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The Roscoe rationale: Inside Renkus-Heinz with president Roscoe Anthony [interview]

The new president of Renkus-Heinz is laying a solid foundation for growth, says Frank Wells

With twin BA degrees topped with an MBA, Roscoe Anthony is the new man at the helm of loudspeaker specialist Renkus-Heinz. His previous achievements include taking over a Los Angeles advertising agency, where he was named one of Advertising Age magazine’s top 100 people in `dvertising, his team winning over 50 creative awards while he built the agency from eight associates to over 30, with an 10-fold sales increase in his 14-year tenure.

“From there, I moved into pro audio,” says Anthony, “working at JBL Pro during the development and introduction of their EON line. After JBL I had the opportunity to work at Tascam for five years, and then at Califone, where I was president for 12 years.” From the education technology-focused Califone, Anthony returned to more mainstream professional audio pursuits seven months ago. “Early last year I began discussions with Harro Heinz,” he elaborates, “who offered me the incredible opportunity to become president at Renkus-Heinz. I started in September 2014 and have been running as fast as I can to keep up with this team.” (See Roscoe recognised for high-ranking Renkus-Heinz role.)

Through hard-won experience from his history of senior management positions within the audio industry, Anthony says he’s gained a “deep understanding of the business model” (that is, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, sales and administration).

“The breadth of products my previous companies manufactured and distributed have brought me in contact with the key players in the global eco-system of this industry. This background of success helps to define our direction as we move through product development, both organically as well as acquired.”

Southern California-based professional loudspeaker maker Renkus-Heinz operates with a “traditional” organisational structure, Anthony reveals. “We have 12 people involved in worldwide sales and marketing implementation, and nine people managing product development. Overall we have 90 associates working on everything from manufacturing to management. Besides manufacturing here in SoCal, we also have a factory in China.”

Engineer and entrepreneur Harro Heinz founded Renkus-Heinz in 1979. “His vision still permeates the facility and the culture,” says Anthony. “Harro has focused on highly engineered products to fit specific needs that end users demanded. We consciously concentrate our attention on markets that demand highly engineered, reliable solutions. A great example of that culture/philosophy at work is our ICONYX line of steerable arrays. We developed the ICONYX line to focus on very specific markets. If you take an end user through an ICONYX product demonstration, there isn’t a question they’ll select ours. They’re simply the world’s best steerable systems, and they deliver on every promise one expects from steerable systems. The customer doesn’t have to compromise on a Renkus-Heinz product. No trade-offs. We’ve reached that through scientific product development and end user demand.” To perpetuate and build on that success, Anthony says his focus as president is “to help us as a group to prioritise our energies, to deliver for those end users who require the type of product that only Renkus-Heinz can deliver.”

Renkus-Heinz has become a global leader in providing loudspeaker systems for fixed installations. “We’re very successful in houses of worship, transportation terminals and stadiums,” Anthony explains. “Obviously, because we can customise both colour and weather resistance to a job’s requirements, we’re called upon to fill large and small orders to meet those custom demands. Essentially we’re in every fixed install market and – quite nicely – sales are spread evenly across the globe.” For the future, Anthony suggests portable systems as an area of potential growth suited to Renkus-Heinz’ particular expertise.

While Anthony says the company pays due attention to its competition, he adds that Renkus-Heinz spends “far more of our time and energies on getting to know our markets, talking with end users, and using that information to drive our business. We’re a unique company with unique products, so we never really compare ourselves to the competition. If we did, we’d be building me-too products like everyone else. We’re just not that company.”

To poise Renkus-Heinz for growth, they are investing in intellectual property, “bringing on new loudspeaker talent as well as engineers who will round out a group of talented mechanical, firmware and software associates,” says Anthony. “These additions are laying a solid foundation for the growth we’ve got planned for the next three years.”

Just six months into his presidency, Anthony says he’d “be lying if I said that I’ve just seamlessly reintegrated into the loudspeaker segment,” though he’s relishing his role and is enthusiastic about the potential he’s discovering in the market sector. “It’s a sector that has changed dramatically, and I’m thoroughly enjoying that sense of attacking something new. I sense a major change in our industry overall, as industry veterans, entrepreneurial founders, and others begin to cede their companies and positions to the next generation. I anticipate that the very foundations we’re all so comfortable with will change dramatically in the next few years, and I’m thrilled to be taking part in that change.”