and later on a rudimentary computer system – to determine which materials were of the appropriate molecular weight so they could be heated and evaporated in a vacuum coater to coat a substrate with a thin film. While working for Tang, Van Slyke earned his master’s degree in materials science from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

    One of these compounds was an organometallic compound called “metal chelate.” After purification, the chelate was incorporated into an OLED device that operated overnight. When Tang and Van Slyke arrived the next morning, they stared at the still glowing device with wonder – it retained nearly the same brightness in the morning as it had the previous evening.

    This search and discovery of the metal chelate compound created a substantial jump in OLED operational lifetime, from minutes to years. A derivative of this compound – AlQ – is still used widely in OLED device research, and OLED operational time is estimated at nearly a million hours.

    Over the following decade, Van Slyke and Tang refined the “metal chelate” and developed processes that finally resulted in the fabrication of demonstration devices emitting red, green and blue colors, as well as a stable fabrication process.

    Van Slyke and Tang’s breakthroughs resulted in their development of self-illuminating OLEDs that convert electrical energy into light via a stack of thin organic layers sandwiched between a transparent anode and a metallic diode.

    In the late 1990s, Kodak and Sanyo formed a joint venture to manufacture full-color active matrix OLED displays. Van Slyke led the technology transfer, which resulted in the first full-color OLED display to be incorporated into a commercial product. In March 2003, Kodak announced its 3.1 MP Kodak EasyShare LS633 digital camera, equipped with a “NuVue” 2.2-inch active matrix OLED screen, or AMOLED, a subset of OLED. This first OLED-equipped gadget paved the way for others, especially from Samsung, which now sells more than 300 million AMOLED displays for smartphones each year.

    Van Slyke has published and presented more than 40 papers on OLED and holds 36 patents in the areas of OLED materials and device architecture.

    In 2000, Van Slyke and Tang received the Eastman Innovation Award; the following year, Van Slyke and Tang received an Industrial Innovation Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for their work with OLEDs, as well as the Jan Rajchman Prize of the Society for Information Display (SID). In 2004, he was a co-recipient with Ching Tang of the ACS Award for Team Innovation, and was named an Eastman Kodak Research Fellow and Fellow of the SID.

    After 31 years at Kodak, Van Slyke was named CTO and director of process development for Kateeva, a Silicon Valley startup providing ink-jet printing equipment to the OLED industry. Van Slyke, an avid bicycle rider resides in San Mateo, Calif., with his wife Sharon.

  • Meg Whitman

    Meg Whitman

    President and CEO

    No matter what Meg Whitman accomplishes in business or in politics, her reputation was most firmly established during the decade in which she grew eBay from 30 employees with 500,000 subscribers and annual revenues of $4 million to more than 15,000 employees with hundreds of millions of subscribers and $8 billion in annual revenue. In just a few years, she transformed a living room hobby into one of the most iconic businesses in the world.
    Meg Whitman was born Aug. 4, 1956, on Long Island, N.Y. After graduating from Princeton University and then Harvard Business School, she began her business career as a brand manager at Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati in 1979, then moved to San Francisco to work as a consultant for Bain & Company, eventually rising to senior vice president. In 1989, Whitman was named vice president of strategic planning at the Walt Disney Company, moved to Stride Rite two years later, and then was hired as president and CEO of FTD in 1995. Two years later, she was named the general manager of Hasbro’s Playskool division, responsible for global management and marketing.
    When Whitman joined eBay after being recruited by founder Pierre Omidyar, the site still had a simple black-and-white presentation with a plain typewriter font. On her first day, the site crashed for eight hours.
    Finding the navigation confusing, Whitman started rebuilding eBay’s organization inside and out. She hired managers to run each of the new 23 business categories, which encompassed 35,000 sub-categories. She built out a management team, hiring executives from Fortune 500 companies who averaged 20 years of experience.
    She also rebuilt eBay’s brand by shifting the company’s image from quirky collectibles to new and more upscale goods from major labels with higher selling prices, boosting eBay’s bottom line.
    Recognizing the importance of heeding the wisdom of eBay sellers, Whitman launched a series of customer-based initiatives. In 1999, for instance, Whitman started a “Voice of the Customer” program. Every few months, the company flew a dozen loyal customers to eBay’s company headquarters, where they met with Whitman and other eBay executives to discuss what was working and wasn’t, and to produce new ideas. After returning home, these buyers and sellers kept in touch via regularly scheduled conference calls. Whitman also launched eBay University, a traveling show designed to teach consumers how to use the site. In 2002, eBay hosted the first eBay Live! event, which is now an annual customer convention. At eBay Live! in June 2005, she announced ProStores, a Web hosting and e-commerce solution aimed at eBay Store owners, who received a 30 percent discount.
    The changes accelerated eBay’s already startling growth. Six months after joining the company, she oversaw eBay’s public offering. After surviving a 22-hour outage in June 1999 that generated international headlines and prompted apology phone calls from Whitman to top sellers, eBay’s profits tripled between 2001 and 2002. By 2002, Whitman had grown eBay’s subscriber base 10 fold and its annual revenues nearly 20-fold.
    In 2002, it was clear eBay users wanted to make online payments via PayPal, so Whitman engineered the purchase of the online payment site. She also expanded eBay by buying innovative e-commerce entities such as, StubHub and Bill Me Later. In September of 2005, eBay bought video chat company Skype for $4.1 billion. After Whitman left eBay, Skype was sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion.
    During her tenure, the company moved its headquarters to a complex in San Jose; the buildings are named for eBay categories – Collectibles, Jewelry, Motors, Music, Sports, Technology and Toys. Today, roughly 1.5 million people make a full-time living from eBay.
    Whitman resigned from eBay in November 2007, but stayed on the board and served as an advisor to the new CEO, John Donahue, until late 2008. Explaining her decision to step down, Whitman explained in an interview that “10 years is roughly the right time to stay at the helm at a company like ours. It’s time for new leadership, a new perspective and a new vision.”
    That same year, Whitman was elected to the U.S. Business Hall of Fame. She also has been named one of the top five most powerful women by Fortune magazine; Time magazine included her in their annual list of Most Influential People in 2004 and 2005; the Harvard Business Review named her the eighth bestperforming
    CEO of the decade in 2010; and the Financial Times listed her as one of the “50 faces who shaped the decade”.

    Whitman ran unsuccessfully for governor of California in 2010, and was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard in November 2011.

2012 Inductees

  • Robert Briskman

    Robert Briskman

    Satellite Radio Pioneer and Innovator; co-founder Sirius XM Radio

    Already a satellite communications legend, Robert Briskman should have been contemplating retirement as he approached his 60th birthday in 1990. Instead, Briskman co-founded Satellite CD Radio – now Sirius XM – developing and implementing the first major advancement in radio since Edwin Howard Armstrong invented FM radio, and revitalizing the radio industry.

    Born in New York City on Oct. 15, 1932, Briskman earned his B.S. in engineering from Princeton University in 1954, and his master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1961.  As chief of program support for NASA's Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition from 1959 to 1963, he invented the unified S-band microwave communications system still used by the International Space Station, receiving NASA's Apollo Achievement Award for his work.

    After leaving NASA, Briskman worked for the Communications Satellite Corporation and then COMSAT General Corporation, holding a variety of positions. During his time at COMSAT, Briskman was responsible for, or was involved in, a long list of satellite communication firsts, including satellite command and control for the launch of INTELSAT I (the first commercial communications satellite), the development and implementation of the INTELSAT global communications system, the COMSTAR satellite system, and the first TDMA system used for voice and data communications services for IBM. Briskman was also responsible for planning domestic communications services via satellites, including AT&T's satellite system.

    He then served as senior vice president of engineering for Geostar from 1986 to 1990, where he was responsible for the development, design, implementation and operation of the company's Radio Determination Satellite Service (RDSS), which enabled positioning and message communications between mobile users and dispatch centers.

    In 1990, former Geostar president Martin Rothblatt founded MARCOR, an incubator company, and asked Briskman to come aboard to assist in several of the proposed development ventures. One of these incubator companies, Satellite CD Radio, was established to discover if the idea of satellite radio was feasible. Briskman thought it was.

    Briskman transformed his satellite radio theories into patented developments on satellite spatial and time diversity, which enables mobile users to receive satellite audio transmissions with almost no outages. He implemented the entire satellite radio technology infrastructure – the satellites, earth stations, terrestrial repeaters and consumer receivers – to make satellite radio practical. His efforts included a new digital broadcast technology called SDARS (Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service), which broadcasts digital audio from satellites in the 2332 MHz band.

    Briskman designed and directed the construction of three of the then most powerful commercial broadcast satellites, each producing two megawatts of radiated power, and launched them into a "figure 8" geosynchronous orbit over the Americas in 2000. The unique elliptical orbit that Briskman devised achieves the highest possible elevation angle of the satellites to the three-channel mobile receivers he designed. As a result, Sirius XM radios can almost always capture the signal, even in urban centers.

    Briskman designed and built the earth stations and satellite control facility technologies to complete the Sirius system. On the business side, he helped procure the radio frequency allocations from the FCC, finalized in 1993, and aided CD Radio CEO, David Margolese in raising the needed $1.4 billion to launch the service. In 1999, the company was renamed Sirius Satellite Radio.

    Sirius started broadcasting on July 1, 2002. Briskman's technology was then licensed to competitor XM, which merged with Sirius in 2008. Today, Sirius XM subscribers can receive more than 160 audio channels, including 65 commercial-free music channels and 95 voice channels featuring sports, news, entertainment, traffic, commentary, weather and other topics.

    Satellite radio now has more than 23 million U.S. subscribers and another two million in Canada, with more than 50 million estimated listeners.

    After retiring from the board of directors and other executive positions, Briskman assumed the title of technical executive to concentrate on finishing and improving the technical implementation of the Sirius XM system. He has successfully launched a record 31 consecutive satellites; a 32nd is due to launch in 2013.

    Briskman has been honored by a multitude of satellite, science and engineering organizations including the AIAA (The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), the Washington Academy of Sciences, the IEEE, the SSPI (Society of Satellite Professionals International) and the Space Foundation.

  • Richard Citta

    Richard Citta

    Digital Television Pioneer

    For 70-plus years, there was only one method used to broadcast over-the-air television, an analog method prone to interference from nearly anything and everything inside and out, including simply walking by a TV antenna. Persnickety TV reception has all but disappeared with digital television thanks to an interference-free digital transmission system called VSB (Vestigial Side Band) invented by former Zenith researcher Richard W. Citta.

    Instead of toiling over schematics, test equipment and equations in a lab, Citta discovered the solutions to the digital broadcasting problem while lying flat on his back in a hospital bed.

    Citta was born on July 17, 1944. Like many teens in the 1950s, Citta and his friends were ham radio operators, building their sets from kits sold at local electronics stores. In high school, Citta tinkered with cars and fixed all the teachers’ TVs. He worked on electronics sets others had bought and were unable to complete, and discovered he could.

    He earned his B.S. in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1968  and his master's in the same subject from the University of Washington in 1971. During his first 20 years at Zenith, Citta’s work included developing unique modulation technologies for cable set-top boxes and two way interactive cable TV systems.

    Citta's initial work on VSB began in 1987, when he and his group at Zenith embarked on new modulation technologies for cable transmission and terrestrial broadcasting. In the spring of 1988, Citta – nicknamed "Wolfman" thanks to his thick and wild salt-and-pepper hair and beard – was perched precariously atop a ladder while painting his house. The ladder gave way and Citta fell, crushing his left ankle.

    With little else to occupy him while lying immobile in a hospital bed, Citta stared at the ceiling pondering the HDTV transmission problem – and experienced a "Eureka!" moment. He jotted down some notes and drew diagrams for what would become the new VSB digital TV transmission scheme and presented his concept to Zenith higher-ups when back on the job a few weeks later.
    VSB modulation employs unique technology to prevent interference into existing NTSC (analog) broadcast signals. It contains a unique pilot signal to aid in reception under extremely adverse receiving conditions resulting from white noise, impulse noise and multipath impairments.

    Citta’s breakthrough enabled the use of the previously unusable or "taboo" channels in the VHF and UHF television broadcast spectrum. VSB was first proposed as an HDTV transmission method in Zenith’s 1988 proposal to the FCC's Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service (ACATS). Based on the success of these demos, Citta and the Zenith team developed the so-called 8-VSB transmission system, employed by the HDTV Grand Alliance, which was formed in May 1993.

    Citta led exhaustive testing under both laboratory and real-world conditions. The Grand Alliance standard was finalized in September 1995 after several successful transmission field tests in Charlotte, N.C. In December 1996, VSB was officially adopted by the FCC as the centerpiece of the nation's new digital television broadcast standard. In January 2001, the FCC reaffirmed 8-VSB once, for all and forever.

    Citta led many of the technological innovation efforts that facilitated the end of analog TV broadcasting and its complete replacement by the digital VSB technology. These efforts laid the foundation for the FCC's simulcast rules during the transition from analog to all-digital broadcasting between 1996 and June 2009.

    Today, more than 1,800 U.S. television broadcasters are broadcasting digitally using VSB. Hundreds of millions of digital TV sets have been sold in the U.S. market alone, all of which must contain VSB demodulators.

    After retiring from Zenith in 2000, Citta was named chief scientist for LINX Electronics designing digital TV receivers. He spent three years as chief scientist for chip maker Micronas developing custom integrated circuits and chips for use in HDTVs, and two years as a consultant with Thomson before founding his own consulting firm, the R. Citta Group, which develops concepts for enhancing the mobile ATSC DTV ecosystem.

    Citta, has been awarded roughly 200 patents, with many still pending. He is a charter member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and, along with other Zenith colleagues, received the prestigious IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award in 2006 for development of the VSB transmission system. In 1997, Citta and the Zenith team received the Engineering Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Science. He is the only two-time recipient of Zenith's highest technical honor, the Robert Adler Technical Excellence Award (1988 and 1994) and was honored by the University of Washington for his pioneering efforts behind the ATSC Digital TV Standard that transformed the way we enjoy television today.

  • Bjorn Dybdahl

    Bjorn Dybdahl

    Bjorn's Audio Video

    Although he never learned to play an instrument, Bjorn Dybdahl’s love of music led him to found one of the country’s most innovative and successful AV and custom install retailers, Bjorn’s Audio Video, in northern San Antonio, insisting, “We sell entertainment and fun, not equipment.”

    Dybdahl was born June 4, 1943, in Oslo, Norway. When he was six, his parents immigrated to the U.S., settling in Minneapolis. The young Dybdahl soon developed a passion for classical music; his first record was what he thought was the theme for “The Lone Ranger” – the William Tell Overture. From there, Dybdahl discovered composers such as Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, literally wearing out records, which he played on a portable record player in his room. Like many kids in the 1950s, his first job was as a paperboy. He then was hired as a stock boy at Dayton’s department store. These jobs made him realize how much he enjoyed dealing with customers.

    Without a specific career goal after graduating from high school, Dybdahl joined the Air Force in December 1961. Five months later, he married his high school sweetheart Sharon (Shari). Stationed in San Antonio, Dybdahl soon realized he didn’t want to make the Air Force a career and started college at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio while still serving. He graduated in 1971 with a degree in political science.

    In 1967, a year before leaving the Air Force, Dybdahl started working for Bill Case Sound, a small audio store in San Antonio, to discover if he could turn his hi-fi avocation into a profession. At first, Dybdahl thought he would move back to Minneapolis after leaving the service and open a hi-fi shop.

    But upon his discharge, Dybdahl realized he had no money, a wife, a daughter, another child on the way, and that he hated snow. He continued to work for Case until the summer of 1975.

    At loose ends, Dybdahl received encouragement from several old Case customers. One previous customer called Dybdahl and asked how much he needed to open his own hi-fi store. Dybdahl got a loan of $15,000 with no strings attached and, together with an SBA loan, was able to open a 1,000-square-foot store on October 1, 1975. He and a bookkeeper were the store’s lone employees. Less than a year later, Dybdahl hired his second employee and a custom installer, although at the time, neither Dybdahl nor anyone else knew what a “custom installer” was.

    Founded the year Sony introduced the Betamax and on the eve of the home video and home theater revolutions, Bjorn’s began concentrating on “systems,” before “home theater” was even a term, helping to introduce the latest home theater innovations to the San Antonio area. In 1976, Bjorn’s introduced the first two-piece video projector; two years later, Dybdahl integrated a multi-channel Audio Pulse system with a large screen projector and a laserdisc player to create an early surround sound demo.
    Bjorn’s helped introduce the CD, and was one of the first to demo HDTV, home THX and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) TV. Bjorn’s gave the first public demos of Dolby AC-3 (aka Dolby Digital), dual-layer DVD, HDTV and Pioneer’s first plasma TV. In 2006, Bjorn’s presented the first U.S. consumer demos of Blu-ray and HD-DVD and in 2007, one of the first 3DTV debuts with Texas Instruments and Mitsubishi. Dybdahl appeared as an HDTV spokesperson for Time Warner Cable TV ads, and has produced numerous broadcasts to educate consumers about HDTV.

    Dybdahl was an early member of PARA and a founding member of CEDIA. Audio Video International magazine has named Bjorn’s an Audio/Video Retailer of the Year every year since 1987, and in 2000, Frost & Sullivan presented Bjorn’s with its Market Engineering Award for customer service leadership.

    Bjorn’s continues to grow, having expanded four times. Its current location, a 25,000 square foot building, is accompanied by a 25,000 square foot warehouse, an installation group staffed by a dozen installers and a service department. “Yes, Bjorn’s still fixes stuff,” Dybdahl says. He continues to prowl the show floor, helping customers on a regular basis.

  • Douglas Engelbart

    Douglas Engelbart

    Inventor of the computer mouse; father of hypermedia

    Douglas Engelbart envisioned how to create, access and share ideas and information using computers, as well as how people could interact with one other and work together more effectively in a connected world.

    To bring this holistic system into existence, Engelbart created windowed screen design, the user interface, hypermedia, collaborative computing, multimedia, knowledge management and the mouse. His seminal work beginning in the early 1960s led to the creation of the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) now used on all computing devices, and laid the foundation for how and why most of us use computers and the Internet today.

    Engelbart was born in Portland, Ore., on Jan. 30, 1925, to Carl Louis Engelbart and Gladys Charlotte Amelia Munson Engelbart. He attended Oregon State College (renamed Oregon State University) for a year, but was drafted, serving two years in the Navy. In 1948, he returned to Oregon State and earned a B.S. in electrical engineering. His first job out of college was at the Ames Research Center, run by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the precursor to NASA.

    In 1951, Engelbart got engaged to his wife, Ballard and returned to school, earning a master’s (1953) and a Ph.D. (1955) from the University of California at Berkeley in electrical engineering with a specialty in computers. He stayed on at Berkeley as an acting assistant professor, and in 1957, moved on to the Stanford Research Institute (SRI, now SRI International).

    At SRI, Engelbart began to develop tools to augment how people and organizations collect, use and share information. One of these technologies was hypermedia, the linking of one piece of data to another, developed independently but simultaneously in 1964 with east coast-based Ted Nelson, who coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia."

    For Engelbart, hypermedia was part of a larger integrated system. The foundation of the first hypermedia groupware system was dubbed NLS (oN-Line System). To help navigate NLS, Engelbart experimented with "screen selection" devices – pointers to navigate information presented on a computer screen including a light pen, a foot pedal, a knee apparatus and even a helmet-mounted device.

    In 1961, Engelbart envisioned a pointing device that would traverse a desktop on two small wheels, one turning horizontally, the other vertically, each transmitting rotation coordinates to determine the location of a floating on-screen pointer. Two years later, lead engineer Bill English built one from Engelbart's sketches. Encased in a carved out wooden block with perpendicular wheels mounted in the underbelly, it had only one button – that was all there was room for. Someone lost to history started calling it "the mouse."

    Engelbart and his crew experimented with additional buttons, working up to five, before settling on three by 1968. SRI patented the mouse, naming Engelbart as its inventor.

    At the Joint Computer Conference, a semi-annual meeting of major computing societies in San Francisco on Dec. 9, 1968, Engelbart conducted what has become known as "The Mother of All Demos," a seminal event in the history of contemporary computing. In front of 1,000 computer professionals, Engelbart and his geographically remote colleagues conducted the first public demonstration of the mouse, hypermedia and hyperlinking, display editing, windows, cross-file editing, idea/outline processing, collaborative groupware, and on-screen video teleconferencing – all brand new concepts and technologies at the time.
    Engelbart also was involved in the development of the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) ARPANET. On Oct. 29, 1969, Engelbart's lab was at the receiving end of the first message transmitted over ARPANET, which would eventually lead to inception of the Internet.

    In the early 1970s, several of Engelbart's ARC engineers landed at Xerox's new Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), incorporating some of Engelbart's more tangible ideas into the Xerox Alto, the first personal computer with a GUI and a mouse. The GUI/mouse system developed for the Xerox Alto was later adapted for Apple and Windows operating systems.

    In 1989, Engelbart, and his daughter, Christina, formed the non-profit Bootstrap Institute, which was renamed the Doug Engelbart Institute in 2008, and is now run by Christina.

    Engelbart has been awarded 20 patents and is the recipient of multiple awards and honors including the PC Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award (1987), the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (1993), the Lemelson-MIT Prize (1997), induction into the Computer Hall of Fame and the U.S. National Medal of Technology, presented by President Bill Clinton (2000) and the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition (2005).

  • Charlie Ergen

    Charlie Ergen


    Charlie Ergen is a bona fide gambler. In between jobs, he and a friend literally tried their hands in Las Vegas dealing blackjack and playing poker. But his biggest gamble was investing in the nascent satellite TV business, a bet that resulted in the founding of EchoStar and DISH, the pioneering satellite TV service.

    Born March 1, 1953, Ergen's interest in technology may well have been influenced by his birthplace – Oak Ridge, Tenn., a sleepy village built into a factory town by the federal government during World War II to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb – and by his father, William, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist. Ergen’s interest in business may have come from his mother, Viola, who was business manager of the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge.

    Ergen earned a bachelor’s degree in general business and accounting from the University of Tennessee, and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. His first job out of school was as a CPA and financial analyst for Frito-Lay, from 1976-1978.

    By 1980, Ergen and a friend, Jim DeFranco, drifted to Las Vegas to make their way as professional gamblers. But they were evicted from a Las Vegas casino for card counting. Once again at loose ends, DeFranco spotted a truck carrying a large C-band satellite dish and a business idea was hatched. DeFranco, Ergen and Ergen's wife, Cantey – known as Candy – started EchoSphere, a door-to-door C-band satellite TV sales and installation business.

    The trio pooled $60,000 in savings, bought two satellite dishes and headed to Colorado – they figured folks got poor over-the-air reception in the mountainous state. Ergen and DeFranco would drive to rural towns to deliver the C-band dishes for up to $15,000 plus $600 for installation, a dollar per mile more past 50 miles outside of Denver – unless the pair was allowed to rest for the night at the customer's home.

    By 1985, EchoSphere had earned more than $100 million in revenue. But Ergen believed the only real path to growth was to launch his own satellite. In 1987, Ergen and DeFranco applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) license, which was approved in 1992.

    Ergen contracted with China to launch his bird, and on Dec. 28, 1995, a rocket bearing EchoStar I was launched successfully from Xichang, China. DISH, with a newly-built satellite uplink center in Cheyenne, Wyo., began broadcasting in March the following year. A second satellite was launched and a second customer service center was opened later that year.

    Within four months, DISH reached the 100,000 subscriber milestone and the company celebrated its millionth customer following the launch of EchoStar III on Oct. 5, 1997, from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

    Two years later, EchoStar bought the broadcasting assets of a satellite broadcasting joint-venture between News Corporation's ASkyB and MCI Worldcom, more than doubling DISH's continental U.S. broadcasting capacity. In 1999, DISH unveiled the DISH 500, the world's first satellite TV system, with more than 500 channels. In 2000, DISH released its first HDTV receiver. Over a six-month period straddling 1999-2000, its stock rose from $5 to $79.

    Ergen also fought for the satellite broadcast industry by helping secure passage of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act in 1999, which allowed satellite broadcasters to carry local stations.

    By August 2003, DISH had launched EchoStar IX from a floating platform at the equator, the first Ka satellite; in all, DISH has launched a dozen satellites. By 2004, DISH became the first satellite TV service to offer local channels to all 50 states, the first to develop a UHF remote control and the first to sell a satellite receiver for less than $200. In 2012, DISH unveiled the Hopper, a whole-home HD DVR system that can record six channels simultaneously and allows customers to automatically skip commercials on most PrimeTime Anytime DISH programming.

    In May 2011, Ergen stepped down from his role as president and CEO to become chairman of the board. When not tending to DISH business, Ergen climbs mountains. A member of the Colorado Mountain Club, Ergen is has climbed each of the state's 14,000-foot peaks, as well as Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina and the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal.

    His biggest achievement, however, is his 30-year-plus marriage to his wife, Candy, and their five children.

  • Larry Finley

    Larry Finley

    ITA (International Tape Association)

    Audio cassettes were still a curiosity in the late 1960s, and videotape was used only in television studios. But a Los Angeles restaurateur, radio and TV personality, music recording pioneer and entrepreneur named Larry Finley saw the future of both audio and video tape, founding the ITA (International Tape Association) in 1970. ITA and its later incarnations – IRMA (International Recording Media Association) and, today, the CDSA (Content Delivery & Security Association) – played pivotal roles in establishing the home recording and video business.

    Born May 4, 1913, in Syracuse, N.Y., Finley and his cousins built crystal radio sets like many boys in the early 1920s – except Finley sold them to families who wanted to hear radio broadcasts in their homes. His youngest cousin, Rod Serling, became fascinated by these radios and would go on to write radio plays and create The Twilight Zone.

    Finley began his long and eclectic professional career at 18 as manager of a local nightclub, the Cafe DeWitt. Enticed by the glamour of Hollywood, he moved to Los Angeles and opened Finley's Credit Jewelers in Burbank, adding stores in Hollywood and throughout the LA area. To promote his burgeoning business, Finley staged street dances and concerts featuring famous musicians.

    In 1944, Finley opened the Casino Gardens Ballroom in San Diego, partnering with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. After the ballroom closed, Finley moved back to Los Angeles in the early 1950s opened up Larry Finley's restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, next door to the world famous Mocambo. On the heels of his MC'ing experience at Casino Gardens, Finley decided to initiate a radio show on KFWB, The Larry Finley Show, broadcast nightly from his restaurant. He recorded his shows on the latest audio tape format, and syndicated them around the country.

    In 1954, Finley produced an early 24-hour TV telethon, raising more than $l.5 million for the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif., for which he received the Los Angeles City of Hope Torchbearer Award.

    Finley also became an early television pioneer; Finley Productions Inc. was the first west coast independent TV production company. He hosted a series of music-based local TV shows in the late 1950s on KTLA-TV and KABC-TV. Finley kinescoped and sent these shows by the Armed Forces Network to troops in Korea.

    On radio and TV, Finley interviewed the biggest entertainers of the day and introduced new stars, including Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Rawls, Johnny Ray, Les Paul and Mary Ford. He also became friendly with entertainment industry heavyweights such as Howard Hughes, Louella Parsons, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, and Walter Winchell.

    In 1960, Finley moved to New York City and became president of Tops Records, and later, director of sales at MGM Records. Recognizing the potential of 8-track tape, Finley founded the International Tape Cartridge Corporation (ITCC) in 1965. Finley acquired audio tape rights from the leading 27 record labels, making ITCC the largest provider of entertainment on 8-track tape. During that year, Finley held the exclusive rights and licenses for all music on 8-track tape. Philips licensed much of Finley's catalog for use on its new compact audio cassette format.

    In late 1969, Finley was approached to start an association for this new, quickly developing cassette tape industry. ITA was formed in 1970 with eight member companies, including Panasonic, Philips and TDK.

    To establish quality and ethics standards within the tape industry, Finley contacted 3M, the major supplier of blank tape at the time, and convinced them to adhere to a labeling standard. Finley also fought successfully to keep commercial and consumer analog tape format decisions out of government hands.

    In 1979, Finley left ITA and formed Larry Finley Associates, which acquired programming for home video. He also became a proponent of the VHS format, and by so doing, became known as the Father of Video Tape. He encouraged JVC to license its VHS technology to duplicators and loaders, which allowed third-party vendors to produce and distribute video tape titles around the world – the basis of the entire packaged home video business. In 1984, he was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame.
    Finley passed away on April 3, 2000, at his home in Long Island, N.Y. "It takes a great man to create a business, but it takes a visionary to create an entire industry," said a former associate. "Larry Finley was such a visionary."

  • Fansy and Henry Harold Gregg

    Fansy and Henry Harold Gregg

    h.h. gregg

    A man bought a TV from a new electronics and appliance store. Over a holiday weekend, the TV stopped working. The customer called the store's owner – at home. The owner told the customer to meet him at the store with the broken TV in 20 minutes. The owner unlocked the store and got the customer a new TV.

    That story sums up the successful five decade-plus customer-focused "Our progress will come through satisfying the customer" philosophy of Indianapolis-based h.h. gregg and its founders Henry Harold Gregg, better known as "Hine," and his wife, Fansy. It is this philosophy that has allowed h.h. gregg to grow from one small storefront into a nearly 200-store national chain generating more than $2 billion in sales.

    Hine, a Navy veteran of World War II, was managing the Biddle Screw Products appliance store in Sheridan, a small town 25 miles northwest of Indianapolis. Fansy was the home service director for the Gibson Company in Indianapolis and traveled around Indiana and Illinois teaching retailers to sell and operate appliances and giving customer demonstrations. She would also go to homes and instruct owners how to operate new-fangled automatic clothes washers. One of her Gibson training stops in 1949 was at Biddle, where she met Hine.

    Hine moved to Indianapolis to take a job as an appliance salesman for A.C. Zickler at 4930 North Keystone Avenue and later became store manager. Two years after they married, Hine and Fansy used $3,000 they had saved and purchased A.C. Zickler's 800-square-foot showroom, opening on April 15, 1955. The Gregg's sold Admiral, RCA, Spartan and Whirlpool washing machines, clothes dryers, refrigerators and outdoor grills out front while Zickler continued to run his plumbing business in the rear. They soon also started selling "brown goods" including black-and-white TVs.

