Mike Park, a key partner and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of James Loudspeaker, retired this month due to health issues, the company has announced. It would be hard to overstate Park’s influence in the growth and success of James Loudspeaker. As a key role player in the company for the last 15 years, Park has made many contributions to the company’s technology direction and product development, driving an era of rapid growth that ultimately led to James’ acquisition by Sonance in 2019.
See more on Park’s retirement from James Loudspeaker…
Michael J. Park is quite a character. That’s not something I can say of many of the engineering types I have met over the years, who often are happier to focus their attention on a circuit board, rather than to spend time answering questions from a nosy reporter. But Mike, well, he is only too happy to answer a question…any question. Park relishes teaching the basic principles of the physics of sound to anyone who will listen. And he can make those principles seem magical.
He also is quite capable of something else that I rarely experience with other technical types – he laughs…and laughs a lot. I had the great opportunity to spend an extended amount of time with Park on two separate occasions when I visited James Loudspeaker – first at their facility in Napa, California in 2016…and later at their all new factory in Minden, NV in August 2019.
Creating Iconic Technologies and Products
Park is credited with creating some of the most innovative technologies and products that went on to become iconic to James Loudspeaker, such as the EMB and Power Pipe subwoofers, the first outdoor (landscape) satellite/subwoofer system, the first in-ground subwoofers, Centergy surround technology, James’ famous Quad Tweeter array, Small Aperture in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, outdoor Wedge Series speakers, and many, many more.
There was seemingly no challenge too great for Park. This was a good thing because James Loudspeaker’s business model provided for a lot of one-off custom designs – something that James could offer custom integrators because they had the incredibly active and creative mind and technical prowess of Mike Park behind them. To him, perplexing and seemingly impossible challenges were what got his creative juices flowing.
A ‘Colorful Character’ Full of ‘Passion’
To be sure, Mike is opinionated…as most passionate folks tend to be. And he certainly isn’t afraid to…ah…punctuate his points. But it’s all in the spirit of a vigorous debate, and while he may not always be swayed by your argument…he will actively listen to it.
The prepared announcement from the company hails Park’s “…passion for the company and industry, his colorful character, creative mind, and never-say-no attitude” which it says “will be missed at James and throughout the custom installation community.” That is not just hype, I have spoken with several integrators who have described Park’s genius with great reverence.
Health Issues in the Day of COVID Motivated This Move
While the nature of Park’s health issues was not revealed, the company did say that “Michael has been struggling with some health issues which, combined with the current challenges facing the world, helped him finalize his decision” to retire at this time. Now, the company says, Park will “spend more time with his wife Joann, three children, and four beautiful granddaughters.”
It is time, it would seem, for Mike to stop and smell the roses.
I will remember my last extended interaction with Mike Park last year vividly. He was demoing a new powered soundbar for me that he had created that was super-simple to operate – the TV and audio functions worked seamlessly on one remote. Then he had me move forward and more to the center of the room…and cranked up the system, which included a subwoofer. We were in a huge space, a large open office area with really high ceilings.
I Will Never Forget This
I was blown away. The sound was amazing…and thanks to the precise and clearly audible left/right sound staging, this system sounded like a full blown component speaker installation…not a soundbar.
In the middle of the demo, I turned around to look back at Mike who was about ten feet behind me and slightly off to the side… He was looking right at me…smiling.
Did you know Mike Park? Post your well-wishes in the comment section below this post. Or if you’d rather, you can send him an email to his old James Loudspeaker address: email@example.com. The company has assured me that they’ll make sure he gets any messages.
Learn more about James Loudspeaker at: jamesloudspeaker.com.
Jason Sloan says
I only had the opportunity to work with Mike for a very short period but found his energy and enthusiasm contagious. We quickly found common ground during our time together and I’ll look forward visiting Mike to share a great bottle of wine later this year.
Mike, thank you for all of your significant contributions to James Loudspeaker and the industry!
Ron Rimawi says
Bravas has been a staunch supporter of James Loudspeaker and their products. Mike Park and Mark Schafle along with the rest of team have developed and provided speakers that produce incredible sound with great build quality and form factor. The James Loudspeaker team’s passion to produce solutions that blend into the environment is 2nd to none.
As most of my clients state, Ron, discussing the speakers or there specs is nothing like auditioning them. Their performance sells themselves and should be heard as that will convince anyone to seriously consider the James Loudspeaker solution over others.
Great job to the James Loudspeaker team.
chris g tucker says
Darn it, I was counting on Mike Park to still be at James Speakers, but when I called today, I was told he retired.
I have some older AR-1 Speakers he designed when he was at Acoustic Research, and I have questions only he can answer.