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An Evening With Entrepreneurs

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Tonight I went to a discussion with several entrepreneurs:

Fred Bramante, Founder & President of Daddy's Junky Music.He is originally from Medford, MA and is a graduate of Keene State College in Keene NH. He trained in college for a career in teaching and became an 8th grade Science teacher. Fred has held the position of Chairman of the NH State Board of Education and was also a two-time candidate for Governor of the state of NH. He has also been the treasurer of NAMM. Fred started his company with his entire life savings of $600.00 and Daddy's has grown to be the 16th largest musical products company in the country.

Jim D'Addario, President of J. D'Addario & Co. Jim Graduated from Hofstra in 1970. He and his brother John share the executive responsibilities at this family owned business. J. D'Addario currently employs over 1,000 people on 5 continents. Rico Reeds, Evans Drumheads and Planet Waves are some of the popular brands that have been added to the J. D'Addario family of products. Mr. D'Addario is a member of NAMM, has been awarded the Small Business Association's Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Wayne Inouye, CEO & President of Gateway Computers. Mr. Inouye grew up on a farm in Yuba City, CA. He credits his musically inclined mother for encouraging his interest in music. He has worked in sales and marketing for a mail order catalogue company, Warehouse Sound, where he set up their pro sound division. Wayne has also worked for retailers including the Guitar Center where he coined the phrase, The Musicians Choice. His experiences lead him to Senior VP positions with The Good Guys and Best Buy Companies. He has been credited with the turnaround of Emachines Computers and is currently with Gateway Computers. Wayne was the 2004 recipient of the coveted Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Orange County, CA.

John C. Koss, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Koss Corporation (headphones). Mr. Koss began his company in 1958 and has grown it into a major consumer electronics company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Koss Corporation is currently ranked as a world leader in the manufacture of high fidelity stereophones. John is Director Emeritus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He is the recipient of numerous high profile awards including: Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame 2000, Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree, Milwaukee School of Engineering 1983, Induction into the Audio Hall of Fame in 1979, Research Directors Association of Chicago Entrepreneur of the Year 1972. Mr. Koss transferred CEO responsibilities to his son in 1991 but remains active in the leadership of the Koss Corporation.

Overall I was very impressed. They shared their stories on how they got their first business started, what was their worst failure, biggest success, etc... I was particularly impressed with Wayne Inouye. Anyway, thought I'd share.
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