Audio & Loudspeaker Technologies International Changes Ownership and Structure

April 27 2020, 04:10
A member referendum on April 14, 2020 produced a unanimous vote to turn ownership and management of Audio & Loudspeaker Technologies International (ALTI), formerly known as the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics (ALMA) International to longtime Executive Director Barry Vogel, effective July 1, 2020. According to the announcement sent by the association, this is being done to streamline operations and decision making as well as opening the door to more opportunities to help the Membership with new programs and services.

Although the ownership and structure is changing, the ALTI Membership will be working with the same management they have had for nearly 7 years. 
"The transition will be seamless.
• The website and all services will remain the same.
• All Memberships remain active.
• All prepayments toward ALTI-Expo 2021 will be honored
• The newsletter will still be published regularly
• NO changes in Membership costs or ALTI-Expo costs for at least 1 year
• You are still dealing with the same management as you have for nearly 7 years"

Barry Vogel is currently holding meetings and accepting ideas and strategies to expand the association Membership, grow the annual ALTI-EXPO trade show, and become a more full-service organization.

As Barry Vogel also details, the decision to change the association's model was the result of a combination of factors. "When we went from a January event to a June event from 2018 to 2019, that 18-month gap between shows took a planned-on financial toll. Then our first outing in conjunction with InfoComm had some communication and planning glitches wherein we were not able to tap into nearly as many InfoComm attendees as we planned. Lessons learned. We came out of the 2019 show further financially strained. I took the voluntary step of deferring much of my salary for the last year in anticipation of recovering this income after ALTI-Expo 2020. I should note that the Board was not in favor of what I did, but I was, and am, committed to this association and I firmly believe that we were on the right path.
Barry Vogel served as ALMA/ALTI's Executive Director for the past seven years.

"Going into the planning for 2020, I want to give a shout out to Dave Labuskes and the great people at AVIXA/InfoComm. They have been up front and fully connected. ALTI-Expo 2020 would have been everything we hoped the 2019 show was to be. Then came COVID-19. The world came to a grinding halt. We were forced to cancel this year's ALTI-Expo, and like most associations, our revenue all but stopped. At this point, the Board was most concerned about my deferred income I had invested in ALTI. After several options were considered, it came down to two options. Close and dissolve the association, or I could take it over. I should point out that the latter option was not my idea. I was a bit shocked when I heard it. After a great deal of thought and consideration, I decided to take it on if the Board so voted. I continue to believe in the association, the mission and the industry. And I believe that I have a basic business plan to bring the association back to health and growth. Yes, even post COVID-19. The Board voted in my favor at our monthly Board Meeting in April. Our bylaws say that this is a Board decision. It was my idea to put it out to the membership. If this was to happen, I wanted the members to have the opportunity to weigh in. They did, and I am forever humbled by their faith in ALTI and me."

Regarding what this means for the association's entity structure, Vogel confirmed that ALTI is and will remain an association. "The difference is that the current structure is as a not-for-profit, while the new ALTI will be a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The membership will not see any changes in services or charges under the new structure. The changeover will be 100% seamless. The differences down the road is that as a for-profit company, we are freer to pursue a greater range of business relationships that will ultimately benefit our members. This structure will allow us to attract new "partners" to offer a wider range of services. Some of this will become more evident soon. Bottom line is that our Members will lose nothing, nor will they incur any higher costs for the services they are now receiving."

audioXpress also asked Vogel what role ALTI members - companies and individuals - including the latest elected board members, can expect to have in the new organization. "I have enjoyed a truly positive and productive relationship with our Board of Directors, and all of our Members. Going from a Member-owned entity to a privately held company, there will be structural changes. The biggest will be that I will no longer be taking orders from a Board of Directors. I will continue to take direction from all of our Members. The structure we are forming will incorporate an Executive Committee, an Executive Advisory Board, and three specialized Advisory Boards: Tech, Business, and Education. All of our current Board Members are invited to remain involved and to continue to play a role in ALTI."

Expanding further into the new structure, Vogel confirms the plan to maintain a lean organization. "In the beginning, ALTI will have no new employees. That will change as we get rolling. We will need help in getting our message to a larger and more diverse audience. Details to come. We are also working on a plan that will substantially change the way exhibitors see trade shows. Stay tuned..."

ALTI expects to begin to roll out some of the new products and services after the effective date of the ownership change, in July 2020. Barry Vogel can be contacted by email here. Details will follow via the association's newsletter ALTI-NEWS.
Information about joining ALTI is available at:
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