President to amplify focus on audio, video systems
CHAMPAIGN — Stephen Morris, the president of C.V. Lloyde, is taking the business into a new era and a new locale.
But his association with the business extends back more than 30 years.
This summer the company will move to the Lincoln Commerce Center at 702 Killarney St., U, to devote itself to the design and installation of audio and video systems.
That has gotten to be a larger share of the company's business in recent years and now accounts for 90 percent of sales.
Examples of such systems includes video walls, large flat screens, projectors and controls systems, sound reinforcement systems, wireless microphones and digital signs.
Morris said he started renting sound equipment from C.V. Lloyde in 1980 as a freshman at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
During high school, "I was the sound man for a couple of bands and would rent gear for weekend gigs," Morris said. "I loved being involved in that part of the business."
He knew Lloyde supplied sound systems for bands, later providing services for the likes of Boston and Sammy Hagar.
"I decided if I wanted to get serious about learning the business of sound reinforcement, I had to go to the King of Sound in the state of Illinois," Morris said.
After high school, Morris tried to get a job at C.V. Lloyde. At the time, Morris was attending Parkland College and stocking shelves overnight at Richards supermarket in north Champaign.
Morris said the store manager at C.V. Lloyde initially said no job was available. But he later said he could use a janitor to wash windows, clean floors and do odd jobs.
Morris accepted the offer and tried to pick up other responsibilities.
"I started to force my way into the customer service area ... and helped out with the rental of sound equipment to DJs up to large concerts," he said.
Morris also did sound work for local bands, many of them performing at Mabel's in Campustown.
"Six to eight nights a month, I was taking care of bands," he said.
As the business began providing sound systems for churches in the 1980s, Morris worked with C.V. Lloyde to generate sales, and they and another technician installed systems.
Morris ended up working full time at C.V. Lloyde for 10 years. In 1996, he got an opportunity to move to the West Coast as an audiovisual system designer for Pro Media in San Francisco. That company provided large-scale sound reinforcement systems for stadiums as well as audio-video conference systems for corporations.
He later worked for Harman International, which owned sound equipment lines including JBL/Crown. When he left the company in 2009, he was executive vice president of sales for JBL.
During his years away from Champaign-Urbana, "C.V. and I always stayed close to each other," Morris said. Lloyde was doing more extensive audiovisual contracting, and it made sense for them to work together.
On Sept. 2, 2009, Morris became majority shareholder in the C.V. Lloyde business, and he and Lloyde became partners.
Lloyde said he is glad to have Morris carrying forth the C.V. Lloyde name.
He said that when Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois needed a new sound system, "it looked like more than we could handle organizationally. But Stephen said 'we can do this,'" and the business got the installation project.
"That alone is so Stephen," Lloyde said. "I have complete confidence in him carrying the name to greater heights of excellence than I ever attained."