OLD LYME, CONN.: For the past 20 years, German microphone and headphone manufacturer Sennheiser has based its U.S. operations out of the shoreline town of Old Lyme, Conn. From this quiet location, Sennheiser staff markets, sells, customizes and services premium audio products that are sold to consumers through major retail outlets or to professionals such as major broadcasters, Broadway theaters and musicians throughout the United States. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary as an official U.S. subsidiary, the company has been recognized for its role in the business community by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“This recognition celebrates Sennheiser’s vital role in the business community, as well as the talented and passionate employees who are essential to its success,” Governor Malloy stated in an official document that proclaimed Aug. 29, 2011 as Sennheiser Electronic Corp. Day in the State of Connecticut.
Sennheiser was established in Wedemark, Germany in 1945 by Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser. Sennheiser products were first sold in the United States in 1963 via an independent distributor in Manhattan, which cemented the company’s relationships with broadcasters and Broadway theaters. Over the years, business grew. By the mid 1980s, the Sennheiser Group decided to open its own distribution company in the United States, and began exploring locations. Sennheiser’s U.S. headquarters was officially established in 1991, and found a home in Old Lyme.
Sennheiser’s annual revenue has grown from $11.3 million in 1991 to approximately $150 million in 2011. The U.S. subsidiary represents a significant portion of Sennheiser’s global business, which achieved record sales numbers in 2010. The company’s top three best-selling product categories include headphones, wireless microphones, and office and mobile headsets.
Sennheiser attributes the growth to its staff of about 80 Connecticut residents in a variety of roles, including marketing, sales, service and logistics.
“As of today, approximately 30 percent of our team has been promoted to different roles over time,” said CEO and President John Falcone. “Associate tenure remains high with an average of eight years, and the workforce has steadily expanded. In 2010, we brought on eight new associates to fill positions in marketing, IT, sales and service, and we’re continuing to hire additional talent.”
Sennheiser’s also said its core customer base contributed. It has evolved from broadcasters, theaters and production houses to also include the consumer electronics business. On any given day, Sennheiser said its Old Lyme office will be buzzing with requests from broadcasters for replacement microphones, orders from pop stars for custom-made microphone designs, requests from noteworthy facilities for audio system installations or consumers who need headphone/headset advice. The staff of experts is trained in answering the needs of various types of end users. Over the past years, the organization has followed a motto that is based on delivering excellence in performance, meeting customers’ demands and delivering results.
While its staff interacts on a daily basis with large national broadcast companies, high-profile artists and “big box” retailers, Sennheiser staff manages to make time for its local neighbors. Each spring, Sennheiser’s market development and education team hosts an audio seminar for Lyme/Old Lyme High School’s “Sound Reinforcement and Digital Recording” class. Last year, when the Valley Regional High School in Deep River needed a few wireless systems for a production of “The Sound of Music,” Sennheiser not only loaned several of its wireless microphone systems but also taught the students how to use the products. Earlier this year, Sennheiser co-hosted a new series of audio sessions for Hartford’s Naylor School students at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam.
Sennheiser is the official audio sponsor of Goodspeed Musicals’ productions at the Goodspeed Opera House and the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, and sponsors the annual Shakespeare on the Shoreline productions in Guilford. It also works closely with local partners such as ESPN and Sonalysts Studios, both of which rely on Sennheiser products.
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