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The Nine 2022: Brian Pickowitz

Brian Pickowitz
(Image credit: Future)

Title: Vice President of Marketing

Company: LEA Professional

Location: South Bend, IN

Overtime: Pickowitz likes to work on and restore cars, though he joked he’s not good enough to “make much money on it.” He is currently working on a 1964 Impala Super Sport.

Why You Need to Know Him: Brian Pickowitz joined LEA Professional when the company opened its doors in 2019. His work in both marketing and product development has seen the company experience explosive growth, even with the challenges presented during a global pandemic.

As his passion for car restoration suggests, Brian Pickowitz was piqued at an early age on finding out what makes things work. “Prior to college, I was always interested in tearing stuff apart and seeing what was in it,” Pickowitz said. “I was always messing with a home or car stereo—and anything that was audio related, I had my hands on.”

Don’t take technology for granted. I’m constantly learning every day.

That desire led first to an electrical engineering degree from Southern Illinois and his first job with Crown Audio in engineering, designing a few products along the way. He spent more than 16 years with Crown Audio and then HARMAN Professional in many roles, from business development to product management, before taking on the role of director of sales and marketing with LEA Professional (opens in new tab).

Spreading the word of a new company and new products is no easy task, and it kept Pickowitz busy. “It’s amazing,” Pickowitz said. “Some days I get into work, I’ll look down at my watch, and all of a sudden, it’s 4:30. It’s insane, but in a good way.”

One of the biggest challenges he had for the first several months was integrating the ERP, CRM, and eCommerce sites. Pickowitz put on his marketing and IT hats and got to work, helping launch a sharp-looking site that brought products and solutions to its customers from the comfort of their own couches. In 2019, that was a bonus; by 2020, it was pivotal to keep a new company growing.

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Thanks to those efforts, LEA Professional grew every single month throughout the pandemic. “The explosive growth once everything started opening up was not only eye-opening, but satisfactory,” Pickowitz said of the growth when the U.S. and European economies reopened. “All this groundwork we were doing and didn’t see the immediate benefit, it all made sense.”

Perhaps Pickowitz’s greatest strength is combining all those years of experience to understand what customers want in new products. “You have to be able to identify opportunities and seize them as they come,” he offered. “Growing a company over three years—we have made some really good decisions as a team.

“It’s not just hard work and effort that makes someone successful. It’s collaborating with a team, staying up with technology, and staying on that leading edge when something new comes out.”

Pickowitz plays a role in many of the new and exciting products his company is launching, like the Connect Series 1504 amplifier. “We’re a new company. We need to continue to innovate and push out new differentiated products,” he said. “That’s very high on my list from a daily activities standpoint.”"

Much of his time is building out LEA’s cloud capabilities. “Cloud connectivity is becoming more and more prevalent. The pro audio industry is going to see this adoption coming, where it’s not going to be a unique niche feature but required.”

From day one, LEA Professional picked Amazon Web Services as its provider because of its scalability, making it easy to add new features. Pickowitz is hard at work on one of those new features, one that uses analytics to help integrators take a more proactive approach with their customers and helping them avoid the reactive phone calls. “Right now, we’re just giving the customer access to remotely control and monitor,” he said. “What I can do in the future is take that data sitting in the cloud and give the customer analytics.”

Now 40 years old, Pickowitz has spent a lifetime learning lessons in the industry, but knows there are more lessons to learn. “Don’t take technology for granted,” he advised. “I’m constantly learning every day. You need to make sure you stay up with the technology that’s available today or you’re going to be left behind.”

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Wayne Cavadi
Wayne Cavadi

Wayne Cavadi is the content manager of Systems Contractor News. Prior to taking a leap into the Pro AV industry, Wayne was a journalist and content lead for Turner Sports, covering the NCAA, PGA, and Major and Minor League Baseball. His work has been featured in a variety of national publications including Bleacher Report, Lindy's Magazine, MLB.com and The Advocate. When not writing, he hosts the DII Nation Podcast, committed to furthering the stories and careers of NCAA Division II student-athletes.