Crestron Electronics founder/chairman, passionate inventor/multi-patent holder and undisputed AV visionary, George Feldstein, passed away on November 4, 2014, after a hard-fought battle with brain cancer.
George Feldstein started Crestron in 1969 in a room above a New Jersey deli, after being fired from his last job. “I came to the realization that I’m not employable,” Feldstein told Forbes magazine. “So I started a company.”
Originally doing “anything to make a buck”, George Feldstein devised a wireless remote for commercial AV systems in the 1970s. This launched Crestron’s career as a world-leading AV innovator. It saw this one-man shop grow into a $1 billion family-owned business employing more than 2,500 people worldwide.
During his lifetime, George Feldstein earned 14 patents—both in AV and personal curiosities, such as bicycle lubrication. When Forbes profiled him, Feldstein was busy inventing an improved humidifier design. “This is my Rube Goldberg machine,” he told them with a chuckle. Noting that an earlier version sprayed salt dust all over his house, Feldstein quipped, “My wife nearly threw me out.”
During his career George Feldstein won many honors, including InfoComm’s Adele de Berri Lifetime Achievement Award and CEDIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. "George Feldstein is the personification of what happens when you combine science and technical knowledge with imagination, generosity and tenacity,” said Randal A. Lemke, former Executive Director and CEO of InfoComm International.
Feldstein’s generosity includes paying employees well, and keeping Crestron’s manufacturing centered in the United States. “I have great belief in American enterprise,” he told Forbes. “When the economy went south we brought everything in-house and paid more for it, rather than lay people off.”
George Feldstein’s passing is a genuine loss to his family, Crestron, and the AV industry—and America as a nation. He will be missed.
James Careless is a regular contributor to AV Technology magazine.