Ford Montgomery Jr.
What still keeps you passionate about the industry?
You have to be like a chameleon to survive in business. When I opened Chelsea Audio Ltd. in 1975 we were strictly a retail store that sold audio components. I loved music and my passion for bringing recorded music to life was something I wanted to share. In the 1980’s Laser Discs and CD’s came out along with multi channel audio, bigger TV’s were hitting the market and we were finding pretty quickly people wanted all this but couldn’t or didn’t want to install it themselves. Control became a huge part of our custom installations. People wanted 1 remote that would control the theater, not the 6 that were laying on the coffee table, so we added a department that could program a variety of different systems. Then iPods, iPhones, and iPads hit the market, creating a need for a robust wireless network so you could stream music and movies at a moment’s notice. These smart devices could be the gateway to control many devices in the home, whether it was music, movies, lighting, security cameras, blinds, HVAC systems, and so on. If we didn’t embrace these changes and seek out employees that were skilled in these new areas I thought we would end up in the same audio video graveyard as many of our competitors.
What got you into the industry?
My passion for music, whether live or recorded, I couldn’t get enough of it. Law school sounded miserable so I started working at a small audio shop in Albany, OR that fueled my passion to step out on my own and give it a shot as a business owner.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Texas, we moved to California when I was in 1st grade and to Portland when I was 10. My father worked for Hilton Hotels and was picked by Conrad Hilton, who I met once, to open the hotel in downtown Portland.