Kenwood Veteran Launches Rep Firm

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Sutton Rep Firm

Crossover Marketing is a new manufacturer’s rep firm out of the Pacific Northwest led by Rob Sutton, a former executive at Kenwood, and Paul Pilat, formerly of Intel, Acoustic Research, RCA and other brands.

The firm will operate out of the Portland, OR area.

Given the principals’ extensive backgrounds,  Crossover Marketing will be able to give assistance in all aspects of business.

The company also promises,  “Full time in-field rotational dealer visits and 100 percent dedicated in-house dealer support.”

Early in his career, Sutton managed a 12 volt distributor and also managed a chain of 5 stores. He ran a small rep firm and worked in merchandising design with Best Buy and Walmart. He became a Regional Sales Manager with Jensen and then helped to start the Dual brand where he became a Product Manager.  He joined Kenwood in 2007 as Western Regional Sales Manager and became Director of Sales. He also helped create the MESA buying group.

At one point Sutton worked at MTi, a retail display company, where he met Pilat, who eventually left to work at Intel for 24 years. Prior to that, Pilat held positions at Acoustic Research, Monster Cable, Day Sequerra, and RCA.

While at Intel Paul worked in Intel Labs, a group that helped invent the USB Interface, and designed computer chips. He was also nominated for an Emmy because of his work in Interactive Media, and as a result is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures!

“He’s a salesperson too.  You can’t even hire a person like him.  But our friendship and our desire to do this is why we’re doing it together,” said Sutton.

The firm is starting in car audio, but may eventually go into other product areas including EV chargers and home audio.

Sutton says many reps just visit their retailers to pick up a check.  “I’ve literally grown up in the business living in the Pacific Northwest and helped most of the dealers in the territory get into the business. I’m most excited about helping those dealers navigate all facets of their business, and eager to give them advice that spans both sides of any obstacle they may encounter.”

Sutton’s son Sam will be joining the team as well.

Regarding leaving Kenwood recently, Sutton said, “The people at Kenwood are and will always be family to me. I’ll be forever grateful to Dave Hoag for giving me a chance over fifteen years ago, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve all done together over the years.”

He said,  “I’m doing this to chase a longtime dream with my mentor and my son, it’s something that I just have to do.”

The name Crossover comes from acoustic crossovers “designed to allow smooth transition points throughout the frequency range of sound.”

Crossover launches April 1. See more at

Photo: Rob Sutton, left and Paul Pilat.

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