Chuck Augustowski, Sales & Marketing Manager/Corporate VP, APB-DynaSonics
Chuck Augustowski, sales and marketing manager/corporate VP, APBDynaSonics, started his first sound company in the late 1960s and ran it successfully through the ’70s. During that time, he also became involved with a new U.K. console company named Allen & Heath through its U.S. distributor, Audiotechniques.
Augustowski worked every U.S. AES show with A&H in the ’70s and had some influence on its products. In 1981, he was asked to take over Allen & Heath Brenell USA full-time. He was named VP of sales and marketing, and served on the board of directors of the parent company in the U.K. At this point, one of his current partners, John Petrucelli, joined the company, designing many of Allen & Heath’s sound reinforcement products.
After the sale of A&H in 1991, Augustowski and Petrucelli decided to start their own company and were introduced to John Lee who owned Crest Audio. Starting their new company under Crest’s umbrella, it was early in this period that Taz Bhogal, previously with Trident consoles in the U.K., joined them in engineering to work on Crest consoles. Augustowski recalls, “I worked on all aspects of Crest consoles, but was mainly involved with the development of new product and promotion of the brand.”
After departing Crest, he spent over a year and a half looking for investors to start a new console company. When he found a U.S. investor, he was able to convince both Petrucelli and Bhogal to join him in December 2004, and thus APB-DynaSonics was born. The three of them have been equal partners ever since.
By spending a number of years as an end-user, Augustowski says he developed a sensitivity and desire to fill the console needs of the liveperformance industry. “This explains why I develop products largely based on feedback I get from the market,” he notes. “Ultimately, long-term reliability and performance are the most important criteria for APB, along with ROI [return on investment]. As a longtime console manufacturer, I’ve made mistakes over the years, and one of our goals at APB has been to not repeat those mistakes and instead come up with original solutions to solve problems in design, manufacturing, operations and sales.”
Petrucelli is the corporate president of APB and chief engineer. He is also responsible for product service and manages the day-to-day operations of the company. Bhogal is the senior design engineer and corporate secretary. In addition to his design work, he writes test procedures and oversees manufacturing and purchasing. In addition to being corporate VP and responsible for sales and marketing, Augustowski works in research and development for new products.
The partners are supported by a staff that includes mechanical engineer Olga Gomelskaya; Luis DeJesus, who heads up the manufacturing team; office manager Mary Weiss; and customer service manager Irene Taylor. There are 14 people overall, not including contract-manufacturing personnel located within the same building as APB.
The company uses independent rep firms in the U.S. and has separate independent firms that are responsible for international distribution—Andy Simmons in Europe and Joe Manning in Asia. As Augustowski puts it, “We are all family and consider the live-sound industry as an integral part of our family and legacy. Up to now, we have specialized in developing analog mixing consoles for the Live Sound and Contracting markets. Because we are a small independent company with no parent owner, we are consequently involved in all phases of the company’s operation.”
Contracting and regional touring continue to be APB’s biggest markets. “The Contracting market wants APB to develop a number of smaller and simpler analog mixers that provide the high quality and performance of our larger Spectra and ProDesk consoles,” Augustowski reports. “The commercial AV market is the biggest area of potential growth that we currently see, and we have plans to develop digital versions of our products.”
Augustowski says that APB deals with the competition on “friendly terms. We are all trying to make a living in a rough economy, so we try to come up with new ideas from the market itself, instead of copying what the competition is doing. Sometimes, we will come up with ideas similar to the competition, and other times, we may go in a totally different direction. This type of competition expands the tools our customers have available to them and becomes a win-win situation to the end-user and industry alike.”
When asked if there are any particular initiatives planned, Augustowski responds, “Yes, but we avoid talking about such plans until they are ready to be put into place.”
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