    A newspaper ad six months later exclaimed "APPLIANCES at ZICKLER'S," with "h.h. gregg, Proprietor" listed at the bottom. Hine served as the sales force while Fansy was in charge of the office. More importantly, that ad also asserted "We Will Be Here Tomorrow to Service the Appliance You Buy Today."

    The Gregg's used off-duty firemen as delivery men, or Hine and the customer would load the goods into the store's old red pick-up truck and make the delivery.

    Gregg's started to really grow once they started selling color TVs. On January 1, 1960, the couple invited guests to their home to watch the football bowl games on their RCA color TV. After three years of these personal demos, the couple added a "color room" to their new 5,200-square-foot headquarters, three blocks from the former Zickler store and began hosting their annual New Year's Day football festivities there.

    The business' growth didn't diminish the Gregg's dedication to customer service. Hine took the store's TV "tube caddie" home with him in case he had to personally make a house call to fix a tube.

    Mrs. Gregg's son, Gerald Throgmartin, joined the company after 10 years of sales experience at Sears. Her other son, Don, came aboard in 1969, and two years later went to manage the firm's second store in Kokomo, Indiana, for 10 years. Also in 1971, the Gregg's opened their third store, on the south side of Indianapolis.

    Hine died in 1974, the same year a fourth location opened in Anderson, Indiana, and Gerald took over day-to-day management of the company. The following year, a fifth h.h. gregg's opened on Indianapolis' east side, just as Hine and Fansy's grandson, Jerry Throgmartin, joined the business while still a teenager. Fansy continued to work until 1983 before retiring to Florida. She passed in 2004.

    In 1989, Gerald Throgmartin became chairman and CEO, while his son Jerry was promoted to president and COO. In 1999, when there were 19 h.h. gregg stores, Jerry became company chairman, CEO and director. A fourth generation of Throgmartins joined the family business when Jerry's son Gregg started work in early 2001. In 2007, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Thanks to Jerry Throgmartin's leadership and stewardship of Hine and Fansy's devotion to customer service, h.h. gregg's now has 190 locations with stores in 15 states including Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Pittsburgh, South Carolina and Virginia. Jerry unexpectedly passed away in January 2012 at the age of 57.

  • In Hwoi Koo

    In Hwoi Koo


    Getting into business with friends and family – especially in-laws – can be a trying experience. But Koo In Hwoi, founding chairman of LG, believed in "harmony among people.” At the time of the company's founding, LG was run by several families and organized by close acquaintances, including in-laws. Koo's harmonious business philosophy promoted consensus-based decision-making and support followed by full compliance once a decision was made.

    Koo's "noiseless" business management turned LG into a $120 billion global conglomerate comprising 44 different companies including chemicals, telecommunications and, of course, Korea's first consumer electronics products.

    Koo was born on Aug. 27, 1907, in Jisu-myun, South Gyeongsang province. Raised in a traditional noble family emphasizing Confucian values, he studied the Chinese classics during his childhood. When he turned 14, he married Eul Su Huh. After graduating from Jisu Elementary School, he went to Jungang High School in Seoul. In 1931, he returned to his hometown and, capitalizing on his experience in running a co-op, he opened his own draper called Koo In Hwoi Store in Jinju and began his career as an entrepreneur.

    Shortly after national liberation from Japanese rule following World War II, Koo relocated the base of his business to Busan. He began selling cosmetics, but also decided to produce a cosmetics cream himself and established Lak Hui – pronounced "lucky" in January 1947, the first half of what would become LG.

    The success of Lucky Cream cleared the way for LG to become the first Korean company to enter into the plastics industry. He marketed various plastic household products, including combs, toothbrushes and dishware. He also developed and produced quality Korean toothpaste that replaced U.S.-made Colgate as the top seller in Korea.

    While growing the plastics business, Koo also established GoldStar Co. Ltd. in 1958, the first Korean electronics company. A year later, GoldStar produced Korea's first home-grown consumer electronics product, the A-501 dual-band (medium and shortwave) tabletop radio. This led to a streak of "Korea's first" products, including telephones, fans, refrigerators, television sets and washing machines, which brought tremendous change to the lives of Koreans and accelerated the country’s rise as a global player in electronics and IT. Lak Hui and GoldStar merged in 1995 to establish the modern incarnation of LG.

    Koo went on to found a number of companies in the chemical and electronics industries, including a cable manufacturing company in 1962 that produced cables for electricity and telecommunications installations. Koo's companies also played an important role in building much-needed infrastructure in Korea, including telecommunications, by founding a company that produced switchboards and public telephones.

    Koo established GoldStar's first overseas branch in New York in 1968, the same year it manufactured Korea's first air conditioner.
    For the company, Koo's most important contribution was his business philosophy and management principles – harmony among people, a pioneering spirit and R&D leadership – which are upheld to this day. Koo also called on his employees to become pioneers. He saw R&D not as a reckless challenge, but as an essential component to turn this pioneering spirit into a driver of success. He valued engineers and made strenuous efforts to develop new products and new technology.

    "Find something that others did not try yet," Koo said. "Begin with something that is essential to people's living. Once you begin, continue to move forward. Even if you succeed, do not stop there; challenge yourself to something higher, greater and more difficult."

    In 1968, he built and donated the Yonam Library in Jinju, his hometown. Shortly before his death on Dec. 31, 1969, he established the Yonam Foundation – currently LG Yonam Foundation, a public service corporation which offers systematic professional support in culture and education - and left it as his final gift to Korean society.
    Korean society.

  • Byung-Chull Lee

    Byung-Chull Lee


    Byung-chull Lee played a vital role in building South Korea's industrial landscape by establishing and operating more than 30 companies for nearly 50 years in industries ranging from import substituting goods to high technologies.

    Lee's business philosophy comprised of "economical contribution to the nation," "priority to human resources" and "pursuit of rationality." Lee founded and managed companies under this philosophy and cultivated them to be the best. He is considered South Korea's leading pioneer businessman who contributed greatly to the development of society through various cultural, art and educational businesses.

    Lee was born in Uiryong-gun, Kyongsangnam-do, Korea, on Feb. 12 1910, the youngest of four children. In 1930, Lee went to Japan to study economics at Waseda University. Upon his return to Korea, he decided to devote himself to running a business under the belief that building Korea’s economy was the most urgent task. In March 1938, Lee founded Samsung Trading Company to carry out his philosophy of making an "economical contribution to the nation."

    After the success of Samsung Trading Company, Lee took over Chosun Brewery, laying out the foundation for Samsung. In the early 1950s, he expanded into businesses such as sugar, wool and paper manufacturing. He also contributed to the development of the financial industry through insurance and banking businesses, playing a significant role in rebuilding the national economy in the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War.

    In the 1960s, Lee was at the forefront of building Korea's key industries by engaging in businesses encompassing fertilizer, electronics, retail, clothing, textile, media and land development. As part of his efforts to stabilize people's livelihood by enhancing self-sufficiency in food, Lee founded Korea Fertilizer in 1967, which was the world's biggest single production facility. He helped boost the country's exports, led the development of heavy chemical and defense industries and contributed to the development of high technology industries including semiconductor, aviation, fine chemicals and computers.

    Lee established a network of TV broadcasting, newspapers and other publications, marking an important milestone in the development of Korea's media culture. His Ho-Am Art Museum helped foster pride among Koreans in their cultural heritage among, and with the Samsung Foundation of Culture, he promoted a culture of morals and advanced the arts.

    Lee's foresight that the future of his business relied on the electronics industry led him to found Samsung Electronics in 1969. The company has become the world's largest IT company that leads the global TV, mobile phone, memory and LCD (liquid crystal display) markets.

    In 1973, Samsung Electronics developed a 19-inch transistor black-and-white television. Following the success of this television, the company expanded into other electronics products including refrigerators and washing machines. By 1981, the company had manufactured more than 10 million black-and-white televisions.

    Samsung Electronics expanded into the semiconductor business in 1974, acquiring Korea Semiconductor, and entered the telecommunications business by acquiring Korea Telecommunications in 1980. In 1983, Lee made what has come to be known as the "Tokyo Declaration," announcing that Samsung Electronics would enter the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) business. A year later, the company became the third company in the world to develop 64K DRAM. In 1984, it introduced the world's first 256K DRAM and later started mass production of 1Mega DRAM, helping South Korea become a semiconductor powerhouse and setting the groundwork for the company to be the global technology leader.

    Lee was one of Korea's most highly-regarded businessmen and his pen name, Ho-Am, means "filling up a space with clear water as lakes do, and being unshakeable as a large rock," in reference to his magnanimity and volition as a businessman.

    After his death on Nov. 19, 1987, he was awarded the Korean Order of Civil Merit, Mugunghwa Medal by the Korean government and the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government. In honoring his father, Samsung Electronics Chairman Kun-hee Lee established The Ho-Am Prize. Since 1991, Koreans who have made distinguishable accomplishments in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, arts and community service have been awarded Ho-Am Prizes annually.

  • George Smith

    George Smith

    CCD imaging chip

    Like he did almost every day, Dr. George E. Smith wandered into the office of his boss, Willard Boyle, at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., on Sept. 8, 1969, for their usual brainstorming session. Less than an hour later, they emerged with the single most important invention in the history of photography – the charged-couple device (CCD), the imaging sensor chip which ignited the digital camera revolution.

    This was not what they intended to create at all.

    Smith was born in White Plains, N.Y., on May 10, 1930. Smith's parents could not afford to send him to college, so upon graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy. After attending aerograph school – Navy speak for meteorology – he was assigned to the Navy Hurricane Weather Central in Miami. The Navy was slated to kill a research project aimed at finding the location of hurricanes using seismographs to measure the vibrations made in the ocean floor. Smith designed a different seismographic method and saved the project.

    Smith also took courses at the University of Miami. He worked part-time jobs at the university, running an ancient mechanical differential analyzer and making basic measurements on semiconductors.

    Back from the Navy, Smith entered the University of Pennsylvania as a sophomore, earning his B.A. in physics in 1955. He moved west and earned his master's (1956) and his Ph.D. (1959) in physics from the University of Chicago, submitting one of the shortest doctoral thesis on record – just three pages on "The Anomalous Skin Effect in Bismuth."

    Following graduation, Smith joined Bell Laboratories, where researchers were given the latitude to work on what interested them. In 1964, he became head of the Device Concepts Department, a group formed to devise next-generation solid-state devices.
    On that fall afternoon in 1969, Smith and his boss convened to brainstorm about semiconductor integrated circuits. They had been asked to examine whether it was possible to devise a form of bubble memory using semiconductors.

    Smith had been involved with an effort to create an electron beam imaging tube for the Picturephone, with a target consisting of an array of silicon diodes. After jotting some notes on the blackboard, Smith realized what they were devising could store data, and would also be an image sensor. The CCD takes advantage of the solid-state equivalent of the photoelectric effect that won Albert Einstein his Nobel Prize in 1921.

    According to Smith, “metal-oxide-silicon (MOS) capacitors were already being extensively studied as the gate structure for MOS transistors, which form the basis of today's vast integrated circuit technology. Charge stored on these capacitors could represent digital information for memory – no charge for a zero and maximum charge for a one – devices or analog information formed by incident light and the solid state equivalent of the photoelectric effect, the amount of charge being proportional to the light intensity.”

    The first model based on their idea was constructed and successfully demonstrated a few weeks later. The device was publicly announced in 1970, and was quickly picked up by several companies including Fairchild, RCA and Texas Instruments. Bell Labs also developed and demonstrated a CCD camera for Picturephone but the effort was terminated when AT&T decided not to develop a Picturephone network.

    A researcher at Kodak, CEA Hall of Famer Steve Sasson, procured CCD chips from Fairchild and, in December 1975, built the first working digital camera. But before the CCD was used in the first consumer digital cameras in 1994, it was installed in the Hubble Telescope in 1990 to snap digital photos of distant galaxies.

    Smith has been a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, was made a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He holds 31 U.S. patents and is the author of more than 40 papers. Since 1970, Boyle and Smith have received several awards for their accomplishment and, in 2009, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for the invention of the CCD.

    Smith retired from Bell Laboratories as head of the VLSI Device Department in April 1986. He then started a world cruise aboard his 9.5-meter sailboat, APOGEE, which he completed in 2003 after 55,000 miles of ocean sailing. He lives in Barnegat, N.J.

  • Willard Boyle

    Willard Boyle

    CCD imaging chip

    It's not as far from a small logging community in north Quebec, Canada, to Stockholm, Sweden as you might think. Willard Boyle made only a slight detour through Murray Hill, N.J., on his way to collecting a Nobel Prize with his fellow Bell Labs researcher George E. Smith for co-inventing the CCD (charged-couple device), the first digital imaging chip, which transformed the world of photography.

    Boyle was born on Aug. 19, 1924, in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and was raised in the village of Wallace until his family moved to Chaudiere, Quebec. His father was the local physician, and Boyle was home schooled by his mother, who believed in the Socratic method of teaching. She asked him questions that required detailed explanations as answers. Boyle described her as a curious woman, and through her teaching, he developed a strong curiosity as well.

    When he was 14, Boyle began his formal education at Lower Canada College in Montreal. He continued to pursue his scientific interests at McGill University, but in 1943, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and learned to land Spitfire fighter planes on aircraft carriers.

    Boyle later returned to McGill, where he met his wife, Betty, whom he married in 1946. He completed his bachelor’s, master’s and finally his Ph.D. in physics in 1950. After earning his doctorate, he remained at McGill in Canada's Radiation Laboratory for a year, and then spent two years teaching physics at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

    In 1953, Boyle took a job at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J. In 1962, he worked with Don Nelson to create the first continuously operating ruby laser, and, with David Thomas, was awarded a patent that helped lead to the development of the semiconductor injection laser, found in many electronic appliances. That same year, Boyle was named director of space science and exploratory studies at Bellcomm, a division of Bell Labs in Washington, D.C. While at Bellcomm, he worked on the Apollo program, and helped select lunar landing sites. Boyle returned to Bell Labs in 1964.

    On September 8, 1969, Boyle entertained fellow researcher and CE Hall of Fame inductee George Smith in his office for one of their regular brainstorming sessions. That day's assignment: forming bubble memory using semiconductors.
    After jotting some notes on the blackboard, Smith realized what they were devising could not only store data, but also could be an image sensor. The pair worked quickly, and within an hour had essentially created a digital imaging chip, the CCD. "[We] knew we had something special," Boyle said later. "We are the ones who started this profusion of little cameras all over the world."
    The first model based on Boyle's and Smith's ideas was constructed and demonstrated a few weeks later. The device was publically announced early in 1970 and was quickly picked up by several companies.

    A researcher at Kodak, CE Hall of Famer Steve Sasson, built the first working digital camera in 1975. CCDs would soon appear in any gadget that captured images or video, including cell phones, copiers, satellites, fax machines, and the cameras that roamed Mars and the ocean floor.

    Boyle retired from Bell Labs in 1979 as executive director of the Communication Science Division, holding 18 patents. Retired at 55, he sailed his 33-foot boat for six leisurely weeks up the inland waterway from New Jersey, through the New York Harbor, up to Quebec and down the St. Lawrence to the house the Boyles had built in Wallace, Nova Scotia.

    Over the years, Boyle has been honored many times including winning the Ballantine Medal of the Franklin Institute (1973), the Morris Lieberman Award of the IEEE (1974), the Progress Medal of the Photographic Society of America, the Breakthrough Award by the Device Research Conference of the IEEE, the Edwin H. Land Medal from the Optical Society of America (2001), the Charles Stark Draper Prize from National Academy of Engineering (2006), and, with Smith in 2009, the Nobel Prize for Physics for the invention of the CCD. He was inducted into the Canadian Science & Engineering Hall of Fame in 2005.

    Boyle lived in Wallace until his death on May 7, 2011.

2011 Inductees

  • Ralph Baer

    Ralph Baer

    Inventor, Home Video Game

    Few people can claim to have invented a billion dollar industry. Ralph Baer, who in 1966 invented the first home video game system, is one of them.

    Baer was born March 8, 1922, in Pirmasens, Germany. His parents Leo and Lotte left the young Ralph alone to play with his Erector set, which he did when he wasn’t reading anything he could get his hands on, especially books on science. “I practically lived in the library,” he later noted.

    Along with all other Jews, Baer was expelled from school by the Nazis, ending his primary education. The Baer family left Germany in August of 1938, just three months before Crystal Night, when the major pogroms began. The family settled in New York City, where Baer ran three radio service stores from 1939 until 1943, when he joined the U.S. Army.

    Baer was assigned to the Army’s Military Intelligence Service and served in England, France and, briefly, in Germany, becoming an Army expert in foreign small arms.

    Before and during the war, Baer enrolled in numerous correspondence courses to make up for his lack of education after the age of 16. Following the war, Baer enrolled in an accredited engineering program thanks to the G.I. Bill, earning a B.S. in television engineering in 1948 from the American Television Institute of Technology in Chicago.

    Upon graduation, Baer went to work for Loral Corp., where he built a projection TV set from scratch and speculated on building in a primitive form a video game. However, Loral’s chief engineer nixed the idea. Baer left Loral one year later and, together with Loral’s chief engineer, founded a military electronics business in New York City. In 1958, he joined Sanders Associates in Nashua, New Hampshire, which later became a division of Lockheed. Over the course of his 30-year career with Sanders, Baer ran a division of some 500 engineers, technicians and support people, becoming an Engineering Fellow in 1975.

    His experiences with both small arms and television technology provided the impetus for his idea to use ordinary home TV sets for interactive game play. In 1966, Baer wrote a four-page treatise that laid out the entire concept of home video games. Seeing promise, Sanders management provided a small amount of funding.

    In March 1967, Baer set technician Bill Harrison and engineer Bill Rusch to work part-time on developing several demonstration systems. Over the next nine months, the group developed a large number of games using the relatively primitive but cost-effective technology of that period.

    As early as December of 1967, Baer’s team was playing ping-pong, handball and shooting at the screen with a light gun. The activity culminated in the development of the “Brown Box,” a multi-game console.

    In 1969, Baer demonstrated the Brown Box to most of the major television set manufacturers and signed a patent licensing agreement with Magnavox. The engineering group then took the Brown Box and designed a production model, the Odyssey system, which officially went on sale in 1972.

    While not an initial sales success — consumers first thought Odyssey would work only on Magnavox TVs — Baer’s ideas were quickly emulated, often illegally. Atari released the arcade game, Pong, and later became the first licensee under the Baer, Rusch and Harrison patents. In 1978, Baer developed Simon, a single-chip, microprocessor-controlled memory game that became a best-seller for Milton Bradley, and is still available from Hasbro.

    Over his 50-year engineering and inventing career, Baer accumulated more than 150 patents worldwide. By 2010, the business he and the Magnavox Odyssey system inaugurated topped $25 billion in revenue. In 2004 Baer received the National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush. In 2007 he was made an honorary Doctor of Laws by the Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire. In 2008 he received the IEEE Masaru Ibuka (Sony) award for Excellence in Consumer Electronics. In 2010 Baer was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

    Baer was married to Dena Whinston Baer for 53 years, until she passed away in 2006. They have three children and four grandchildren.

  • Ralph Baer

    Ralph Baer

    Inventor, Home Video Game

    Few people can claim to have invented a billion dollar industry. Ralph Baer, who in 1966 invented the first home video game system, is one of them.

    Baer was born March 8, 1922, in Pirmasens, Germany. His parents Leo and Lotte left the young Ralph alone to play with his Erector set, which he did when he wasn’t reading anything he could get his hands on, especially books on science. “I practically lived in the library,” he later noted.

    Along with all other Jews, Baer was expelled from school by the Nazis, ending his primary education. The Baer family left Germany in August of 1938, just three months before Crystal Night, when the major pogroms began. The family settled in New York City, where Baer ran three radio service stores from 1939 until 1943, when he joined the U.S. Army.

    Baer was assigned to the Army’s Military Intelligence Service and served in England, France and, briefly, in Germany, becoming an Army expert in foreign small arms.

    Before and during the war, Baer enrolled in numerous correspondence courses to make up for his lack of education after the age of 16. Following the war, Baer enrolled in an accredited engineering program thanks to the G.I. Bill, earning a B.S. in television engineering in 1948 from the American Television Institute of Technology in Chicago.

    Upon graduation, Baer went to work for Loral Corp., where he built a projection TV set from scratch and speculated on building in a primitive form a video game. However, Loral’s chief engineer nixed the idea. Baer left Loral one year later and, together with Loral’s chief engineer, founded a military electronics business in New York City. In 1958, he joined Sanders Associates in Nashua, New Hampshire, which later became a division of Lockheed. Over the course of his 30-year career with Sanders, Baer ran a division of some 500 engineers, technicians and support people, becoming an Engineering Fellow in 1975.

    His experiences with both small arms and television technology provided the impetus for his idea to use ordinary home TV sets for interactive game play. In 1966, Baer wrote a four-page treatise that laid out the entire concept of home video games. Seeing promise, Sanders management provided a small amount of funding.

    In March 1967, Baer set technician Bill Harrison and engineer Bill Rusch to work part-time on developing several demonstration systems. Over the next nine months, the group developed a large number of games using the relatively primitive but cost-effective technology of that period.

    As early as December of 1967, Baer’s team was playing ping-pong, handball and shooting at the screen with a light gun. The activity culminated in the development of the “Brown Box,” a multi-game console.

    In 1969, Baer demonstrated the Brown Box to most of the major television set manufacturers and signed a patent licensing agreement with Magnavox. The engineering group then took the Brown Box and designed a production model, the Odyssey system, which officially went on sale in 1972.

    While not an initial sales success — consumers first thought Odyssey would work only on Magnavox TVs — Baer’s ideas were quickly emulated, often illegally. Atari released the arcade game, Pong, and later became the first licensee under the Baer, Rusch and Harrison patents. In 1978, Baer developed Simon, a single-chip, microprocessor-controlled memory game that became a best-seller for Milton Bradley, and is still available from Hasbro.

    Over his 50-year engineering and inventing career, Baer accumulated more than 150 patents worldwide. By 2010, the business he and the Magnavox Odyssey system inaugurated topped $25 billion in revenue. In 2004 Baer received the National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush. In 2007 he was made an honorary Doctor of Laws by the Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire. In 2008 he received the IEEE Masaru Ibuka (Sony) award for Excellence in Consumer Electronics. In 2010 Baer was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

    Baer was married to Dena Whinston Baer for 53 years, until she passed away in 2006. They have three children and four grandchildren.

  • Ivan Berger

    Ivan Berger

    Leading CE and Technology Journalist

    Any list of the most knowledgeable and authoritative consumer electronics journalists must include Ivan Berger, who has spent decades experiencing, tinkering with and writing about consumer electronics gear.

    A Brooklyn native, Berger was born July 9, 1939, to Leynard and Celia Berger. His mother died when he was young and his father remarried. The family moved to Naugatuck, CT, where Leynard started a children’s-wear store.

    Berger was always interested in technology. His father subscribed to Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and Mechanix Illustrated – magazines that Berger eventually would write for. Ivan himself subscribed to a host of car, photo and airplane magazines. The young Berger developed a keen interest in photography, saving up several weeks’ worth of allowance to make his first major purchase, a Kodak Brownie Reflex. In high school, he bought a used prewar Leica with several lenses, built his own darkroom and took photos for the school paper and yearbook.

    It was Berger’s high school chemistry teacher who introduced him to hi-fi. Inspired by his teacher, Berger upgraded the eight-inch speaker in the family RCA TV to a Lafayette SK98, a $10 driver with a hardened center section for better highs. He eventually added a ported enclosure and a used 12-watt realistic amp. After that, Berger was hooked on audio.

    Berger started out at Yale as a physics major but changed to English. When he and his roommates put together a stereo system, he wanted to make sure he spent his meager funds wisely so he studied catalogs and haunted local audio salons, learning about audio features and specs. Finding no help in existing books, he vowed that once he’d mastered hi-fi he’d write such a book himself. He later wrote two books on the subject. Berger soon became the Yale radio station’s classical music director and a member of its recording department; there, he engineered live recordings and remotes, adding to his audio experience.

    After graduating, Berger wrote his first piece on hi-fi audio for Saturday Review, marking the beginning of a 16-year relationship with the magazine. Berger also joined the staff of BMI’s promotional magazine, BMI: The Many Worlds of Music, writing about opera, ballet, folk and country-western music.

    Covering audio for Saturday Review, Berger was introduced to other editors, including Larry Klein (then at Electronics Illustrated and later at HiFi/Stereo Review, for whom Berger wrote for 18 years). Over the next decade, he wrote copy for several agencies handling tech clients, while writing regularly for Stereo Review, High Fidelity and Audio (under pen names, at his editors’ suggestion, since they were direct competitors), as well as for Popular Science, Esquire, and other consumer magazines.

    In 1972, he took a full-time job at Popular Mechanics. As electronics and photography editor, he found his two lifelong interests beginning to converge. In his five years at PM, he covered the precursors of today’s digital cameras, the first home video recorders, Polaroid’s revolutionary SX-70 instant photography system, and the first home computers.

    After leaving Popular Mechanics, Berger spent two years as senior editor at Popular Electronics. In October 1978, Jay Rosenfield, publisher of Video Magazine, approached Berger to become the magazine’s technical editor. Since Berger’s specialty was audio, he asked Lance Braithwaite to be a joint technical editor, and the pair agreed on a combined byline, Berger-Braithwaite Labs. Their first issue, in spring 1979, included six joint reviews. It was a heady time in video, with Betamax and VHS battling each other and the first portable video recorders entering the retail scene.

    In 1982, Berger became technical editor of Audio Magazinewhere he’d spend the next 18 years as a highly respected audio editor. While at Audio, Berger contributed the car stereo section of Chilton’s Guide to Auto Electronic Accessories, and wrote his own long-gestating home stereo guide, The New Sound of Stereo. In 1985, Berger married publicist Roberta Thumim. She died in 1995.

    When Audio ceased publication in 2000, Berger returned to freelancing, writing for The New York Times, Wired, Sound & Vision, Car Stereo Review, Road & Track, Digital Photography Buyers Guide, several IEEE publications, and others, which he continues to this day.

  • Samuel Bloomberg

    Samuel Bloomberg

    Co-Founder, CEO

    Starting with a $10,000 investment and a 1,000-square-foot space, Sandy Bloomberg grew the electronics store Tweeter into the largest high-end specialty retailer in the country.

    Bloomberg was born in Boston on June 19, 1951, into a family steeped in retail as far back as 1889. His father, Harvey, and his uncle, were the second-generation owners of a furniture store chain. His father focused on buying, advertising, merchandising and customer service, priorities he handed down to his son.

    Bloomberg attended Boston University (B.U.) while working full-time at the Harvard Square branch of Audio Lab, one of the first audio component specialty retailers in the country. After quitting school in his sophomore year, Bloomberg traveled to Europe where he noticed there was greater appreciation for high-end stereo components and a host of high-end specialty retailers. Upon his return to the U.S., Bloomberg and his cousin Michael Bloomberg each put in $5,000, and on Valentine's Day 1972, they opened their first Tweeter store near B.U. in a 1,000-square-foot retail space.

    Bloomberg credits the easy, extended terms offered by Japanese manufacturers, most still looking for footholds in the U.S. market, for Tweeter's early success. Merchandise bought on 120-day terms was sold in 30 days, supplying cash to expand the business.

    A year-and-a-half later, the pair moved to a larger retail location near B.U., and opened a second store in the audio store crowded Harvard Square. During this post "Sgt. Pepper's" period, when rock musicians started producing more sophisticated work in the studio, nearly all component stores were strategically located near colleges where high-end audio gear was considered not simply a luxury, but a necessity.

    Tweeter grew fast thanks to a franchise model, allowing many Tweeter employees to open their own outlets. Many of these stores were located in suburban Massachusetts malls, following the migration of the college demographic as they graduated and started families. As the company continued to grow, Bloomberg wanted more control over merchandising and product mix and began to buy back the franchises.

    Bloomberg's product mix focused on exclusive items not offered by other retailers. Tweeter was one of the first area dealers to sell gear from Nakamichi, Yamaha, Boston Acoustics and Bang & Olufsen. In 1976, the stores started selling and installing car stereo, and a few years later, expanded into the new high-end video category.

    Tweeter began to earn a reputation for its exclusive products and knowledgeable, well-trained sales team. Prospective employees went through an intensive five-and-a-half-week training program to create a confident, service-oriented sales staff that often won out over big box retailer prices. The store�s slogans stressed Tweeter's mix of exclusive high-end products and expertise: "Audio, video and a boatload of know-how," and "Some hi-fi salesman can sell you anything. The problem is they do."
    Expansion continued in the mid-1980s when Tweeter opened Media Systems, one of the first high-end custom installation showrooms, in Boston. In 1979, Tweeter had six stores in the Boston area. By the end of 1986, there were 13 Tweeter stores in the U.S.

    Competition, especially on price, arose from new national retailer chains. On August 16, 1993, soon after the chain reached 20 stores, Bloomberg introduced the first automatic price protection (APP). Tweeter checked the prices listed in all the local electronics' stores newspaper ads. If a customer bought an item and Tweeter found that same item advertised at a lower price within 30 days, the company automatically sent a check to the consumer for the price difference. The program was so innovative, it was reported on in the Wall Street Journal.

    The first year APP was available Tweeter sales grew more than 20 percent. Over the course of the program, Tweeter sent out more than 100,000 checks.

    In 1996, Tweeter went on a national buying spree, acquiring 10 chains and reaching a peak of more than 150 stores with more than 3,000 employees. However, new and expanding big box retailers began to challenge Tweeter's exclusive merchandise mix and sales staff training and service. On Dec. 2, 2008, the remaining Tweeter stores closed for good.

    However, the company's focus on buying, advertising, merchandising and customer service left an indelible mark on the consumer electronics retailing industry. In 1997, Bloomberg received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the New England chapter of Deloitte Touche.

    Bloomberg is now a partner at cabinet home theater speaker maker ZVOX Audio. He and his wife, Carolina, have two children, Joshua and Mikaela.

