Update: Industry Loses a Number One Rep

share on:
Bill McKinley

Following the funeral services for Bill Mckinley, the much loved rep who passed away during CES, there will be a gathering at his home where industry members will be able to share memories.

Funeral Services For Bill McKinley

The funeral services are tentatively scheduled as follows:

Date/Time: Sunday 1/15/17 @ 12:00.

Location: Todd Memorial Chapel. 325 N. Indian Hill Blvd. Claremont, CA 91711

Following the funeral service, for those of you who would like to meet Shari and some of Bill’s family, and share your memories you had with Bill, Shari has extended an invitation to stop by their Rancho Cucamonga home. Bill spent the last 25+ years giving 100% to the industry and people he’s worked with. His family would love to hear more about that.

 

The Future of Paragon Sales & Marketing

Following spending some time with the McKinley family, I had a meeting with Bill’s wife Shari, Bill’s dad, and Cindy, Shari’s good friend and family CPA. We discussed Paragon, and they decided they wanted to see the company continue in honor of Bill, and I agreed. So, effective the morning of 1/9/17, I, Wayne Smedile, am now the Principal Representative for Paragon Sales & Marketing. I have spoken with each of the vendors and ALL of them intend to continue to support and doing business with Paragon. ALL of our vendors have extended the offer to help the McKinley family in any and every way possible. I couldn’t be more proud of the vendors we represent. I am including a written statement from Audio Control, Arc Audio, and ORCA Design (Focal, etc.) which these vendors united together to make the statement that they stand behind the McKinley family, Paragon Sales & Marketing, and myself, Wayne Smedile. Please take a moment to read through the attached letter.

 

 

 

Bill McKinley, the principal rep at Paragon Sales and Marketing passed away in his sleep during CES at the age of 51, triggering an outpouring of grief among industry members, who could be seen visibly mourning in the halls and corridors of the show.

At present, “natural causes” is cited as the cause of death.

McKinley was much loved as an honest, kind, straight shooter who was passionate about the industry.   He started his career working for California Sound, Los Angeles.  He then worked as a rep and then a regional sales manager at Clarion. Eventually he started Paragon Sales near Los Angeles where he represented key brands for 17 years until his passing this weekend. He was Arc Audio’s first manufacturer’s representative. AudioControl and Orca Design & Manufacturing were also key brands.

McKinley won many industry awards but he was humble and shunned the lime light.  And yet he was a true businessman who was highly competitive.

“He was a real person, not a phony. He said what he meant and you could disagree with him, discuss it and argue, but he was always nice,” said Orca’s Duane Pilgrim.  “All the dealers loved Bill. He understood them….He was family. We could discuss our life problems together.  He’d help you and give you the shirt off his back.”

Retailer and long-time friend, Mike Stoeckmann said, “Bill happened to be one of the nicest guys.  He tried to help everyone out. If you had a question, he’d get you an answer. He was just one of the best reps around and no one would argue with that I think,” said the owner of Tune Time in Redlands, CA.

Paragon Sales will continue under Wayne Smedile, who becomes the new principal. Smedile has served as a sale rep for Paragon for the past three years.  He said of McKinley in business, “He just wanted to be the honest to God best.”

McKinley is survived by his wife Shari and three children.  For information on funeral arrangements contact Smedile at wayne@paragon-sales.com

 

Pictured above, Bill McKinley is second from the right.  Shown here also from left to right is Chris Kane and Chris Bennett of AudioControl and Wayne Smedile of Paragon Sales.

share on:

13 Comments

  1. He was a king among men.

    For over 15 years he was the best rep and one of the smartest businessmen I have ever worked with. We picked up almost everything he sold because Bill always knew how to keep everything working smoothly. He was always honest – and we could never catch him in a lie, even when we looked.

    He knew how to speak to gangsters and executives without skipping a beat, and without anyone questioning his authenticity. He was a charming and handsome. I truly admired this man and always said it aloud among my staff. I am truly thankful for what he did for me this past year.

