Despite growth, Amplivox move keeps them in Northbrook
Don Roth stands among some of the products designed, engineered and manufactured by his business, AmpliVox. Some AmpliVox's products include portable public address systems as well as lecterns and podiums. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:23AM
NORTHBROOK — AmpliVox Portable Sound Systems, which designs, engineers and manufactures public address systems and lecturns, has not suffered a decrease of business like most other companies during this poor economy.
On the contrary, it has had to move to a larger location in Northbrook to facilitate its growth. Its products are being used inside and out around the world in more than 50 countries.
Before heading AmpliVox, Don Roth, its chief executive officer who is also a Northbrook resident, was regional vice-president for Xerox and executive vice-president of Apeco and Numeridex Cad/Cam systems.
He acquired Amplivox from Perma Power in 1995. PermaPower, which was founded by Norm Ackerman in 1952, introduced the AmpliVox line of portable public address systems in the 1960s, Roth said.
“For the last several years Amplivox has seen exceptional growth, despite the recession. We were in Northbrook on Commercial Avenue where we had 12,000 square feet,” he added.
“Now we’ve moved to another facility at 650 Anthony Trail in Northbrook where we have 21,000 square feet. So we’ve increased our facilities about 60 percent.”
AmpoliVox creates its sound systems and lecterns mostly from parts made in this country, although some components are made in China, Roth said. This allows the company’s staff to control the quality of its products, he added.
“Part of the credit for our growth goes to our great, solid team of people from marketing to sales, engineering to manufacturing, and customer service,” Roth said.
“In fact, we have exceptional customer service. We really support the customer in every way,” Roth said.
That and the products built into a variety of configurations using metal, plastic and wood to accommodate 10 to 10,000 people indoors and outdoors has resulted in the exceptional sales, he added.
Some of Roth’s employees who came from the previous company have been with him more than 30 years, while others have been employed there 12 years.
“I look for people with heart, soul and passion when hiring,” Roth said.
“People exhibit that through their performance, commitment and attitude. I don’t care what the business is, that’s what is needed to develop a team that is successful.”
Roth noted that even though the company’s speaker system is designed to be simple and easy to use, customers may need help finding the right level of sound, directing the sound and handling sound coverage.
“We go out of our way to help. We have 800 numbers and always answer the phone within three rings. That is an absolute must. By performing that way, we have earned the recognition of being responsive,” Roth said.
“For example, if people have an event and the system is not performing at the level they need, we will send a replacement. They also will have our cell phones and email, so we are with them ‘24-7.’”
Roth, who was a board member of the North Suburban YMCA nine years and has co-chaired the Y’s capital campaign that began about six years ago, also donates a percentage of certain equipment to the Y.
He also supports the US TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to fight breast cancer.
For more information, visit www.ampli.com/