  • Lance Braithwaite

    Lance Braithwaite

    Leading Video Technology Journalist

    Lancelot Lawford Braithwaite has likely forgotten more about how video gadgets work than most tech reporters ever knew. Braithwaite transformed himself from an English professor and video engineer into one of the most respected video technology writers of his generation.

    Braithwaite was born on November 29, 1936, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, to Ena Delores and Lawton Lawford Braithwaite. His father, a lawyer, civil servant and Conveyancer of Crown Lands, introduced him to electricity by letting him fix hot plates and lamps when he was as young as five-years-old, the same age he received his first camera. His father also influenced his interest in physics, chemistry, biology and technical writing. Braithwaite’s mother — an office manager, teacher and piano instructor — also encouraged his study habits.

    Braithwaite’s childhood was filled with tinkering. With friends he would rebuild wrecked cars, and he hung around a neighbor’s ham radio shack. He parlayed a fourth-place prize in a photo contest to his first paying job, as a wedding photographer, and at times, funerals — he once photographed a dead woman in her coffin, a job no adult photographer wanted. But not all of his interests were benign. He hurt his eyes and was forced to wear glasses for a few years when an attempt to make fireworks literally blew up in his face.

    Braithwaite enrolled at New York University to study engineering physics, electrical engineering, accounting and finance, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science in what is now Communications Arts from NYU in 1964.

    While at NYU, Braithwaite served as head lighting and sound technician for plays and operas at the school’s Hall of Fame Playhouse, including Hal Holbrook’s first New York presentation of Mark Twain Tonight. He also served as a gaffer for the play, The Fantastiks, as well as for Martin Scorsese’s first film, It’s Not Just You Murray, shot while both were still students at NYU.

    He then spent six months training at RCA Institutes (now TCI) for camera work, technical directing and lighting. Braithwaite soon got a job at WWOR TV and radio in New York. He helped the radio station get back on the air during the great Northeast blackout on November 9, 1965, by jumping the phone lines from the FM transmitter site on the top of the then-powerless Empire State Building to a phone line at the AM transmitter site in New Jersey.

    When looking for a sound system, Braithwaite couldn’t afford good speakers, so he decided to buy the best headphones available instead. Dissatisfied with the available information on headphones, he conducted his own research and comparisons. A friend introduced him to Ivan Berger, an established audio tech writer. Berger saw Braithwaite’s research and suggested that he shouldn’t be reading reviews, but writing them. Berger off-loaded a column to Braithwaite — reviewing hi-fi equipment for FM Guide New York.

    Braithwaite contributed articles to CB World and Popular Electronics magazines while spending the next five years as an assistant professor of English at Penn State University.

    In October 1978, Jay Rosenfield, publisher of Video Magazine, approached Berger to become the magazine’s technical editor. Berger, a respected audio writer asked Braithwaite to be a joint technical editor. The two agreed on a combined byline – Berger-Braithwaite Labs. Their first issue in the spring of 1979 included six joint reviews.

    Berger typed while the two argued in print about their conclusions. Their differing viewpoints — Braithwaite stressing performance, Berger insistent on ease of use — morphed into insightful, thorough reviews that proved to be popular with readers. Braithwaite soon became the industry’s most authoritative and respected video equipment reviewer.

    In 1982, Berger became technical editor of Audio Magazine, but Braithwaite stayed at Video and continued to write under the Berger-Braithwaite Labs byline. After 20 years at Video, the magazine was folded into Sound & Vision and Braithwaite went to work as technical editor for Good Housekeeping’s website in 1999.

    Braithwaite wrote for a number of publications in the succeeding decade, including Sound & Vision, Popular Electronics, Audio Magazine, CB World, Audio/Video International, the New York Post, and Widescreen Review. In addition, he served as a product engineering consultant for Samsung’s QA Labs, as a judge for the EIA/CEG’s (now CEA) Design and Achievement Awards and Audio/Video International’s Video Grand Prix Awards. He also worked on several EIA/CEG video standards committees, including methods for measuring low light performance in camcorders and for measuring DVD players.

  • Dr. Eli Harari

    Dr. Eli Harari


    Recognizing that new-fangled digital cameras would need “digital film,” in 1988 Dr. Eli Harari co-founded and led SanDisk, helping launch the flash memory revolution to become the global leader in flash memory cards.

    Harari was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1945. His parents came to Palestine from Poland in 1933, as Nazism was on the rise in Germany. At age 17, while studying in a boarding school in England, Harari met his future wife, whom he married in 1972.
    Harari put himself through Manchester University in England, graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Science in physics. In 1973, Harari earned a PhD in solid state sciences from Princeton University under a research scholarship from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

    The newly-minted young physicist worked on space-borne electronics in early satellites at Hughes Microelectronics. In his spare time, he would check out consumer products, and was soon dabbling in prototypes for new fishing rods and self-illuminating screwdrivers. It was his wife who suggested that he apply his physics expertise to invent new semiconductor memory devices.

    From 1973 to 1983, Harari held research and management positions with Hughes, Intel and Honeywell. In 1975 while at Hughes, he invented the industry’s first commercial floating-gate electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), a precursor to flash.

    In 1983, he founded Waferscale Integration, a startup company in Silicon Valley, serving as the company’s president and chief executive officer until 1986 and as chairman and chief technical officer until 1988.

    After a dispute with the board over strategy and direction, Harari was forced out of the company he founded. He started working on SunDisk, which later became SanDisk. Soon Harari recruited Sanjay Mehrotra, a former memory chip designer whom he met at Intel, and Jack Yuan, a former Hughes colleague and chip process engineer. The three founded SanDisk in a two-room office in Santa Clara, CA.

    Under Harari’s leadership, SanDisk’s small team of engineers invented a revolutionary concept they named “system flash,” which required radically new flash memory chip architecture, tightly coupled to a dedicated controller. This combination overcame flash’s inherent deficiencies and led to the industry’s first flash-based solid state drive (SSD). These smaller, more power-efficient SSDs were able to mimic a standard hard disk drive (HDD) with increased durability.

    Armed with funding from venture capitalists, AT&T and Western Digital, SanDisk developed its first 4-megabit flash chips and dedicated controller chips, and then outbid Intel, Texas Instruments and Western Digital to nab IBM as its first customer.
    SanDisk shrunk the technology by inventing multi-level “cell” flash, which allowed more data to be stored on each physical cell. This advancement and other innovations became the foundation for today’s flash memory products, resulting in the price of flash memory to consumers dropping by a factor of 50,000.

    Harari believed consumer markets would accelerate once industry-standard card formats were adopted. So SanDisk licensed its unique patents to competitors, and invited industry giants such as Canon, Kodak, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba to participate in developing standard card formats. In addition to CompactFlash and SD cards, SanDisk invented the microSD card, the USB flash drive and embedded memory for the quickly growing mobile phone market.

    In 1999, the total flash memory market totaled less than $1 billion. Harari predicted the flash memory market would reach the size of the HDD and DRAM markets within a decade. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, Harari’s prediction is coming to fruition; the total flash memory market approached $25 billion in 2011 while growing at a faster pace than any competing memory technology.

    Harari holds nearly 150 U.S. and foreign patents. Along with SanDisk co-founders Mehrotra and Yuan, Harari received the 2006 Reynold B. Johnson Data Storage Device Technology Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 2008, he received the Global Semiconductor Alliance’s Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award, and in 2009 received the IEEE Robert N. Noyce Medal recognizing his “leadership in the development and commercialization of flash memory technology.”

    When Harari retired as SanDisk CEO and chairman of the board at the end of 2010, SanDisk was an S&P 500 company with 3,330 employees worldwide, revenues of $4.8 billion and the leading company with a 37 percent share of the global flash memory card market, more than twice that of its nearest competitor.

  • Stanley S. Hubbard

    Stanley S. Hubbard

    Hubbard Broadcasting
    Chairman and CEO

    Stanley Hubbard was literally born to be a broadcaster. Taking over a radio empire founded by his father during the dawn of broadcasting, Hubbard formed United States Satellite Broadcasting (USSB) in 1981, becoming one of the first — and most persistent — proponents of direct broadcast satellite.

    Ten years before Hubbard was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hubbard’s father, Stanley E. Hubbard, founded WAMD — one of the nation’s first radio stations to rely solely on the sale of advertising for income — which later became the 50,000-watt station KSTP.

    Growing up, the young Hubbard was interested in electronics, especially portable radios, ship-to-shore radios, monitoring short wave broadcasts, and television. Hubbard was naturally fascinated by his father’s pioneering TV efforts — he bought the first RCA television camera ever sold and, in the summer of 1938, he held the first demonstration of television in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. A decade later, the senior Hubbard established KSTP-TV, the upper Midwest’s first commercial television station and today’s only locally owned and operated broadcasting company in the Twin Cities.

    After his graduation from the Breck Military School in 1951, Hubbard officially became an employee of KSTP-TV, starting in the station’s telephoto department. He worked his way through the ranks while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. Soon after graduating in 1955, Hubbard became KSTP’s vice president.

    In 1967 Hubbard became president of Hubbard Broadcasting. A year later, the company built WTOG-TV, Channel 44, in St. Petersburg, Florida, arguably the first successful UHF independent station to operate in a VHF market.

    In 1981, Hubbard started USSB (United States Satellite Broadcasting Company) to create a new satellite TV business. Three years later, after Hubbard was named Hubbard Broadcasting chairman and CEO, the company built and proved the feasibility of the first satellite news gathering vehicles, the design of which would become standard. The first unit, Model GT/AC, is on display at the Newseum, in Washington, D.C.

    In 1987, Hubbard and his son, Stanley E. Hubbard II, and Ray Conover, as chief engineer, established the first satellite news gathering company, Conus Communications, and became the first broadcaster to own a Ku-band transponder. At its height, Conus serviced more than 150 television stations around the world.

    In 1991, USSB, in partnership with Hughes Aircraft, launched the first high powered direct broadcast satellite.  Three years later, both USSB and DirecTV initiated the first direct-to-consumer satellite TV broadcasting and started competing with cable for customers.

    Within a year, satellite TV had more than half a million subscribers, while USSB had about 300,000 subscribers. In 1996, USSB earned $224.1 million in its initial public offering. In January 1999, DirecTV and USSB merged in a deal reportedly worth $1.3 billion.

    In recognition of his contributions to both broadcasting and his pioneering effort in the satellite TV business, Hubbard and his late father were given the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters in 1995.

    While running both Hubbard Broadcasting and USSB, Hubbard served on the FCC’s Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service to develop HDTV, and on the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council, which helped develop policies and plans for America’s new information and telecommunications infrastructure.

    Hubbard was an inductee in Broadcasting & Cable magazine’s first Hall of Fame in 1991, the Society of Satellite Professionals International Hall of Fame in 1992, a recipient of the SBCA’s Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1994, and the Dealerscope Hall of Fame in 1996. He married Karen Elizabeth Holmen in 1959, and has five children. Of Hubbard’s 15 grandchildren, the three oldest are already active in Hubbard Broadcasting, carrying on the family legacy.

  • Dr. Fujio Masuoka

    Dr. Fujio Masuoka

    Inventor, Flash Memory

    Each time you slide a flash memory card into a digital camera, or a thumb drive into a USB jack, sync your music to a digital music player, or store data on a tablet PC, thank Dr. Fujio Masuoka, who invented flash memory.

    Masuoka was born May 8, 1943, in Takasaki City, Gunma, Japan. When he was 10, his mother encouraged him to study mathematics and hired a private teacher. By the time he was 12, Masuoka had mastered advanced mathematics. In high school, Masuoka concentrated on theory, believing that advances in technology or electronics were achieved only through theoretical work. As a result of his studies, Masuoka also developed a deep understanding of economics and law.

    He received his Bachelor of Science, Masters of Science and PhD in electrical engineering from Tohoku University in 1966, 1968 and 1971, respectively. Soon after graduating, Masuoka joined Toshiba Research and Development Center in April 1971.

    Three months into his new job, Masuoka’s boss, Dr. Yoshiyuki Takeishi, showed Masuoka Intel’s Ultraviolet Erasable Electrically Programmable Read Only Memory (UV EEPROM), which was announced a few months earlier. Masuoka studied the Intel technology for two months and discovered a new structure, a stacked gate avalanche injection type MOS read-only memory (SAMOS), which became Masuoka’s first patent in 1972.

    Between 1972 and 1984, Masuoka made other significant memory breakthroughs, pairing a dynamic memory cell with a double poly-silicon structure. In 1977, he moved to Toshiba’s semiconductor division, where he developed 1 Mbit DRAM.

    Masuoka later transitioned to Toshiba’s memory product engineering division in 1980 to begin his work on developing flash memory. He then shifted to Toshiba’s memory design engineering division in 1984, where he perfected and patented NOR flash memory. He presented his findings at the International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco. A year later, he progressed to 256 Kbit flash memory.

    In April 1987, Masuoka returned to the Toshiba research and development center, where he began to successfully develop more advanced NAND-type flash memory. Despite his breakthroughs, flash was not yet ready for commercialization. What slowed Masuoka down was not technology, but money.

    In order to create and manufacture a commercial pre-fabricated 4 Mbit flash memory chip, Masuoka needed to develop a mask to serve as a high-tech stencil to project the various circuit patterns on each layer of a microprocessor. But the cost estimate to create a mask was 10 million yen, which Toshiba was initially unwilling to invest. Masuoka convinced Toshiba’s consumer electronics research executives that a 4 Mbit flash memory chip could be used to create a consumer-ready digital camera with the flash memory serving as “digital film.” With funding from the consumer electronics division, Masuoka continued his development and presented the 4 Mbit NAND-type flash memory at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in New York City in 1989.

    In 1994, Masuoka joined Tohoku University where he was a professor for 13 years before being appointed Professor Emeritus of the university’s Research Institute of Electrical Communication.

    For his pioneering work on flash memory, Masuoka has been presented with numerous honors and awards in Japan including the inaugural Watanabe Prize in 1977 and the National Invention Award in 1980. In 2007, Masuoka was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon from Emperor Akihito.

  • Dr. Robert Metcalfe

    Dr. Robert Metcalfe

    Founder & Inventor of Ethernet

    It looks like an oversized phone jack, but the now-familiar Ethernet jack and the computers and Internet network that it links us to, was the creation of Bob Metcalfe.

    A native New Yorker, Metcalfe was born on April 7, 1946, to Robert I. Metcalfe, an aerospace technician, and Ruth, a high school secretary. His father helped him build model trains in their basement and, while in the fourth grade, presciently wrote that his son would one day earn a degree in electrical engineering from MIT.

    For his eighth grade science project, Metcalfe cannibalized switches, relays and neon lights from his model trains and built a neo-computer that could add any number between one and three to any number between one and three to yield their sum between two and six, for which he received a memorable “A+++ H Superior.”

    Metcalfe’s father co-founded BAM Electronics, which repaired televisions. Metcalfe senior arrived home one day to find his son unconscious in the basement among some of his broken TVs. The youngster had reached inside the back of a set and grabbed the high-voltage cable leading into the cathode ray tube (CRT). After that, Metcalfe stuck to voltages below 5V.

    Metcalfe did indeed attend MIT. As an undergraduate, he worked for Raytheon, programming submarine target computers and design automation for the Air Force’s Cambridge Research Lab. He earned his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1969, along with a B.S. in industrial management.

    Metcalfe transitioned to Harvard for his post-graduate degrees. When the university refused to let him connect the school’s computers to the brand new network created by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA), he joined MIT’s Project MAC to help engineer ARPANET hardware and software, and link MIT’s computers to the fledgling Internet.

    He earned his master’s in applied mathematics from Harvard in 1970 and his PhD about packet communication and ARPANET in 1973.

    While working toward his PhD, Metcalfe went to work for ARPA at MIT. Metcalfe then moved west to work at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where many of today’s familiar computer technologies such as the graphical user interface (GUI) and mouse were created.

    On May 22, 1973, Metcalfe circulated “Alto Ethernet” memo, which included a rough schematic of how a new local network would work, recognizing antecedents such as the Alohanet at the University of Hawaii.

    On November 11, the co-inventors of Ethernet — Metcalfe along with David R. Boggs — successfully demonstrated the first Ethernet system. They went on to connect the far-flung offices of Xerox Corp. In 1979, Metcalfe founded 3Com Corp, short for “computer, communication and compatibility,” to develop standard hardware and software products for the Internet, based on three proposed standards: Ethernet, TCP/IP, and Unix. 3Com went public in 1984 and Metcalfe retired in 1990.

    Metcalfe spent the next decade as a publisher and pundit. He served as CEO of IDG’s InfoWorld Publishing Company from 1992 to 1995, and as IDG’s vice president of technology from 1995 to 2000. For eight years, he wrote a syndicated Internet column for InfoWorld. He spoke at conferences, on radio and television, hosted a weekly webcast, and was executive producer of industry events including ACM97, ACM1, Agenda, PopTech and Vortex. He also authored several books including Packet Communication, Internet Collapses and Beyond Calculation.

    Metcalfe collected numerous honorary degrees, honors and tributes from the computer industry, beginning with the Association for Computing Machinery Grace Murray Hopper Award in 1980. In 1988, he received the IEEE Bell Medal and later earned the IEEE’s Medal of Honor. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1997, and, in 1999, to the International Engineering Consortium. In 2003, Metcalfe received the Marconi Prize, and in 2005, he received the National Medal of Technology from President Bush. Metcalfe was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007 and Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows in 2008.

    In 2001, Metcalfe became a venture capitalist at Polaris Venture Partners, serving on the boards of a number of Polaris-backed start-ups and as a director-trustee-advisor to Avistar Communications, USC Stevens and MIT. He also worked with MIT’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department, Department of Chemistry, Department of Mathematics and Deans of Engineering and Science.

    In January 2011, Metcalfe joined The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering, where he is now Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise.

  • Sam Runco

    Sam Runco

    Runco International

    Sam Runco’s name is literally synonymous with home theater — he actually trademarked the term in California, and his namesake company, Runco International, became the most innovative and highly respected projection television makers in the world.

    Born into a coal mining family in Scranton, Penn., Runco devoured monthly issues of Popular MechanicsMechanics Illustrated andPopular Science, and spent his spare time tinkering. He even built a number of models of the futuristic products featured in these magazines.

    Runco also was greatly influenced by Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, especially by Carnegie’s belief that developing the ability to speak in front of people was a shortcut to distinction.

    Runco never made it to college. Instead, in his early twenties, he took a job with a motivational training company. Runco traveled around the country to Michigan, Seattle, and then to San Francisco, where he ended up in the walk-in cooler business.

    He soon discovered he not only had technical aptitudes, but also could cogently explain the technical aspects of products, a combination of skills that soon came in handy. At age 22, Runco was fiddling with a Fresnel lens in front of a 13-inch television, and was able to project a faint six-foot picture onto a sheet pinned to the wall. He was hooked. Runco continued to refine his big-screen concept until he achieved what he felt was “a good picture.”

    Runco began to make and sell projection television kits to local bars and via mail order. By the late 1980s, as the home theater concept gained traction, Runco was well ahead of the curve. He and his wife, Lori, formed his eponymous company in 1986; two years later, the company received a California trademark on the phrase “home theater.”

    Working from their garage in Foster City, CA, Sam and Lori shipped projectors one at a time until they could ship two. In the next few years, as the company grew, Runco made two technical innovations that gained Runco an almost cult following in the exploding home theater scene.

    In 1991, he introduced the first projector with a built-in line doubler, the Super IDTV (improved definition television) system, which consisted of the IDP-800 projector mated to the SC-1050 line doubler. Then Runco hit upon what would become both a legendary product and an enduring concept: the ARC-IV aspect-ratio controller, which allowed users to switch from standard television’s 4:3 aspect ratio, to the theatrical formats of 2.35:1, 1.85:1 and to the anamorphic widescreen ratio of 16:9, which became the HDTV format. This allowed Runco International to deliver HDTV-capable products seven years prior to the adoption of HDTV.

    In 1997, Runco improved the successor to the Super IDTV by designing and building the high-definition DTV-852, the first CRT projector with a built-in line doubler. He also developed the first nine-inch cathode-ray tubes in a consumer projector, the first corner convergence controls, and the first application of digital light processing (DLP) for home theater.

    Runco also has been very active in promoting the interests of the CE industry. He served on CEA’s Board of Industry Leaders from 2003 to 2008 and was a member of the CEA Video Division. He served as a director of Focus Enhancements Inc. from August 2004 to September 2008.

    By the time he sold his company to Planar in 2007 for $36.7 million, Runco International recorded net annual sales of $54.6 million.

    Runco and his wife still live in the San Francisco bay area, and have three children, Sarah, Sammy and Nick.

  • Dr. Claude Shannon

    Dr. Claude Shannon

    Inventor, Digital Data Communications

    Who would have thought that a series of 1s and 0s could be used to create and transmit words, pictures or video? Claude Shannon did. His 1948 paper “A Mathematical Theory of Communication,” created the foundation for the entire digital data communications revolution and is considered the Magna Carta of the information age.

    Claude Elwood Shannon was born in Petoskey, Michigan, on April 30, 1916. As a boy, Shannon excelled at science and mathematics. At home, he constructed model planes, a radio-controlled model boat and a telegraph system to a friend’s house half a mile away ingeniously using two barbed wires around a nearby pasture. He earned spending money from a paper route and from delivering telegrams, as well as from repairing radios for a local department store. His childhood hero was Thomas Edison, who he later learned was a distant cousin.

    After earning Bachelor of Science degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1936, Shannon became a research assistant in MIT’s electrical engineering department. There he was one of four assistants who operated the Bush differential analyzer, the era’s most advanced calculating machine.

    While studying how the analyzer operated, Shannon became interested in the theory and design, and determined that symbolic logic and Boolean algebra could be used in the analysis and synthesis of switching and computer circuits. He further developed these theories during the summer of 1937 at Bell Labs in New York City, and while writing his master’s thesis at MIT.

    Shannon’s thesis was awarded the Alfred Noble Prize of the combined engineering societies of the United States in 1940, and was later called “one of the most important master’s theses ever written – a landmark in that it helped to change digital circuit design from an art to a science.”

    In September 1938, at the suggestion of the eminent electrical engineer Vannevar Bush, who later organized the Manhattan Project, Shannon switched from MIT’s electrical engineering department to the mathematics department. He spent the summer of 1939 at the Carnegie Institute’s Cold Spring Harbor branch working on his doctoral dissertation, “An Algebra for Theoretical Genetics.” In the spring of 1940, Shannon received a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering and his PhD in mathematics.

    On a National Research Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton the following academic year, Shannon began to work on his ideas relating to information theory and efficient communication systems.

    With America’s entry into World War II, Shannon returned to Bell Labs and joined a team working on anti-aircraft directors. During the next 15 years at Bell Labs, Shannon worked in many areas, most notably in information theory. In 1948, he published his first foundational treatise on information theory, “A Mathematical Theory of Communication,” which demonstrated that all information sources — including telegraph keys, people speaking, and television cameras — have an associated “source rate” that can be measured in bits per second.

    “Few other works of this century have had greater impact on science and engineering,” it was later noted. “By this landmark paper and his several subsequent papers on information theory he has altered most profoundly all aspects of communication theory and practice.”

    Shannon published other foundational work and papers including a paper on cryptography which led to his appointment as a consultant on cryptographic matters to the U.S. government.

    While at Bell Labs, Shannon met Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Moore, whom he married in 1949. She combined her interests in hand weaving and computing to pioneer work in computer-controlled looms in the 1960s.

    Shannon became a permanent member of the MIT faculty and also continued his affiliation with Bell Telephone Laboratories until July 1972. He received a host of honorary degrees, fellowships and scientific awards including the National Medal of Science from President Johnson in 1966. He was also a member of the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of the board of directors of Teledyne, Inc.

    Shannon’s seminal work, equated with Einstein’s, was far ahead of its time. It was not until the early 1970s and the advent of high-speed integrated circuits did engineers begin fully to exploit Shannon’s work. His insights help shape virtually all systems that store, process or transmit information in digital form, from CDs to computers, in every field of communications, commerce, art and science.

  • Dr. Andrew Viterbi

    Dr. Andrew Viterbi


    Andrew Viterbi’s eponymous algorithm for signal interference suppression made a major impression on digital cellular and satellite technology, and has helped to give us crystal clear cell phone calls and satellite television images.

    Born in Bergamo, Italy, on March 9, 1935, Viterbi’s family fled the Fascist regime to escape the persecution of Jews in 1939. The Viterbi’s settled first in New York City, and then moved to Boston where Viterbi attended the renowned Boston Latin School.

    Long absences from family members back in Italy instilled the young Viterbi with a desire to find ways of communicating across political and geographical borders. By the time he went to college, Viterbi knew he wanted to become an engineer, influenced by the proximity of his home to MIT.

    He earned a scholarship to MIT in 1952, where he was introduced to statistical communications theory. There he encounterd many renowned scholars, including CEA’s 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Claude Shannon. In 1956, he met and married Erna Finci; a year later, he graduated from MIT with both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees.

    Three months after Viterbi joined the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Russian satellite Sputnik was launched. JPL got a contract from the Army to put up a small satellite. Viterbi was a junior member of the team that provided telemetry for the first successful U.S. satellite program, Explorer I. Viterbi specialized in “spread spectrum” as a way to quickly and accurately process and transmit information packets, overcoming the satellite’s weak signal and frequency changes created by rapid orbits. He was one of the first scientists to propose digital transmission techniques for satellite telecommunications.

    While working at JPL in 1962, Viterbi earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California. A year later he began teaching courses in digital communications and information theory at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. There he created an algorithm, now known as the Viterbi Algorithm, which he described as a quick method of eliminating dead ends in the communication stream.

    There was only one problem. At the time, only a handful of computers in the world could perform the millions of operations required by the revolutionary algorithm. Since there seemed to be no practical application for the Viterbi Algorithm at the time, Viterbi chose not to patent it.

    Soon after publishing his algorithm, Viterbi met 2009 CEA Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Irwin Jacobs at a telecommunications conference in California. Together with Viterbi’s colleague Leonard Kleinrock, the three men formed the consulting group Linkabit.

    Linkabit supplied software for government computers, and introduced many innovative products including the first commercial Ku-band Very Small Aperture Earth Terminal (VSAT), early commercial TDMA wireless phones and the VideoCipher satellite-to-home TV system. Viterbi served as executive vice president and later as president of the company.
    After Linkabit was sold to M/A-Com, Inc., in 1985, Jacobs, Viterbi and five former Linkabit employees decided to build a “QUALity COMMunications” company. Viterbi and his Qualcomm colleagues devised a new digital transmission technology for cellular phones — Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) — which provided simultaneous access to a multitude of users with less interference and greater security for voice and data. By 2000, there were more than 50 million CDMA-supported cell phones in the world and by 2010 all Third Generation phones employed the technology.

    Viterbi served as the company’s chief technical officer until 1996, and as vice chairman until March 2000.

    From 1997 until 2001, Viterbi served on the U.S. President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee. Since 1983, Viterbi has been active on the MIT Visiting Committees of the School of Engineering. In 2004, he was named to the President’s Chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering Systems at USC.

    Viterbi has received numerous awards and honorary degrees for his leadership and substantial contributions to communications theory and its industrial applications. Among these were the 2007 Medal of Science from the U.S. President and the 2010 Medal of Honor from the IEEE.

2010 Inductees

  • Dr. Lauren Christopher

    Dr. Lauren Christopher

    Led development of the first digital satellite receiver

    Dr. Lauren Christopher managed a team of engineers that created the digital satellite receiver system for DirecTV, making a reality of a new alternative for television distribution.
    Dr. Christopher attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she received her B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering, specializing in signal processing and chip design. While still a student, Dr. Christopher’s involvement in a co-op program led her to RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Center, where she worked on television digital integrated circuits. Following her graduation, she returned to RCA, beginning her career conducting research for the company and participating in the digital television standards development.

    From 1987 until 1992, she was involved in two subcommittees of the ATSC, working on the digital TV standards-setting process. In 1990, following Thomson’s acquisition of the RCA consumer electronics division, Dr. Christopher moved to Indianapolis to work with the company on satellite receiver design.

    In 1991, Thomson won the DirecTV project with Hughes Electronics thanks in part to Dr. Christopher’s efforts. She assumed the role of manager and receiver systems engineer, leading 30 talented engineers to develop the receiver design for the satellite-based television system. After design was completed and tested, the system launched in 1994. Dr. Christopher and her team designed and tested this first of its kind system so thoroughly that there were no software updates needed for more than two years. Ten years after launch, there were still some first generation systems working in the field.

    Following her success at Thomson, Dr. Christopher returned to school and received her PhD from Purdue University in 2003, developing image segmentation techniques in 3D medical ultrasound images to automatically detect cancer. She has worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) since 2008, teaching courses on signals and systems, circuits and advanced digital systems design. She is a member of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society and the IEEE Signal Processing Society.

    With an interest in the future of 3D imaging and displays, Dr. Christopher has focused her continued research on 3D, including continuing 3D imaging research for medical purposes which was the focus of her doctoral thesis. As a mentor and teacher, she has developed a new course on 3D image processing for the spring 2011 semester. She is a founding member of the IUPUI nano-systems initiative which was awarded a teaching grant by NSF for developing undergraduate courses in nano-systems. She also has an active interest in entrepreneurship education for electrical engineering students.

  • Joe and Rachelle Friedman

    Joe and Rachelle Friedman

    J&R Music and Computer World

    Joe and Rachelle Friedman were both very young when their families immigrated to Brooklyn, New York. Rachelle entered Polytechnic Institute of New York the first year that female students were admitted, setting the stage for her entry into the male-dominated consumer electronics and home entertainment businesses. The school was in Brooklyn, one subway stop away from the location of J&R’s initial store at 33 Park Row. It was a short walk away from where Joe worked as an electrical engineer at Western Electric.
    Together, they founded J&R. Though much of the technology it started out selling is now obsolete, J&R has remained an icon of retailing for 40 years, attracting customers from the New York metropolitan area and around the world. The J&R stores now occupy and entire block on Park Row in Lower Manhattan across the street from City Hall Park. Under Rachelle and Joe’s leadership, J&R has expanded from a 500 square foot store into the largest single-location electronics, computer and home entertainment megastore in the country occupying over 300,000 square feet of selling space., J&R’s award-winning website enables customers from all over the world to enjoy the unique J&R shopping experience in the comfort of their homes or offices. There is also a location in midtown Manhattan, J&R Express, in Macy’s Herald Square showcasing the best and latest in technology and entertainment.

