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Founding Uber engineer joins PK Sound board of directors

Conrad Whelan will assist the company in its fundraising efforts, and has already begun using his network to reach out to potential investors

PK Sound has appointed Uber’s founding engineer, Conrad Whelan, to its board of directors. Hailing from PK Sound’s headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Whelan will assist the company in its fundraising efforts, with an aim to serve as a visionary for its product line.

After developing a wealth of experience as an accomplished engineer, Whelan brings technical expertise, an extensive professional network, and a longstanding passion for the PK Sound brand to the company’s executive leadership team. In addition to helping with the company’s current fundraising activities, Whelan is already looking toward the tech side of live sound and pondering how to make loudspeakers “smarter.”

As an example of the “smarter” approach PK Sound has begun to take, Whelan points to the recently released Trinity advanced robotic line array, which features PK Sound’s 3D Wavefront Control technology, enabling engineers to steer and focus sound.

“Trinity is a pretty epic innovation, especially because, the thing about electronic music is, it’s loudly amplified, and it’s being played more and more. Especially in places like America,” he continued, “electronic music culture is coming to more outdoor shows and festivals. The fact that Trinity has a tunable sound field makes it much more effective for festivals and densely populated areas, because you can tune the field of sound so that you aren’t disturbing neighbouring areas.”

Whelan earned a Master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Calgary, where Uber co-founder and CEO Garrett Camp also studied. He revealed it was his love of live music that first brought him to PK Sound. Working as a DJ in 2004, he volunteered to do the sound engineering at one of the stages for Shambhala Music Festival, a four-day electronic dance music festival in Salmo, British Columbia, and said he’s been a fan of PK Sound speakers ever since.

While attending a later Shambhala Music Festival, he met fellow Calgary native Jeremy Bridge, president and CEO of PK Sound. “I loved the fact that these guys were from Calgary, my hometown, and they were building speakers,” Whelan said, so they kept in touch. 

Having established a relationship with PK Sound’s leadership team, Whelan moved to San Francisco in 2010 to join Camp’s newest venture, then called UberCab, but in 2016, Whelan left Uber and began building an entrepreneurial investment portfolio. 

He has now, evidently, gone on to rekindle his relationship with PK Sound. With his recent board appointment, Whelan is looking forward to learning “as a board member, what it takes to run a company like this.

“Whether it’s at festivals or clubs, or in Western Canada, PK Sound is like the gold standard,” Whelan said. He hopes that, with the help of his network, he might be able to extend the brand’s footprint well beyond North America.

Whelan concluded: “These guys are making speakers that can modify how they’re passing sound through the air, and it’s adjustable through software. I think software is eating the world. So, it just makes sense that somebody is doing that, and PK Sound is on the cusp.”