Name: Jim Mack
Company: Ashly Audio
Overtime: Mack fills up his free time building parts guitars and is currently working on two guitars—an old Jazz bass and a Telecaster. He says "the Tele is really cool because my daughter is very artistic—she’s going into an art program in the fall—and she is working on it with me. I really enjoy woodworking and music so this dovetails together nicely!"
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
JIM MACK: As CEO of Ashly Audio, my main objective right now is to grow the company and build the brand—an effort that’s being helped in a big way by Ashly being a part of the JAM Industries group. We are hyper-focused on the product line and making it more scalable, more effective for systems contractors and integrators, and developing it in a way that offers broader appeal.
Ashly has done a great job of addressing the niche applications in the past. But now it’s time to address the broader product line. We’re revamping who we are and what we’re doing—and that’s all built on identifying what our customers need.
As for my day-to-day responsibilities, we’re still a small company, so I make sure to stay hands on with the product line and work directly with manufacturers. Being the CEO of Ashly means you can’t stay at 30,000 feet. You need to be working in the trenches with the team. We’re incredibly focused and driven to grow the company and that means we have to bring new ideas and solutions to our customers and get things moving forward right now—and I’m lucky to be involved in every step of that!
SCN: How long have you been in this position?
JM: I started at the beginning of January 2017. In that time, we’ve taken the culture of the company and really crafted it into a place where it can grow. The exciting thing for the team here is seeing how the company can evolve. The people here are really involved in the process and the changes. It’s very exciting for all of us right now.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your role?
JM: My role at PreSonus prepared me to build and train a group that would be more actively involved in the decisions that shape Ashly as a company. Many of my past roles—including positions at SaneWave, TASCAM, and Alesis—have helped me understand the work required to get successful products to market. I know who to go to in order to get really high-quality product and production, and to ensure we have the most advanced production technology on the planet.
SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
JM: Our short-term goal is to get our new products to market. In this year alone, we’ve introduced a number of new solutions from the integrated mXa-1502 mixer amp to new amplifiers that make use of incredible, advanced, and cutting-edge technologies. It's over 20 new products in all, with a lot more to come.
These types of products, along with our new AquaControl software, build into the long-term goal: to retool our portfolio of solutions and technologies in a way that allows contractors to build out systems in really creative, intuitive, and effective installations.
We view all our new products right now as building blocks for the products we’ll launch down the line. And combining all the different components is really where contractors will see some incredible value from Ashly.
In the next 12 to 18 months, my goal is to ensure that contractors and integrators see a company that has truly innovated and evolved—and who can count on us for all their jobs, no matter the size.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge you face?
JM: The biggest challenge I have is remembering that this all takes time. We want new ideas to all happen at once, and to have exciting products all be released within a couple of months. But, when you have big ideas, you have to be patient.
That said, it’s an exciting challenge to have as it means you truly believe in the work you’re doing!
SCN: Where do you see the pro audio market heading?
JM: The biggest thing we’re seeing is the continued integration between the IT and AV worlds, and this is especially true in the audio world—the lines have completely blurred. Sound contractors have increasingly become total integrators.
This adds a level of complexity to their lives, and to the lives of manufacturers...but it should be viewed as an opportunity to bring complete solutions to market.
We need to be excited about integrating with complimentary systems that also go on to IT infrastructure. That’s why Ashly has spent time revamping the software—to provide more options and solutions that work in the evolving IT/AV ecosystem.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Ashly Audio?
JM: The key initiative we are working on is developing more platforms and products that work as integrated solutions. We want to provide systems contractors with as many of the parts of a solution as they might need.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you offer?
JM: We’re really focused on giving systems contractors a complete solution. And by that, I mean we are focused on giving all systems contractors a complete solution.
We truly believe we are more nimble as a company than competitors. We have support staff that picks up the phone, we’re directly involved in helping people design systems using our products for the environments they’re in, and we’re listening to our customers to ensure we are bringing the right solutions to market.
Being directly involved with our customers and providing that level of support means we are really involved in every stage of a contractor or integrator’s business. Using us as a resource, both in terms of product and support, allows systems contractors to position themselves as creative problem solvers and true partners in their clients’ success.