    J&R is an authorized dealer for just about everything it carries and maintains an exceptional level of customer service with a staff of dedicated and knowledgeable sales associates. On top of this J&R holds a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers as a symbol of resiliency and a major player in the revitalization of lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11. The lower Manhattan stores were shuttered for six weeks following the events of 9/11 and when they reopened, it led the way for other companies to do the same and J&R’s loyal customers started coming back to Lower Manhattan to shop.

    J&R’s importance to the community has been recognized by the many civic and business organizations who have invited the company to sit on their boards: the Better Business Bureau of Greater New York, NYC&Co (the official New York City tourism bureau), the Downtown Alliance of New York and the Regional Advisory Board of JPMorgan Chase. J&R was recently named the “Photo Dealer Retailer of the Year” and was also elected to the Dealerscope Hall of Fame.

    Rachelle was recently inducted into the Women in Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame at the 2010 International CES show. She is currently serving (for an unprecedented third time) as chair of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers and has twice served on the Host Committee of the Grammy Awards. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and has recently been appointed to the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. The National Foundation for Women Business owners has acknowledged Rachelle as one of the “Top 50 Women Entrepreneurs in the World” and Crain’s New York Business has listed J&R as one of the largest women-owned companies in New York and has named her one of New York’s 100 Most Influential Women in Business. She has appeared on Working Women Magazine’s listing of the top 50 Women Business Owners since 1994.

    Rachelle was a recipient of the 2001 “Touchstone Award” presented by Women in Music Inc., and the Michael Award’s 2002 “Person of the Year.” She was also one of United Cerebral Palsy of New York’s “Women Who Care” honorees and was honored by the Guardian Angels as their “Role Model of the Year.”

    Rachelle and Joe have been long-time and generous friends to many charities. In addition, they have always found ways to give back to J&R’s customers with events such as the annual series of free concerts in City Hall Park. They take great pride in the 25 Mayoral Proclamations received over the years, each one officially designating the series of concerts as “J&R Week.”

  • Richard Kraft

    Richard Kraft

    Panasonic Corp. of North America
    First U.S. President and COO

    Richard Kraft A forty-five-year-plus veteran of the consumer electronics industry, Richard Kraft helped usher in the era of high-definition television in the U.S., and led the way in encouraging local manufacturing and R&D investment in North America by Asian electronics companies. A gifted technologist and communicator, Kraft rose to become the first U.S. president and chief operation officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC).

    Raised in Chicago, Kraft graduated from Purdue University with a degree in electrical engineering and began his consumer electronics career with Arvin Industries where he developed radio circuits. Within a few years, he had moved on to Motorola where he designed television receivers first and then moved into engineering management. In 1967, his engineering team completed development of the Quasar “Works-In-A-Drawer” TV, initiating the industry’s transition from vacuum tube to solid-state technology.

    In 1972 Kraft became vice president of color TV engineering for Motorola’s Quasar Electronics operations. By the time Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (now Panasonic Corporation) acquired Motorola’s consumer products division in 1974, he had been promoted to vice president of consumer product engineering. He stayed on with the division and led it through its transition into a successful local Panasonic manufacturing subsidiary.

    Under Kraft’s leadership, Panasonic expanded its North American manufacturing and R&D operations, especially in digital TV and cable, revitalizing the company and positioning it for HDTV leadership. He was a tireless promoter of the industry and its contributions to the U.S. economy and strongly advocated the importance of engineering education. Under his leadership, the company rapidly expanded investment in maquiladora manufacturing operations in Northern Mexico to help maintain stable local production operations and contribute to the development and creation of employment opportunities.

    Purdue University first awarded Kraft its Outstanding Engineer status and then, in 1990, conferred on him a Doctor of Engineer degree.

    In 1997, Kraft retired from his position as president and COO at Panasonic, becoming an executive advisor to the Osaka, Japan-based parent company. A member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, he holds 13 U.S. patents for television electronics. For relaxation he enjoys travel, family and community involvement.

  • Frank McCann

    Frank McCann

    Conducted HDTV public relations compaigns for ATSC and the Grand Alliance

    Frank McCann Every day, millions of Americans enjoy the benefits of digital, as well as high-definition television. The current Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) broadcast standards that provide these benefits came to be thanks in part to the tireless efforts of Frank McCann and the HDTV Grand Alliance consortium.

    Previously a reporter for Fairchild Publications covering the furniture industry, McCann joined RCA in 1960, where he made the transition to public affairs. McCann held a number of positions at RCA, eventually assuming the role of vice president of public affairs. He remained with the company when it was sold to GE, then later to Thomson.

    In 1987, the Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service (ACATS) was formed. McCann conducted HDTV-focused public relations activities for a consortium of broadcasters and manufacturers including NBC, Philips, Thomson and Zenith. During this testing period, a number of high-definition broadcast systems were proposed, all with certain advantages. It was decided that the Grand Alliance would be formed to combine the advantages of each system. When the Grand Alliance officially formed in 1993, McCann continued to lead the consortium’s public relations efforts.

    After much testing and tweaking, ATSC Standard A/53, which incorporated the Grand Alliance system, was published in 1995. One year later, the standard was adopted with minimal changes by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). McCann and the Grand Alliance received a Technical Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1997 for their work towards the DTV standard.

    His work on the ATSC standard complete, McCann retired from Thomson in 1999 and formed his own public relations firm Frank McCann & Associates. The firm’s clients included consumer electronics companies such as Sirius Satellite Radio and McCann’s former company, Thomson. In addition, one of the main clients for F McCann & Associates was the International Recording Media Association (IRMA). IRMA is now called the Content Delivery & Storage Association (CDSA).

    McCann passed away in 2004 and is survived by his wife Anna and their four children Jill McKenzie (Suwanee, GA), Lisa Nelson (Stafford, VA), Megan Kelleher (Park Ridge, IL) and Brian McCann (Indianapolis, IN) as well as ten grandchildren. CEA previously recognized McCann’s outstanding achievements in bringing high-definition television to consumers in 2007, honoring him as part of the DTV Academy.

  • David and Eugene Mondry

    David and Eugene Mondry

    Highland Superstores
    Led Midwest-based Highland Superstores through a period of unprecedented prosperity.

    David and Eugene Mondry Highland Superstores, founded in 1933 by Harry Mondry, was long a landmark on the consumer electronics retailing landscape. David and Eugene Mondry, Harry’s sons, led the Midwest-based consumer electronics chain through the period of its greatest prosperity — the 1970s and 80s. Many of Highland’s strategies for improving the customer’s retail experience have been mimicked, even to this day, including the development of audio rooms and in-store car installation.

    The first Highland store was opened in the Highland Park section of Detroit in 1933 by Harry Mondry. After World War II, Highland prospered by offering customers discounted prices on home appliances including dishwashers and laundry machines, while insisting on offering a broad selection of merchandise. Highland slowly expanded from its one-store presence in 1951 to 18 stores by the end of the 1970s.

    Neither David nor Eugene had a formal business education, but that didn’t prevent them from guiding Highland through a period of unprecedented prosperity as sales reached nearly $1 billion. This prosperity was driven by the Mondrys’ understanding of the demand for such products as color televisions, stereos, microwave ovens and later, the videocassette recorder (VCR). Highland capitalized on the popularity of the VCR, realizing that the new technology had the potential to fuel sales of additional devices such as new TVs and audio equipment.

    Highland was best known for its creative and highly entertaining television and radio ads, which won several Clio advertising awards. Additionally, Highland remained on the cutting-edge of management by installing computer systems to better handle store inventory, minimizing holding costs while maintaining enough stock for increased demand.

    Eugene Mondry served as president of the chain while David served as Highland’s chairman. By 1983, Highland had 25 stores and was still growing. Continuing in the family tradition, David and Eugene’s sons also came to work at Highland. David’s son Ira served as chief operating officer and Eugene’s son, Mitchell, took on the role of vice president of stores and customer service, and Josh worked in store operations. At the peak of its prosperity, Highland had 92 locations and reached sales of $910.8 million in 1988.

    By the early nineties, increased competition and the lack of new hot products began to take a toll on Highland Superstores. In 1991, Highland trimmed management and closed 32 of its locations in order to avoid bankruptcy. Highland left a strong legacy as one of the earliest appliance store discounters.

    David Mondry passed away in 1997, and Eugene in May of 2008.

  • Frederik Philips

    Frederik Philips


    Frederik Philips Frederik Jacques Philips was born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 1905 to Anton Philips and Anne Henriette Elisabeth Maria de Jongh. Frederik Philips’ father, Anton was responsible for the tremendous growth of the Philips company — originally started as a lightbulb factory by Frederik’s uncle, Gerard Philips, in 1891. Frederik studied at the Delft University of Technology in South Holland from 1923 until 1929, earning a degree in mechanical engineering. In his second year at Delft University, Philips met Sylvia van Lennep, whom he married in 1929. Frederik and Sylvia had seven children.

    Joining the Philips company in 1930, Frederik became vice-director and member of the board at Philips in 1935. During the Second World War, in 1940 when Germany occupied the Netherlands, Frederik stayed behind when many of the company’s senior managers left for the United States. Nazi occupiers pressured Philips to open a factory inside the concentration camp at the town of Vught in 1943. However, due to a strike at another Philips factory, Philips was imprisoned at the Vught concentration camp from May 30 until September 30, 1942. By insisting that they were indispensable to the production process, Philips saved the lives of 382 Jewish workers. In 1996, Israel awarded him the Yad Vashem reward, given to non-jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

    After the war, Frederik stayed with the company and in 1961, he was made president. Making no distinction between factory workers and members of the board, Frederik was beloved by the city of Eindhoven, and was commonly known as “Meneer Frits” (Mister Frits). Mister Frits helped build houses for employees, in addition to sports clubs and cultural institutions. In 1966, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Philips company, he gave the city of Eindhoven the ‘Evoluon’. the Evoluon, a building based on a sketch Frits made on a napkin, was an educational center for science and technology.

    Frederik remained president of Philips until 1971. During the ten years he led the company, revenue tripled and the workforce grew from 226,000 to 367,000 employees. Philips launched television factories in Asia and Latin America, and entered into a partnership with Osaka, Japan-based Matsushita, manufacturing cathode-ray tubes.

    In 1971, the same year Frits was succeeded as president by Henk van Riemsdijk, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) announced the IEEE Frederik Philips Award, to be awarded for “outstanding accomplishments in the management of research and development resulting in effective innovation in the electrical and electronics industry.”

    A strong supporter of Eindhoven’s soccer team, Philips Sport Vereniging (PSV), Mr. Frits rarely missed a game, including those that took place after his 100th birthday — which was celebrated by all of Eindhoven, and attended by the Dutch Prime Minister. He was known to always sit in the crowd, rather than in the stadium’s business lounge.

    Frederik “Frits” Philips passed away in December of 2005 at the age of 100. Prior to PSV’s match that evening, supporters paid tribute to Mr. Frits with a minute of silence, and the team wore black armbands to mourn Eindhoven’s loss.

  • Al Sotoloff

    Al Sotoloff

    Silo Appliance City
    Executive Vice President

    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1931, Al Sotoloff’s experience with photography and the consumer electronics industry helped fuel Silo Appliance City’s existence as one of the first big-box electronics chains.

    Sotoloff was working for Snellenburger’s department store in Philadelphia when he met his wife, Laurette, in 1954. Laurette’s uncle, who owned Service Photo, saw potential in Sotoloff and recruited him as a sales associate for the Philadelphia area. Working as a sales representative for Service Photo, and later Arel Inc. gave Sotoloff the experience he needed to open the photo department for the Silo Appliance City electronics retailing chain.

    Sotoloff joined Silo in 1962, and became a photo equipment and appliance buyer. He moved up to major appliance buyer, then to vice president, eventually becoming executive vice president at Silo. Sotoloff handled buying for all members of the NATM Buying Corp., a national buying co-op for the appliance and electronics industries. Sotoloff remained at Silo for 20 years before retiring in 1982.

    After retiring from Silo, Sotoloff, along with Stuart Rose purchased the bankrupt chain of Kelley and Cohen Appliance Inc. After he took over, the Kelley and Cohen chain became profitable in just two months. Two years later, Rose and Sotoloff merged Kelley and Cohen Appliance Inc. with Stuart’s Rex Radio & TV and TV & Stereo Town stores. The new company went public under the name of Audio/Video Affiliates Inc. and Sotoloff served as president of the company until his retirement in 1990.

    Sotoloff passed away in September of 2009. He is survived by his wife Laurette, his three children Steven, Debra and Brad, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.

  • Cynthia Upson

    Cynthia Upson

    Vice President of CEA’s Communications Department from 1991 to 1998

    Cynthia Upson defined an era at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and ushered a number of promising new technologies into the CE industry. Her passion and her laughter will forever be a part of the association’s achievements and history.

    Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Upson earned her bachelor’s of communications from D.C.’s American University, graduating in 1985. She joined CEA’s communications department after graduation in 1985, and worked to promote the CE industry as well as the industry’s tradeshow, the International CES. Upson was named vice president of the department in 1991. Under her leadership, the International CES became an indispensable event for media and industry alike. During her time at CEA, a number of landmark technologies debuted, and Upson helped the industry promote them.

    Upson guided a number of award-winning public relations campaigns including V-chip technology for parental controls on televisions, portable audio and mobile technologies, as well as home theater. Americans became familiar with the idea of a home theater thanks in part to public relations efforts led by Upson. In addition to home theater, Upson was heavily involved in the decade-long effort to make digital television (DTV) a reality. She also was a founding member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers.

    Upson moved to Richmond in 1998 when her husband, Donald W. Upson, was named Virginia’s first secretary of technology, but she remained on as a consultant to CEA. In addition to CEA, Upson lent her public relations talents to a number of charitable causes and political organizations such as the Lung Cancer Alliance, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington and the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

    In 2006, CEA formally recognized Upson’s achievements in bringing DTV to the nation when she was awarded the DTV Academy Award for Outstanding Service. Upson passed away in 2007 after a battle with lung cancer.

    Upson had hundreds of industry friends and admirers. She was known inside and outside the association as exceptionally competent, a phenomenal project manager and a seasoned diplomat who could navigate among those with opposing views. She was the rare industry leader truly beloved by all.

  • Dr. Larry Weber

    Dr. Larry Weber


    A recognized leader in the display community, Dr. Larry Weber can be thanked for bringing a number of plasma display technologies to the CE industry. In 1967 Dr. Weber first met Donald Bitzer and Gene Slottow, the engineers credited with the 1964 invention of the plasma display technology. Weber studied under Drs. Bitzer and Slottow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he received his B.S., M.S. and PhD degrees in electrical engineering. After graduation, Weber stayed on at the University of Illinois as an associate professor and directed the Plasma Display Research Group.

    Dr. Weber had long focused on the power consumption of plasma displays, a motivation that led him to create the energy recovery sustain circuit, cutting power consumption by as much as half. Dr. Weber was a founder of Plasmaco in 1987 and served as senior vice president and chief technology officer from 1987 to 1993. In 1993 Dr. Weber became president. Once founded, Plasmaco began manufacturing small monochrome displays featuring his energy recovery sustain circuit.

    A longtime believer in the technology, Dr. Weber’s work on plasma display efficiency and his later efforts in 1994 towards creating a color plasma display are often believed to have kept the plasma industry alive in the face of tough competition. The industry took notice of plasma display technology, as well as plasma’s impressive contrast ratio provided by one of Dr. Weber’s key inventions, and in 1996 Plasmaco became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Panasonic. Once acquired, Dr. Weber was named president and CEO of Plasmaco.

    Plasma was able to effectively compete with other technologies based on size, due to the fact that plasma displays more easily scaled to larger sizes. Dr. Weber was the first to demonstrate a high-quality 60-inch plasma HDTV in 1999.

    Dr. Weber continues to work on plasma displays. From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Weber served as the President of the Society for Information Display (SID). Dr. Weber has published more than 40 papers and holds 15 patents on plasma displays, including the energy recovery sustain circuit and the high contrast ratio method.

  • Dr. Ivan Getting

    Dr. Ivan Getting

    Co-Founder of GPS

    Born January 18, 1912, Dr. Ivan Getting grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. After receiving his bachelors of Science from MIT, Getting went on to attend Oxford University until 1935, where he received his doctorate of philosophy in astrophysics. Over the next 15 years, Dr. Getting worked as a junior fellow at Harvard University on nuclear instrumentation and cosmic rays, then as director of the Division on Fire Control and Army radar at the MIT Radiation Laboratory.

    During the Second World War, Dr. Getting served as a special consultant to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson on the Army’s use of radar. While at MIT’s Radiation Laboratory, he led the development of the SCR-584, the first microwave-tracking gunfire-control radar. The SCR-584′s ability to track V-1 flying bombs made it indispensable during the war. The SCR-584 is credited with saving thousands of lives during the 1944-1945 period in which the Germans launched V-1 flying bombs against England. Thanks to the SCR-584, on the last day on which significant numbers of V-1s were launched against London, of 104 fired, 68 were destroyed by artillery, 16 by other means and 16 crashed.

    In 1951, Dr. Getting became vice president of engineering and research at the Raytheon Corp. During Dr. Getting’s nine years at Raytheon, the company became the first to produce transistors commercially. While at Raytheon, in response to an Air Force requirement for a guidance system for proposed Intercontinental Ballistic Missles, Dr. Getting oversaw the development of the first three-dimensional, time-difference-of-arrival position-finding system. In 1960 he became the founding president of The Aerospace Corp., where he remained until 1977. The Aerospace Corp. was established as a non-profit organization to apply “the full resources of modern science and technology to the problem of achieving those continued advances in ballistic missiles and space systems, which are basic to national security”.

    At the Aerospace Corp. he continued his work on satellite-based navigation, researching the use of satellites in three-dimensional navigation systems for fast-travelling vehicles. Dr. Getting’s early work on satellite-based navigation systems were the foundation for the deployment of GPS. Dr. Getting was a major advocate of the earliest iterations of GPS systems, in promoting the technology to the Pentagon, and the Aerospace Corp.’s concept was eventually selected by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDRE).

    Dr. Getting passed away in October of 2003. Prior to his death, he was co-recipient of the Charles Stark Draper prize alongside Dr. Bradford Parkinson.

  • Dr. Bradford Parkinson

    Dr. Bradford Parkinson

    Co-Founder of GPS

    People often take for granted that they know precisely where they are — land, sea and air. This is because of our society’s widespread use of the global positioning system (GPS), developed in part by Bradford Parkinson.

    Bradford Parkinson was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1935. Parkinson received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Naval Academy, graduating in 1957. After Graduating, Parkinson accepted a commission with the Air Force rather than the Navy due to an interest in controls engineering — a research area not offered by the Navy at that time. Parkinson went on to obtain his Masters of Science in Aeronautics from MIT, graduating in 1961, then spent three years working at the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he studied inertial guidance and electrical and controls engineering.

    After earning his PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 1966, Dr. Parkinson became manager of the Air Force’s NAVSTAR GPS development program in 1973. Under his leadership, the GPS satellites were produced and launched in 44 months. Simultaneously, a ground control system was developed and deployed to upload to the satellites.

    Dr. Parkinson remained with the NAVSTAR program until 1978, when he retired from the Air Force as a Colonel.

    Dr. Parkinson led a Stanford research group to develop innovative uses for GPS for aviation and other areas. He pioneered new applications, including precision farm tractor control (to about three inches on a rough field) that is now a $500 million a year worldwide market. His group pioneered the wide area augmentation system (WAAS) that is now deployed by the FAA, and also demonstrated full blind landings of a Boeing 737, using GPS alone. He is co-principal investigator and associate program manager of the NASA/Stanford Relativity Gyroscope Experiment Gravity Probe B program, a test effort to validate Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity using orbiting gyroscopes.

    In 2003, he was co-recipient of the Charles Stark Draper Prize, which is widely considered the Nobel equivalent for Engineering along with Dr. Getting.

2009 Inductees

  • Maurice Cohen

    Maurice Cohen


    Three brothers turned what was literally a horse and buggy business into Lechmere, the well-known New England retail chain. The audio/video/appliance retailer operated for more than 20 years and at its height operated 33 stores in five states.

    It all began in 1913 when Russian immigrant Abraham “Pop” Cohen opened a hand-made harness shop called Lechmere, located in Lechmere Square, a section of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Tillie, had a daughter Nan, and four sons; Maurice, Philip and Norman. After graduating from high school, the kids worked with their father patching tire tubes.

    World War II rationing drastically reduced the supply of tires and the Lechmere Tire Company suffered. Maurice and Philip served in the Army and Navy, respectively. Norman, the youngest, stayed home to work with their father in the tire shop. After the war, industries converted back to manufacturing consumer goods and returning GIs started families. To fill the increasing demand, the brothers began to stock appliances, buying wherever they could find them - a refrigerator from one distributor and a toaster from another. The Cohen brothers also played a major role in the founding group of the National Appliance and TV Merchandisers (NATM).

    To increase sales volume and build a customer base, the brothers called on companies, making deals to sell appliances to their customers at below list prices. They also renamed the business Lechmere Sales. The brothers were store salesmen by day and appliance delivery men by night while their sister ran the office. Their combination of market inventiveness, aggressiveness and savvy enabled the brothers to continually grow the business.

    In the late 1940s, they added 6,000 square feet of sales space to their three-story building at 4 Cambridge Street. Because space was limited, they kept only samples on the floor and introduced the in-store pick-up counter, where the customer’s product was delivered by conveyor belts from the stockrooms upstairs. By 1952, sales volume had reached $2 million. In 1956, the brothers bought the former Scully bus garage that was then converted into Lechmere’s main retail location. The Cohen’s again expanded to include televisions, records, jewelry, sporting goods, luggage and housewares.

    To promote the expansion, the brothers printed their own 64-page newspaper, which they mailed to 100,000 homes. To help customers remember the address, the brothers famously priced everything to end with 88 cents. Lechmere was also one of the first local retailers to advertise extensively on television.

    The Cohen brothers were as well known for their promotions as for their merchandise. For instance, every year on Washington’s Birthday they sold thousands of cherry pies for 22 cents. In 1956, the brothers distributed $15,000 worth of tickets to the movie “Around the World in Eighty Days.” They bought out the Ringling Brothers’ circus one night each year, and sold the tickets to “Lechmere Night at the Circus” below cost to their customers. Even the elephant carried a sign reading “I bought my trunk at Lechmere.” Despite a recession in the late 1950s, Lechmere’s sales increased 23 percent. Equally famous were the brothers’ “picnic sales” each spring, when the entire store’s merchandise was moved into the parking lot, and the once-a-year Saturday night “private sale.”

    The brothers doubled Lechmere’s space with a steel-framed 100,000 square foot building in 1963 so they could expand Lechmere’s selection to include office equipment, bath accessories, books and greeting cards. They also sold tires in the four-bay car servicing garage. Lechmere became such a well-known fixture in the Boston area that many residents believed the local commuter train station was named for the store, rather than vice versa.

    The brothers’ first store outside Cambridge opened in Dedham in 1965. To fund further expansion, the Cohen’s sold the business to Dayton Hudson in 1969. In the next two years, two more Lechmere stores opened, one in Danvers and another in Springfield. Mass.; a fifth store opened in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1977. The chain expanded to more than two dozen locations, was again sold, first to Berkshire Partners in 1989, then in 1994 to Montgomery Ward, which could not maintain what was special about Lechmere, and closed the business three years later. A 2009 survey in Boston found that Lechmere’s was the most missed defunct store in the region. By the mid 1970s, all three Cohen brothers had retired.

    Maurice and his wife, Marilyn, established the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University where he was a trustee until his death in 1995. Norman focused his energy on the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel until his death in 2008. Philip and his wife Bella established a scholarship program for Hebrew University among other philanthropies and reside in South Florida.

  • Norman Cohen

    Norman Cohen


    Three brothers turned what was literally a horse and buggy business into Lechmere, the well-known New England retail chain. The audio/video/appliance retailer operated for more than 20 years and at its height operated 33 stores in five states.

    It all began in 1913 when Russian immigrant Abraham “Pop” Cohen opened a hand-made harness shop called Lechmere, located in Lechmere Square, a section of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Tillie, had a daughter Nan, and four sons; Maurice, Philip and Norman. After graduating from high school, the kids worked with their father patching tire tubes.

    World War II rationing drastically reduced the supply of tires and the Lechmere Tire Company suffered. Maurice and Philip served in the Army and Navy, respectively. Norman, the youngest, stayed home to work with their father in the tire shop. After the war, industries converted back to manufacturing consumer goods and returning GIs started families. To fill the increasing demand, the brothers began to stock appliances, buying wherever they could find them - a refrigerator from one distributor and a toaster from another. The Cohen brothers also played a major role in the founding group of the National Appliance and TV Merchandisers (NATM).

    To increase sales volume and build a customer base, the brothers called on companies, making deals to sell appliances to their customers at below list prices. They also renamed the business Lechmere Sales. The brothers were store salesmen by day and appliance delivery men by night while their sister ran the office. Their combination of market inventiveness, aggressiveness and savvy enabled the brothers to continually grow the business.

    In the late 1940s, they added 6,000 square feet of sales space to their three-story building at 4 Cambridge Street. Because space was limited, they kept only samples on the floor and introduced the in-store pick-up counter, where the customer’s product was delivered by conveyor belts from the stockrooms upstairs. By 1952, sales volume had reached $2 million. In 1956, the brothers bought the former Scully bus garage that was then converted into Lechmere’s main retail location. The Cohen’s again expanded to include televisions, records, jewelry, sporting goods, luggage and housewares.

    To promote the expansion, the brothers printed their own 64-page newspaper, which they mailed to 100,000 homes. To help customers remember the address, the brothers famously priced everything to end with 88 cents. Lechmere was also one of the first local retailers to advertise extensively on television.

    The Cohen brothers were as well known for their promotions as for their merchandise. For instance, every year on Washington’s Birthday they sold thousands of cherry pies for 22 cents. In 1956, the brothers distributed $15,000 worth of tickets to the movie “Around the World in Eighty Days.” They bought out the Ringling Brothers’ circus one night each year, and sold the tickets to “Lechmere Night at the Circus” below cost to their customers. Even the elephant carried a sign reading “I bought my trunk at Lechmere.” Despite a recession in the late 1950s, Lechmere’s sales increased 23 percent. Equally famous were the brothers’ “picnic sales” each spring, when the entire store’s merchandise was moved into the parking lot, and the once-a-year Saturday night “private sale.”

    The brothers doubled Lechmere’s space with a steel-framed 100,000 square foot building in 1963 so they could expand Lechmere’s selection to include office equipment, bath accessories, books and greeting cards. They also sold tires in the four-bay car servicing garage. Lechmere became such a well-known fixture in the Boston area that many residents believed the local commuter train station was named for the store, rather than vice versa.

    The brothers’ first store outside Cambridge opened in Dedham in 1965. To fund further expansion, the Cohen’s sold the business to Dayton Hudson in 1969. In the next two years, two more Lechmere stores opened, one in Danvers and another in Springfield. Mass.; a fifth store opened in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1977. The chain expanded to more than two dozen locations, was again sold, first to Berkshire Partners in 1989, then in 1994 to Montgomery Ward, which could not maintain what was special about Lechmere, and closed the business three years later. A 2009 survey in Boston found that Lechmere’s was the most missed defunct store in the region. By the mid 1970s, all three Cohen brothers had retired.

    Maurice and his wife, Marilyn, established the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University where he was a trustee until his death in 1995. Norman focused his energy on the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel until his death in 2008. Philip and his wife Bella established a scholarship program for Hebrew University among other philanthropies and reside in South Florida.

  • Philip Cohen

    Philip Cohen


    Three brothers turned what was literally a horse and buggy business into Lechmere, the well-known New England retail chain. The audio/video/appliance retailer operated for more than 20 years and at its height operated 33 stores in five states.

    It all began in 1913 when Russian immigrant Abraham “Pop” Cohen opened a hand-made harness shop called Lechmere, located in Lechmere Square, a section of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Tillie, had a daughter Nan, and four sons; Maurice, Philip and Norman. After graduating from high school, the kids worked with their father patching tire tubes.

    World War II rationing drastically reduced the supply of tires and the Lechmere Tire Company suffered. Maurice and Philip served in the Army and Navy, respectively. Norman, the youngest, stayed home to work with their father in the tire shop. After the war, industries converted back to manufacturing consumer goods and returning GIs started families. To fill the increasing demand, the brothers began to stock appliances, buying wherever they could find them - a refrigerator from one distributor and a toaster from another. The Cohen brothers also played a major role in the founding group of the National Appliance and TV Merchandisers (NATM).

    To increase sales volume and build a customer base, the brothers called on companies, making deals to sell appliances to their customers at below list prices. They also renamed the business Lechmere Sales. The brothers were store salesmen by day and appliance delivery men by night while their sister ran the office. Their combination of market inventiveness, aggressiveness and savvy enabled the brothers to continually grow the business.

    In the late 1940s, they added 6,000 square feet of sales space to their three-story building at 4 Cambridge Street. Because space was limited, they kept only samples on the floor and introduced the in-store pick-up counter, where the customer’s product was delivered by conveyor belts from the stockrooms upstairs. By 1952, sales volume had reached $2 million. In 1956, the brothers bought the former Scully bus garage that was then converted into Lechmere’s main retail location. The Cohen’s again expanded to include televisions, records, jewelry, sporting goods, luggage and housewares.

    To promote the expansion, the brothers printed their own 64-page newspaper, which they mailed to 100,000 homes. To help customers remember the address, the brothers famously priced everything to end with 88 cents. Lechmere was also one of the first local retailers to advertise extensively on television.

    The Cohen brothers were as well known for their promotions as for their merchandise. For instance, every year on Washington’s Birthday they sold thousands of cherry pies for 22 cents. In 1956, the brothers distributed $15,000 worth of tickets to the movie “Around the World in Eighty Days.” They bought out the Ringling Brothers’ circus one night each year, and sold the tickets to “Lechmere Night at the Circus” below cost to their customers. Even the elephant carried a sign reading “I bought my trunk at Lechmere.” Despite a recession in the late 1950s, Lechmere’s sales increased 23 percent. Equally famous were the brothers’ “picnic sales” each spring, when the entire store’s merchandise was moved into the parking lot, and the once-a-year Saturday night “private sale.”

