The International CES founder, who was also a consumer electronics industry legend and WWII veteran, died from natural causes on Aug. 30 at age 92, according to Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro.
Jack Wayman oversaw the evolution of the EIA Consumer Products Division – where he was named its first director in 1963 – its $50,000 budget and two employees into the Consumer Electronics Group (CEG) with a $15 million budget and 50 employees. The CEG later became the independent CEA. Wayman is perhaps best known for guiding the association to create and produce the first International CES in 1967, which consisted of 100 exhibitors and 17,000 attendees. He built CES into the world’s premier event for innovation. The 2014 International CES hosted more than 3,600 exhibitors and 160,000 attendees.
“The consumer electronics industry has lost a legend and, more personally, I have lost a great friend and mentor,” said Shapiro. “Jack’s contributions to our association and our industry are numerous and momentous. We stand on his shoulders. From leading the creation of the association that eventually became CEA to founding the International CES to leading the fight for critical legislative and public policy victories that helped drive industry growth, Jack truly was one of the fathers of the contemporary CE industry. His passion for and dedication to our industry inspired us all. We join the entire CE family in expressing our condolences to his family and friends.”
Among Wayman’s career achievements are several victories on the legislative and public policy front – including the groundbreaking Sony-Betamax case – that paved the way for the introduction of breakthrough technologies. Wayman continued his involvement with CEA and the CE industry well into his later years, serving as a media spokesperson and as a judge for the CE Hall of Fame. He also continued to mentor CEA staff and serve as an unofficial industry historian.
“Jack loved our industry and loved seeing and experiencing its growth. He only missed one CES in his lifetime — It was his baby! We will truly miss his encouragement and wisdom,” stated Karen Chupka, senior vice president of events and conferences, CEA.
In addition to being inducted into the inaugural class of the CE Hall of Fame, Wayman has received countless honors from the CE industry. He was awarded the Electronic Industries Association’s (EIA) Distinguished Service Medal and was inducted into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders, the Electronic Industries Hall of Fame, and the Video Hall of Fame. Named “Man of the Year” by several industry trade publications, Wayman also was chosen as “Man of the Decade” by Audio/Video magazine.
This past July, CEA made a $1 million contribution to the CEA Foundation in celebration of Wayman’s more than 50 years of achievements and contributions to the consumer technology industry. CEA will honor Wayman with a special tribute service to be held in early November in New York City in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Consumer Electronics Division Awards Tribute, the CE Hall of Fame Dinner and CES Unveiled New York.
Wayman was also a proud and decorated U.S. veteran. He served in Europe during WWII as a combat infantry company commander and fought at the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, earning multiple accolades, including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Cluster, and two Presidential Citations, among many others. Last year, Wayman was inducted by the Government of France as a chevalier for his military service.
The only child of a prominent builder in Miami, Wayman served as president of his elementary, junior and senior high classes and turned down an appointment to West Point at 16. Instead he attended Davidson College in Charlotte, N.C., where he was president of his fraternity, lettered in track and baseball, and was the captain of their basketball team that was rated in the top ten in the country.
Wayman’s legacy also includes five children, 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. The family is holding a small memorial service Sept. 5 at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Boulder, Colo. at 10 a.m. MST.
Donations may be made in Wayman’s name to Davidson College and the CEA Foundation.
CEA has developed a memorial page for those who wish to share their memories of Jack Wayman. The page can be accessed via www.ce.org.
Numerous industry representatives expressed their condolences and appreciation for Jack’s legacy:
“Jack Wayman was a legendary figure in the consumer electronics industry – a true visionary. He was a promoter by excellence. His contribution to our industry cannot be measured by ordinary yardsticks. Jack was always active, with a great sense of humor, and a down to earth humble presence. He has been a source of inspiration for so many of us. We will miss you Jack, and your presence will be remembered by all who knew you. Safe travels on your newest roadshow. Your life and accomplishments will forever be etched into the history of CEA.” – John Shalam, chairman and founder, VOXX International Corporation
“I knew Jack Wayman for 48 years. He was a one of a kind dynamo, a fast talking super salesman who, as the first administrative employee of what was then the Consumer Electronics Division of EIA, turned it from a gentlemen’s club of American TV manufacturing executives into the major international trade association it is today. Jack’s single-handed creation of the International CES is his best known, but not his only major contribution to the growth of the industry he truly loved. He became its face, representing its interests at Congressional hearings, as well as before federal and state regulatory agencies, on both domestic and international issues. Jack made literally thousands of appearances on local TV and radio stations on nationwide tours to introduce the latest in industry products and technologies directly to America’s consumers. Jack was an unapologetic industry cheerleader with boundless enthusiasm that rubbed off on all of us associated with him. I was proud to consider myself both a professional and personal friend.” – Robert Gerson, founding editor, TWICE magazine
“Simply put, there was no better showman for the consumer electronics industry than Jack Wayman. He was a masterful ringleader, bringing businesses and new products together for the benefit of all consumers who love new technology. My personal sadness over the passing of our dear friend Jack Wayman is tempered by many fond memories from decades of working with him. We all owe Jack a huge debt of gratitude as his vision and leadership were key to creating today’s vibrant consumer electronics industry.” – John I. Taylor, vice president, public affairs and communications, LG Electronics USA and chairman of the CEA Communications Committee
“Jack Wayman didn’t invent the words consumer electronics but his choice of those two words for the trade show he did invent coalesced an industry behind them. Jack was the right person at the right time who was needed to bring an industry together via a singular and extraordinary trade event. It was his unique vision that unified the disparate elements we now know as the consumer electronics industry! Jack never envisioned the Consumer Electronics Show as a path to wealth for himself. Jack never sought to become a millionaire but he was, indeed, one in a million! God bless Jack Wayman. We are all blessed for having known him.” – Richard Ekstract, former editor-in-chief, Video Review magazine
“I witnessed Jack cut the ribbon at the very first CES. From that moment on, he was one of the most inspirational, energetic, and giving people I have ever met. He rejoiced in everyone’s success and treated everyone like family. He made life beautiful for all.” – Lois Whitman, president, HWH PR
“Jack Wayman belongs right at the top of the list of CE industry pioneers. He was a brilliant, courageous and good man who brought so many together to make so much happen in the form of the International CES and much more. He was a man who believed in rolling his sleeves up and making it happen. It was an honor to be considered his friend for over 40 years and to get the opportunity to see him create his magic first hand. I’m hoping he’s now in a place where he was welcomed with open arms by his industry peers that passed before, and they are all reminiscing about his favorite subject — the consumer electronics industry. Jack rest in peace. You are missed.” – Marcia Grand, former vice president/publisher, TWICE magazine
“It’s fair to say there wouldn’t be a consumer electronics industry as we know it today without the vision, persistence, and creativity of Jack Wayman – a truly great man to whom all in the CE business owe a debt of gratitude. And he did it all – even into his ’90s! – with that unforgettable, inimitable Wayman style!” – Jim Barry, CEA media spokesperson
“As another former RCA man, it is indeed a sad day as we remember Jack. His enthusiasm and dogged determination built the industry we know today. Jack lives on in our hearts as a showman, promoter, patriot and friend. Jack brought people and companies together. He forged relationships, built alliances and took a stand when he needed to. It’s hard to imagine CEA or CES without Jack, but thankfully his legacy is strong and enduring. We look ahead, grateful for his 65 years of dedicated service to the electronics industry,” — Joseph P. Clayton, president and CEO, DISH.