TIGARD, Ore. �Liechtenstein-basedNTi Audio AGhas purchasedNTI Americas Inc.,the companies announced this week. Effective January 2017, the companies� presence in the Americas � headquartered in Tigard, Ore. � will be rebranded as NTi Audio Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTi Audio AG.
As part of the change, NTI Americas founder, owner and President Thomas E. Mintner will retire from his leadership position.
Brian MacMillan will take over as general manager of NTi Audio Inc.; he has been with NTI Americas for seven months in anticipation of the change. Prior to that, he was employed byBr�el & Kj�r Sound & Vibration Measurement A/S, a supplier of technology for measuring and managing the quality of sound and vibration.
According to the release, NTi Audio AG CEO Philipp Schwizer called the transition �well planned�, and Mintner said that he expects �customers customers will see only minimal and positive effects� from the transition.
Radio magazine:Can you elaborate a bit more on your post-retirement plans? Do you anticipate that you�ll stay in Oregon?
Tom Mintner:Yes, we moved here from Nashville more than 25 years ago and so now I am a completely converted �westerner� � and what even old time Oregonians refer to grudgingly as a �semi-native�.
My family loves Oregon and all of the Pacific Northwest, so we�ll stay here. Beaches with mountain streams right on them cascading out into the ocean, mountain ranges, famous wineries and Portland with one of the best �foodie� scenes in the country, and the best classical music radio station left in the US (KQAC) � where would I go? OK, well, maybe somewhere else in the West � but probably not.�� ;-)
Radio:And do you think you�ll do any consulting work, or anything else in the industry, or will you be �really� retired?
Mintner: Yes, as mentioned a little in the first info, I�m retiring from NTi and from full time work, but not quite retiring fully overall. Another (tiny) company of mine is called Audio Support Northwest, and it is basically where I can do system design and audio consulting work that might come up. That can continue.
Radio:�The release indicates that the reorganization has been in the works for at least seven months. Who approached whom about the sale � NTi Audio AG or NTI Americas?
Mintner:�The relationship between my strategy partner at NTi AG Schaan (Philipp Schwizer) is so long standing that we really approached the question not first in that manner � but rather to answer another question: � If Tom was to retire, what form, plan and new people would best protect the body of work and the employees of both companies?� We are small companies, but we all love the work, our fellow professionals and we appreciate the benefits of being part of these small but highly qualified parts of the industry.
Having said that much, it is fair to say that I was later the one working out more of the details � but perhaps in large part only because of my immediate proximity to all those same details. But this transition would never have been able to occur without that close relationship between here and Europe. I�m sure everyone knows of plenty of examples where retirements, company changes and changes of product representation in international trade do not go well. What we are all so pleased about is that it seems we have constructed a process that had such a positive outcome.
Radio:�How was MacMillan identified as the appropriate person to serve as GM in the new corporation?
Mintner:�We spent a lot of time first trying to define the skill set for the multiple �hats� required. Then � as is typical � a third party friend who also knew of Brian from his time in the UK passed along the possibility.
Radio: What stood out about him that you said "I can�t think of a more qualified and ideal person to take over�, regarding his appointment?
Mintner: First of all, in our business � test and measurement for audio and acoustics � as much or more than we are actually selling anything � we are � for our customers and even for others � just as often thrust into the role of advisors and counselors in discussions on matters of audio measurement and quality � a role today that often seems to be referred to as �subject matter experts.�
So some of the commercial experience and judgment that is needed in all companies that might seem similar, here is just one part of the role, with the technical expertise and integrity in the field being � for our customers � just as important or perhaps even more important.�
So Brian�s background was attractive in that he was of course experienced in both commercial and technical matters at one of the premiere companies in the field of Sound & Vibration and acoustic measurement. That never hurts. But atypically, here was an American working at that time in Denmark � with long experience in Europe, but with strong formal and practical career roots here as well � originally graduating with an engineering degree in the US and experience in the US before the years spent in Europe. So for a company where we every day bridge the customers and requirements of the western hemisphere with a European leader in our own product areas, it was a great match.
Radio: Anything else that you want to say to customers or anyone else in the industry about the change?
Mintner:Once again just to thank all the many people � customers, partners, engineers and technical folks from many disciplines; broadcasters, musicians and other wizards with whom I have worked � and for which NTi will continue to provide the same positive experience as we have so far.