    The brothers doubled Lechmere’s space with a steel-framed 100,000 square foot building in 1963 so they could expand Lechmere’s selection to include office equipment, bath accessories, books and greeting cards. They also sold tires in the four-bay car servicing garage. Lechmere became such a well-known fixture in the Boston area that many residents believed the local commuter train station was named for the store, rather than vice versa.

    The brothers’ first store outside Cambridge opened in Dedham in 1965. To fund further expansion, the Cohen’s sold the business to Dayton Hudson in 1969. In the next two years, two more Lechmere stores opened, one in Danvers and another in Springfield. Mass.; a fifth store opened in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1977. The chain expanded to more than two dozen locations, was again sold, first to Berkshire Partners in 1989, then in 1994 to Montgomery Ward, which could not maintain what was special about Lechmere, and closed the business three years later. A 2009 survey in Boston found that Lechmere’s was the most missed defunct store in the region. By the mid 1970s, all three Cohen brothers had retired.

    Maurice and his wife, Marilyn, established the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University where he was a trustee until his death in 1995. Norman focused his energy on the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel until his death in 2008. Philip and his wife Bella established a scholarship program for Hebrew University among other philanthropies and reside in South Florida.

  • Dr. Joseph Flaherty

    Dr. Joseph Flaherty

    HDTV Pioneer

    Best known as the developer of electronic news gathering (ENG) technology and father of high-definition television (HDTV), Dr. Joseph Flaherty has been involved in these and many other broadcasting technologies and committees for over half a century.

    He was born on Christmas Day 1930 in Kansas City, Missouri. His father, Joseph A. Flaherty Sr., was chief engineer of WDAF and WDAF-TV, the radio and then television stations of the Kansas City Star newspaper from the 1930s until his retirement.

    Under his father’s tutelage, Flaherty was issued a ham radio license, K2IQN, in 1948. He graduated from the University of Rockhurst in Kansas City, in 1952 and then served two years in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. During the Korean conflict, Flaherty built the first TV studio for the Army at the Signal Corps Pictorial Center in New York to produce training programs using television rather than film technology.

    Flaherty began his professional career in 1955 with NBC in New York City as a television engineer, before moving to CBS in 1957. Two years later, he became the network’s Director of Technical Facilities Planning. In 1967, he was promoted to general manager, and then subsequently appointed vice president and general manager of CBS’ Engineering and Development Department. During his 23-year tenure in this position, Flaherty was responsible for a plethora of innovations in television technology including electronic news gathering (ENG), off-line video tape editing and electronic cinema.

    During the development of HDTV in the early 1980s, Joe Flaherty got U.S. broadcasters interested in high-definition TV developments and the early analog Muse HDTV transmission system developed in Japan. By 1987, he was Chairman Dick Wiley’s right-hand man on the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service (ACATS), serving as chairman of the ACATS Planning Committee and its Technology Sub-group. The ACATS process pitted competing HDTV systems against each other to help assure the best HDTV system for the U.S.

    Considered the dean of broadcasting engineers, Flaherty, along with Wiley and key members of ACATS and HDTV system proponents, directed the rollout of the ACATS competitive development plan. In his ACATS position and as a member of the Advanced Television Test Center (ATTC) board of directors, Flaherty helped oversee the test operations of all the digital HDTV systems.

    Flaherty worked with Wiley throughout the nine-year HDTV development period, helping to achieve approval of the full ACATS Committee of what is now the U.S. DTV broadcast standard, which leads the world in HDTV.

    Even though he was the first to recognize the potential of HDTV and a digital approach, Flaherty was famously quoted as saying “We’ll have digital television in a standard 6 MHz channel the same day we have a gravity insulator.” The quote, however, is usually misinterpreted as sounding as if he thought digital HDTV was an impossibility. He was against the idea of stopping the then-current HDTV development process, opining that a practical gravity insulator could have been developed in the time it would take an ad hoc group to devise an all-digital HDTV system. Flaherty’s fantasy device development analogy helped convince the broadcasting cognoscenti to plow ahead in the competitive development process.

    Currently, Flaherty is senior vice president of technology for CBS Broadcasting, responsible for international standards and TV technology applied to CBS broadcasting.

    Flaherty also continues his HDTV work in the ITU-R and as a member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) boards of directors.

    Among the honors and awards Flaherty has earned in broadcasting are two lifetime achievement Emmys, one for “Lifetime Achievement in Contributions to the Development and Improvement of the Science and Technology of Television” in October 1994, and the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, in November 1996. In 2002, he was decorated by the President of France as an Officer of the French Legion of Honor and, in April 2006, Flaherty was presented the NAB Award of Honor for “Introducing High-Definition Television to the World.”

  • Karl Hassel

    Karl Hassel

    Co-Founder, Zenith

    Karl Hassel, born January 25, 1896 in Sharon, PA, displayed a passion for the hottest new technology at the turn of the century - radio. It was this passion that would lead him to co-found the company that would later become Zenith.

    Hassel was granted his amateur radio license in 1912, and went on to attend Westminster College from 1914 to 1915 before he transferred to the University of Pittsburgh. At Pittsburgh, Hassel made use of his knowledge of his hobby to operate the campus radio transmitter, 8XI, one of the most powerful in the country at that time. He got the job because he was the only one on campus able to operate the equipment. After the U.S. entry into World War I in April 1917, the government shut down all amateur stations. Hassel was one of three operators to pass the government test, and ran the station until it was shut down a year later.

    With the end of amateur radio broadcasting, Hassel decided to join the U.S. Navy. He became a radio code instructor at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago where he befriended Ralph H.G. Mathews. Thanks to their radio expertise, the two were then transferred to Naval Intelligence, which operated out of the Commonwealth Edison Building in Chicago.

    After leaving the Navy, the two friends decided to go into business together. They founded the Chicago Radio Laboratory (CRL) in late 1918, and began to manufacture amateur radio gear based on Mathews’ earlier creations. The company’s first products, made with help from friends M.B. Lowe and Larry Dutton, were built on the kitchen table of the Mathews’ family home in Chicago.

    CRL soon grew, and the pair moved their operations into a two-car garage located a few blocks away. Half of the garage was devoted to manufacturing, while the other half to Mathews’ amateur radio station, “9ZN”. The station was soon able to be heard worldwide.

    The company was further expanded by an investment by Eugene F. McDonald, Jr., and began producing up to 15 “Z-Nith” brand two component (the Amplifigon detector and amplifier and the Paragon tuner) regenerative receivers per day. By 1921, CRL moved into a 3,000-square foot factory at 6433 Ravenswood Ave in Chicago. Zenith Radio Corporation was officially incorporated on June 30, 1923, with capital of $500,000, with an exclusive sales and marketing agreement with CRL. Mathews and Hassel signed 10-year contracts with CRL. Two years later, Zenith acquired CRL’s assets, creating one unified company. In late 1924, the company moved again to a large factory on the 3600 block of South Iron Street in Chicago.

    Under McDonald’s leadership, the company began its run as a pioneering radio manufacturer, beginning in 1924 with the Companion, considered the first modern portable radio, and in 1926, Model 27, its first radio powered by AC instead of batteries.

    Zenith annual sales grew from about $5 million in 1928 to $11 million in 1930, when it employed around 450 workers. During World War II, the company expanded thanks to military contracts for bomb fuses and other devices. In the late 1940s, Zenith went into TV manufacturing and became the number one maker of black-and-white sets throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Annual sales reached $100 million in 1950 and approached $500 million by the mid-1960s, when the company had more than 15,000 employees.

    Mathews and Hassel shared more than an enthusiasm for radio - they both were married to the same woman. Mathews married Mildred Josephine Finn, but the two divorced in the mid-1920s. Hassel married her in January 1926, a union that lasted until his death in 1975. Hassel’s five decades of association with Zenith included 40 years as a member of the company’s board of directors.

  • Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs

    Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs

    Co-Founder of Qualcomm/CDMA Technology

    A childhood filled with assembling contraptions out of milk bottles, lights and electric motors led to a career in engineering, and the discovery of an arcane World War II technology that led Dr. Irwin Jacobs to create CDMA, the dominant cell phone technology in the U.S., and found Qualcomm, the largest cell phone chip maker in the world.

    Born in New Bedford, MA, on October 18, 1933, and a tinkerer since the age of eight, Jacobs’ interest in science was further stoked by a high school chemistry and math teacher. A photography buff, Jacobs also earned money by developing film in a makeshift darkroom at his family’s home.

    He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1956 from Cornell University, then a master’s of science in 1957 and doctor of science degrees in electrical engineering from MIT in 1959. After graduation, Jacobs was hired as an assistant/associate professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he co-authored a basic textbook on digital communications, “Principles of Communication Engineering,” which remains in use today. From 1966 to 1972 he taught computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

    In Los Angeles in 1968, while still teaching, Jacobs, along with Andrew Viterbi and Leonard Kleinrock, formed Linkabit, a communications technology consulting company. Linkabit worked primarily on defense communications for the government. Linkabit started as a once-a-week consulting company, but after a few months it was clear the company required more attention introducing the first of Ku-band Very Small Aperture Earth Terminals (VSATs), commercial TDMA wireless phones, and the VideoCipher satellite-to-home TV system.

    When Linkabit grew from a few part-timers to more than 1,000 employees, Jacobs quit his teaching job for full time corporate life. He spent the next decade-plus running and growing Linkabit. In August 1980, Linkabit was sold to M/A-COM for $25 million, and Jacobs served on the merged company’s board of directors. In April 1985, Jacobs retired.

    His retirement was short-lived. On July 1, 1985, 20 months after the first cell phone networks went live, Jacobs convened a meeting with six former Linkabit employees – Linkabit co-founder Viterbi, Franklin Antonio, Adelia Coffman, Andrew Cohen, Klein Gilhousen and Harvey White – at his San Diego home. The group decided to build a “QUALity COMMunications” company. Jacobs became chairman and CEO of the new Qualcomm.

    The company started out providing contract research and development services, with limited product manufacturing, for the wireless telecommunications market. One of the company’s goals was to develop a commercial product, which eventually resulted in OmniTRACS tracking system for trucks in1988. OmniTRACS has since grown into the largest satellite-based commercial mobile system for the transportation industry.

    Heading home from a consulting job in 1985, it dawned on Jacobs that a World War II technology developed by movie star Hedy Lamarr and music composer George Antheil based on Nikola Tesla’s frequency hopping concept that postulated that multiple frequencies could be used to send a single radio transmission could be used for communications. Initially developed by Lamarr and Antheil as a method to make radio-guided torpedoes more difficult to jam, Jacobs believed this secure radio communications technology could be used for cell phones. He asked Qualcomm co-founder Klein Gilhousen, to explore the idea.

    In 1989, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) endorsed a digital technology called time division multiple access (TDMA). Three months later, Qualcomm introduced the result of Jacobs’ brainstorm, code division multiple access (CDMA), which Jacobs believed was superior. Initially, CDMA was dismissed as inferior to TDMA and, for a few years, CDMA-based carriers battled with TDMA carriers. But CDMA phones proved to provide better clarity and higher security.

    Under Jacob’s leadership, Qualcomm has become the top chipset supplier in the wireless industry with more than 15,000 employees worldwide at 144 locations generating $3 billion. As of April 24, 2009, there were more than 780 million 3G CDMA subscribers worldwide, which include 40 percent of cell phone subscribers in the U.S. Qualcomm also has developed 3G versions of CDMA, CDMA2000 and W-CDMA, which could increase the number of CDMA-based cell phones.
    Jacobs served as chief executive officer of the Qualcomm until July 2005 when he was succeeded by his son, Paul, and was chairman of the company’s board of directors until March 2009.

  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs

    Co-Founder, Apple

    One of the most iconic figures in the world of high technology, Steve Jobs co-founded the company that ignited the PC business, revolutionized portable music and how we buy music, and remade the cell phone industry - while helping to create the leading animation movie studio in the world.

    Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 and raised in the area he would help make famous as Silicon Valley. He was adopted and named Steven Paul by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, CA. The Jobs family moved to nearby Los Altos, where Jobs attended Homestead High. He worked summers at Hewlett-Packard, where he met a recent dropout of the University of California at Berkeley, Steve Wozniak. After graduating high school, Jobs attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for a semester, but dropped out. While auditing philosophy classes he also worked in an apple orchard. In 1974, he went to work for video game pioneer Atari.

    After saving some money, Jobs went on a spiritual journey to India. When he returned, he began to attend meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, where he and Wozniak set out to build and market a computer for the home. To fund the new company named Apple in honor of Jobs’ orchard work, Jobs sold his VW microbus and Wozniak his HP calculator.

    The Apple I sold for $666 in 1976 and was essentially a single motherboard, a video interface and some ROM into which programs could be loaded. Apple I earned Jobs and Wozniak $774,000, which the pair plowed into their next product, the Apple II, introduced in April 1977. Considered one of the first PCs, the Apple II was comprised of a CPU, keyboard and disk drives and could be connected to a color TV.

    Jobs recruited marketing muscle well as venture capitalists. In three years, the Apple II and its successors earned the company $139 million and made Apple, Jobs and Wozniak instant icons. Apple went public in 1980 and, two years later, its sales reached $583 million.

    In the early 1980s, Apple suffered the failures of the Apple III and the $10,000 Lisa, which was the first PC to use a mouse and a graphic user interface, developed by PARC, the Palo Alto Research Center. In 1984, Apple produced the Macintosh, introduced by an Orwellian SuperBowl ad. However, the Macintosh’s success led to conflict within Apple. Jobs saw his role marginalized and he resigned in 1985.

    During the next decade, Jobs created a computer company called NeXT and also bought a Lucasfilm company called The Graphics Group, later renamed Pixar. Pixar’s pioneering computer animated films have won numerous Oscars and have grossed more than $4 billion worldwide. In 2006, Pixar merged with The Walt Disney Company, with Jobs becoming the largest shareholder.

    Jobs returned to an ailing Apple in 1996 to become interim CEO. He opened the first Apple retail stores in 1997 and the all-in-one iMac computer in 1998, re-energizing the company, its stock price and its reputation. In 2000, the “interim” was removed from Jobs’ CEO title.

    A year later, Apple introduced the iPod, the first commercially successful digital music player. Apple linked the iPod to iTunes, software which combined digital music management with an online music store to create a hardware/content “ecosystem” that enabled Apple to capture and maintain a dominant share in both the hardware and music businesses. Apple has sold more than 200 million iPods and in April 2008, Apple, a PC company, became the country’s largest music retailer. The iPod also spawned a cottage industry in add-on products such as cases, auto connectors and speakers. As a result, the iPod has become the most accessorized product in CE history.

    In 2007, Apple revolutionized the cell phone industry with its iPhone that also had a hardware/software ecosystem. Apple encouraged third-party developers to create small applications, or apps, for both the iPhone and the iPod. Today there are more than 50,000 iPhone apps available. Within two years, Apple sold more than 15 million iPhones, making Apple the world’s third largest cell phone maker. iPhone’s touchscreen smartphone/application store model was quickly emulated by several cell phone makers.

    In early 2009, Jobs had a liver transplant but returned to work in June 2009. He passed away on October 5, 2011.

  • Ralph H.G. Mathews

    Ralph H.G. Mathews

    Co-Founder, Zenith

    Born almost exactly one year after his future business partner Karl Hassel, Ralph H.G. Mathews shared Hassel’s enthusiasm for radio. Born in 1897, Mathews had built his first amateur radio station in Springfield, Ohio, in 1908. While attending Lane Technical High School in Chicago, Mathews built his first radio transmitter in 1912.

    Also while in school, Mathews perfected a distinctive aluminum saw-tooth rotary spark gap that produced a distinctive sound instantly recognizable to other hobbyists. The popularity of the spark gap disk led to a small post-graduation business building radio components for amateurs and helped him raise funds for college. Mathews supplemented this income by working during summers between 1915 and 1917 as a shipboard radio operator for $25-$30 a month. He was appointed trunk line manager for the center region of the U.S. in the new Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) in March 1916, and was elected to the ARRL Board of Directors in February 1917. Known by other amateur radio operators as “Matty,” Mathews also changed his radio call letters from 9IK to 9ZN, which was the origin of the famous Zenith trademark.

    Like Hassel, Mathews eventually shifted to the U.S. Navy when amateur broadcasts were shut down in 1917. The two became friends in the Navy, united by their love of radio. When they decided to go into business to form the Chicago Radio Laboratory (CRL) in late 1918, they first lived and worked at 1316 Carmen Ave. in Chicago, Mathews’ parents’ home. Their first products were built on the kitchen table, and Mathews’ father, who worked for a printing company, printed the first CRL catalog in mid-1919. The two focused on manufacturing a more developed version of Mathews’ spark gap disk and other amateur radio gear.

    Although literally a tabletop operation, the nascent company owned a valuable Armstrong regenerative receiver patent license, which was negotiated by Mathews in 1920. The company had no inventory - they manufactured product as orders came in. Along with three workmen, they built 12 radios at a time, which took two to three weeks, with oak ply cabinets made by a cabinet maker on Clark Street.

    Following an investment by Commander Eugene F. McDonald, Jr., CRL grew, and was later merged with Zenith Radio Corp., a sales and marketing firm created by McDonald in 1923. Along with the size of the company, the volume of radios manufactured also increased. By the mid-1960s, the company had more than 15,000 employees.

    Mathews, however, didn’t stay with the company long enough to enjoy its later success. Mathews gave up day-to-day responsibilities at Zenith in 1928 and established R.G.H. Mathews & Associates Sales Engineering Consultants. In 1933, now officially an ex-Zenith employee, he created Ford, Browne & Mathews Advertising Agency of Chicago. He then re-joined the Navy during WW II, assisting with recruiting. In 1954, he joined Magnavox and then worked for Westinghouse starting in 1957. After stints at several other companies during the next decade, he retired in 1967.

    Mathews and Hassel shared more than an enthusiasm for radio - they both were married to the same woman. Mathews married Mildred Josephine Finn, but the two divorced in the mid-1920s. Hassel married her in January, 1925, a union that lasted until his death in 1975.

    After retiring, Mathews moved to Mexico, where he was a lay leader of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Chapala, Jalisco. He died in 1982.

  • Aaron Neretin

    Aaron Neretin

    Editor and Publisher, HFD and Merchandising Magazine

    A fixture at consumer electronics shows for more than a half century, trade editor, publisher and market analyst Aaron Neretin has been and remains an integral member of the consumer electronics community.

    Born in Manhattan, NY on May 30, 1928, the son of Minnie and Hillel, a stationer and glazier, Neretin was raised primarily in the Crotona Park section of the Bronx. Attending Bronx High School of Science, he showed an early interest in becoming a doctor. But while growing up, he also dabbled in creative writing, composing short stories about neighborhood life that drew praise and encouragement from his parents.

    After a three-year stint in the Army, serving in Japan during the U.S. occupation from 1945 to 1948 and then graduating from New York University on the GI Bill, Neretin decided to pursue a career in writing.

    Neretin started by applying first at The New York Times. After being turned down, Neretin applied at a number of newspaper publishers. At Fairchild Publications in 1950, Neretin took what job he was offered - copy boy for all the company’s trade publications.
    After spending a year or so as a copy boy, a position opened up on the copy desk at Retailing Daily. Neretin advanced quickly, moving from the copy desk to reporter to major appliances section editor to city editor for the publication, which first morphed into Home Furnishings Daily, then simply to HFD in 1952.

    In 1965, Neretin was recruited by Billboard Publications to become editor and publisher of Merchandising Magazine.

    Neretin remained editor and publisher after Gralla Publications bought Merchandising Magazine in 1973, and left the publication five years later when it was sold to NAPCO.

    After leaving Merchandising in 1978, Neretin formed his own company, Neretin Associates, which provides retail market intelligence to industry executives via interviews with key electronics retailers and marketplace research. The firm remains active today as a major source of CE retail research at the retail level.

    Neretin has received numerous industry awards, such as the NAME from the UJA and from the Consumer Electronics Association.

  • John Shalam

    John Shalam

    Chairman and Founder, Audiovox Corp.

    John Shalam is the epitome of the American dream. In 1948, the 14-year-old Shalam, his parents and three sisters sailed past the Statue of Liberty ready to start a new life in America. Today, more than 60 years later, he continues to lead Audiovox, the $600 million company he built that is one of the strongest mobile and consumer electronics entities in the market today.

    Born December 10, 1933 in Alexandria, Egypt, Shalam was the only son of Vicky and Murad Shalam, one of the city’s more successful merchants. He grew up watching his father build his own import/export business. Were it not for the growing anti-Semitism in Egypt precipitated by the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Shalam would likely have taken his family business to the next level.

    The family took up residence in New York in 1948, and Shalam attended the Peekskill Military Academy and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a BS in economics in 1954.

    Shalam began his career working for the Continental Grain Company in New York. It did not take long for the entrepreneur in him to take over and, within four years, he partnered with a friend to form his own small trading company, which handled sales of equipment to schools and other institutions. Four years later, he founded the Custom Imports Company, which sold Japanese-made goods such as baseball gloves, fishing reels, porcelain dinnerware, photo albums, transistor radios and, in 1965, 2,000 car radios.

    Those 2,000 car radios would be the cosmic accident from which Audiovox would be born. Stuck with a shipment that a client had ordered and then cancelled, Shalam faced his first excess inventory problem. He pounded the pavement until he unloaded the radios and, satisfied he was out of the car audio business, celebrated with a ski trip to Vermont and treated himself to a champagne toast.

    But customers started calling looking for more car radios. He initially told each he was out of the car radio business, but by the fourth call he realized maybe he ought not to be and Audiovox was born. Audiovox went on to play a key role in establishing the after-market car audio, security and mobile video businesses.

    Audiovox has ridden the wave of technological innovation from its inception from simple car radios to four- and eight-track tape players to cassette and CD players to today’s iPod/Bluetooth/navigation-ready systems. By 1975, Audiovox crossed the $100 million sales threshold and moved beyond the core car audio market into car security products and then cellular phones. To fuel the rapid growth of the Company, Audiovox went public in 1987 on the American Stock Exchange and moved to NASDAQ in 2000. By 1998, the company had sold one million handsets and a year later reached $1 billion in sales.

    In 2004, Shalam was instrumental in the sale of the company’s cellular division for $323 million, and Audiovox has since been busy expanding its CE business, acquiring some of the most respected brands in the industry including RCA, Acoustic Research, Jensen, Advent, Phase Linear, Code Alarm and Terk.

    Although Shalam passed the day-to-day control of Audiovox to his son, he is the company’s majority share holder and continues to play a significant role in guiding the company’s strategic direction, such as the decision to expand into the accessory market as well as to establish a presence in Europe, Latin America and, most recently, Asia.

    Shalam continues to serve on several CEA committees, and is chairman of the Investment Committee. He also was instrumental in CEA expanding into the cellular industry. He established CEA’s Wireless Communications Division in 2001, and served as its first chairman.

    Married to Jane for 40 years, the Shalams have three sons Ari, David and Marc and six grandchildren. In the New York area, the family is known for its support of a variety of philanthropic causes. Shalam also is an avid horseman.

    In 1997, in the shadow of that same Statue of Liberty, Shalam, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, given to U.S. citizens who exhibit outstanding personal and professional qualities while maintaining the richness of their heritage.

  • Walton Stinson

    Walton Stinson

    Co-founder and president, ListenUp; co-founder PARA

    Being the co-founder of one of the most successful A/V specialty retailers in the country, ListenUp, based in Denver, Colorado, would be considered an achievement, but Walt Stinson also is the co-founder and the first president of the Professional Audio/Video Retailers’ Association, (PARA), the trade association for 250 professional audio, video, home theater and custom electronics specialty dealers. Stinson has been dubbed the dean of A/V specialty retailers.

    He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on July 2, 1948. At age 10 he heard his first shortwave receiver and a year later enrolled in a summer program in electronics. At Webster Groves High School Stinson had his own ham radio station before earning a technical diploma in electronics. He attended Knox College in Galesburg, IL, where he built and repaired stereo systems and, during summers, worked as a customer engineer for IBM.

    He graduated from Knox in 1970, where he met his future partner, Steve Weiner. In 1971, he landed a job at LaSalle Electronics, a western Illinois parts distributor, where Weiner, also worked. Both migrated to electronics when the company’s component stereo department opened. In 1972, Stinson left LaSalle and founded KVR Research with Weiner to study sound reproduction, psychoacoustics and the CE market.

    It was while exploring career opportunities at the Chicago Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 1972 that Stinson decided to open a store. Stinson, Weiner and Stinson’s wife, Mary Kay, drove to 15 major markets gathering demographic projections from chambers of commerce and information about existing audio retailers. Back in Galesburg, the trio selected Denver as the most appealing market. ListenUp was incorporated on October 10, 1972 and the store opened with just $10,000 in capital. Mary Kay joined the business in 1974 and the three remain involved in the company’s management.

    The first year was slow but Stinson’s radio and electronics background launched the company into high gear when he bartered broadcast engineering services for radio advertising time in 1973. Stinson and ListenUp produced hundreds of recordings of jazz, rock and blues legends such as Miles Davis, BB King and Bob Dylan. The tag line, “Sound by ListenUp,” was ubiquitous on the radio and at concert venues and established the retailer as a major CE player in Colorado. This led in 1978 to the ListenUp commercial division, which designs, sells and services large scale audio video and control systems for commercial and institutional clients, as well as performance venues, including the famed Mile High Stadium, Folsom Field and the Rainbow Music Hall. Meanwhile, ListenUp sales grew 30 percent per year for the first seven years.

    In 1979, Stinson received a letter from retailer David Beatty, owner of Beatty Electronics proposing a meeting to discuss the challenges facing independent audio dealers. On October 17 dealers gathered at the Airport Hilton in Kansas City to form PARA. Beatty was elected PARA president, Stinson vice president. When Beatty retired six months later, Stinson assumed the PARA presidency, serving out Beatty’s term, then was re-elected to a two-year term in 1981. He also served as PARA’s chairman from 1983-1985 and as general advisor to the board from 1996-2002. In 1999, he received the first PARA Founders Award. PARA merged with CEA in 2004.

    In 1982, Stinson set a world record in the American Radio Relay League International DX Morse Code competition, and also founded Retail Computer Management Systems, a dealer-owned developer of enterprise software. In 1984, he co-founded Assured Systems, a dealer-owned distribution and marketing company. Assured merged with AudioVideo Independent Dealers (AVID) in 2002 to create Home Entertainment Source (HES), a division of the $4 billion AVB/Brand Source buying group.

    In 1983 and 1984, Stinson helped to launch the CD in the U.S., serving as a delegate to the Compact Disc Group and appearing frequently in the media. Returning from Japan in 1983, he was questioned by U.S. Customs about the shiny discs in his luggage. Stinson’s gamble on CDs paid off - ListenUp’s revenue doubled in the next three years to $10 million.

    In 1983 Stinson enrolled in the University of Colorado Executive Program, where he earned his MBA. From 1989 to 1994, Stinson was a director at the Madrigal Audio Labs and, from 1998 to 2004, was a director of the American Radio Relay League. Since 2004, Stinson has served as vice president and secretary/treasurer of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO GROUP), a $2 billion annual buying group. Today, ListenUp has six stores in Colorado and Oregon with 110 employees.

  • Neil Terk

    Neil Terk

    Terk Technologies

    He designed award-winning record album covers but in the middle of a successful career as a graphics designer and photographer,Neil Terk decided to take a left turn into the consumer electronics industry, founding a company that became the most recognizable name in radio and TV antennas.

    A native New Yorker, Terk was born on December 5, 1947 in Manhattan, but grew up in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. After attending P.S. 164, Terk spent grades 7-12 at the now-defunct Rhodes Prep school in Manhattan. He majored in architecture at Temple University for a year before transferring to the Philadelphia College of Art and was graduated with a degree in industrial design.

    After a brief tenure in Zurich where he became a convert to the Bauhaus design philosophy, he sent out a resume consisting of a glossy nude of himself with a dollar bill glued across his private parts and his accomplishments pasted on the flip side. This unusual self-advertisement got him a job designing photo equipment in New Jersey.

    A year later, Terk got a job as creative director for Chess Janus Records in 1972. He designed more than 500 album covers including Cosmic Slop by Funkadelic, Big Bad Bo by Bo Diddley, Music to Make Love By by Solomon Burke, and Making Music by Dire Straits, as well as albums from Chuck Berry, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Bob Marley.

    In the mid-1970s, Terk founded two design companies: Paper Faces, where he designed and created composite sheets and catalog books for large fashion model agencies including Ford, Elle and Wilhelmina, and, Neil Terk & Co., a production company. He also worked as a consultant to such companies as Pepsi, Playtex and Blimpie, designing logos, packaging, catalogs, point-of-purchase materials and store interiors. When computer-based desktop publishing came into vogue, Terk sold the companies.

    In 1985, Cobra approached Terk about distributing a new FM antenna the Italian company planned on selling in the U.S. Terk convinced Cobra if the antenna looked better, it would sell better. Cobra agreed. Terk applied his experience in modern industrial design and reworked the antenna under the auspices of the new Terk Technologies.

    When this re-designed antenna sold well, Terk realized he'd found his calling. His goal was to design antennas so beautiful that consumers would be eager to display them.Two years later, Terk unveiled the company's first product, the Terk Pi AM/FM antenna. The two-piece Pi was the better mouse trap of radio antennas. Its outer six-inch adjustable diameter directional loop AM antenna combined with a concentric fixed disk FM antenna, and included an amplifier to help boost weak radio signals and a noise-free transistor. This unique physical and technical configuration represented a departure from old-fashioned rabbit ears.

    The powerful Pi – the Greek letter for determining the circumference of a circle – could pull in signals from radio stations as far as 50 miles away. The Pi was as successful commercially as it was technically and aesthetically, selling in the hundreds of thousands. Not only did the Pi fulfill Terk's technical and design goals, it was so beautiful it was selected to be sold through the Museum of Modern Art in 1988. To better handle masses of nearby signals in urban areas, Terk later unveiled the $20 FM+.

