CE Pro December 2021 - 26

INDUSTRY
CE Pro Masters
particular, over-hiring staff
before new business was secured,
which at times left the
company quite vulnerable. "
Necessity is often the
mother of invention, and as
it turned out, Firefly Design
Group started creating marketing
materials and building
websites for dealers to help
them successfully sell an
engineering line item ... so
Firefly's own business could
survive. " Though by 2013 we
had built the engineering
business up to $1 million dollars,
it was barely profitable
- and all uphill. I couldn't
work any harder and I finally
realized I needed someone
to help me with finance and
operations. "
Firefly hired Taylor
Whipple, who has an MBA
in Finance and experience
with start-ups. He helped
Callis realize that marketing
was the more solid, growing,
profitable (and fun) part of
the business, " and that the
engineering side had become
exactly the opposite. "
In late 2015, Callis closed
the engineering side to
double down on what was
working. In Q1 2016, they
debuted One Firefly, a company
solely focused on being
the best marketing agency
to the custom integration
channel.
Today, with more than 60
employees (including 10 in
Mexico) and 30% year-overyear
growth track record,
One Firefly serves more than
500 customers for whom
they create websites, collateral
marketing materials,
SEO, SEM, social media campaigns
and more, including
manufacturers that seek out
the company to assist their
dealers.
" I'm a lifelong learner and
teacher, " says Callis, " and I
love that we are challenged
every single day to solve new
problems. I relentlessly strive
for excellence in our products
and our teams. We celebrate
our wins, but we're constantly
innovating to be a better
value to our customers. "
RICHARD
COLBURN,
National Sales
Manager,
Fidelis
A LIFELONG MUSIC FANATIC, Richard Colburn remembers
the moment when he first heard a classmate's really great
stereo system at the University of Maine in Orono. The
sound quality absolutely blew his mind - and changed the
course of his life toward what would ultimately become a
long and multipronged career in high-end audio.
After graduation, Colburn felt he needed a break and
passed on a teaching fellowship in English Literature to
work in an audio store in Harvard Square and the rest, as
they say, is history. " For me, this was my dream job. Listening
to the likes of King Crimson and Pink Floyd all day long,
reproduced through quality audio components, made my
soul sing, " he says.
After several years at Minute Man Radio, Colburn joined
Cambridge, Mass.-based Suffolk Audio, one of the country's
first truly super high-end audio stores, where his love of
high-performance musical reproduction blossomed. After a
return stint at Minute Man didn't go as planned, he tried his
hand at repping and then stepped away from hi-fi, taking a
job selling Saabs and Alfa Romeos (another lifelong passion).
He enjoyed the work and always liked to say that " selling
a Saab was easier than selling a $300 cassette deck, since
people actually needed a car. "
On a hunch, one day in 1978 he stopped into another
suburban Boston hi-fi store, Natural Sound, where he heard
26 | CE Pro December 2021
a pair of Tangent speakers and within weeks was U.S. sales
manager for the brand. On his way back from New York City
one day with a giant Tangent PO in hand, he was informed
that the company abruptly closed its doors.
He visited the Canadian distributor to see if he could
buy Tangent, but when informed that he couldn't use the
name, he immediately reset, moved to Toronto, called on ace
speaker designer Kevin Voecks, and started up the design
and production of Mirage Speakers in his living room. For a
while, Mirage was jointly owned by five people and Colburn
acted as U.S. sales manager for several years until Howard
Heiber came along and bought both Mirage and Energy to
form API.
At that point, Colburn married and moved to California
where, over the next 30 years, he cycled through many
stints as national or regional sales manager for Plateau,
Rogers, Nakamichi, Proton TVs, Bryston, Shunyata Research
and Auralec, plus more major stretches as the first national
sales manager for AudioQuest for five years, a 10-year
tenure as Western regional manager for API, and currently
as national sales manager for Fidelis, selling very high-end
brands like Harbeth and Exposure. He also spent the last
year writing a memoir called 'Adventures in Hi-Fi, " due out
by year's end.
" Mostly, I am eternally grateful that I got to fly all around
the world, making friends with colleagues in Japan, Italy,
Canada, China and England, many of whom I've stayed in
touch with for close to 50 years. We bonded over music,
then it became about hi-fi, then we were real friends. In
fact, throughout my entire career I never really 'sold' in
a conventional manner. I would just talk to people in an
organic, non-scripted way. When you can really feel what
people want, you hit the sweet note - and almost always
make the sale. "
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CE Pro December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro December 2021

CE Pro December 2021 - Presentation Page
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover1
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover2
CE Pro December 2021 - 1
CE Pro December 2021 - 2
CE Pro December 2021 - 3
CE Pro December 2021 - 4
CE Pro December 2021 - 5
CE Pro December 2021 - 6
CE Pro December 2021 - 7
CE Pro December 2021 - 8
CE Pro December 2021 - 9
CE Pro December 2021 - 10
CE Pro December 2021 - 11
CE Pro December 2021 - 12
CE Pro December 2021 - 13
CE Pro December 2021 - 14
CE Pro December 2021 - 15
CE Pro December 2021 - 16
CE Pro December 2021 - 17
CE Pro December 2021 - 18
CE Pro December 2021 - 19
CE Pro December 2021 - 20
CE Pro December 2021 - 21
CE Pro December 2021 - 22
CE Pro December 2021 - 23
CE Pro December 2021 - 24
CE Pro December 2021 - 25
CE Pro December 2021 - 26
CE Pro December 2021 - 27
CE Pro December 2021 - 28
CE Pro December 2021 - 29
CE Pro December 2021 - 30
CE Pro December 2021 - 31
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CE Pro December 2021 - 35
CE Pro December 2021 - 36
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CE Pro December 2021 - 38
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CE Pro December 2021 - 40
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CE Pro December 2021 - 43
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CE Pro December 2021 - 45
CE Pro December 2021 - 46
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CE Pro December 2021 - Cover3
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover4
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