By Kirsten Nelson On January 12, 2011
LOUD Technologies CEO Mark Graham
Has Always Had A Vision For Sound
NAME: Mark Graham
COMPANY: LOUD Technologies
OVERTIME: Graham’s career began
with the pro audio dealership he owned
in the 1980s. After a stint in the military,
Graham joined Crown International,
where he would serve as president.
Recently, Graham took on the title of
CEO for LOUD Technologies.
SCN: Were you tech-savvy from a young age?
Mark Graham: I’ve always been a gadget guy,
but my love of sound gear comes from my love
of music. My dad is a big music buff and I grew
up playing with his passed-down stereo gear.
Later, I took up the piano and guitar and ended up in bands, but at
some point I realized I was better at working the sound system than
performing the music.
SCN: You have a degree in electrical engineering. What new challenges
are today’s electrical engineers encountering in the field compared
to those who studied the science a generation ago?
MG: I think the rate of change in technology is the biggest difference
for today’s engineers. Surprisingly to me, the pace of change in the
evolution of technologies seems to be endlessly increasing and this
puts pressure on engineers and their companies to keep up. But it’s
also exciting, as these new technologies continue to increase, it also
increases the range of tools available to us to help deliver innovative
new solutions to our customers.
SCN: What led you to the AV industry?
MG: I have always had a passion for pro audio gear. I began years ago
running sound for the garage band I was in.
Then I worked as sound tech for the local
community college. Later I somehow managed
to borrow enough money to set up a retail pro
audio dealership, which then evolved to also
take on consulting and contracting.
LOUD Technologies’ CEO Mark Graham visits a school in Uganda.
SCN: You recently took on the title of CEO for
LOUD Technologies. What is your vision for successful
management of a multi-brand company?
MG: This goes to the heart of
one of the big attractions that
LOUD had for me. I’m a huge
fan of the LOUD brands: EA W,
Martin Audio, Mackie, and
Ampeg. Each brand has its own
identity and brings a unique
value to our industry. My vision
is to enable these brands to
flourish by encouraging them
to passionately pursue what
they are great at. My challenge
is to give our brand leaders
even more runway to deliver
truly innovative products and
services to our customers,
while ensuring we operate each brand as a profitable business.
SCN: What is the manufacturer’s role in identifying the real-world
obstacles faced by commercial AV customers and helping them to
grow their business?
MG: First and foremost, our role as a manufacturer is to listen to
consultants, rental companies, contractors,
dealers, and integrators to understand their
pressing business needs. We then need to
partner with these customers and apply our
technologies and competencies in creative
ways to develop products and services that
meet those needs. I think the biggest missing
piece, however, and a huge opportunity for
LOUD , is to go one step further and develop
products that solve customer problems in
ways they never thought possible, and perhaps
even address a few issues they never thought
of. That’s where the fun is, and what will take
LOUD , our customers, and the industry, to
entirely new levels.