After missing a year because of the pandemic, CTA inducted its 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame classes at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York, along with its last two sets of Innovation Award winners.
In their acceptance speeches, inductees, introduced by Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO, expressed both humility for the honor and gratitude to both CTA and those family members and co-workers who assisted and supported their careers.
Those inductees who could attend and address the assembly of more than 150 industry executives and guests from the 2020 class were:
Vinton Gray “Vint” Cerf and Robert “Bob” Kahn, both dubbed “Father of the Internet,” led the development of TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), the fundamental communications protocols that determine how data is packaged, addressed, transmitted, routed and received over the Internet.
Peter Fannon, who successfully organized and led the Advanced Television Test Center (ATTC), helping to develop HDTV, then served as Panasonic’s lead lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and has been one of the most influential and ubiquitous figures in the consumer technology industry for four decades.
Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai, Sony president and CEO from 2012-2018, who is known for taking the reins of the company during a challenging time and, focusing on his synergistic “One Sony” strategy, returned the company back into an innovation and creative powerhouse; his acceptance speech was made via video from Japan.
Robin Raskin, who was a pioneering consumer technology journalist, editor, and children and internet safety expert for 20 years who in 2006 wanted to “try something new,” Living in Digital Times, now an integral and popular 15-event conference/exhibit series at CES.
Unable to attend was James E. “Jim” Meyer, an executive at RCA/GE, Thomson and SiriusXM, who has been a prominent presence in the development, promotion, and success of some of the most innovative and much-loved consumer technologies of the last 40 years.
No members of the family of radio pioneer Frank Conrad attended to accept his award.
Conrad was referred to as either “the father of radio broadcasting” or “the father of commercial radio” for his seminal role in launching KDKA in Pittsburgh, widely perceived as the first “commercial” radio station. Perhaps less well known, Conrad designed the RA-DA, the first factory-produced mass market radio – essentially, the first consumer electronics product – in November 1920.
Noting the growing tech generation gap, Cerf related a story of attending a senior tech forum at a previous CES, being told by someone obviously unaware of Cerf’s identity, that “Many seniors don’t know how to use the internet.” Cerf shot back to the laughter and applause of the audience, “I’ll tell you what. We invented it!”
Class of 2021
Inductees who gave acceptance speeches from the 2021 Hall of Fame class were:
Mike Fasulo who served for nearly four decades in a dozen different roles at Sony Electronics including seven years as president and COO, was cited for driving innovation and achieving record profitability while empowering and curating a diverse bench of leaders before diversity, equity, and inclusion were considered strategic imperatives. Known both as Scrappy as well as GSD – Get Stuff (or S__) Done, Fasulo inspired not only Sony but the industry to activate the full measure of talent to achieve better business as well as societal outcomes.
Nancy Klosek, who carved out a consumer technology reporting career buoyed by an unflaggingly cheerful disposition that enabled her to establish cordial yet professional relationships with Japanese and other industry executives through nearly four decades of reporting, primarily for AudioVideo International (AVI) Magazine, owned by the Tokyo-based trade publisher Dempa Publications, for 21 years, and as editor-in-chief of Dealerscope for seven years until her retirement earlier this year.
William “Bill” Pearse and Barbara “Barb” Pearse, who combined to found and build Ultimate Electronics from a single mom-and-pop A/V shop in a Denver suburb into a 65-store behemoth stretching across 14 states from Minnesota to Texas by being the, well, ultimate in selling the newest gear, offering the widest selection, establishing the highest customer loyalty, and providing the most attentive customer service. The pair also is credited with training a host of executives who now are ubiquitous around the industry.
Unable to attend was Roberta Williams, who, along with her husband Ken, co-founded Sierra On-Line, and created the first graphical adventure game, Mystery House, that pioneered the new gaming industry.
2020 and 2021 Innovation Awards
Also honored were CTA Innovation Award winners from 2020 and 2021, which included:
2020 Executive of the Year: Vicki Mayo, founder of TouchPoint Solution, makers of the TouchPoint stress-reducing wrist wearable. In just four years, Mayo has led TouchPoint to more than $2 million in annual sales and more than 75 accolades for the technology.
2020 Startup of the Year: Nuro, co-founded by Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, a robotics company whose autonomous delivery fleet has made tens of thousands of “last mile” deliveries from local businesses to homes in Scottsdale, Arizona, Houston, Texas, and many cities to come.
2020 CTA Company of the Year: re:3D, co-founded by Samantha Snabes and Matthew Fiedler, which builds affordable, large-scale 3D printers to enable local 3D print solutions that use locally reclaimed plastic waste.
2021 Executive of the Year: Dr. James Mault, founder of BioIntelliSense, who has pioneered technology-based solutions for remote patient monitoring through the introduction of its medical-grade Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform and wearable devices that helped usher in the new era of virtual health.
2021 Company of the Year: Nuheara, co-founded by David Cannington and Justin Miller, which has not only pioneered the “hearables” category, but its most recent IQbuds2 Max true wireless earbuds has helped make hearables the fastest growing wearable segment.
2021 Startup of the Year: ROYBI, founded by Elnaz Sarraf, who, with Ron Cheng, created the world’s first and only AI-powered educational companion that tutors young children in languages using the pair’s Automatic Speech Recognition Engine (ASR) and Edge AI on-device recognition to allow ROYBI to interact with children even without internet connectivity.