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Automation Unplugged

Automation Unplugged is a Facebook Live show recorded weekly with our host Ron Callis, Owner and CEO of the digital marketing agency, One Firefly. In each Automation Unplugged episode, Ron speaks with leading industry personalities and technology professionals to discuss all things business development, technology trends, and more. These interviews are designed to help our clients and members of the custom integration industry keep up-to-date with the latest news as well as learn from experts in the field.

Articles in Category: Industry Professionals

Home Automation Podcast Episode #136: An Industry Q&A With Josh Willits

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Josh Willits of Portal, shares thoughts on the rest of 2020 and the future of our industry.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #136: An Industry Q&A With Josh Willits

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Jeff Brewer. Recorded live on Wednesday, September 9th at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Josh Willits

With over 16 years in CI industry, Josh got his start in AV by selling speakers online out of his college dorm room. He spent years running operations at an integration firm before taking on the role of  Director of Operations at Jetson Systems, a Crestron CSP.

Later in 2012, he founded Invenshare, a website for dealers to buy, sell, and trade excess inventory, before merging his business with SupplyStream two years later.

After the merger, Josh helped rebrand the company that is now known as Portal and was part of their turnaround in 2019, where they shifted business models into a subscription based SAAS model.

Portal has also won multiple industry awards for customer service thanks to their Dealer Happiness team.

Interview Recap

  • Josh experiences in the CI industry that ultimately led to his role as President of Portal.
  • Portal’s turnaround strategy deployed in May 2019 that saved the company
  • Proposal trends during that last 6 months including the amazing growth since June
  • Josh’s thoughts on the rest of 2020 and the future of our industry

Home Automation Podcast Episode #135: An Industry Q&A With Jeff Brewer

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Jeff Brewer of Sonance, shares ways he and his team are leveraging virtual trainings and meetings to strengthen relationships.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #135: An Industry Q&A With Jeff Brewer

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Jeff Brewer. Recorded live on Wednesday, September 2nd at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Jeff Brewer

Since joining Sonance and James Loudspeaker in 2012, Jeff has led their sales directors team and currently coaches over 100 Sonance & James Loudspeaker Representatives. Jeff is also a current board member of the Azione Buying Group.

Jeff graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in Marketing. Before Sonance, Jeff worked for companies including Best Buy for Business as their VP and Sr. Director and even for the late Steven Covey.

Interview Recap

  • Leadership strategies Jeff learned while working for the late Steven Covey where he was Master Certified
  • The James Loudspeaker acquisition and their approach to their rep network
  • Ways Jeff and his team are leveraging virtual trainings and meetings to strengthen relationships 
  • Exclusive announcement regarding the new Sonance Invisible Speaker Series

Home Automation Podcast Episode #134: An Industry Q&A With Taylor Whipple

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Taylor Whipple of One Firefly, shares how an analytical approach to brainstorming ideas has helped further empower One Firefly’s growth.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #134: An Industry Q&A With Taylor Whipple

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Taylor Whipple. Recorded live on Wednesday, August 26th at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Taylor Whipple

Having just celebrated his 7 year anniversary with One Firefly, Taylor has been responsible for overseeing the organization's financial and production management.

Throughout the years, Taylor has been a key member of the leadership team in overseeing One Firefly’s operations and providing guidance to the CEO. One Firefly has recorded a period of record growth including 4 years of 30%+ YOY growth culminating with a place in the 2020 Inc. 5000.

Interview Recap

  • His rewarding time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa - he even spoke to us in Wolof! 
  • Taylor’s start in the music industry where he spent some time working for Madonna’s music label before he decided to go back to school to pursue his MBA in Finance. 
  • How an analytical approach to brainstorming ideas has helped further empower One Firefly’s growth
  • One Firefly receiving a placement on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list

Home Automation Podcast Episode #131: An Industry Q&A With Ryan Anderson

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Ryan Anderson of Bravas, shares about the Bravas acquisition strategy to purchase 50 integration firms over the next 5 years.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #131: An Industry Q&A With Ryan Anderson

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Ryan Anderson. Recorded live on Wednesday, July 29th at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Ryan Anderson

Before joining Bravas as their CEO in 2018, Ryan spent 15 of his 20 years in the custom integration industry as founder of Kansas City smart home integration firm, Elevated Electronics. Today, Elevated Electronics is now the KC Bravas location.

At Bravas, Ryan leads their corporate team and identifies and prepares potential candidates for acquisition.

Interview Recap

  • Ryan’s past experience as a racecar driver with Ferrari
  • The Bravas acquisition strategy to purchase 50 integration firms over the next 5 years.
  • Defining the “Why” for both Bravas and the CI Industry.  
  • Ryan’s thoughts about this new-era of event cancellations and more focused department training events

Home Automation Podcast Episode #130: An Industry Q&A With Shaun Schuetz

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Shaun Schuetz of AudioQuest, shares his love for Star Wars and how he was able to do charity work with the Star Wars Costuming Community and thoughts on CEDIA going virtual.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #130: An Industry Q&A With Shaun Schuetz

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Shaun Schuetz. Recorded live on Wednesday, July 22nd at 12:30 p.m. EST.


About Shaun Schuetz

With over 20 years of experience in the consumer electronics industry, Shaun has called on mom-and-pop shops, custom integration firms of all sizes all the way up to mass-market big-box chains such as Best Buy.
Shaun joined AudioQuest in 2012 with the opportunity to live in Taipei for four years representing their distributors throughout Asia.

In 2016, Shaun and his family moved back to the States and has held multiple positions including his current role as AudioQuest's VP of Sales for the Americas.


Interview Recap

  • Shaun’s background and how he got into the consumer electronics industry

  • Cultural differences Shaun encountered during his four years in Asia

  • Shaun’s love for Star Wars and how he was able to do charity work with the Star Wars Costuming Community, 501st Legion while in Taiwan and now throughout the US.

  • Shaun’s thoughts on CEDIA 2020 going virtual

Home Automation Podcast Episode #129: An Industry Q&A With Ken Vanemon

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Ken Vanemon, of Sapphire Marketing, shares the status of the audio video marketplace in New York City.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #129: An Industry Q&A With Ken Vanemon

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Ken Vanemon. Recorded live on Wednesday, July 15th at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Ken Vanemon

With over 25 years of experience in the Consumer Electronics Industry, Ken has worked in various roles from Operations Manager at Best Buy to Independent Manufacturers Sales Rep at JVC.

Ken joined AV manufacturer rep, Sapphire Marketing, in 2008, and represents their New York/New Jersey region as Sr. Regional Sales Manager.

Interview Recap

  • Status of the audio-video marketplace in New York City.

  • Ken’s strategies to stay sane while taking care of clients during these strange times

  • Ken’s thoughts on whether salespeople are born or made

  • How Crestron Home is helping dealers create a more customizable smart home system