George Manlove, former CEO of Montana-based AV specialty chain Vann's, has joined subwoofer-maker Velodyne Acoustics as global sales and marketing VP to shepherd the company's entry into new audio product categories and launch a new channel strategy.
George Manlove, Velodyne Acoustics global sales and marketing VP
Manlove, who joined Velodyne this week after 26 years with Vann's, will also focus on expanding the company's international sales, which account for about 40 percent of dollar volume.
"We're resetting our audio business," he told TWICE.
Manlove, who was Vann's CEO for 12 years, said he came to Velodyne after getting a graduate degree in marketing because of the company's small size, family ownership, and reputation for innovation. Velodyne was the first audio company to incorporate servo technology in subwoofers, but its engineering innovation goes beyond audio, he said. Through separate Velodyne divisions, company co-founder and chief technologist David Hall spearheaded the development of LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology for use in self-driving vehicles, and he developed self-leveling technology that keeps marine vehicles from jet skis to cruise ships from rocking. Velodyne licensed the self-driving technology to Caterpillar for mining equipment, and Google is testing it in self-driving cars that it is developing.
In two to three week, Velodyne will announce a new channel strategy to make sure Velodyne products "bring value and profitability to us and our partners" in the U.S. and international markets, Manlove told TWICE. The company will be "relentless in protecting the value of its brand," he said. Without offering details, he also said he values "narrow and selective distribution" and that the company is "looking for the right relationships." He also noted that independent retailers make up "the core of our customer base" but that for such new product categories as headphones, it's "important to look at where customers are shopping."
Velodyne's distribution strategy changed radically last year, when the company dropped independent reps and began selling Velodyne-branded subwoofers to retailers and distributors direct through in-house salespeople and through its web site. Like before, dealers who bought through distributors had to be preapproved by Velodyne.
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