Monroe Jost, founder of J&S Audio Visual (JSAV), passed away on April 6, 2019. I had the fortune to serve on a number of InfoComm committees with Monroe and he was defined his booming voice, southern charm and pure kindness. Monroe was a pioneer and innovator. For example, he was one of the first AV companies to station AV techs inside hotels as a service to their client (the hotel chain itself). He once shared with me that this was more of a relationship-based strategy than a technology-based strategy. He told me that, yes, having an in-house JSAV rental tech inside a hotel meant that they’d be used for nearly — if not all — of the the AV used inside the building but, that the real value was that they’d have a personal relationship with the hotel chain that no one else could break. Genius, huh?
Born in 1947, Mr. Jost was a passionate entrepreneur who was not afraid to take risks. He relished the challenge of launching a new venture, and, in 1986, he purchased Hoover Audio Visual (est. 1937) by taking out a loan that had to be paid back in 12 months. Unconcerned with the timeline, Monroe was confident that if he focused on one aspect of the business-customer service-he would be able to quickly grow a client base and generate enough revenue to pay off the loan. In twelve short months, Monroe Jost did just that, creating the foundation on which he would build his company.
During the next 30 years, he led the company’s expansion into other U.S. markets and abroad, growing JSAV from a dozen employees to 650. As JSAV continued to expand, Jost stayed true to his core tenet that this business is all about people and relationships.
Monroe’s son, Kevin, became president of JSAV in 2014. Monroe continued to lead the company as CEO, cheerfully engaging employees until his last day in the office earlier this month. (He had officially announced his retirement on March 21, 2019).
JSAV is based in Irving, Tex. and has regional offices in Denver, San Antonio and Houston. In addition to its U.S. operations, JSAV also has international operations in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. As of January 2019, JSAV has multi-year contracts in place with over 84 hotels and convention centers in addition to regular business representing over 2,500 annual events and productions, 500 venue locations and 650 clients. JSAV has a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 87. JSAV recently acquired BAV Services based in Buffalo, NY. Ashford Inc. owns an 88 percent controlling interest in JSAV and provides global asset management, investment management and related services to the real estate and hospitality sectors.
Monroe Jost’s leadership was marked by a true “open door” policy. There was not an employee at any level with whom Jost would refuse a personal meeting. He actively traveled the country, visiting the company’s branch offices and the many hotel and event properties where JSAV maintains on-site offices. His passion was the people and he enthusiastically met with and encouraged the widespread but close-knit JSAV family of employees and clients. To Jost, if the work was not fun, why do it? He ran JSAV with the firm belief that if the employees enjoyed their jobs and were having fun, their happiness would be passed along to their clients and customers.
His legacy will continue, because of the core values he practiced and instilled in the people who comprise one of the strongest and most respected audio-visual companies in existence.
A Kansas farm boy who served in the Vietnam War, Mr. Jost also founded SGSO (Serving God, Serving Others) a disaster relief organization.
Monroe Jost is survived by his wife, Karen. He is also survived by his sons, Todd in Denver, Colo. as well as Kevin and his wife Nicole and their two children in Coppell, Tex. Monroe Jost will be dearly missed by countless friends and business acquaintances and by JSAV’s loyal family of employees.
An obituary can be found here.