Bob Abt, CEO
Bob Abt is the son of David and Jewel Abt, the founders of Abt Electronics. Bob entered the business in 1953 as a part-time employee when it was called Abt Radio. Throughout the years, Bob's ingenuity and constant desire to adapt helped grow Abt Electronics into one of the most successful privately owned retailers in the nation.
As CEO, Bob oversees all facets of the business including the look, design and all around environment of Abt Electronics. When it comes to showcasing products, Bob is involved every step of the way. He inspects the sales floor each night to be sure products look presentable and fills any gaps using every inch of real estate on the expertly organized showroom floor.
Serving on the board of the NATM Buying Corporation - the leading buying group in the industry - with his sons allows Bob to efficiently coordinate the buying and merchandising strategies of various retail members. It also provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, which helps keep Abt Electronics current with marketplace trends, and, in turn, optimize the customer experience.
Bob is extremely dedicated to his community, involving himself in multiple outreach programs. He currently serves as a board member of the Children's Brittle Bone Foundation (CBBF). Bob is also a leader in Chicago's One-Hour Mentor Program, a program designed to give small business owners an opportunity to meet and ask questions from business leaders who are experts in various disciplines such as marketing, financing and business operations.
Mike Abt, Co-President
Mike Abt, the eldest of CEO Bob's Abt's sons, is co-president of Abt Electronics and oversees all financial decisions. When Mike began working at Abt part-time in 1975, he championed basic environmental practices throughout the store and continues to be active in the company's broadening efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
In the past, Mike worked extensively with the Pro Buying Group, a group of leading retailers that advances the latest technologies and customer service. Currently, Mike is serving as a board member of NATM Buying Corporation, the leading buying group in the industry.
Outside of work, Mike continues to assume leadership roles. He has worked with the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and hosts an annual YPO Gala inside the atrium of Abt Electronics. He is also a board member of the Illinois Retail Merchant Association.
Mike is a self-proclaimed naturalist. He has volunteered at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium and has worked as a team leader for inner-city children's programs. Through his love for the earth and environment, Mike has spearheaded many green initiatives for the company. In 2006, a 12,000-square-foot on-site recycling center was built where customers can safely dispose of electronic waste and appliances.
Jon Abt, Co-President
Before joining Abt full-time, Jon worked various jobs in marketing in both the music and technology industries. He was Sponsorship Coordinator at Entertainment Marketing, Inc a company that pioneered corporate sponsorships for major music tours. His next position was a Project Manager for the Grammy Awards and the Grammy Foundation. Before returning to his family business, he was the Director of Worldwide Marketing at DTS. Since joining Abt full-time, Jon's largest contribution has been spearheading the store's involvement into e-commerce by creating Abt.com. Officially launched in 1997, Abt.com continues to be the go-to location for Abt's out-of-state customers. Becoming roughly a quarter of all of Abt's business, Jon is always looking to expand and adapt Abt.com in the world of e-commerce.
When Jon is not working hard at Abt he spends his free time with his three kids and loves snowboarding and music. He serves on the board of the For Autistic Kids Foundation.
Jon is often interviewed and looked to as an expert on nationwide retail trends, due to the fact that he has grown up in the industry. He has been quoted by numerous top-tier national publications, including the Associated Press, TWICE and Forbes.
Shirley Hood, Appliance Sales
Shirley Hood is a sales representative in Abt Electronics' Custom Kitchen department. Customers may also recognize Shirley's voice, as she regularly narrates Abt's radio and TV commercials.
Shirley joined Abt in 1994, bringing to the team skills she honed earlier in her career in car sales, and has enjoyed both personal and professional success ever since.
In addition to her sales responsibilities, Shirley takes a lead role in Abt's community service initiatives. She created the Employee Outreach Program, which collects money year round through various employee-led contests, bake sales and promotions. The money collected throughout the year is used to buy toys and essentials for the less fortunate.
When Shirley is not at Abt, she enjoys spending as much time as she can with her daughter and husband. She also likes to unwind by catching up with old friends.
Joe Klett, Manager - Custom Kitchens
Joe Klett, the manager of Abt Electronics' Custom Kitchen department, joined the company in 1994 after gaining experience as a manager at a mid-size retailer. Since his arrival, he has dedicated himself to the evolution and development of Abt and has been an advocate of the company's business motto: The house that service built.
When Abt moved to its current location, he played a role in the design of the unique layout of the store, making it a destination location for customers seeking gourmet kitchens and home theaters. Knowing that Abt welcomes evolution to stay in the forefront of trends, he implemented ideas such as creative expansion solutions and other ways to keep the store fresh. Even after all these years, Joe still enjoys seeing a customer come into the store for the first time and being blown away by the experience.
When Joe is not at Abt, he spends his time on the golf course, traveling and - being the head of the Custom Kitchen department -- cooking and eating.