A New Zealander who has lived most of his professional life in Asia, Rodney Houston is an enthusiastic team player with a tremendous passion for where his career has led him. As Senior Director of Sales, Entertainment in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, Rodney is focused on growing HARMAN Professional Solutions’ tour, cinema and retail businesses. In 2014, he was as honored as the division’s International Salesperson of Year.
Rodney joined HARMAN in 2009 and served as the Director of Sales for the South Asia region for five years before becoming the Director of Sales and Business Development for the division’s Hospitality division. Moving into the Entertainment business unit last year, Rodney became immersed in a field that holds particular significance for him—his love of music. He has an impressive collection of electric guitars, seeks out vinyl albums and CDs in his travels, and dabbles in his home studio when he can.
Most of the time that Rodney has spent in Asia has been in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at HARMAN’s former APAC office, but he and the APAC office have since relocated to Singapore. “There has been a lot of focus lately on strengthening HARMAN’s coverage in Asia,” said Rodney. “When I first joined, there was only a small team of us in Malaysia. Now, in Singapore, we have grown exponentially, both in office space and employees serving the Asia region. It has been incredibly exciting to be a part of that growth. The Singapore office is a great facility with an amazing atmosphere. The new Experience Center provides a hands-on example of what we do, and everyone who visits is blown away by it.”
As a teenager, Rodney initially set his sights on broadcast and audio production. “I loved the energy and connection to the music industry, while having a direct connection to the technology side of business,” said Rodney. “The art of recording still fascinates and excites me, so it’s awesome to be part of that at HARMAN. I used to look at the products that recording studios and radio stations used and was fascinated by them. I remember thinking how incredible it would be to work for a company that made them, and now I am doing just that.”
“The recording side of our industry is a huge legacy for HARMAN. One of JBL’s first product lines, many decades ago, was studio monitors, and today they are still a massive business for us. AKG studio microphones and headphones are iconic, industry-wide and an extremely important part of our recording business,” he said.
“Since I started working for HARMAN, there have been opportunities to visit some of the most renowned studios in the world,” he said. “Some years back, we went to Capitol Records in Los Angeles as part of a training event with several of our customers. It was amazing to stand in the rooms where famous artists recorded some of the most celebrated albums of all time. This is the business we’re in!”
Travel has played a key role in Rodney’s work and is an element he especially enjoys. “After so long, if I had to stay in one place all of the time, it would be quite an adjustment. I’m used to being on the move, and I love it,” he said. “My job involves going to other markets to visit users of HARMAN equipment. While we work really hard at what we do, I also get to meet different people, eat various kinds of food and drink coffee around the region—three things I’m very into. The variety of my job is pretty amazing.”
When not consumed by work and travel, Rodney has a new baby daughter who occupies much of his time. “When I’m home in Singapore, apart from spending time with our incredible little girl, being foodies, we like to seek out new cafes and restaurants,” he said. “There is also a lot of really fantastic coffee in this part of the world, so I have quite an elaborate brewing setup at home. I also like to listen to music as much as I can.”
“Living in Singapore is very different than where I’m from in Hamilton, New Zealand, but having been in Asia for so long, it has become home for us now. People are very friendly, and I love the culture. Even though Singapore is a big city, there is lots of green everywhere, and it’s a great place to be based as a regular business traveler,” said Rodney. “Oh, and there are quite a few record stores here, thankfully, because I’ve been buying a lot of vinyl recently and listening to it through my JBL speakers, of course!”
Many thanks to Rodney for sharing his insights on his exciting work and life, and helping bring HARMAN to the world.