    Over the next 14 years, Terk created and sold indoor and outdoor antennas for HDTV and analog TV, XM satellite radio, Lojack, in-car cell, DirecTV, as well as a full line of installation hardware products and kits and the Leapfrog wireless multi-room A/V distribution and control systems. By the mid 1990s, Terk's sales reached $50 million. In 1997, Terk moved his company to Hauppauge Industrial Park.

    Also an innovator, Terk created new CE categories that solved problems such as the Volume Regulator, which kept TV volume of normally louder commercials at the same volume as regular programming, while taking interior design into consideration. This successful combination of form and function heavily influenced other gadget makers. Terk also was involved in the industry, serving on the CEA Executive Board, its board of directors, and as chairman for both the Accessories Division and Antenna Subdivision.

    In 2001, Terk sold half interest in his company to Topspin, a venture capital firm.A few months later, the non-smoker Terk was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in 2003. Terk Technologies is now a subsidiary of Audiovox.

  • Neil Terk

    Neil Terk

    Terk Technologies

    He designed award-winning record album covers but in the middle of a successful career as a graphics designer and photographer,Neil Terk decided to take a left turn into the consumer electronics industry, founding a company that became the most recognizable name in radio and TV antennas.

    A native New Yorker, Terk was born on December 5, 1947 in Manhattan, but grew up in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. After attending P.S. 164, Terk spent grades 7-12 at the now-defunct Rhodes Prep school in Manhattan. He majored in architecture at Temple University for a year before transferring to the Philadelphia College of Art and was graduated with a degree in industrial design.

    After a brief tenure in Zurich where he became a convert to the Bauhaus design philosophy, he sent out a resume consisting of a glossy nude of himself with a dollar bill glued across his private parts and his accomplishments pasted on the flip side. This unusual self-advertisement got him a job designing photo equipment in New Jersey.

    A year later, Terk got a job as creative director for Chess Janus Records in 1972. He designed more than 500 album covers including Cosmic Slop by Funkadelic, Big Bad Bo by Bo Diddley, Music to Make Love By by Solomon Burke, and Making Music by Dire Straits, as well as albums from Chuck Berry, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Bob Marley.

    In the mid-1970s, Terk founded two design companies: Paper Faces, where he designed and created composite sheets and catalog books for large fashion model agencies including Ford, Elle and Wilhelmina, and, Neil Terk & Co., a production company. He also worked as a consultant to such companies as Pepsi, Playtex and Blimpie, designing logos, packaging, catalogs, point-of-purchase materials and store interiors. When computer-based desktop publishing came into vogue, Terk sold the companies.

    In 1985, Cobra approached Terk about distributing a new FM antenna the Italian company planned on selling in the U.S. Terk convinced Cobra if the antenna looked better, it would sell better. Cobra agreed. Terk applied his experience in modern industrial design and reworked the antenna under the auspices of the new Terk Technologies.

    When this re-designed antenna sold well, Terk realized he'd found his calling. His goal was to design antennas so beautiful that consumers would be eager to display them.Two years later, Terk unveiled the company's first product, the Terk Pi AM/FM antenna. The two-piece Pi was the better mouse trap of radio antennas. Its outer six-inch adjustable diameter directional loop AM antenna combined with a concentric fixed disk FM antenna, and included an amplifier to help boost weak radio signals and a noise-free transistor. This unique physical and technical configuration represented a departure from old-fashioned rabbit ears.

    The powerful Pi – the Greek letter for determining the circumference of a circle – could pull in signals from radio stations as far as 50 miles away. The Pi was as successful commercially as it was technically and aesthetically, selling in the hundreds of thousands. Not only did the Pi fulfill Terk's technical and design goals, it was so beautiful it was selected to be sold through the Museum of Modern Art in 1988. To better handle masses of nearby signals in urban areas, Terk later unveiled the $20 FM+.

    Over the next 14 years, Terk created and sold indoor and outdoor antennas for HDTV and analog TV, XM satellite radio, Lojack, in-car cell, DirecTV, as well as a full line of installation hardware products and kits and the Leapfrog wireless multi-room A/V distribution and control systems. By the mid 1990s, Terk's sales reached $50 million. In 1997, Terk moved his company to Hauppauge Industrial Park.

    Also an innovator, Terk created new CE categories that solved problems such as the Volume Regulator, which kept TV volume of normally louder commercials at the same volume as regular programming, while taking interior design into consideration. This successful combination of form and function heavily influenced other gadget makers. Terk also was involved in the industry, serving on the CEA Executive Board, its board of directors, and as chairman for both the Accessories Division and Antenna Subdivision.

    In 2001, Terk sold half interest in his company to Topspin, a venture capital firm.A few months later, the non-smoker Terk was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in 2003. Terk Technologies is now a subsidiary of Audiovox.

  • Richard E. Wiley

    Richard E. Wiley

    FCC Chairman, ACATS Chairman

    Richard Wiley did not own a company or retail outlet and did not invent a device or technology. But as chairman of a federal advisory panel, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission played a pivotal role in the development and subsequent adoption of the U.S. digital television (DTV) broadcast standard by championing HDTV, advocating an all-digital system and creating the cooperative Grand Alliance that developed today’s digital and high-definition television standards.

    Dick Wiley was born in Peoria, Illinois, on July 20, 1934, and grew up in Winnetka, a suburb of Chicago. Wiley got his introduction to TV when his father, Joseph, a manufacturer’s agent for Edison electronics products, bought the family a Philco set in the early 1950s.
    While in college, Wiley planned to become a history and political science teacher when a professor suggested he take the LSAT and pursue a law career. After passing the test, Wiley got a full scholarship to Northwestern University. After receiving both his B.S. and J.D. from Northwestern, Wiley married, then joined the U.S. Army and served in the Judge Advocate’s Corp as an appellate specialist at the Pentagon from 1959-1962. He then earned his LL.M from Georgetown in 1962.

    Interested in regulatory law, Wiley got his first job in the private sector at a Chicago firm with a large anti-trust specialty. He practiced successfully for eight years when he traveled to Washington, D.C., to apply for the job as FTC general counsel. That job wasn’t open, however, but was told the same position at the FCC would be open a few months later. In October 1970, he got the job. Two years later, then-President Nixon nominated Wiley as an FCC commissioner and, in 1974, he was appointed chairman. Wiley served under three presidents - Nixon, Ford and Carter - during his tenure at the FCC.

    As chairman, Wiley believed that competition fostered innovation and worked to open up closed industries. He was instrumental in opening both landline telephone and the nascent cell phone businesses to multiple carriers, allowing Sprint and MCI to compete and the cell phone industry to explode, and helped give birth to the modern satellite and cable TV businesses. Wiley retired as FCC chairman in October 1977.

    From the late 1960s through the early 1980s, wireless telephone companies such as Motorola petitioned the FCC to open up more spectrum sliced from local television spectrum. Broadcasters kept their spectrum by claiming they would develop high-definition television. In mid 1987, the FCC asked Wiley to chair the newly-formed Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service (ACATS), which would oversee and adjudicate the varying DTV development efforts.

    Known today in Washington circles as the father of the nation’s transition to digital TV, Wiley recommended that the changeover to digital transmission employ simulcasting to maintain the current six MHz analog television channel while transitioning the country to a second digital channel. Equally significant, he defined what HDTV would require: at least twice the number of scanning lines of conventional television.

    After six years of competitive development and testing, Wiley proposed in May 1993 that the remaining proponents in the race come together in a “Grand Alliance” to develop the final all-digital standard. Wiley also had to cope with complaints and suggestions from Hollywood as well as the computer industry as the standard was being defined. On November 28, 1995, with the technical work on the DTV standards completed, Wiley chaired the final ACATS meeting, and his committee made its final recommendation to the FCC. After jockeying by both the FCC and the Congress, the DTV standard was adopted by the commission on Christmas Eve 1996, more than nine years after Wiley began his work at ACATS.

    In 1997, Wiley was awarded an Emmy for his work on HDTV. In 1993, he was named to the Broadcasting & Cable magazine Hall of Fame, and in 1999, he was named one of the top 100 Men of the Century by the magazine. In 1996, he was recognized by EIA with a medal of honor and, in 2002, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of Broadcasters.

    Since 1983, Wiley has been managing partner of Wiley Rein LLP, a Washington, D.C. law firm with nearly 300 lawyers and some 80 communications law professionals. He says he has no plans to retire.

2008 Inductees

  • Jewel and David Abt

    Jewel and David Abt

    Founders, Abt Electronics

    With an $800 “loan” from wife to husband, David and Jewel Abt founded Abt Radio in 1936 on that shoestring budget with three employees — including David and Jewel — in a small storefront in the Logan Square section of Chicago. Abt Electronics is now the largest, single-store appliance and consumer electronics store in the country, and was one of the early online retailing pioneers, which gave Abt a national presence.

    Jewel Fischmann Abt was born in Korompa, Hungary, and emigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was six years old. Her family settled in Chicago, starting out in typical immigrant fashion of the time by selling vegetables from a wagon. After graduating from high school, she earned a two-year degree in accounting and then worked in the family’s grocery business. She was one of a few women to drive a car in the mid-1920s and went to Cuba by herself when she was 26 years old.

    David Abt was born in 1905 in Oak Park, Illinois. He did not go to high school, but he had two important sales attributes: creative talent and a good smile. Dave worked as a salesman at the Fair Department Store on State Street in Chicago selling electronics.

    The Abts and the Fischmanns were friendly and David and Jewel knew each other as teenagers. Jewel’s family eventually owned a half a dozen grocery stores. Since Dave knew electronics, which at that time was crystal radios, they decided to start a company soon after they married in 1934.

    They decided to name the store using their last name, calling it Abt Radio. David had taken a few courses at the Art Institute of Chicago and designed the company’s lightning bolt logo, which is still used today. They had their warehouse in the family garage and borrowed Jewel’s brother’s truck to make deliveries.

    For many years Dave worked from dawn ’til dusk doing the various jobs needed for their business to survive and grow. Each morning before going to work, he would fill up his truck with product from his garage which doubled as the business’s warehouse, and set out for the store’s daily deliveries. With his foresight, David knew the right time to move the family business to larger, more modern locations.

    Seven decades later, Abt Radio has become Abt Electronics, located in its fifth location, a 350,000 square foot facility in Glenview, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, with more than 1,100 employees. Many of Abt’s current customers are the grandchildren of customers who made purchases from Abt Radio in 1936.

    Dave and Jewel continued to be active in the business well into their 70s. Their grandsons, Michael, Ricky, Jon and Billy, and son, Bob, now run the family business and have the same dedication that motivated Jewel and Dave.

    After 72 years, Abt has survived the incursion of a host of competitors and big-box retailers, thanks to a concentration on its local roots and quality personalized service. Abt has expanded into high-end electronics and appliances, hewing to the philosophies of Jewel and Dave: “everything in-house,” the reason that Abt Electronics has not only remained in business, but has exponentially grown. In 2005, the Chicago block at Wolfram and Milwaukee Avenues, where the first Abt store was located, was dedicated to and renamed “Jewel and David Abt Way.”

  • Joe Clayton

    Joe Clayton

    RCA Executive; Chairman, Sirius Satellite Radio

    F. Scott Fitzgerald famously intoned that there were no second acts in American life. Fitzgerald never counted on Joe Clayton. The long-time executive would have been elected to the CE Hall of Fame based on his distinguished 25-year career at RCA, which included shepherding RCA’s launch of DirecTV. But Clayton then re-emerged five years after leaving RCA as the CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio.

    Clayton was born October 11, 1949, in Louisville, Kentucky. His father owned a liquor store and Clayton always assumed he would earn his bachelor and master’s degrees, then return to Kentucky to sell whiskey. As planned, he graduated magna cum laude with a BA in business administration from Bellarmine University in Louisville, then earned an MBA from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. But he never got back to Kentucky.

    Instead, Clayton started his career with RCA in New York in February 1973 as a marketing associate. A year later at RCA’s Indianapolis headquarters, he was named the company’s color television product manager, then took on successive national merchandising responsibilities for RCA’s black & white TVs, its new line of VHS VCRs, and finally, all of its TV products in 1978. Clayton then moved to the sales side, first tackling Detroit, then New York City, Chicago and then San Francisco. In 1985, Clayton went back to Indianapolis as VP of marketing operations, then video product marketing, then was named senior VP of all TV business in North and South America. In 1992, he was named executive VP of sales for the Americas and Asia for RCA’s new parent company, Thomson.

    Under his direction, RCA launched DirecTV with Hughes, starting with a grandiose event at Jackson, Mississippi retailer “Cowboy Maloney’s” in June 1994. RCA also pioneered on-screen guide services with Gemstar, TV-centric Internet services with WebTV, TV/PC convergence with Compaq and interactive TV services with Sun Microsystems.

    Clayton also resurrected RCA’s long-dormant “His Master’s Voice” dog icon Nipper and added the puppy Chipper, in all RCA marketing. Revenues more than doubled under Clayton’s stewardship, and the company’s market share in TV, camcorders and VCRs rose to more than 20 percent in each category. Clayton became a familiar face at industry events, famously invoking the bucolic scenes of Indiana’s cornfields before launching into presentations.

    Clayton resigned from what was left of a dismembered RCA in 1996, but wasn’t idle for long. In 1997, he was named president and CEO of Frontier Communications, a Rochester, New York-based provider of integrated telecommunications services. The company’s stock price quickly appreciated more than 200 percent, and its market cap grew from $3 billion to $10 billion. Clayton drove the strategic direction of the company while working as a hands-on leader of Frontier’s executive management team. In 1999, Global Crossing acquired Frontier and Clayton was named Vice Chairman of Global Crossing and President of the company’s North American region.

    In November 2001, Clayton began his second life in the CE industry when he was brought in to run Sirius Satellite Radio. As president and CEO, Clayton launched Sirius’ service and expanded its retail presence to 25,000 locations and to the first one million subscribers, and increased Sirius’ market valuation from $40 million to $5 billion. Among Clayton’s high-profile moves: making exclusive content and marketing deals with the NFL, NBA, the NHL, the NCAA Final Four and signing radio’s number one personality, Howard Stern. Clayton became chairman in 2004.

    Clayton served as CEA chairman from 1995-96. He also was a director for E.W. Scripps, The Good Guys, Global Crossing, Frontier Corp., Transcend Corp., Infogear and Sirius. In 2007, Clayton was inducted into Indiana University’s School of Business Hall of Fame.

  • Martin Cooper

    Martin Cooper

    Co-Developer, Cell Phone

    It was desperation, not necessity that propelled Marty Cooper, vice president and general manager of Motorola’s communications systems division, to initiate the development of the cell phone. Cooper needed to convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to award a monopoly to AT&T for the new cellular spectrum to be used with car phones at hearings scheduled for May 1973. In November 1972, Cooper ordered the crash development of a handheld portable phone to illustrate how competition could spur innovation and placed Motorola engineer Don Linder in charge. By the following April, two models had been built and Cooper proudly demonstrated them to the media and the FCC.

    Cooper was the son of Russian immigrants, born in Chicago the day after Christmas in 1928. After graduating from college, Cooper served as a submarine officer in the Navy for three years, then earned a masters degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He joined Motorola in 1954 after a year as a research engineer at Teletype Corp. Cooper started as a senior development engineer in Motorola’s mobile equipment group, slowly moving up through the ranks as a senior development engineer, chief engineer, product manager, operations manager, vice president and division manager, and finally corporate director of R&D.

    In the years after World War II, Motorola became the leading equipment supplier in the so-called “land-mobile” industry, better known as the car phone business. During the same time, AT&T had been developing cellular. In 1968, the FCC allotted 800 MHz spectrum for this new cellular program. AT&T, which already controlled the nation’s landline phone network, petitioned for exclusive control of this new spectrum.

    Motorola reacted by developing DynaTAC, a competing 900 MHz cellular system. But Cooper realized that Motorola would need a flashy equipment breakthrough to convince the FCC not to award AT&T another phone monopoly and initiated a crash development program.

    The fundamental technologies of a handheld phone were well-known by Cooper and Motorola. But Cooper and Linder’s engineering team quickly overcame a plethora of technical challenges. One of these was Cooper commandeering newly developed chip sets destined for another car phone product for use in the two model phones Linder and his group were building.

    On Tuesday morning, April 3, 1973, at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan, Cooper and fellow Motorola executive John Mitchell demonstrated the two working phones to the media. While it is debatable how much influence this public demonstration had, a year later the FCC turned down AT&T’s request for exclusivity and awarded multiple licenses in each metropolitan market, and Motorola established itself as the nation’s premier wireless handset supplier.

    Cooper also formulated the Law of Spectral Efficiency, otherwise known as Cooper’s Law, which states the maximum number of voice conversations or equivalent data transactions that can be conducted in all of the useful radio spectrum over a given area doubles every 30 months.

    Cooper left Motorola in 1983 but did not retire. Cooper co-founded Cellular Business Systems in 1986 and co-founded Cellular Payphone, the parent company of Jitterbug, a cell phone service and equipment supplier targeted to senior citizens. In 1993, Cooper co-founded cellular antenna company ArrayComm, serving as its CEO through 2002, and is now executive chairman. He also serves on a number of public and private company boards of directors. Last year, Cooper, Don Linder and the cell phone development team were awarded the Great Moments Engineering Award from GlobalSpec.

  • Dean Dunlavey

    Dean Dunlavey

    Home Recording Rights Attorney

    Dean Dunlavey was not an inventor or a consumer electronics executive, but he is arguably singularly responsible for the home video revolution. In 1984, Dunlavey, working as an attorney representing Sony, successfully argued the so-called “Betamax” case before the United States Supreme Court. As a result of Dunlavey’s arguments, the court ruled that Americans had the right to record programs broadcast on TV. This landmark decision made it legal for manufacturers to produce, and consumers to use, the VCR.

    Dunlavey was born in Waterloo, Iowa, on October 31, 1925. After a year at Iowa State University, Dunlavey volunteered for the Army when WWII broke out, serving in the Philippines as a captain in the infantry.

    After the war, Dunlavey earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1949 from Harvard on the GI Bill and then received a doctorate in nuclear chemistry from Berkeley in 1952. Even though he worked with Nobel Prize winner Glenn T. Seaborg at Berkeley on creating transuranic elements, Dunlavey felt stifled in the lab and discovered he yearned for a more confrontational profession.

    Dunlavey stayed at Berkeley where he earned his law degree from Boult Hall, finishing first in his class in 1955. He served as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review and was made a member of the Order of the Coif. While teaching at Harvard Law School he simultaneously earned his master’s degree. He then joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in 1956. In 1970, he was named a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

    Soon after the Betamax was introduced in 1976, Universal City Studios and Walt Disney Productions sued Sony, several retailers who sold the Betamax, Sony’s advertising agency and a representative consumer named William Gibson for copyright infringement. A district court ruled for Sony, a decision that was overturned in 1981 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case then went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The down-to-earth Dunlavey argued the case twice before the Supreme Court in 1983, once on January 18, and again on October 3. Both times, Dunlavey contended that the studios were paid for selling their product to television networks and were not entitled to additional compensation if a consumer recorded them for personal viewing.

    In January 1984, the court ruled 5-4 in favor of a consumer’s right to record. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, concluded “[t]he sale of the VTR’s [video tape recorders] to the general public does not constitute contributory infringement of [Universal's] copyrights.” A memo circulated at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher after the decision noted it was “universally agreed by all Supreme Court watchers that Dean’s oral argument made all the difference.”

    While the decision was crucial to the consumer electronics industry, Dunlavey viewed it as just another case. During his 34-year career, Dunlavey tried nearly 100 cases, including several cases other then Sony v. Universal before the U.S. Supreme Court. He later told a reporter “I have done nothing but litigation since the day I walked in the door here. I can’t think of a better way of making a living than fighting with people and getting paid for it.”

    Dunlavey continued to represent Sony until he retired in 1990.

  • Hans Fantel

    Hans Fantel

    Pioneering Consumer Electronics Journalist

    Even though he escaped Nazi-occupied Austria and came to the U.S. without knowing one word of English, Hans Fantel became one of the most influential consumer electronics journalists and a champion of classical music and audiophile equipment. He was a founding editor of Stereo Review, the bible of stereophile publications, and wrote a column on audio and video technology for The New York Times that was known for transforming technical jargon into concise prose.

    Fantel was born March 1, 1922, in Vienna, and was named after Hans Sachs, the character in Wagner’s “Meistersinger von Nurnberg.” His father, Fritz, owned the company which made the first home radio receivers in Austria, and sang in the Vienna Court Opera Chorus under Mahler.

    One Christmas, his father gave Fantel a complete set of Beethoven’s symphonies, igniting the youngster’s love of classical music. In January 1938, two months before the Nazis occupied Austria, 16-year-old Fantel was taken by his father to a performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Bruno Walter, a performance he later reminisced about in a column in The Times when the recorded performances came out on CD in 1989.

    Later in 1938, after the Anschluss, Fantel’s father was arrested by the Nazis for opposing Germany’s rearmament and was later executed. Authorities discovered that Fantel’s mother was Jewish and he was expelled from school. He escaped to Czechoslovakia, served in the underground there and hid in a remote village in the Tatra Mountains, then made his way to Tunis. The American consul, a fellow classical music lover, helped Fantel emigrate to the U.S. on a Red Cross ship in 1941.

    Fantel learned English by listening to radio broadcasts while working at a picture frame factory. He earned a biology degree from the University of Missouri, worked as a technical translator for the Air Force in Ohio and enrolled at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He moved to New York in the early 1950s where he met his wife, Shirley “Shea” Smith, a senior copy editor for Seventeen magazine, in Greenwich Village.

    Capitalizing on his love of classical music, Fantel, who spoke with a strong Austrian accent, was one of the founding editors of Stereo Review, which started life as Hi-Fi and Music Review, in February 1958. The magazine went through numerous name changes until settling on Stereo Review from 1968 to 1999 when the magazine was merged with Video Magazine and became Sound & Vision.

    Fantel started writing for The New York Times in 1961, and wrote two columns, one on audio and one on home video electronics, from 1977 to 1994. He was adamant about writing for a mainstream consumer publication rather than for audiophiles. In an interview he explained, “What I need to do for The Times is to alert people to the existence of good equipment. Most of them don’t know that it even exists — if they discover good, they can then discover better.”

    During his career Fantel wrote articles and books on a variety of subjects, electronics-related and not. He was the author of William Penn: Apostle of Dissent, The Waltz Kings, about the Strauss family, and several books on music and high-fidelity stereo equipment.

    In 1998, the government of Austria and city of Salzburg awarded Fantel medals of appreciation for his efforts at building goodwill between Austria and the U.S. Following his death in May 2006, his papers were donated to the University of Missouri in January 2007.

  • Eddy Hartenstein

    Eddy Hartenstein

    Founder, Chairman & CEO, DirecTV

    Ever since DirecTV’s launch in 1990, Eddy Hartenstein has been the premier face of the satellite television business. Hartenstein presided over its birth and growth and, as founder, chairman and CEO of DirecTV, created the second-largest pay TV service in the U.S., while pioneering both the regulatory and technology shifts that led to the entry of the first small dish DBS service in North America.

    Hartenstein began a new phase of his career in August 2008 when he took on the role of publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times. Faced with the complex issues challenging newspaper and media companies in the digital age, he again finds himself forging an uncharted path. However, he is the first publisher with local roots since Otis Chandler resigned the post in 1980 and his familiarity with the region will inform how multimedia news, information and advertising could be delivered across Southern California.

    Born in 1950 in Alhambra, California, like many students of the era, Hartenstein’s interest in technology and aerospace/technology were sparked by the space race. Hartenstein earned bachelor’s of science degrees in aerospace engineering and mathematics from Cal State Polytech, Pomona then joined Hughes Aircraft in 1972. While at Hughes, Hartenstein earned a master’s of science from Cal Tech in applied mechanics. By 1981, Hartenstein had become vice president of Hughes Communications.

    In 1984, Hartenstein left Hughes to become president of Equatorial Communications Service. He returned to Hughes Communications in 1987 as a senior vice president. While at Hughes and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he demonstrated a knack for anticipating and actualizing future trends and held a number of increasingly high-profile positions. He was responsible for expanding Hughes’ acquisition and deployment of commercial communications satellites and directed the development and marketing of the original Galaxy satellite fleet, which served the fast-developing broadcast television and cable programming industries.

    In 1990, Hartenstein was named president of the new Hughes-owned subsidiary to develop direct-to-home satellite TV service. Hartenstein organized the new business, assembled the executive team and transformed a mere concept into DirecTV, one of the most successful new product launches in consumer electronics history.

    Under Hartenstein’s direction, DirecTV paved the way for digital television to be provided to millions of consumers worldwide without connection to a cable system. His vision and leadership resulted in a new outlet for broadcasting services, and provided a foundation for the launch of many new channels and programming choices for the public. He also led the regulatory push to allow local broadcast stations to be rebroadcast into local markets over DBS. He served as DirecTV chairman and CEO from 2001 to 2004.

    During his tenure, Hartenstein lead the regulatory push to change U.S. law to allow local broadcast stations to be rebroadcast into local markets over direct broadcast satellite and through DirecTV, lead the television industry to digital television. Hartenstein was named DirecTV’s chairman and CEO in 2001 and retired as vice chairman of the DirecTV group after the company’s sale to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in December 2004.

    Hartenstein sits on the board of directors of Broadcom Corp., XM Satellite Radio and SanDisk as well as the City of Hope. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Class of 2001, and into two halls of fame, Broadcasting & Cable in 2002 and the Society of Satellite Professionals in 2005. In 2007, Hartenstein received a lifetime achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

  • Ken Kutaragi

    Ken Kutaragi

    In these days of faceless and nameless corporate product development, Ken Kutaragi stands out. As an engineer at Sony, he not only created the PlayStation, the first optical disc-based video game platform, but pushed an unwilling company to market it. By 2003, the game system was contributing 60 percent of the company’s operating profit and Kutaragi became a legend.

    Kutaragi was born in August 1950 in Tokyo. A straight-A student, he worked after school in his family’s printing business. But the budding engineer loved to tinker and built gadgets such as go-carts and amplifiers. In 1975, Kutaragi turned his childhood hobby into a degree in electrical engineering from Denki Tsushin University in Tokyo, and then joined Sony as a researcher in the company’s digital research labs.

    One of Kutaragi’s first experiences with Sony’s reticence about his ideas was his work on developing an LCD projector that the company did not approve. He also worked on Sony’s early Mavica digital camera and gained a reputation as a problem solver and a forward thinker.

    One day in the mid 1980s, Kutaragi watched his sons play with their Nintendo and believed there was an opportunity. Because gaming was considered beneath Sony, he worked in secret with Nintendo to develop a new sound chip for the gaming company’s new 16-bit Super NES platform. In 1988, after receiving support from Sony CEO Norio Ohga to finish development on the chip, the SPC700, Kutaragi fought for, and received, funding to develop his CD-ROM version of the Super NES, which used cartridges, for Nintendo.

    Corporate sparring and technology legal challenges forced Sony and Nintendo apart in 1991, and Kutaragi again convinced upper management to create a completely new Sony-branded CD-based game system. While many in Sony considered video game machines to be toys, Kutaragi insisted that he was actually building a computer.

    The PlayStation, or PSX, became available in December 1994 in Japan and in September 1995 in the U.S. PlayStation quickly became the best-selling video game system on the planet with more than 100 million units of this original system were sold until production ended in March 2006.

    PlayStation 2 appeared in 2000 and sold more than 125 million units and garnered a 70 percent market share. The PlayStation Portable, or PSP, arrived in November 2004, followed by the PlayStation 3 in November 2006. In 2000, BusinessWeek magazine dubbed him “Sony’s indispensable samurai.” Largely because of Kutaragi and the PlayStation, video games earn more money than theatrical films.

    According to one profile, Kutaragi’s management style was considered outspoken, and he was described by one co-worker as unusually animated and passionate. Legend has it he once offered to settle a PlayStation design argument by arm-wrestling.

    In addition to his being president of Sony’s Computer Entertainment division (SCEI) from 1999 to 2003, he was named executive deputy president in charge of the Game Business Group and the Broadband Network Company. In 2006 he became chairman of SCEI and retired in June 2007 as honorary chairman.

    In 2004, Time magazine listed Kutaragi on its “100 Most Influential People,” dubbing him the “Gutenberg of Video Games.”

  • Warren Lieberfarb

    Warren Lieberfarb

    "Father of DVD"

    Content is king, and without Warren Lieberfarb’s aggressive corralling of Hollywood studio support, DVD may have been a playback technology without anything to play back. As chief of Warner Home Video, Lieberfarb pleaded, harangued, bargained and bullied his fellow home theater executives to bring their movies to DVD. As the driving force behind the format, he was dubbed “The Father of DVD” by Variety.

    Born September 28, 1943, Lieberfarb earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wharton, a master’s from the University of Michigan, then spent three years at Ford after being chosen for a selective finance management program.

    Lieberfarb started his career in the entertainment business when he was hired as executive assistant to the president of Paramount Pictures in New York in 1970. Lieberfarb was then recruited by rival Twentieth Century Fox as vice president of telecommunications. He joined Warner Brothers in 1975 as vice president of marketing and held a series of other positions with the company during a tempestuous early few years. In 1982, Lieberfarb was appointed senior vice president of Warner Home Video (WHV) when the unit had total revenue of only $73 million. Two years later, he was named WHV president.

    During the next 18 years, Lieberfarb presided over explosive growth for WHV, packaging not only Warner’s vast library for VHS, but adding the pre-1986 MGM/UA library to the WHV portfolio. He also acquired distribution rights to programming from Lorimar, Turner, Castle Rock, Hanna Barbera, PBS, BBC, IMAX, National Geographic, New Line and HBO. By 2002, WHV revenues were more than $4 billion annually.

    By the early 1990s, however, the home video revolution began slowing and Lieberfarb, along with a number of hardware companies, began searching for a next-generation optical disc format. Toshiba had been developing a CD-sized optical disc format, while Sony-Philips proposed a competing alternative. Along with IBM, Lieberfarb helped broker a unified compromise format to avoid a Beta-VHS-like war.

