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CTA Names 14 Industry Leaders to the 2018 Consumer Technology Hall of Fame

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced the new class of inductees into the 2018 Consumer Technology Hall of Fame. The CT Hall of Fame, created in 2000, celebrates technology leaders who advance innovation and develop, create, market and promote the technologies, products and services that continue to improve consumers’ lives.

“The CT Hall of Fame honors the exceptional visionaries in our industry,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “The new class of inductees includes engineers and inventors, business executives, retailers and a journalist who drove new solutions and technologies that made a difference in our lives.”

The 2018 class also includes two teams who combined efforts to better the industry:

John Briesch led Sony’s launch of the compact disc (CD), developed the My First Sony line for children, launched the Sony Style e-commerce site in the 1990s and was issued a patent for an automated digital rights management and payment system.

Dr. John Cioffi, the father of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), led the effort to develop the scheme that dramatically increased bandwidth, resulting in the first broadband connectivity standard that delivered internet access to hundreds of millions of homes worldwide.

Robert Cole founded World Wide Stereo, now Philadelphia's premier independent AV specialty and custom-installation dealership, which has outlasted several regional and national competitors.

Richard Doherty was an influential technology journalist and industry analyst. In 1983, he co-founded The Envisioneering Group and was often quoted as a technology expert.

Peter Lesser founded X10 Limited in 1984, and helped turn the X10 protocol into the first and most ubiquitous smart home connectivity protocol. In the late 1980s and early 90s, X10 introduced the first DIY wireless smart home security and monitoring systems. He also served as a CTA Executive Board member from 1999 to 2010 and as Industry Executive Advisor from 2005 to 2010.

Mike Romagnolo founded and grew DOW Stereo to 10 locations near San Diego, serving as a primary launch pad for many new tech products, including the DVD and HDTV.

Edgar Villchur invented the acoustic suspension speaker, the basis for subsequent loudspeakers, and co-founded Acoustic Research. He also invented the independent suspension turntable, and designed technology used in most hearing aids.

Thiel Audio Team: Kathy Gornik/Jim Thiel: Jim Thiel founded and was chief designer of the company's innovative speakers. As president, Kathy Gornik ran the business and was responsible for the marketing that made the brand synonymous with high quality sound. She also served as the first woman to Chair the Consumer Technology Association in 2003 and 2004.

Skype Team: In 2003, Swede Niklas Zennström and Dane Janus Friis – co-founders of the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing platform – combined with Estonian software engineers Jaan Tallinn, Priit Kasesalu and Ahti Heinla to create Skype, the premier person-to-person video phone platform. Today, Skype has nearly 1.5 billion users.

The inductees were selected by a panel of media and industry professionals, who judged nominations submitted by manufacturers, retailers and industry journalists. The 2018 honorees will be inducted into the CT Hall of Fame in New York at an awards dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Capitale. Complete inductee bios will appear in the November issue of It Is Innovation (i3) magazine, as well as online at

About Consumer Technology Association:

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM is the trade association representing the $351 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, which supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES® – the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s industry services.


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