Meet the HARMAN Luxury Audio Team
Name: Larry P. Brown
Position/Job Title: Principal Mechanical Engineer
With HARMAN Since January 2018
With Meet The HARMAN Luxury Team, our goal is for you to get to know us better. In each edition we be feature a different member of the team, and this month it’s Larry P. Brown, Principal Mechanical Engineer.
How would you describe what you do in your current role?
As Principal Mechanical Engineer my job is to conceptualize, design and engineer new products for the Luxury Audio Business Unit. I work with a talented group of acoustic, electrical and system engineers to develop a variety of loudspeakers as defined by our Senior Director of Product Strategy & Planning.
What did you study in school? Did you always imagine yourself doing something like what you’re doing now, or did the fates just take you in that direction?
I studied Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Northridge. I initially chose Northridge for its excellent engineering department, however, one day I was walking through the Arts department and came across an Industrial Design Class in session. In this class there were artful renderings done by hand using “Design” markers, prototype models and creative sketches displayed throughout the room… creativity abound in this room. Instantly my eyes opened up to new possibilities. “I want to do this… I can do this.” Thereafter, I went straight to my counselor’s office and added Industrial Design to my curriculum as my Minor. This changed the trajectory of my future career.
As I teenager, I always looked forward to going to the LA Auto show with my father to see the new futuristic concept vehicles. I loved looking at all the details that separated these Concept vehicles from the current ones in production. I remember asking my father over and over again, “Why can’t they make these concept cars now? I like this one right here.”
Now that I think about it, I ask myself a very similar question even today. “How can we make cutting edge, future industry leading products NOW?” Frankly speaking, I passionately strive to make this happen every day!
How did your career path lead you to HARMAN?
The majority of my career has been in the design and development of High-End Luxury consumer products. These products ranged from custom aluminum alloy wheels, motorcycle wheels and accessories, architectural lighting and custom Aircraft interiors. These products catered to individuals who desired elegant, unique, exquisitely designed high quality products for themselves.
In the fall of 2017, I found myself looking to do something different than automotive products. I made a list of industries and products that piqued my interest at the time; Lighting, Speakers & Home audio, Boats & Yacht design all came to mind. Fast forward a few months… Late in December of 2017, I saw a position posted on a job site for a Senior Mechanical Engineer at HARMAN and submitted my information through the online portal. Days later I received a call from HARMAN H.R. in Northridge, and well… The rest is history.
What is the most important thing you have learned over your career?
I think it is very important to keep learning, keep your mind open and explore the “what If” in your world. I feel one’s growth is closely associated with learning, and the more you learn the more you expand your knowledge, exposure and experience. Learning also encourages you to embrace one of HARMAN’s Five Key Competencies “Change Orientation.” Taking in new information enables your mind to stay nimble, to accept new things and avoid being stuck in the past. The life blood of a company’s product line is continually having the steady flow of new ideas and technology.
Any other advice you would offer people just starting out in this industry?
The world of luxury audio seems to be a relatively small niche industry, therefore do some research on brands, products and trends to get a sense of the breadth and width of the industry and the key players within. Next, find some old speakers, take them apart, examine the components and assemblies, then rebuild them. I love to do that! LOL.
What are you most proud of in your life?
I am proud of my family. I have a very close-knit family, and we all actually like one another. For a very large family we get along well together.
What kind of gear are you rocking at home these days?
Revel M126 Bookshelf Loudspeakers. The funny thing is — no lie — when I listen to them, in my minds-eye, I often envision the Acoustic Engineer for Revel, Mark Glazer, intently analyzing the acoustic quality of the system…as I have seen him do on so many products.
When did you first realize you had a passion for music or audio? Was there any one song, band or movie that did it for you?
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for music. Of course my music taste has broadened and expanded over the years based on exposure to new experiences with people, places and cultures.
The first time I really heard and understood “Good Sound” was here at HARMAN. It is comparable to thinking you have been drinking good wine, then someone who knows fine wine says “Try this” and suddenly you can never go back to drinking the two-buck-chuck you thought was good. You are now spoiled.
What current technology impresses you the most?
Spotify — how the algorithms are able to determine music you might like based on what you have selected.
What’s your favorite music genre?
I really like all kinds of music, however in country music the lyrics touch my soul.
The desert island question, of course. If you were marooned for eternity and could listen to only three albums, what would they be?
Vince Gill — When Love Finds You
Tower of Power — Bump City
Tupac — All Eyez on Me
In closing, please tell us anything else you want us to know about yourself.
I love it here at HARMAN!!!