    But Time-Warner owned many of the DVD patents and the other studios balked at paying royalties to a rival, as well as voicing concerns about piracy. Lieberfarb launched himself into the fray, brokering deals to mollify executive anxieties and get all the studios to release titles to make the format a success.

    And successful it was. Only five years after DVD made its debut, hardware and software revenues topped $30 billion. In recognition of his efforts, Lieberfarb, as well as executives at Toshiba, received an Emmy. In 2002, Lieberfarb became the first recipient of the Wharton/Infosys Technology Change Agent award. The following year, Lieberfarb was awarded a Legion of Arts and Letters award from France, Cannes Film Festival Medal du Festival, and the MIPCOM DVD Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Lieberfarb left Warner in 2002 and consulted with Toshiba and Microsoft on the HD-DVD format. In 2003, Lieberfarb founded the Los Angeles-based consulting and investment firm Warren N. Lieberfarb & Associates, LLC.

  • Donald Linder

    Donald Linder

    Co-Inventor, Cell Phone

    When Motorola research engineer Don Linder was told on December 4, 1972, that he had eight weeks to develop the first handheld wireless phone, he was unfazed. Linder had worked on numerous crash development programs during his seven years at Motorola. Linder lead a team of more than a dozen engineers to develop the DynaTAC, the first mobile wireless phone, not just before the scheduled FCC hearings in May 1973 to decide if AT&T would get a monopoly for the new cellular spectrum, but by March, so he could take his annual skiing trip with his wife.

    Linder was born August 17, 1943, in Osceola and raised in Centerville, both small towns in Iowa. His father was an engineer for the local electric utility with an interest in radio, and father and son built “stuff” in their basement. In 1965, Linder graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He later earned his master’s from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1979. Thanks to the success of the manned space program, the country was science crazy. Linder received seven different job offers before accepting one in Motorola’s Applied Research division.

    For five years before Cooper knocked on his engineer’s bench, Linder had been designing frequency synthesizers, a method to generate multiple frequencies electronically from a single crystal, critical to developing smaller, lighter radio phones.

    When Linder got the handheld assignment, the frequency synthesizer was just one of a dozen components he and his team had to shrink to fit into a handheld portable. Under Linder’s leadership, the team designed and built two DynaTAC portable phones measuring 1-7/8 inches wide, 3-1/2 inches deep, 9-inches tall (not including the antenna), and weighing 45-ounces. Each accessed 380 duplex channels thanks to Linder’s frequency synthesizer, and the rechargeable nickel cadmium battery was good for 36 minutes talking and 12 hours in standby.

    Linder continued working on Motorola’s cell phones. In 1987, he was named vice president of the technical staff, then director of the Corporate Applied Research Labs in 1990. Linder joined the Cellular Subscriber Sector of Motorola in 1994, to found a research lab, which developed several generations of custom processors for CDMA digital signals, voice recognition technology for phone dialing, new product concepts that led to the first speakerphone in a portable, the use of GPS for cellular location and the physical design for Motorola’s RAZR phone.

    Linder retired in 2001 as vice president and director of Motorola’s cellular subscriber sector research lab. He has been awarded 13 patents, is a member of Motorola’s Science Advisory Board, and has received the Motorola Dan Noble Fellow award and the Motorola Distinguished Innovator award. Last year, Linder, Marty Cooper and the cell phone development team were awarded the Great Moments Engineering Award from GlobalSpec.

  • Dr. Fritz Sennheiser

    Dr. Fritz Sennheiser

    Founder, Sennheiser

    In a farm house laboratory abandoned by the occupying British army a month after the end of World War II, Professor Dr. Fritz Sennheiser founded his “Laboratorium Wennebostel” or Lab W. During the next 60 years, what became Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG grew into a world-leading manufacturer of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems with almost 2,000 employees and a bevy of engineering honors including an Emmy, a Grammy and a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Fritz Sennheiser was born in the Karlshorst section of Berlin on May 9, 1912. As a young boy he loved plants, but the ravaged Weimar Republic economy was hardly conducive to a career in landscaping. Sennheiser instead pursued another boyhood interest, technology. At age 12, he built his own radio receiver from a slide coil and a crystal.

    During his electrical engineering and telecommunications studies at Berlin’s Technical University, Sennheiser went to work for the Heinrich Hertz Institute for Vibration Research, a Mecca for telecommunications research named for the man who discovered radio waves. Sennheiser also studied the technology of speech and music and, during his final exams, helped develop an electronic organ used at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In 1938, he followed one of his instructors to a new Institute for Radio Frequency Engineering and Electroacoustics at the University of Hanover and, in 1943, earned his doctorate.

    Allied bombing, however, destroyed most of the Institute’s research labs. Sennheiser located a former youth hostel in the small village of Wennebostel, just north of Hanover, and re-founded the Institute. At war’s end on May 8, only seven of the 50 employees of the Institute remained, and a British communications unit took over. When the British occupation unit left a few weeks later, Sennheiser moved back into the abandoned farm house and founded his Lab W.

    Lab W initially developed tube voltmeters for Siemens, and, one year later, started designing microphones following an urgent request from Siemens. In 1952, Lab W manufactured its first miniature magnetic headphone capsule, the HM 11, and the MD 21 microphone, which is still manufactured today. In 1954, Lab W unveiled the MD 81, the first modern shotgun microphone.

    The company was renamed after its founder in 1958, a year after the company exhibited the first RF wireless microphone system, the Mikroport, for professional TV and stage use. In 1968, the company developed both the first open-back headphone, the HD 414, of which more than 10 million were sold, and the MK 12, the first professional RF wireless condenser clip-on microphone. In 1977, the company unveiled the world’s first open electric headphones, the 2000.

    On Sennheiser’s 70th birthday in 1982, he handed the management of the company over to his son, Professor Dr. Jorg Sennheiser, who has continued to secure the company’s success and is today chairman of the supervisory board. Sennheiser himself remained a consultant and limited partner. That year he was made an honorary member of the German Electrical Industry Association where he had been a board member for 16 years.

    In 2002, Dr. Sennheiser was awarded the Gold Medal from the Audio Engineering Society in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the professional audio industry. The company still places great emphasis on its founder’s philosophy to give engineers free rein in their creative ideas, no matter how crazy those ideas might seem, as it is often these ideas that result in the best developments. Dr. Sennheiser passed away on May 17, 2010, and is survived by his son, Prof. Dr. Jorg Sennheiser.

  • Richard Sharp

    Richard Sharp

    President, Circuit City

    It’s been said that life’s a circle, something Richard Sharp knows a lot about. As a boy, the budding electronics aficionado spent hours perusing the catalog of Lafayette Radio. Lafayette Radio was purchased by Wards TV. Wards TV turned into Circuit City. And the boy who flipped though the Lafayette catalog, as an adult, became president and CEO of Circuit City, leading the company through its period of greatest growth and helping to make it one of the nation’s premier big box superstore retailers.

    Sharp was born in Washington, D.C., in April 1947. He turned his boyhood passion for electronics into a vocation, studying electrical engineering at the University of Virginia (1965-1966) and computer science at The College of William and Mary. He later attended Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

    After starting his career as a computer programmer, Sharp founded Applied Systems Corp. (ACS) in 1975. Sharp was the sole shareholder and served as CEO, leading the company as it grew to more than 300 employees. ASC developed custom hardware and software business systems using mini and microcomputer technology, including a low cost online POS system especially well suited for big ticket retailers. In 1978 ASC sold one of its systems to Wards TV, which had been founded in Richmond, VA, in 1949. During the process of customizing and implementing the system, Sharp developed a strong relationship with Wards TV CEO Alan Wurtzel.

    Impressed by the management team and prospects for rapid growth in consumer electronics, Sharp joined Wards in 1982 as an executive vice president. In 1984, the company renamed itself Circuit City and Sharp was elected president. He was named CEO in 1986 and chairman and CEO in 1990. The following year, Circuit City entered the New York City market, using the remnants of the Lafayette Radio stores that it had bought in the early 1970s as a base.

    During his tenure, the number of Circuit City stores mushroomed from dozens to hundreds; revenues grew from $175 million to $12.6 billion and market capitalization increased from $18 million to more than $12 billion. Circuit City was one of the Good to Great companies described in Jim Collins’ 2001 best seller. Circuit City was also the number one performing stock on the New York Stock Exchange in the 1980s. One dollar invested January 1, 1980, returned more than $80 dollars just 10 years later.

    From 1990 to 2000, Sharp simultaneously served as chairman and CEO of Circuit City spin-off CarMax and led the team that created the consumer-friendly used car concept. CarMax is now America’s largest used car retailer with annual revenues exceeding $8 billion in 2007. He retired from Circuit City’s day-to-day management in 2000 and retired as CarMax’s chairman of the board in 2007.

    In 1992, Sharp was a founding investor and chairman of Flextronics, a leading electronics design and manufacturing company with annual revenues exceeding $30 billion. In 2005, he was a founding investor and chairman of Crocs Inc., the manufacturer of the now ubiquitous plastic shoes.

    In addition to his corporate success, Sharp has served on numerous other for-profit and non-profit boards, including time as chairman of the National Retail Federation, the Virginia Business Council and Children First America. He founded and was principal contributor to Children First Virginia, an organization that provides scholarships for low-income K-8 students. He also serves on the boards of Johns Hopkins and UVA Medicine, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond and the VCU School of Engineering Foundation.

2007 Inductees

  • Paul Allen

    Paul Allen


    The world of consumer electronics and modern computing would not be what it is today without the contributions of Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. A longtime friend of Bill Gates, Allen was instrumental in the company’s creation as well as the purchase of QDOS.

    Born in Seattle, WA, Allen attended Lakeside School with Gates. Allen used the school’s teletype terminal to develop his programming skills. He went on to study at Washington State University and later accepted a job as programmer for Honeywell in Boston, MA. Working at Honeywell placed him near his friend Gates, who was studying at Harvard.

    In 1975 the two friends founded ‘Micro-soft’ in Albuquerque, NM and got into the world of microcomputers. With the removal of the hyphen, some cool software and a once-in-a-lifetime deal with IBM, the rest is history. In 1980,Allen organized Microsoft’s purchase of QDOS, the predecessor of MS-DOS, for $50,000 for use in their client’s IBM personal computer. It catapulted Microsoft Corp. to the forefront of personal computing.

    In 1983 Allen was in Paris on business when he became so ill, he had to fly back to Seattle early. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. The experience changed him – he resigned from Microsoft in 1983 and its all-consuming work ethic, but kept a large chunk of the company. He remained on the board until 2000.

    When Microsoft went public in 1985, Allen owned 28 percent (Gates owned 49 percent). Allen has been selling his Microsoft shares since he left the company, but still owns more than $3 billion worth.

    Since his time at Microsoft, Allen has focused on philanthropy. Allen established the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in 1986 and has awarded nearly $30 million in scientific and research grants annually to a five-state area of the Pacific Northwest. The foundation is made up of four program areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development and Social Change, Innovations in Science and Technology, and Youth Engagement.

    He also financed SpaceShipOne, which won a prize for the first privately built craft to enter sub-orbital space. He created the Experience Music project and the Science Fiction museum in Seattle, both non-profit institutions. Allen's investment company, Vulcan, was founded in 1987. He was an early investor in AOL and was one of the original backers of the movie studio DreamWorks SKG, the creator of the Shrek series.

    Still single,Allen plays rock guitar, basketball and is interested in technology and science fiction.He was instrumental in taking Microsoft from a start-up to domination of PC operating systems with MS-DOS.

  • Dr. Amar Bose

    Dr. Amar Bose

    Bose Corp.

    Dr. Amar Bose showed an interest in electronics at a very young age. At 13, he started a radio repair service in his basement after school. The business helped support his family during World War II, and grew to be one of the largest of its kind in Philadelphia.

    His passion for technology continued at MIT, where he earned Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering. While a student, he bought a speaker and disappointed in its performance, he began studying acoustics and psychoacoustics (the human perception of sound) all while teaching in India on a Fulbright scholarship.

    In 1956, Bose was drafted to teach at MIT.His approach was radically different,with a focus on thinking, not formulas. Dedicated to his students, he taught his popular acoustics course until 2001, and has been credited with revolutionizing the school’s teaching of undergraduate Electrical Engineering.

    His research at MIT led to the development of new, patented technologies. With those patents, he founded Bose Corp. in 1964, and achieved international acclaim with the introduction of the 901 Direct/Reflecting® speaker system in 1968.

    Bose credits much of the company's success to its private ownership. Under his leadership as chairman and technical director, 100 percent of profits are reinvested in the company's growth, development and broad research initiatives. Speaking of his company Bose says, "I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn't been done before."

    The list of major technologies emerging from Bose Corp. continues to grow. Award-winning products such as Lifestyle® home entertainment systems and Wave® music systems have reshaped conventional thinking about the relationship between an audio system’s size and complexity and the quality of sound it produces. Noise-reducing headphones and customized sound systems for vehicles and public spaces also have been developed through the company's steadfast pursuit of research.

    Bose Corp. also has applied its expertise to areas, including switching power amplification, biomedical testing equipment, and its latest breakthrough – a suspension system that combines superior comfort and control in the same vehicle.

  • Karlheinz Brandenburg

    Karlheinz Brandenburg

    Co-developer, MP3

    Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg is owed much of the credit for the development of digital audio compression. Because of this he is often referred to as the “Father of MP3.” Born in Erlangen, Germany in 1954, Karlheinz Brandenburg attended Erlangen University where he studied Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, earning degrees in both sciences.

    Brandenburg began working on digital music compression in 1980s while at Erlangen-Nuremburg University. Obtaining a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1989, Brandenburg’s doctoral thesis on the Optimum Coding in the Frequency Domain (OCF) algorithm includes a number of characteristics present in the MP3 technology it helped to create.

    From 1989 to 1990, Brandenburg worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ on ASPEC and MPEG Layer 3. In 1990 he returned to Erlangen, where he worked on the development of the MP3 codec with the Fraunhofer Institute, later becoming the head of the audio/multimedia department of Fraunhofer IIS in 1993. Working to evaluate the MP3 compression algorithm, Brandenburg used a CD recording of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner.”

    Brandenburg is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and head of the AES Standards Committee working group SC-06-04 Internet Audio Delivery Systems. He has been granted 27 U.S. patents as a co-inventor. Brandenburg has received a number of awards including the AES Silver Medal Award (1998), the German Internet Award NEO (2001) and the IEEE Engineering Excellence Award (2000).

    Brandenburg’s contributions to the MP3 audio format are unquestionable, and the format’s popularity is increasing with millions of users worldwide. These users enjoy the format while at home, in the car, at work, and can be found on PCs, mobile phones, personal music players, and PDAs. The MP3 format has revolutionized the music industry and our lives, as we are presented with new methods of marketing, new business models and state of the art devices making use of this remarkable technology.

  • William G. Crutchfield Jr.

    William G. Crutchfield Jr.

    Crutchfield Corp.
    Founder and CEO

    For 33 years, the Crutchfield name has been synonymous with information on consumer electronics products as well as exceptional customer service. Founded by Bill Crutchfield in 1974 in Charlottesville, VA with just $1,000, the company today sells more than 6,700 automotive and home audio/video products through it catalogs, call centers, website and two retail stores in Virginia. In 1995, Crutchfield Corp. became the first consumer electronics retailer to launch an e-commerce site. It also recently entered the Canadian market with the establishment of Crutchfield Canada.

    A native of Virginia, Crutchfield graduated from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce in 1965. He then served in the United States Air Force until 1970 as a commander of a Titan II missile crew and as a Strategic Air Command senior instructor. Crutchfield was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for his distinguished service and achieved the rank of Captain.

    Bill Crutchfield came up with the idea for the Crutchfield catalog while pursuing a hobby, the restoration of classic sports cars. In 1974, while preparing an old Porsche 356 coupe for sale, he decided to add a modern audio system. However, he was unable to find a car stereo specialist in Charlottesville or a mail order company in popular automobile and "do-it-yourself"  magazines. The need for a national business to serve this niche seemed obvious to him. The Crutchfield catalog was aimed at providing a nation-wide solution to the shortage of specialty direct retailers for car stereo equipment.

    Following a difficult first year of sales, he decided to mail a questionnaire to his catalog subscribers and customers. Bill Crutchfield found that many customers lacked a solid understanding of car stereo. In response to this, he developed what is regarded as the world’s first “magalog”—a hybrid between a magazine and a catalog. Since then, the Crutchfield catalog and website have provided consumers with information on, as well as access to specialty car stereo equipment and other consumer electronics products. Catalog Age magazine has honored the Crutchfield catalog and website with 17 awards for design excellence. Crutchfield Corp. has been awarded BizRate’s Circle of Excellence Award for seven consecutive years. And Crutchfield Corp.’s two call centers are recognized as J.D. Power and Associates Certified Call Centers.

    Bill Crutchfield continues to be influential in Virginia. He served as Chairman of the Alumni Advisory Board and was the 1992 Executive-in-Residence for the McIntire School of Commerce. In 1997, Governor George Allen appointed him to the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors (Board of Directors). Governor James Gilmore reappointed Crutchfield in 2001, and throughout his two terms he served on numerous committees of the Board. Various governors have appointed Bill Crutchfield to numerous state commissions. In 2004 he was awarded the William “Billy” Gitchell Award by the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Heart Association because of an effective corporate wellness program that he pioneered.

    Crutchfield Corp. is a model of how consumer education and dedicated customer service can propel a company to success.

  • James Edward Day

    James Edward Day

    CEA Counsel

    James Edward Day was born in Jacksonville, IL, in 1914. He attended Harvard Law School and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Day was appointed U.S. Postmaster General in 1961 by President elect John F.Kennedy. At the time, this post was a cabinet level position. He resigned due to financial difficulties in 1963 but during his tenure, he implemented the ZIP code. He also was an active member of numerous organizations, including The American Bar Association and was known for his wit. He published several memoirs and a work of fiction.

    Throughout his distinguished career, he also served as special counsel for the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) Consumer Products Division (CPD) and Illinois State Insurance Commissioner under Governor Adlai Stevenson. In his time as special counsel for EIA, Day was involved in hearings aimed at restricting the permissible level of X-radiation emission from television sets.

    Following the X-radiation proceedings, Day remained on as permanent special counsel to the division on legislation and government regulations. By 1972 the Consumer Electronics Group had placed all its legislative activities under his direction, subject to policy decisions by the CEG Board of Directors.

    One of the landmarks of his career was Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., also known as the "Betamax case.” The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the making of individual copies of complete television shows for purposes of time-shifting does not constitute copyright infringement, but is fair use. The Court also ruled that the manufacturers of home video recording devices, such as Betamax or other VCRs (referred to as VTRs in the case), cannot be liable for infringement. The case was a boon to the home video market and created a legal safe haven for the technology, which also significantly benefited the entertainment industry through the sale of pre-recorded movies.

    The broader legal consequence of the Court's decision was its establishment of a general test for determining whether a device with copying or recording capabilities ran afoul of copyright law. This test has created some interpretative challenges to courts in applying the case to more recent file sharing technologies available for use on home computers and over the Internet.

    J. Edward Day passed away in 1996, but is remembered for his work that advanced the consumer electronics industry and also the U.S. government.

  • Dr. Heinz Gerhäuser

    Dr. Heinz Gerhäuser

    Co-developer, MP3

    Dr.Heinz Gerhäuser was born in Munich, Germany, in 1946. Focusing on Electrical Engineering, Gerhäuser studied at Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he received his master’s degree in 1973. Joining the faculty of engineering in 1973, Gerhäuser worked towards his PhD as a research scientist at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. After he obtained his degree in 1980,Gerhäuser joined the IBM San José Research Laboratory as a visiting scientist from 1980 to 1981, where he worked on ink-jet printing.

    Returning to Nuremberg, Gerhäuser joined Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in 1985 and was appointed deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen. He led a joint research team between Erlang-Nuremberg University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, which created a functional real-time codec of the low complexity Adaptive Transform Coding algorithm, or LC-ATC. With the LC-ATC algorithm completed, the team began work on a real-time codec using multiple digital signal processors (DSPs). The hardware system, based on multiple DSP modules and a number of audio and data I/O interface cards, developed from scratch, allowed for significant optimizations of algorithm testing, resolving a major bottleneck that quickened advances in audio compression. In addition to his work on the MPEG Audio Layer 3 codec, Gerhäuser in his time at the Fraunhofer Institute has worked on audio and video coding, mobile data communication, data services for digital radio, international standardization, application of state-of-the-art communication techniques and teleworking. Gerhäuser, the successor to Dr. Dieter Seitzer’s administration, has led Fraunhofer IIS since 1998.

    He is a member of the Scientific Technology Council of the Bavarian State Government. In 2001 Gerhäuser was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the Bavarian Minister-President. In 1999 Gerhäuser was appointed university professor of the endowed Chair of Information Technologies with Focus on Communication Electronics (LIKE) at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Since January 1, 2005, he has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fraunhofer Microelectronics Alliance.

  • John McDonald

    John McDonald

    Casio Europe and Casio Electronics (U.S.)

    A leader in the field of consumer electronics marketing, John McDonald is responsible for making the Casio name familiar to consumers across the globe. Without McDonald’s contributions to the CE industry, the market for such devices as pocket calculators, electronic watches and portable LCD televisions would not have developed as it did.

    After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in English,McDonald served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954. He began working for Sperry Rand in the early 1970s,where he was responsible for introducing Sperry-branded Casio calculators to the European market. In 1975, McDonald was chosen by Casio co-founder Toshio Kashio to become president of Casio Europe and managing director of Casio Electronics in the U.K. At the 1978 Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas, Nevada, McDonald was introduced by Kashio as the new president of Casio Electronics (U.S.).He returned to the U.S. and in addition to his role as President of Casio also served as a member of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) board of governors and as a member and past chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Executive Board.

    One memorable moment at the company involved the Casio G-Shock Watch, said to be able to withstand a full 1G worth of shock. When NBC took Casio’s challenge and dropped the watch ten stories from a helicopter, the watch survived unharmed. McDonald also served on many other boards to help to grow the CE industry, such as his completion of a two-year term as chairman of the National Science & Technology Education Partnership (NSTEP), formerly the Electronics Industries Foundation. McDonald also was a member of the board of directors of the Brooklyn College Foundation, associated with his alma mater, Brooklyn College.

    He retired in 1999 after 25 years with Casio, and was awarded the TWICE Distinguished Achievement Award at the 2000 International CES. He and his wife, Tessa, have three children and four grandchildren.

  • Steven Sasson

    Steven Sasson

    Inventor, digital camera

    Born in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, NY, Steve Sasson grew up with a keen interest in electronics. As a child, he designed and built radio receivers, stereo amplifiers and transmitters in his basement with salvaged electronic components from discarded televisions and radios. He attended the Brooklyn Technical High School, a specialized public high school in New York City, where he focused on technical and scientific studies. Sasson obtained a bachelors and a masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy,NY. During his time at RPI, Steve’s first job in the CE industry was working as a draftsman for a consulting engineer in Little Falls, NJ.

    He joined Eastman Kodak Co. in 1973 as an electrical engineer working in an applied research laboratory in the Apparatus Division. Sasson was given a broad assignment from his supervisor, Gareth A. Lloyd, to build a camera using solid-state imagers, a new type of electronic sensor known as a charge coupled device, which could capture optical information. Sasson went about constructing the digital circuitry from scratch, using oscilloscope measurements as a guide. For the rest of the camera, he made use of what was available to him at the time: an analog-to-digital converter from Motorola, a movie-camera photographic lens made by Kodak, and tiny CCD chips introduced in 1973 by Fairchild Semiconductor. The original prototype was eight pounds and about the size of a toaster. With a resolution of 0.01 megapixel, it recorded black and white digital images to a magnetic cassette tape. With this prototype model, Sasson took the first image in December of 1975 taking 23 seconds to capture it and forever changing the way the world takes photos.

    Sasson continues to work for Kodak and during his tenure with the company has been involved in the development of Kodak's award-winning range of EasyShare thermal printer docks, commercialization of retail photo kiosks, the halftone proofer in the graphics market and advanced technologies in Kodak's professional range. He also has played a role in Kodak’s developments in thermal printing.

    In 2004 he moved to the Corporate Commercial Affairs (CCA) organization within Kodak where he served as the project manager for a major intellectual property litigation. He is presently working in the Intellectual Property Transactions (IPT) group at Kodak. In March 2007, Sasson received the "Visionary" award from the Photographic Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA).

    Sasson’s interest and devotion to electronics helped him to create the first prototype of a technology that has become a major commercial force and revolutionized the way the world takes pictures.


  • Richard M. Schulze

    Richard M. Schulze

    Best Buy

    Richard “Dick” Schulze was born and raised in St. Paul, MN, and has contributed much to his beloved home state. He received technical training in the U.S. Air Force with the Minnesota National Guard. Following his discharge, he worked for the next six years as an independent manufacturer's representative selling consumer electronics components throughout a four-state area before founding Sound of Music, a chain of six stereo component retail stores, in 1966. Sound of Music hit the $1 million mark for annual sales in 1970, just four years after its debut.

    In the early 1980s, the company quickly expanded into video products and appliances, adopting the name Best Buy in 1983 and becoming a publicly-traded company two years later. In 1989, Best Buy pioneered a new superstore concept that placed all inventory on the sales floor and featured non-commissioned product specialists. Schulze was an early proponent of the big-box store concept with inventory on the sales floor that customers could touch. Best Buy became the first national retailer to sell DVD hardware and software in 1997. One year after the DVD format’s debut, Best Buy sold its one-millionth DVD in 1998.

    Schulze has been an officer and director from the inception of Best Buy and currently is chairman of the board. In June 2002, he relinquished his CEO duties.

    Best Buy has grown from a regional U.S. company to a multinational portfolio of well respected brands. Best Buy acquired Future Shop, Canada's largest consumer electronics retailer in 2001, and launched the Best Buy brand in Canada in 2002. The following year the company acquired Geek Squad and opened Best Buy’s first global sourcing office in Shanghai, China. Best Buy has maintained a tradition of improving people's lives by making technology and entertainment products fun and easy-to-use.

    Schulze has been indispensable to local charities, businesses and educational institutions. He holds an honorary degree from University of St. Thomas (UST) in St. Paul, MN. He also is a member of the Minnesota Business Partnership, a collective of the state’s 85 largest corporations,working alongside legislators to develop public policy. He gave what was then the largest donation to a Minnesota college or university when he donated $50 million to assist in opening the UST School of Law, featuring the prominent Schulze Grand Atrium, as well as the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. Schulze now serves on the board of trustees at UST, as well as the board of directors of Pentair Inc., The National Entrepreneur of the Year Institute, the Carlson School of Management’s Board of Overseers and the Advisory Board for the Science and Technology Center.

    A notable philanthropist, Schulze has worked with many civic committees and organizations such as the United Way’s Keystone, Camp Courage of Minnesota, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He helped to raise funds for more than 103 local charities from 73 local companies when he served as chair of the Pacesetter Division, a part of the Minneapolis United Way Chapter.

    A visionary and founder of the largest CE retailer in the U.S. and Canada, Schulze also has contributed timeless energy and resources to charities, businesses and the CE community. Schulze and his wife Maureen have 10 children.

  • Dr. Dieter Seitzer

    Dr. Dieter Seitzer

    Co-developer, MP3

    Dr. Dieter Seitzer was born in 1933, and studied telecommunications at the Technical University of Stuttgart, where he obtained his PhD. From 1962 to 1970 Seitzer worked in the research laboratory of IBM in Zurich, Switzerland. During his time with IBM, Seitzer was promoted to head of the department for experimental communication systems. His interest in communication systems, information transfer and audio coding led him to play a major role in the development of the MPEG Layer 3 codec better known as MP3. This audio compression technique made it possible to transmit traditionally-large audio files over the slower Internet connections of the past. Depending on desired quality, a digital audio file could be compressed to a tenth of its original size. These smaller files were better suited to be transmitted over slow Internet connections based on phone lines.

    In the 1970s, Seitzer, while a professor at the University of Erlangen, had an idea to compress and transmit audio data in high quality over phone lines, later focusing on transmitting specifically music as improvements were made to telecommunications infrastructure. In 1979, a team led by Seitzer developed the first digital signal processor capable of audio compression, and with its creation the hardware foundation was laid for the development of audio compression schemes. When the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, a portion of the German research organization the Fraunhofer Society,was established in 1985, Seitzer was named founding director. He led the institute from 1985 until 1998.

    Seitzer was awarded medals of merit from the Chamber of Commerce in 1995 and the State of Bavaria in 1996. Thanks to Seitzer’s vision and determination, the Internet and our lives have become interwoven with digital sound – in MP3 format.

  • Art Weinberg

    Art Weinberg

    Consumer Electronics Journalist

    A native and lifetime resident of Chicago, IL, Art Weinberg was a prolific journalist.Weinberg’s articles and book reviews appeared in numerous publications, including the Saturday Review, Home Furnishings Daily and the Los Angeles Times. A social historian, educator, editor and journalist, his coverage of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago during the 1970s helped to grow the consumer electronics industry.

    Weinberg was active in the Industrial Workers of the World during the early 1930s and later served as the group’s president. Concerned with American labor, he was fascinated by Clarence Darrow and wrote Attorney for the Damned, a nonfiction collection of Mr. Darrow’s cases and speeches that remained on the New York Times best-seller list for 19 weeks in 1957. While attending Northwestern University during the late 1930s, Weinberg was associated with the Illinois Writers’ Project, a federal program that employed writers during the Depression. After receiving his diploma in Journalism in 1938 and his Ph.D in 1941, he served in the military from 1945 to 1947, attaining the rank of Sergeant.

    Upon leaving the military, Weinberg began his career with Fairchild Publications,where he worked for nearly 45 years. He wrote about the consumer electronics industry for Home Furnishings Daily (HFD) from 1973 when the first winter International CES was hosted at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago until it moved to Las Vegas in 1978. The International CES summer show remained in Chicago from 1971 until 1994. He wrote about the debut of such products as the videocassette recorder (VCR) in 1970 and the laserdisc player in 1974. Weinberg was promoted to Midwest bureau chief for HFD in 1977 and remained in this position until 1981.

