The AV industry suffered a great loss yesterday when the Chairman and Founder of Crestron, George Feldstein, passed away. Feldstein and his wife Lynda launched Crestron in the 1970s, and over the last 45 years turned the company into a leading player in the audio-visual space.
I first met George in the late-1980s when I applied for a position in Crestron’s engineering department. At the time Crestron had only a handful of employees, all working in a single facility in Cresskill, NJ. George and I spoke for a few minutes, at which point he informed me that he was not going to offer me the position I was after. Instead, he explained that, “You may be a capable engineer, but I don’t see you designing circuits all day. You should be dealing with people.” As a budding young engineer, I was a bit crushed by how quickly he dismissed my engineering chops. However, in later years I realized that his hasty assessment was not only spot-on, but helped shape the rest of my career.
I worked at Crestron for “Mr. F” (George’s nickname within Crestron) for only a few years, but he and I stayed in touch. Years later, George and I met at Infocomm and discovered we both had an interest in flying. To my surprise, he invited my wife and me out for a day of flying on one of his planes. I, of course, expected an hour of two of flying around our local airport. Instead, George and Lynda hosted us on a day of flying from Englishtown NJ to Martha’s Vineyard where we enjoyed a nice lunch. We then flew to a hanger in northern NJ and made a few runs (hammerheads, loops, etc.) in George’s acrobatic plane; an experience I treasure to this day, but will never repeat. Despite our protests, throughout the amazing day, George would not let us pay for anything at all. That was the kind of person he was.