Klein helped build a foundation at Crestron
This past week Crestron’s Randy Klein announced his plan to retire later this year. After more than 30 years, our industry will be without Mr. Klein walking the floor of ISE, Crestron Masters, InfoComm, CEDIA or any one of a myriad of integrators Randy has toured over the decades.
With the retirement of an industry icon, it’s easy to wax poetic. For Randy Klein, it may not be possible to truly articulate the impact his career has had on the industry as he has guided Crestron’s growth the past three decades.
Klein’s strength and talent came in recognizing and developing strategic relationships. Beginning with just a few tables in a 10×10 booth at InfoComm, Randy was at the center of the activity connecting and networking with integrators.
Translating Engineering Speak
Klein would take the technical from Crestron founder George Feldstein and convert that into sales materials. Engineers within AV integrators understood the technical specs but salespeople needed a way to sell control and automation to the tech managers. Randy worked with the integration sales channel to develop programs and translate from engineer to AV user.
During the 90’s when control programming became more complicated, Crestron developed the CAIP (Crestron Authorized Independent Programmer) program. With it, came the first iteration of Crestron Masters. After more than 20 years, Klein and the team at Crestron has trained and educated thousands of control programmers, AV designers, and systems engineers. The annual event attracts more than 1,000 audiovisual professionals from around the country. Globally the education continues as Crestron Masters Europe has also become a yearly gathering of Crestron pros.
From a personal point, Randy Klein has always been kind and accommodating to me. This extends back to when I was a tech manager. I emailed Randy, out of the blue, about an issue we were having at Lewis & Clark; the community college I worked. Klein not only responded to me, thanked me for the email, he also contacted the right people and got the situation taken care of relatively quickly. Randy Klein had no business emailing a tech manager from a small community college. However, he took time to do so, and made a lifelong fan in me. That’s not to say I agree with all of Klein’s, or Crestron’s, moves over the years. But his ability to connect with customers on a personal level has impressed me for over twenty years.
With Randy stepping aside, Dan Feldstein, son of Crestron founder George Feldstein, takes over as President and CEO. Feldstein has come up through the ranks at Crestron, working in R&D and computer engineering. Klein comes from the sales side, Feldstein from the engineering side. Certainly, there will be an adjustment in leadership styles.
This transition also illustrates the need for succession planning. Whether you are the founder, senior manager, or lead a team, planning for the next generation is crucial to the long-term success. Randy Klein defined and grew a company that became and remains the bedrock of our industry, and community. His legacy has put our industry on a trajectory for continued growth.
Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.