    He also taught social history at DePaul University with his wife Lila, for 16 years. Together they co-authored a biography of Clarence Darrow, Clarence Darrow: A Sentimental Rebel in 1980 for which they were awarded the best biography award from the Society of Midland Authors. Weinberg served as president of the Society of Midland Authors for three years from 1967 to 1969, as well as director of the Headline Club, and a member of the Workmen’s Circle and the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1987 Weinberg received the Midland Authors’ annual award for a distinguished body of work, and in 1988 he was appointed Lloyd Lewis Fellow in the American history at Chicago’s Newberry Library. He passed away in 1989 and is survived by his wife Lila and three daughters.

2006 Inductees

  • Dr. Donald Bitzer

    Dr. Donald Bitzer

    Co-Inventor, Plasma Display

    When newly-minted Ph.D. Don Bitzer, along with fellow University of Illinois professor and senior research engineer Gene Slottow and graduate student Robert Willson, developed the first plasma display, they had no concept of high-definition TV. Bitzer, Slottow and Willson were merely trying to help solve the illiteracy problems in inner city schools.

    Bitzer was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 1934, the first baby born in the area that year, and grew up in nearby Collinsville. His interest in science was sparked by an uncle, a civil engineer and an electronics hobbyist who helped his nephew build radio sets, and was fueled by Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines. Bitzer earned his bachelor’s degree in 1955, his master’s degree in 1956 and his doctoral degree in 1960, all in electrical engineering, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

    Soon after graduation, Bitzer became an assistant professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UIUC, and was asked by Daniel Alpert, director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois, if he thought computers could be used as private tutors. Within a few months, Bitzer had produced the first computer-based instructional system, PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), which presented computer graphics with overlaid slides on a television set viewed by the students. As the system expanded to several terminals, it was clear that using storage tubes for memory and a television channel per terminal would not be economical and digital memory was too expensive to use in large quantities at the terminals. A display that was bright, had high contrast, was transparent, and had inherent memory was needed. These were needs that drove Bitzer to recruit Slottow and Willson to invent the A.C. plasma display panel, which they finished in July 1964.

    The original panels of these early plasma displays were orange and found early use for computer graphic displays. But by 1966, Bitzer, now an associate professor, along with Slottow and Willson demonstrated multicolor panels using a gas discharge rich in ultraviolet light and color phosphors. In 1967, the plasma display was given the Industrial Research 100 award, presented to the most important inventions of the year and Bitzer was made a full professor.

    In 1973,Dr. Bitzer received the Vladimir K. Zworkin Award from the National Academy of Engineering for “outstanding achievement in the field of electronics applied in the service of mankind.” In 1974, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 1982, Bitzer was named Laureate of the Lincoln Academy by the State of Illinois “for contributions made for the betterment of human endeavor.”

    Bitzer continued to work on plasma display technology as well as on the PLATO project until he retired from the University of Illinois in 1989 to become a Distinguished University Research Professor at North Carolina State University, where he continues to teach and do research. His new areas of research include multi-dimensional convolutional coding for communication and the use of signal processing and coding theory to discover genomic information that controls the translation process in protein production.

    Bitzer has received many awards and is a fellow in the IEEE,AAAS, the Association for Development of Computer-based Instructional Systems and the National Engineering Consortium. He has numerous patents and publications in a variety of fields and has directed the thesis work of more than 100 graduate students.

    In 2002, Bitzer became a National Associate of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, and, along with Slottow and Willson, was awarded an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his efforts in advancing television technology.

  • John “Jack” Doyle

    John “Jack” Doyle

    Founding President

    At one time, customers for car stereo and home audio were considered to be quite different. Jack Doyle, however, didn’t think so. He brought high-fidelity auto sound to audiophile customers and helped establish Pioneer as a preeminent brand.

    John Doyle was born in Kentucky and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio with a BA, he joined the office products division of IBM, eventually moving to Southern California. In 1966, he joined Craig Corp. as sales manager of car stereo, later rising to director of marketing.

    In 1971, Pioneer Electronics of Japan approached Doyle to start a U.S. subsidiary to distribute Pioneer-branded car stereo products.When Doyle started the new Pioneer of America, car stereo was a youth product, but was not sold in the many hi-fi stores and chains that had sprung up across the country. Doyle believed that hi-fi stores was where car stereo needed to be displayed and sold, and convinced an increasing number of home electronics retailers to stock his car stereo products.

    To appeal to a more quality-conscious car stereo buyer, Pioneer worked with its Japanese factories to produce the Super Tuner, the first car stereo product with a superior FM tuner section. Between the wider distribution and the high-performance product, Pioneer quickly moved into the No. 1 position in the industry.

    Pioneer had two American companies. Pioneer America sold car stereo and the separate U.S. Pioneer handled home audio. When the two companies merged as Pioneer Electronics of America, Doyle was named CEO and chairman.

    In July 1986, Doyle took early retirement from Pioneer to become a partner with Bill Matthies and co-founded the Verity Group, a market research company. He remained active with the firm until its sale.

    Doyle was active in industry affairs as well. He served on the board of directors of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), including two terms as chairman and was also on the board of governors of EIA. He has served on various boards of public and private companies, including Starsight Telecast and Inamed Corp. He presently serves on the board of the Pomona Valley Medical Center and is chairman of its foundation board. He is an active member of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).

    Jack and his wife Anne have four children and nine grandchildren and reside in Upland, California.

  • Robert W. Galvin

    Robert W. Galvin

    Chairman and CEO

    Achieving success upon inheriting a successful business from your father is difficult. Robert Galvin inherited one of the country’s leading consumer radio and two-way radio manufacturers from his father, Paul, in the late 1950s. Over the next 30 years leading Motorola, Robert turned his father’s $290 million company into a globally dominant semi-conductor and cell phone giant with annual sales of $10.8 billion.

    Born in 1922, Galvin started working for Motorola in 1940, starting at the bottom in the Motorola stock room and learning the business from both older employees and his father while attending Notre Dame and the University of Chicago. In 1948, he was elected executive vice president and, in 1956,was named president of the company. He took over Motorola completely after his father died on November 5, 1959.

    Motorola was already a successful car radio and mobile telephone manufacturer in the late 1950s. Following a quick in-and-out in the mid-1950s, Galvin brought Motorola back into the color TV business in 1961. But Galvin soon recognized that the Japanese would exploit their lower costs and sold the business to a Japanese company, plowing the proceeds back into developing new businesses such as semi-conductors. Galvin assumed his father’s position as chairman of the board of Motorola in 1964, and in 1970 also was named CEO, a post that had remained vacant since his father held it.

    In the late 1960s, Galvin led Motorola’s entry into the nascent cell phone business, encouraging the costly development of the first portable handset in 1973. Galvin’s chance demonstration of the portable to President Reagan in the early 1980s led to the White House’s support of opening up the cell phone business to competition rather than allowing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to award a monopoly to AT&T. While Motorola was establishing a dominant position in the cell phone hardware business, Galvin led the fight to open up Japanese markets to American goods and promoted the adoption of Japanese quality management methods. Galvin created both successful consumer products and direct-to-industry businesses while maintaining an entrepreneurial corporate culture. In recognition of his service to the American business community, President Reagan presented Galvin and Motorola one of the first Malcolm Baldridge awards in 1988. He was elected to the National Business Hall of Fame, and in 1991, received the National Medal of Technology.

    In the late 1980s, Galvin began to step back from day-today involvement. In 1986, he retired as CEO and, in 1990, he stepped down as chairman of the board to become chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors. He finally retired from the board in May 2001.

    But Galvin has remained active since retiring.He was chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Institute of Technology; chaired a Department of Energy task force called the Galvin Commission to research alternative futures; he chaired International Sematech, the chip consortium; co-chaired the Center for Strategic and International Studies on radio frequency spectrum management; served as vice chairman of the board of trustees for the Universities Research Association; and, was a member of the board of trustees of the Santa Fe Institute.

  • Andrew Stephen Grove

    Andrew Stephen Grove


    Andrew Grove’s ambition and drive led him on an unlikely course from his native Hungary to the University of California at Berkeley to found one of the most innovative and dominant American technology companies of modern times.

    Grove’s unlikely path started in Budapest in 1936 as Gróf András, the family name coming first in Hungary. In 1956, Grove, nicknamed Andris, escaped with his family under cover of night as the Russian’s crushed the Hungarian Revolution, arriving in New York the following year. He lived with an uncle in the Bronx and worked his way through school, graduating at the head of his class with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from City College of New York in 1960. He then moved to California and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963. He immediately found work at Fairchild Semiconductor,where the integrated circuit was invented four years before. Grove became assistant director of research and development at Fairchild in 1967.

    The following year, fellow Fairchild engineers Gordon Moore and integrated circuit co-inventor Robert Noyce left to form a new electronics company eventually named Intel. Grove asked to come along, and became Intel employee number three. None of the three knew exactly what the new company would be.According to Grove, the first Intel business plan was one page that said “absolutely nothing."

    What Intel did was to invent and commercialize the microprocessor, starting with the four-bit 4004 chip in 1971, followed by the eight-bit 8008 in 1972 and what is considered the first all-purpose chip, the 8080 in 1974, which was used in the first personal computer, the Altair 8800. Grove soon came to be recognized as the company visionary and the driving force in moving the company from being merely a chip provider to a technology leader. In 1979,Grove was named president of Intel. Two years later, IBM tapped Intel to supply the new 8088 chips for the IBM PC. Grove was the day-to-day leader at Intel and is largely credited for building the company into the market leader it is today and is one of the primary drivers in ushering in the Information Age.

    In 1987, Grove was named Intel’s CEO, the same year he received the IEEE Engineering Leadership Recognition award. In May 1997, he added chairman to his list of Intel titles, the same year he was named Technology Leader of the Year by Industry Week, CEO of the Year by CEO magazine, and “Man of the Year”by Time magazine. Ironically, Grove resigned as CEO the following year.

    Grove has written more than 40 technical papers and holds several patents on semiconductor devices and technology. He taught a graduate course in semiconductor device physics at his alma mater Cal Berkeley for six years. In 2004, Grove was named the “Most Influential Business Person in the Last Twenty-Five Years” by the Wharton School of Business and the Nightly Business Report. He stepped down as chairman in May 2005. Before his passing in March 2016, Grove was involved in numerous industry and charitable organizations, most prominently in research to cure prostate cancer, which he suffered from in the mid-1990s. He also taught a course entitled “Strategy and Action in the Information Processing Industry" at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

  • George Heilmeier

    George Heilmeier

    Team leader, LCD Development

    Calculators. Cell phones. iPods. Computer flat screens. Any device that requires a screen would be almost impossible without the development of liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. And LCD development would have been almost impossible without George Heilmeier, who led the team at RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Center that developed the technology in the mid-1960s.

    Heilmeier was born, raised and educated in Philadelphia, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in electrical engineering in 1958. He then earned his master of science in engineering degree in solid-state electronics and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton.

    Soon after graduation, Heilmeier joined RCA Labs. In the period 1963-1970, he discovered four new electro-optic effects in liquid crystals and demonstrated their use in display applications that included alpha numeric displays for instruments, electronic clocks, TV-like static picture displays, electronically controlled window transparency and optical shutters. But LCD use in flat panel TVs was deemed years away awaiting advances in integrated circuits for addressing, so Heilmeier and his team concentrated on more immediate, commercial smaller screen applications. Even though Heilmeier’s DSM technology was later improved and replaced, Heilmeier is credited with the major contributions that led to LCD’s commercial use. In fact, several engineers who worked under Heilmeier left RCA and formed Optel in 1970, which produced the first commercial LCD watches.

    In 1966, Heilmeier was named Sarnoff ’s head of solid-state device research and, four years later, was chosen as a White House fellow. As a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Heilmeier worked on long-range R&D and technology assessment. A year later, he was named Assistant Director of Defense Research and Engineering in charge of all Defense Department electronics, computer technology and physical sciences programs. In early 1975, he became Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Over his six year tenure in the Department of Defense, Heilmeier was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest civilian award given by the department, on two separate occasions.

    Heilmeier left the federal government to become a vice president at Texas Instruments (TI) in late 1977. In 1983, he was named TI’s senior vice president and chief technical officer. In 1991, he became president and CEO at Bellcore, a research and engineering consortium owned by the regional bell companies, and wasbeing named chairman. In 1997, he became chairman emeritus of the company, which had changed its name to Telcordia.

    Over the course of his career, Heilmeier earned 15 patents and received numerous awards including the National Medal of Science presented by President Bush in 1991. In 1993, he received the Industrial Research Institute Medal for outstanding accomplishment in leadership of industrial research and was named the first “Technology Leader of the Year” by Industry Week magazine. In 1997, he received the IEEE Medal of Honor, “for discovery and initial development of electro-optic effects in liquid crystals." More recently, old Alumni Hall, the primary engineering department lecture hall at his alma mater, Penn, was renamed Heilmeier Hall in his honor. In November 2005, Heilmeier was honored for his LCD innovations with a Kyoto Prize, Japan’s version of the Nobel Prize.

  • Dr. Nick Holonyak Jr.

    Dr. Nick Holonyak Jr.

    Inventor, LED

    Don’t blame the flashing “12:00" on VCRs on poor product design. Blame them on Dr.Nick Holonyak Jr., who, among his many accomplishments, invented the light-emitting diode, or LED.

    The son of a coal miner originally from the Carpathian Mountains in what is now western Ukraine, the Illinois native studied at the University of Illinois, where he earned his bachelor of science degree in 1950, his master’s in 1951 and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1954. He conducted his graduate work under the watchful eye of transistor co-inventor John Bardeen.

    After graduation, Holonyak joined the prestigious Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J. He served in the Army Signal Corp from 1955 to 1957, and then was hired by GE’s Advanced Semiconductor Laboratory in Syracuse, N.Y., where he worked as a consulting scientist on semiconductor devices. In 1958, he invented the shorted emitter p-n-p-n switch used in electric dimmer switches, and invented the first visible semiconductor laser, commonly known as a laser diode, in 1960.

    Holonyak also learned about research on how semiconductors could generate infrared light. Holonyak believed the technology could have a greater impact if people could actually see the results. In 1962, Holonyak developed the red GaAs1-xPx – otherwise known as the light-emitting diode, or LED, which used crystal alloys to make semiconductors emit red light visible to the human eye. Holonyak’s red LEDs were first used commercially in the Hamilton Pulsar watch developed with Monsanto in 1972 and in Mattel’s Electronic Football Game. LEDs in other colors soon followed. LEDs produce more light per watt than both incandescent and halogen lighting sources, making them more environmentally friendly and cost effective in the long run. LEDs last an average of ten times longer than incandescent bulbs and are threatening to replace other chemical-based lighting technologies in flashlights and household light bulbs.

    Holonyak returned home and to his alma mater in 1963, becoming a professor in electrical and computer engineering and working in Illinois’ Materials Research Laboratory and Electrical Engineering Research Laboratory, where he still works primarily on lasers and LED technology.

    Holonyak has published more than 500 papers and has been issued 34 patents.Among his numerous awards and honors are the 1989 IEEE Edison Medal for “an outstanding career in the field of electrical engineering with contributions to major advances in the field of semiconductor materials and devices." In 1990, he was presented the National Medal of Science by President George H.W. Bush and in 1993, he was named John Bardeen Endowed Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 2002, he received by President George W. Bush, one of only 13 bestowed with both honors. In 2003, he was given the IEEE Medal of Honor; and the Russian Global Energy prize (in 1995 the Japan Prize), in 2004, he was awarded the annual Lemelson-MIT. Prize.

    Holonyak is still innovating. In 2005, a research center was set up by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop Holonyak’s proposed LET – light-emitting transistor. LETs and transistor laser senable optical and electronic functions to be integrated on a single chip and could lead to the development of optical computers that can run 1,000 times faster than today’s electronic computers. And, he is still supervising graduate students at the University of Illinois’ College of Engineering.

  • Howard Ladd

    Howard Ladd

    Founder of Concord Electronics, Establisher of Sanyo-US, Chairman of Fisher

    Boomboxes and compact stereos now are ubiquitous products, Sanyo a prestigious brand name and Sanyo-Fisher a prominent consumer electronics company. All are ubiquitous because of Howard Ladd.

    Born in Providence, R.I., Ladd’s family moved to Philadelphia in 1931. Graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942 after studying electrical engineering, and taking courses at Wharton School of Business in accounting and business management, he joined the U.S. Navy with a commission as an ensign.During the war, Ladd designed radio-controlled target drone aircraft while working at The Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, and participated in the invasion of Okinawa.

    After being released from active duty in 1946, Ladd was active in various business ventures before becoming sales and marketing manager in 1957 for the American Concertone line of $1000-plus professional level reel-to-reel audio tape recorders. After hearing that a company called Superscope was importing and selling lower-priced Sony tape recorders in the U.S., and after his own company decided to focus on high-end products, Ladd formed Concord Electronics in 1959 and designed a line of $100 to $500 tape recorders to be sold in the U.S. under the Concord brand name.

    Within six years, Concord had broadened its product line to include a new product category, a portable, battery-operated tape recorder that was priced at a mere $29.95. Other innovative products Ladd and Concord introduced included a reel-to-reel recorder with a built-in AM/FM radio, the world’s first cassette audio tape deck, one of the first stereo cassette boom boxes and all-in-one stereo compact music systems.

    When Concord merged with another company in 1969, Ladd accepted an offer from Sanyo to start and operate a Sanyo brand distribution and marketing company in the U.S., based in Los Angeles. At the time, Sanyo’s product line consisted of just three color TVs, which Ladd, as executive vice president and COO, expanded to include stereo music systems, car stereo equipment, portable tape recorders and an expanded television line.

    In 1975, Ladd initiated a process to acquire Fisher Radio, which at the time was owned by Emerson, and in turn had bought the company from its founder, Avery Fisher. Once the acquisition was completed, Ladd became president of the new Fisher Corp., which sold primarily high fidelity audio receivers, compact stereo music systems and speakers manufactured in Pennsylvania. Ladd led an expansion of the Fisher line to include an integrated amplifier/tuner/tape deck/turntable/speaker system, cosmetically matched one-brand and racked audio component systems, as well as portable stereo products, stereo televisions and the newly-developed wireless remote-controlled VCR. Within less than ten years, Fisher annual sales grew from $30 million to nearly $1 billion. As Fisher’s growth continued, Ladd went on to become the chairman and president of Fisher Corporation.

    When Sanyo Electric and Fisher Corp. merged to become the Sanyo Fisher (USA) Corp., Ladd retired in 1988, but the retirement didn’t last long. With some associates and friends, Ladd started a bank in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Century City and served as vice chairman and chairman of the board for 10 years before retiring for good.

  • Gordon Moore

    Gordon Moore


    Not many people have a law named after them. Gordon Moore’s eponymous prediction that the number of transistors on a computer chip would double every 18 months is familiar to everyone in the technology business. But as co-founder of chip giant Intel, Moore has more on his resume than just a tech truism.

    A native of San Francisco, Moore’s interest in science was stimulated by a chemistry set a neighbor received for Christmas when he was about 11 years old.Moore spent two years at San Jose State College before transferring to the University of California in Berkeley, where he received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1950, followed by a Ph.D. in chemistry and physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1954.

    In 1953, he joined the technical staff of the Applied Physics laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, where he did basis research in chemical physics. He joined Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1956 shortly after it was established by Dr. William Shockley, one of the inventors of the transistor. In 1957, Moore and seven other engineers and scientists, the so-called “Traitorous Eight" left Shockley and founded Fairchild Semiconductor Corp.

    At Fairchild, Dr.Robert Noyce developed the first integrated circuit. Soon after this development,Moore succeeded Noyce as director of R&D, becoming responsible for the realization of Noyce’s ideas.During his tenure at Fairchild, integrated circuit technology advanced rapidly and, in April 1965,Moore published an article entitled “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits" in Electronics magazine projecting chip advances expected in the next ten years and establishing “Moore’s Law." In 1975, he updated his prediction from doubling chip capacity every 18 months to once every two years.

    In July 1968, Moore and Noyce left Fairchild to found Intel, a contraction of “integrated electronics.” The plan for the new company was to develop and market large scale integrated circuits (LSI) significantly more complex than anything being produced at that time. Moore wanted to empower employees to increase a sense of ownership in the company by encouraging risk-taking and concentrating on results. By 1971, Intel’s research in general purpose computer architecture controlled by software had evolved into the 4004, a 4-bit microprocessor that started a new revolution in electronics. Intel shipped the first microprocessors in February 1971. Ten years later, IBM introduced its PC using the Intel 8088 microprocessor. In addition to Moore’s Law, Moore developed a mathematical model to predict how many completely defect-free chips could be yielded from a silicon wafer, a formula Intel continues to use.

    Moore initially served as executive vice president of Intel, becoming president and CEO in 1975 and chairman of the board and CEO in 1979. He served as CEO until 1987, when Andrew Grove took on the title. In 1990, he received the National Medal of Technology from President George H.W. Bush and, in 2002, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

    Moore remained Intel’s chairman of the board for several more years and is now chairman emeritus. Moore and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which supports programs with lasting positive impacts on the quality of life. Major areas of interest for the foundation include higher education, scientific research and world-wide conservation.

  • A.J. Richard

    A.J. Richard

    P.C.Richard & Son Retail Chain

    Alfred J.Richard (“A.J.”) was chairman of the board of P.C.Richard & Son, a retail chain with 49 showrooms that his father, Peter Christiään Richard (“P.C.”), founded as a hardware store in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn in 1909.

    Born the year his father established the business, A.J.was only eight when he began working with his father, handling stock and waiting on customers. He had been learning the business first-hand for nearly a decade when, in 1925, he spotted an opportunity that would change his life forever.

    An abundance of new household appliances followed the increasing electrification of America. A.J. convinced his father to start selling electric irons along with the hardware and plumbing supplies that were the company’s stock and trade. The irons were a hit with customers and A.J. pounced upon the trend, rapidly diversifying the store’s inventory, adding washing machines, refrigerators and a host of other appliances designed to make the lives of American homemakers easier. Simultaneously, he introduced an innovative time payment plan that helped to rapidly grow the company’s business.

    Taking over the company from his father while he was still in his teens, A.J. proved to be a classic entrepreneur, combining boundless energy with a natural instinct for merchandising, marketing and customer service and a willingness to take risks. By the mid-1930s, he had converted his father’s hardware store into an appliance oasis. Though the nation was embroiled in the Great Depression, he was selling an impressive amount of appliances weekly and supervising a staff of five sales clerks and six door-to-door sales people. That remarkable transformation set the stage for even greater success as radios and, later, televisions transformed popular entertainment.

    Always ahead of the times, he further distinguished P.C. Richard & Son by creating his own service department to repair the radios and televisions he sold. “I’ve been in the service business since the beginning of radio and then television,”he often boasted later in his life.

    Despite his success, though, he never forgot his humble beginnings or the values that made him successful. His father had been a tinsmith, roofer and bicycle repairman before opening a part-time home repair service that would prove to be the foundation of his hardware business. And it was upon P.C.’s reputation for reliable, high quality work and fair customer service that A.J. grew the company. Until he passed away December 28, 2004, he remained a hands-on business leader and a devout advocate of honesty, integrity and reliability. Those simple standards are an unambiguous hallmark of all P.C. Richard & Son employees, with 49 showrooms serving the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. Closing in on its 100th anniversary, the company is now the nation’s largest family-owned and operated consumer electronics, appliance and computer retailer.

    P.C. Richard & Son continues to be a friendly, family-owned and operated business. A.J.’s son, Gary, is CEO; his son, Peter, is executive vice president; his grandson,Gregg, is president; his granddaughter, Bonni, is director of human resources; and his grandson, Peter III, is manager of warehousing and distribution.

  • John Roach

    John Roach


    RadioShack became the country's most ubiquitous and iconic seller of electronics goods and parts in large measure because of its long-time CEO, John Roach.

    Born in Stamford, Texas, like RadioShack, he was raised in Fort Worth. He worked at his father’s grocery store as a boy after school, stocking shelves, handling the cash register and sweeping up. During his undergraduate years at Texas Christian University, Roach worked unloading box cars and as a field engineer. Two years after earning a degree in physics and mathematics, Roach received a master’s in business administration. It was during his course of study for his advanced degree that Roach first learned about computer programming and the potential use of computers by consumers.

    In 1967, Roach was hired by Tandy Corp. as a data processing manager, but he had far more valuable capabilities. Aware of the Roach’s positive results, Tandy chairman Charles Tandy,who had bought nine RadioShack stores in 1963, kept a sharp eye on him.Within 14 years, Roach had been promoted through the ranks, first as vice president of distribution in 1972, then VP of manufacturing in 1976, executive-president of RadioShack and ultimately president of Tandy itself.

    Roach promoted the idea of personal computing. As a result of his research and promotion of the concept within Tandy and to Charles Tandy, RadioShack began selling the TRS-80 PC, which sold for the low price of $399 in 1977 and quickly became a top-seller. Several upgraded models followed, all equally successful, helping to establish the market that would be exploited by Apple and later IBM. In 1978, the first nationwide chain of RadioShack computer centers opened in Fort Worth. In 1981, Roach became the youngest CEO in the country and, in 1982, he was named chairman of Tandy. RadioShack gave early credibility to Microsoft, Nokia, AOL and others.

    Roach set about to make sure that, like himself, talented employees were found, encouraged and promoted at Tandy. Roach helped develop a strong lineup of store managers, engineers and company executives. To help feed Tandy’s need for talent, Roach encouraged education with a program of financial rewards to teachers and students who made outstanding contributions to academic excellence in science and math.

    While growing RadioShack, Roach also established additional retail brands for Tandy to increase its growth potential, including the launch of Computer City in 1991 and The Incredible Universe in 1992. Roach solidified Tandy’s concentration on retail when he auctioned off the company’s manufacturing arm in the early 1990s.

    Roach was honored throughout his career as one of the nation’s leading technology executives. He served as a member of President Reagan’s Council on Private Sector Initiatives, he was named Financial World’s “CEO of the Year” in 1981, Forbes' Business Speaker of the Year in 1988, Financial World's “CEO of the Decade” in Specialty Retailing in 1989, received the EIA Medal of Honor in 1993 and was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1994.

    Roach retired from Tandy in 1999, then served as chairman of the board of Justin Industries,was chairman of the trustees of Texas Christian University for 15 years, and, as a nod to his humble beginnings, served as a member of the board of directors the Horatio Alger Association.

  • H. Gene Slottow

    H. Gene Slottow

    Co-inventor, Plasma Display

    Gene Slottow’s wife was late picking him up after work. As a result, the electrical engineering professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) helped invent the plasma display.

    It was early summer, 1964. Fellow professor Dr. Donald Bitzer had been working on a display devise that could be used for the first computer-based instructional system, PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) that he had devised. But Bitzer was stuck. He and Slottow found themselves outside the university’s Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL) discussing how to proceed. While they waited for their spouses discussing an approach suggested by graduate student Robert Willson, the pair discovered a solution.

    Slottow had received a degree in physics from the University of Chicago, a master’s in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois,where he was hired in 1954. Ten years later, Slottow, now a senior research engineer, and Bitzer figured out how to emit light by energizing neon gas sealed between two sheets of glass coated with phosphor to produce color. The morning after their revelation, Bitzer, Slottow and Willson started on a new model that used three layers of glass, the center layer with rows of tiny holes filled with a mixture of gas, and the outer layers lined with transparent metallic lines to carry the necessary electrical current to excite the gas in the tiny holes. The trio completed the first plasma panel, a monochrome display that glowed orange, in July 1964.

    Slottow remained actively involved in perfecting the plasma panel throughout his tenure at UIUC. In 1968, Slottow was promoted to associate professor in the university's electrical engineering department while maintaining his position in the CSL, which morphed into the Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory, where his work earned him several patents in electronic instrumentation and electronic displays.

    Widely published, Slottow received numerous awards including the Frances Rice Darne Memorial Award from the Society for Information Display for technical achievement in 1973.After 32 years at UCIC, Slottow retired in 1986 and died three years later. In 2002, his wife accepted the Emmy awarded her husband, Bitzer and Willson for their work in inventing the plasma display.

    Slottow also was an outstanding jazz piano musician and played at numerous faculty gatherings and with local jazz bands. He once told his brother Dick, if he had it all to do over, he would study music.

  • Robert Willson

    Robert Willson

    Co-inventor, Plasma Display

    A search for a dissertation subject led Robert Willson to become the co-inventor of the plasma display.

    Willson was working in the Coordinated Science Lab (CSL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) under Dr. Donald Bitzer, helping to develop the PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) system, which presented computer graphics with overlaid slides on a television set viewed by the students. But Bitzer had a problem with CRT display devices and their endless flickering. What PLATO needed was a flicker-free screen and inherent memory in an era before microprocessors. So Willson chose the physics of trying to solve the PLATO display problem as his dissertation subject.

    Willson presented one approach to Bitzer and senior research engineer Gene Slottow. One early summer evening in 1964 while waiting to be picked up by their wives, Bitzer and Slottow discussed Willson’s idea and discovered a way to solve the problems. The next morning, the trio got to work on a new model, with Willson handling most of the precise drilling on the glass layers. By July, Willson, Bitzer and Slottow had solved most of the problems and created the first plasma display.

    While continuing his contributions to the plasma display, Willson finished his dissertation and earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1966. Along with Bitzer and Slottow, Willson was awarded a patent for the plasma display the following year.

    Unlike his two plasma display development partners, Willson didn’t stay in academia and research at UCIC, instead moving into private industry.After graduation, he moved to Baltimore and became a systems analyst for several companies, including Westinghouse.

    In the early 1980s, however, Willson decided to put the secular world behind him. A few years earlier,Willson had been ordained a pastor at the Baltimore Spiritual Science Center. He and his wife moved to Sparrow Hawk Mountain in the Ozarks of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where he was ordained in Spiritual Science in 1983. In 1990, he graduated from Sancta Sophia Seminary and was ordained by Light of Christ Community Church in Tahlequah. He later served as dean of Sancta Sophia, where he teaches rainbow bridge meditation, inner child development, coherent heart techniques, and emotional freedom technique, a healing procedure that uses taps on the meridian system to release negative emotions. Willson was recently invited to serve as co-pastor at the Tahlequah Light of Christ Community Church in Sparrow Hawk Village.

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