    He once told me I was a good kid – Rest easy big guy,

  2. Hearing the news of my friend Bill’s passing was truly saddening….truly like losing a family member. I met Bill in 2006 and had done business with him ever since. Bill was the coolest, the funnest to hang out with, & most importantly was the best rep you could ever ask for. Whether giving him a $200 order or a $10,000 order he always was more than appreciative….even though I always thanked him, knowing that my order was in great hands and that I could rely on him for anything. In a world where we don’t stock deep inventory, having Bill on the case was refreshing knowing our parts would be coming asap. There is no mystery into why 90% of our 12 volt business ran through Bill. More than anything I’ll miss just chatting with Bill about our Kindergarten teacher wives, cars, travel, music, & also how proud he was of his family.
    Rest easy buddy!

  3. Our industry loses a legend that can’t never be replaced, Bill will be the benchmark and standard that all of us in the 12 volt world can inspire to be. May the waves be high and the beer cold my friend!! RIP Bill McKinley

  4. It is been an emotional couple days for us here at Concept. Anytime you lose somebody unexpectedly and so young is never easy. Bill was our back to back rep of the year and was one of the most admired persons within our small Concept family. On a personal level Bill was one of my closest and dearest friends. We have known each other for almost 25 years. We talked almost every during that time. He was loyal, hardworking, the most honest person I have ever met. Our condolences go out to his wife Shari and his children. Please say a prayer for Bill. I am dedicating 2017 to my friend and confident. I will certainly miss him. I enclosed a photo that was taken just a few hours before his passing

  5. This was certainly not at all the CES we expected, but it’s clear by the gathering on Sunday morning in the ORCA/Focal suite during the last day of CES that Bill was loved and admired by so many of his industry colleagues. I knew Bill as a friend, as a fantastic Rep and as a person who – like many of us – was 100% all-in on the effort to continue improving the 12 volt aftermarket community. God Bless Bill and the McKinley family. You will be very much missed my friend!

  6. Bill , as everyone knows was a great guy but he truly was a friend and would do anything he could to help. Our shop is at a huge loss without him walking in the door once a month. RIP my friend!

  7. While representing Arc Audio back in 2007-2010, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill. He accepted me as an equal and was always willing to discuss business matters. His personality was infectious and I always enjoyed hearing his insights. He was a passionate professional, someone I respected for his knowledge. He will be missed and prayers for his family. My suggestion, 2017 the year of BILL!!!

  8. I had the pleasure of meeting Bill many years back. Our paths first crossed when he picked up Focal and then years later when I picked up AudioControl. I always looked forward to the phone call on the late afternoon drive home.We spoke often about the industry, where it was going and the brands we represented. We shared lines,laughs, thoughts and concerns through our journey as road warriors and I could always count on Bill for a fresh perspective and at times a viewpoint i had not considered. For that I will always be grateful. His honesty, integrity, professionalism, humbleness and kindness was immeasurable. Bill McKinley, you will be missed!

  9. Last week Bill was awarded one of AudioControl’s highest honors and the first time we had awarded this to one of our Reps ‘The AudioControl ‘Always On’ Award’. Your photo Amy shows Bill receiving this last week at CES. At AudioControl, we will sorely miss Bill’s professionalism, his business acumen, his passion for our brand, our daily bantering, his work ethic, his expertise in our industry and of course his personality, his smile, his generosity and all that he was to our family here at AudioControl and beyond.

    Bill was one of the team that I knew I could always go to at any time for advice, product development thoughts, an honest view and so much more…. He and I had many trips together when we would banter and debate all the merits of the business and I will having him there to talk to and laugh with…

    We will continue to work diligently supporting and growing his dealers across all of Southern California and continue the amazing legacy he created. He was a great man and a great friend to AudioControl and we are working closely with his family and colleagues at this time.

    Lunch at Chipolte will never be the same again….

  10. What a tragic and unexpected loss. My deepest sympathy to his family. Bill was a good man and will be missed.

  11. I had the pleasure of working with Bill during a short stint I had at Clarion in 2000. I played a role in promoting him to regional sales manager. Now and again we ran into each other on the street and at trade shows during the past 16 years. He was a hands on, get it done, no pretend kinda guy. Great work ethic, and enthusiastic supporter of the brands he represented. Most important Bill was a wonderful and decent human being. I am always saddened when one of ours takes leave. Bill’s leave taking however has elicited a few tears. We need more Bill McKinley types in our business and in the world in general. Condolences to his family and all else who loved and respected Bill.

  12. He’ll be sadly missed. Bill was Accele’s Rep for a while and did a excellent job! Our dearest sympathies to the family and other friends for their great loss!

Comments are closed.