Meet the HARMAN Luxury Audio Team
Name: Matt Dever
Position/Job Title: Senior Global Product Line Manager
With HARMAN Since 2021
With Meet The HARMAN Luxury Team, our goal is for you to get to know us better. In each edition we feature a different member of the team, and this month it’s Matt Dever, Senior Global Product Line Manager.
How would you describe what you do in your current role?
I have the pleasure of collaborating closely with the world-class engineering teams for the JBL Synthesis, JBL Specialty, Mark Levinson, Arcam, Revel and Lexicon brands in raising the bar for new product initiatives for high-end performance consumer audio. I am tasked with bringing business sensibility and market insights to the team as the new product initiatives come to life. I am also tasked with working with the Luxury Audio leadership in developing clear and differentiated product strategies for each of the brands, building out compelling category roadmaps, market/competitive benchmarking and analysis. We are tasked with driving leadership in the categories by defining meaningful product differentiation and being able to champion a Harman value proposition that is consumer-friendly, market realistic, creative and ultimately compelling. In addition, the GPLM works closely and collaboratively with many business groups within the organization to successfully launch these great products; Sales, Marketing, Legal, Logistics and Customer Service and Support to name just a few.
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?
Fate is the best way to describe how I got into consumer electronics. I had just graduated high school and landed a part-time job at a local hi-fi store. I was unloading trucks, stocking shelves and helping customers get “turned on” to the experience of great music. What an awesome summer gig for a kid right out of school! The hi-fi boom had just begun, and retailers were expanding across the states, so I began leading the charge of store openings; site selection, hiring / training the staff, putting management in place, and then move on to the next city, rinse and repeat. This got me out of the family home on my own for the first time and with the hi-fi bug deeply embedded in me, I never looked back – it was onward and upward even today.
How did your career path lead you to HARMAN?
After about a decade on the retail side of consumer electronics I made the jump to the wholesale side landing a territory sales job with Pioneer Electronics. Over the course of a few years, I built relationships with the U.S. marketing team, where they offered me a position at the Long Beach, California offices. Twenty plus years later I had worked my way through many marketing, sales and product development management positions helping Pioneer Home become the market leader in AV Receivers, CD, DVD / Blu-ray players, Projection and Plasma flat panel televisions through the 90s and early 00s. I was instrumental in the development of the Pioneer Elite and TAD lines of products targeted to the specialty retail channel, while maintaining the position of the general line of Pioneer through mass merchants. My last assignment with Pioneer was overseeing the Professional Sound & Visual division of Pioneer DJ and OEM Optical drives. I left Pioneer in the summer of 2010 and joined THX, leading the sales of the certification program, which is when I had the opportunity to meet Jim Garrett and the HARMAN team in a presentation for THX. After joining THX, I quickly realized that my true passion was in the actual development of the products and made the jump into the home automation space. Over the next 10 years I split the time between CORE Brands and Control4/SnapAV heading up audio product development (primarily speakers). Then in June of 2021 I saw the postings for an open GPLM position for the Luxury Audio group. And as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”
What is the most important thing you have learned over your career?
I have had the pleasure to work with some of the greatest mentors in our industry. The one constant trait and message has been “Plan your work and work your plan.” Time seems to pass so quickly when you work in product development – weeks, months and years begin to blur while you work on multiple projects all with different timelines. Keeping a focus on the plan that was created and executing to that plan makes a huge difference.
Any other advice you would offer people just starting out in this industry?
We all work very hard bringing these exceptional products to market. It may look glamorous from the outside, but it is long hours, challenging negotiations, compressed timelines; constant change is the norm and teamwork is the only path to success. In simple terms: If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And I love what I do, every day!
What are you most proud of in your life?
My wife, my family and all the friends and colleagues all over the world that I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
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?
I was born into it. My mother taught piano professionally, so as far back as I can remember she had my brother and me studying / reading, practicing and playing piano through our childhoods (and yes, she has pics of me sitting at the piano in diapers pounding away:). Music appreciation rang through the house and season tickets to the local municipal orchestra concerts didn’t hurt either :). Through the grade school years, I was playing cello in the local youth orchestra and through the high school years was playing trumpet in the school band. And then in the 90s I picked up guitar and continue to pick n’ grin whenever I can get a spare moment.
What current technology impresses you the most?
What’s your favorite music genre?
Rock / Pop / Country / Jazz / Classical / Alternative
The desert island question, of course. If you were marooned for eternity and could listen to only three albums, what would they be?
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Chris Cornell – Chris Cornell
Dave Matthews Band – Busted Stuff
You have the floor. In closing, tell us anything else you want us to know about yourself.
Besides being a fanatic about music, from creation, to playing, and love for live events, the wife and I are motorcycle freaks. With five currently in the garage, if you are or will be out here in Southern Cal and like to ride, come look me up. Some of the best riding is available here in SoCal.
I look forward to helping the Luxury Audio family of brands continue to grow across the globe!