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Hubert Wilke Dead at 98

Hubert Wilke, AV consultancy pioneer, died at age 98 on Aug. 4 in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

Hubert Wilke

Wilkie accepts a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. (Image credit: Future)

According to a New York Times obituary, Wilkie joined the marketing team at Group Communications Division of Teleprompter Corporation in 1957 and was "exposed to the potential of emerging communication technologies." 

In the mid 1960's, he opened his own firm, Hubert Wilke, Inc., largely recognized as the first audiovisual consultancy. One of Wilke’s mot important accomplishments, according to Cynthia Wisehart, content director, Sound & Video Contractor, was convincing the builders of the Sears Tower in the early ’70s to include a wiring shaft for AV. "Such seemingly mundane triumphs transform an industry where the definition of cutting-edge moves at nearly the speed of signal," she said.

Wilke ran his firm for over 20 years before announcing his retirement.

In 1987, Wilke came out of retirement to join forces with Fred Shen and Denis Milsom, whose acoustical design firm was then known as Shen Milsom. Because they recognized the importance of offering multi-disciplinary services, the duo was looking to expand the company's portfolio to include AV design. The new firm, Shen Milsom & Wilke (SM&W), would go on to become one of the world's most well-known AV consultancies.

Wilke was the recipient of the AVIXA's (then known as ICIA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.

"Hubert aided in SM&W's first steps into offering multi-disciplinary services, and was a true pioneer in the AV world. We not only mourn his loss today, but celebrate his innovative vision that helped create the firm we are today," SM&W said in a statement.

"Though many know that Hubert 'invented' audiovisual consulting and is widely acknowledged as the father of the discipline, only a few of today’s AV practitioners, whether consultants, integrators, manufacturers, or users, have a sense of just how remarkable a man he was," said Michael Leiboff, a friend and former employee of Wilke who is now principal at EdTech Planning Group.

Hubert was preceded in death by both Shen and Milsom. Hubert is survived by Jackie, his wife of 61 years, his sons, daughter-in-laws, and grandsons. 

A celebration of his life will be held in September in Westchester, NY. For more information, please contact the family at

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.