Meet the Sound Advice Staff
Rodney J. Cowden and Chris Cowden, Founders
Born and raised in the Lafayette, Indiana area, Cowden has strong ties to Lafayette and surrounding cities. His formal education took place at Vincennes University, where he majored in art and design, a degree that has served him well when planning all the intricacies involved in not only making a system sound great, but look aesthetically pleasing too. His audio experience started in the early to mid-1970’s when he suggested to his father and other partners of CWY Electronics that the Lafayette area needed an audio store. The Crossover at CWY was born and Cowden managed and oversaw all aspects of the audio business, back when “custom audio”, “surround sound” and “home theater” weren’t the catch phrases of the day but an idea for the future.
In 1991 Cowden saw the opportunity to fill a niche in the Lafayette market with a new kind of audio/video store that wasn’t retail but rather specialized in designing a client’s every desire for custom automated audio/video systems. With the recent expansion into providing computer services, a natural progression for the business, Cowden is excited about what the future holds for Sound Advice.
Chris is Co-Owner, along with her husband Rodney, and Office Manager at Sound Advice. She was born in Fowler, Indiana and has lived in the Lafayette area since 1978. She has been at Sound Advice since the beginning and has seen and experienced the rapidly changing technologies in which Sound Advice specializes. Keeping one step ahead of the curve was always a challenge, but Chris found it exciting to be working in an ever changing, cutting edge industry. Chris loved the interaction and relationships built with their many Clients over the years. She believes working with her husband has been very beneficial in providing great customer service and continuity, while managing project costs. Her favorite gadget is her iPhone™.
Brian Messer, Owner and COO
Brian was born in Hazel Park, Michigan, a few blocks north of Detroit. Throughout school he recognized an aptitude for computers. Starting with a Lego robotics summer course in the 6th grade, he developed an interest in computers and programming. With his first car came his first car stereo, and quickly he had more invested in the sound system in his car than the car was worth. After dating the love of his life long distance for 2 years through High School, Brian and Tina decided on Purdue University to start their lives together. An internship at Harman/Kardon working under some of the brightest engineers in audio raised his understanding of home audio to another level. His love of audio and passion for computers drove him to integrate these two worlds, which lead him to Rodney Cowden, owner of Sound Advice.
In 2005 Brian had his first opportunity to work with Sound Advice, integrating one of their client’s computer system with a topnotch theater system. That started a two-year process of Brian and Rodney trying to find a way to bring Brian into the Sound Advice family. In April 2007, Brian started the computer services division at Sound Advice, along with a 5-year ownership transition plan. Rodney mentored Brian on the vision that made Sound Advice successful since 1991, while Brian worked to provide computer services at the same level of excellence that Sound Advice’s existing clients had grown to expect. In April 2012, Brian and Tina became the 2nd owners of Sound Advice, and continue to guide the company today.
Tina Messer, President
Tina Messer graduated from Purdue University with a degree in nursing, worked in home health care, then worked for 5 years at Lafayette’s Regional Diabetes Center. In 2012, Tina left the hospital to work with her husband at Sound Advice. Responsible for billing and office management, she helps oversee the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making the office run efficiently and smoothly. Tina still provides in home treatments to a few close patients from her nursing career. Whether she is helping a patient or helping a client, she is happy that she gets to fulfill her greatest passion – to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Jason Rubsam, Computer Services Manager
Jason Rubsam, Lafayette PC’s founder, brings seventeen years of IT experience and computer support to the small business community of Lafayette. In addition to winning the 2012 Lafayette Small Business of the Year award by the Chamber of Commerce, and the 2013 best “computer repair” business award from the Journal Courier, Rubsam has extensive experience in running IT departments of such large organizations as Unity Healthcare. His troubleshooting skills are unparalleled, and he is considered an expert in security management and IT consulting. He is the leader of the computer services division.
Kevin Manning, Project Manager
Kevin Manning has been the Project Manager at Sound Advice since 1997. He was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho and attended Purdue University majoring in Telecommunications with minors in Supervision and Management. His favorite part about working at Sound Advice is the passion that lies inside the company. He likes the relationships he builds with his clients as well as the fact that the company does so much more than solely selling “black boxes”. He loves his gadgets and he doesn’t think he could live without his gaming consoles, iPad™ and his Kindle™. In his spare time, Kevin is an avid table-top gamer. He owns a gaming store called Gryphon Gaming (link: http://gryphon-gaming.com/).
Andrew Howell grew up in West Lafayette. He has been running video and audio at his church for more than 7 years. Apart from audio and video experience, Andrew has received around 5 years of computer hardware and software repair, attaining his CompTia A+ certification in 2009. Andrew enjoys all things electronic, ranging from video cameras to sound boards to computers and much more. Whether repairing them or using them on a day to day basis he enjoys all aspects of technology. While not attached to any one device he currently enjoys his Microsoft Surface and Windows Phone as well as sharing the pros and cons of each device.
Steven was born in and lives in Logansport, IN with his wife and daughter. He has been working on computers since he was young, first starting out using Windows 95. He is most passionate about church tech, and enjoys trying to find multiple uses for things and thinking outside the box to keep the cost down for projects. Steven takes care of scheduling all computer related service calls as well as managing the downtown drop-off location for PC repair.