- Jan 21, 2016
Anyone who watches TV, listens to a political speech, or even attends the Northbrook Days festival has probably benefited from an AmpliVox Sound System product without realizing it.
With deep roots in Northbrook, the company is one of the leading manufacturers of portable sound systems, lecterns and multimedia workstations in the country. AmpliVox product lines include wired and non-wired lecterns, megaphones, and multi-media presentation workstations. The company’s lecterns and sound systems can be found in all types of venues, including schools, houses of worship, hotels, corporate offices, restaurants, hospitals, sports arenas, recreation centers, auction houses, and even at the Chamber Golf Outing! AmpliVox megaphones and hailers are also widely used by first responders to deliver instructions in emergency situations.
AmpliVox megaphones were used for Nick Wallenda’s tightrope walk in Chicago, America’s Got Talent auditions, Staples commercials, political rallies (including the 2008 Presidential campaign), and AmpliVox lecterns were featured in the televised 2014 Chicago Mayoral debate.
Founded as PermaPower in the 1950s, AmpliVox CEO Don Roth purchased the company in 1995 and has helped grow it into a national presence in the industry with sales of over $6 million. Deeply committed to the community, Roth opted to stay in Northbrook when the company outgrew its original space. In 2012 he moved the company to a facility on Anthony Trail, expanding the business by 60 percent. Don’s goal was to preserve the company’s relationship with its employees and community partners.
Competing in a field of rapidly changing technology, AmpliVox’s focus has been to develop products with user-friendly, customizable equipment. In the last two years the company has introduced a line of 15 multimedia lecterns and workstations with easy connectivity, storage and display options. It also developed a groundbreaking two-piece line array sound system with amplifer controls at the presenter’s fingertips, featuring separate speaker modules used with multimedia furniture and carts. Bluetooth receivers were also added to its portable sound systems and lecterns allowing users to stream music to the systems from smartphones or other devices.
Under Roth’s leadership, the company has supported numerous local and national charities. One of the most high-profile campaigns has been the Pink Podium Promise, which makes waterproof/ weatherproof lecterns and versatile megaphones available to breast cancer groups for use in races, fundraisers and educational programs. Hundreds of the podiums have been shipped free of charge and continue to be in use all over the country.
A frequent supporter of Special Olympics, in 2015, athletes competing in the state’s Special Olympics had the thrill of hearing their names announced during awards ceremonies thanks to sound systems donated by AmpliVox. The company donated sound systems to 18 Illinois Special Olympics offices for use in crowd management, awards ceremonies, and communication during events, including the Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull, and Special Olympics Summer Games. This year, AmpliVox donated megaphones to Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago and continued its longtime support of the North Suburban YMCA with sound equipment and technical support for their events. Other charities supported by AmpliVox include America’s Children of Fallen Heroes and the Illinois Small Business Development Center.
For its philanthropic efforts, AmpliVox has received the Special Olympics Hero Award from Special Olympics Illinois, and awards for Regional Spirit (2014) and Lifetime Achievement (2011) in the Daily Herald Business Ledger Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards. AmpliVox also received the Social Media Award by Chicago Business Marketing Association.
“AmpliVox is a hidden gem in Northbrook,” comments Dr. Gregg Gerstin, Align Wellness, who served on the Chamber’s Business Awards selection committee. “The company has shown a strong commitment to Northbrook, supporting local businesses and giving back in meaningful ways that has earned them this well-deserved recognition.”