The Consumer Technology Association Inducts 14 Industry Leaders into the 2018 CT Hall of Fame

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, inducted 14
visionaries into the Consumer Technology (CT) Hall of Fame at its annual
awards dinner, held last night at Capitale in New York City. CTA created
the Hall of Fame in 2000 to honor industry pioneers and entrepreneurs.

This year’s honorees include John Briesch, the Sony executive who led
the launch of the compact disc (CD); Dr. John Cioffi, the father of
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL); Robert Cole, founder of World Wide
Stereo; Richard Doherty, an influential technology journalist and
industry analyst; Peter Lesser, smart home pioneer and founder of X-10
USA; Mike Romagnolo, founder of DOW Stereo/Video; and Edgar Villchur,
inventor of the acoustic suspension speaker.

In addition, two teams are also part of the 2018 class. First, the
co-founders of Thiel Audio, Kathy Gornik and Jim Thiel and the
co-founders of Skype, the person-to-person video phone platform: Janus
Friis, Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, Jaan Tallinn and Niklas Zennström.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, praised the inductees for their
contributions that have helped to grow the U.S. economy. He said,
“Tonight, we honor the leaders that inspire us and motivate us to think
outside the box. The entrepreneurs in the CT Hall of Fame are an
extraordinary group. They inspire us to be better and encourage us to
reach for the stars.”

The first inductee to accept his award was John Briesch who advised
attendees, “If you have a passion, a new technology or a dream, seek out
partners and instill in them your passion. Build networks within your
area of expertise to create a working team of people who believe.”

Next, Dr. Cioffi, thanked Stanford University for the support it gave
him during the development of the DSL high-speed data technology. “With
my Stanford affiliation, it has always been about my students over the
years. They propped me up and have been involved in everything I’ve
done,” he said.

Robert Cole, founder of Worldwide Stereo said, “Nobody gets here alone,”
as he recognized the inspiration his family has given him. From his
mother who shared her love of music, to his brother who taught him the
inner workings of speakers to his wife of 45 years who stood by him.
“It’s hard to fail when you have that kind of support.”

Sabrina Doherty accepted the award on behalf of her late father,
industry analyst Richard Doherty. Sabrina recalled the many road trips
to tradeshows the Doherty family took. “It was at these tech shows where
we would walk the halls and he would point out people and tell us how
they made our world better and how their vision, discoveries and
guidance upgraded our lives.”

Kathy Gornik, the co-founder of Thiel Audio and former CTA Chairman as
well as chair of multiple CTA boards, said, “We were a little company in
a garage in Kentucky and if it hadn’t been for CES, I really don’t know
how we would have grown this company to become a worldwide player. We
were not huge, but plenty big enough for us.”

Early smart home entrepreneur Peter Lesser shared his respect to the
industry he participated in for more than 40 years. “Just to be on the
same list as so many industry greats is a bit crazy, certainly
gratifying but above all very humbling,” he said. “I will never forget
this night, this industry and the great people in it.”

Michael Romagnolo of DOW Stereo/Video thanked the many people,
manufacturers and businesses who helped his independent electronics
store grow into one of the largest in the country. “I just want to let
you know that this is one of the biggest honors of my life,” he said.

CEO and President of VOXX International, Pat Lavelle, accepted the award
on behalf of Edgar Villchur. Villchur founded Acoustics Research (AR)
whose products and inventions set the standard for high-quality
audio. “Being the current guardian of AR, we strive to carry Edgar’s
goal of truth in listening, building hi-res audio players and high
fidelity hi-res headphones that have won numerous awards and accolades
around the globe,” Lavelle said.

Finally, the Honorable Darrell Issa surprised guests to accept his 2017
award, after being unable to attend last year due to the Congressional
voting schedule. He helped establish pro-tech and free market policies
in Congress after a successful career as CEO of Directed Electronics.
During his speech, Congressman Issa shared his experiences as a young
businessman, driving from Cleveland to Chicago on little sleep just for
the opportunity in exhibit at CES.

With the 2018 class, the CT Hall of Fame grows to 260 inventors,
engineers, retailers, journalists and entrepreneurs who conceived,
promoted and/or wrote about the innovative technologies, products and
services that connect and improve the lives of global consumers.

The inductees were selected by media and industry professionals, who
judged the nominations submitted by manufacturers, retailers and
journalists. To learn more about the CT Hall of Fame program and for
information on the 2019 nomination process, visit Complete
profiles of the honorees are in the November issue of CTA’s magazine It
Is Innovation (i3)

About Consumer Technology Association:

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM is the trade
association representing the $377 billion U.S. consumer technology
industry, which supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs. More than 2,200
companies – 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are
among the world’s best-known brands – enjoy the benefits of CTA
membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical
education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering
of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES®
– the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of
consumer technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s
industry services.


Consumer Technology Association
Cindy Stevens,
Chisholm, 703-907-5229