View From The Top: Breaking Away - Kurt Metzler, Director of Sales, Powersoft Advanced Technologies Corp.

Since diving into the industry more than 25 years ago, Powersoft’s Kurt Meltzer has always demonstrated a passion and curiosity for how audio works, both as a musician and part of the audience.
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Since diving into the industry more than 25 years ago, Powersoft’s Kurt Meltzer has always demonstrated a passion and curiosity for how audio works, both as a musician and part of the audience.

Kurt Meltzer, director of Sales at Powersoft “I was always curious how art—be it a concert, ballet, or whatever—was somehow enhanced by using innovative audio gear,” Meltzer said. “It was this curiosity that drove me to succeed, as well as my failure to reach the desired result I was looking for while playing in bands. In any event, I was able to launch my career based on the knowledge about audio I had accumulated over many years.”

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Metzler has seen many sides of the pro-audio industry during the course of his lengthy career. Initially graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BS in Music Composition, his experience in the pro-audio field began after graduation when in 1987, he opened what was the first pro audio store in Santa Barbara, CA, Sound Advice/Holiday House Westminster, Inc. That endeavor stood him well, as it found him growing the business from nothing to $2.6 million in gross annual sales and 12 employees.

The next stop was to briefly work with Guitar Center’s Hollywood store to develop its outside sales program, but it wasn’t long before Metzler arrived at Southern California pro audio sales rep firm Star Enterprises, where he spent five years. The next step in his career was joining Sennheiser Electronic Corporation in 2001, where he oversaw western regional market development for two years before moving to Loud Technologies in 2003. There, he was National Sales Manager, Installed Sound, until 2006, when he became U.S. Installation Market Manager for Meyer Sound for three years, eventually returning to Loud in July, 2009 as EAW Sales Manager – North America, before moving to Powersoft in January of last year.

By the time he joined Powersoft in 2014, Meltzer had worked with industry greats such as Kenton Forsythe and John Meyer, who he credits with giving him the opportunity to gain the experiences he needed to lead Powersoft’s U.S. sales team as director of sales. “I think I was attracted to Powersoft because it was still relatively unknown in the U.S. market, despite being an incredibly innovative audio manufacturer. When I first visited the company at its headquarters in Italy, I was astonished by its state-of-the-art, ‘green’ solar-powered manufacturing facilities,” Meltzer explained.

Acknowledging that Powersoft is growing in its installed sound business, Meltzer saw this as an opportunity to raise more awareness of the company in the U.S. markets. For example, Meltzer said, Powersoft’s K Series amplifiers have become successful in the rental market, but he still sees an opportunity to extend that success by broadening the customer base and working closer with system integrators and installation consultants.

“My biggest challenge is getting the U.S. market intimately acquainted with the Powersoft brand,” Meltzer said. “One of my favorite ways of accomplishing this is through face-to-face meetings, and I feel lucky to be in an industry that is so ‘people-based.’ Our reputation is on the line every time someone uses a piece of gear with our name on it; we all want to provide our customers with the best possible solution, no matter what their budgetary, timing or project limitations may be. And that’s what we’ve been doing, time and time again.” Based in Florence, Italy, Powersoft focuses mainly on designing and manufacturing rack-mount amplifiers for live performance applications, including stadiums, arenas, churches, theme parks, airports, convention centers and more. Powersoft also manufactures OEM amp modules for loudspeaker manufacturers, along with other products aimed at end users in a variety of vertical markets.

“For example, Deva is a new energy- efficient product that enables music playback, surveillance, live audio streaming and other features, enabling end-users in government, hospitality, education and other industries to take advantage of a turn-key solution without altering their existing infrastructures,” explained Meltzer.

Powersoft’s U.S. headquarters is based in Ventura, CA, and stocks both rack amplifiers and amp modules, along with a full service center with phone- and field-based tech support.

“Powersoft is a fantastic company to work for because every person you meet is extremely passionate about what they do,” said Meltzer. “I truly believe the company is out to change the world for the better. For me, it comes to a point where I ask myself, ‘Do I want to work at a company that is truly going to make a difference in everyone’s future?’ I do, and that’s why I fit in at Powersoft.”

Currently, Meltzer sees the company’s biggest growth opportunity in installed sound, as well as in module sales that complement the growing market for self-powered speakers.

“As I mentioned, the Deva and M System represent new markets with huge potential, and with Deva, we will be able to reach an entirely new set of customers with an innovative product that delivers both security and communications features,” Meltzer explained.

In terms of competition, Meltzer said there are a number of good products that compete with Powersoft’s rack amps, but fewer that go up against its amp modules.

“Since we are relatively newer to the U.S. market, my biggest competitor is ignorance. There are still many people out there who do not know Powersoft, and my biggest challenge is losing sales to our competition. The easy part is comparing the product specs, features, performance; the hard part is being able to get the face-time with new customers,” he said.

However, even with the challenge of introducing a newer company to the U.S. market, Meltzer is optimistic that he is able to achieve his goals because of Powersoft’s range of products.

“Powersoft is not just an amplifier company, but a true technology innovator that is constantly uncovering new solutions for our customers. The company has a different philosophy from mainstream thinking: Product development is based on the pursuit of breakaway technologies that can not only solve customer problems, but also lead us to new markets,” Meltzer said.
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