We’ve all heard the saying, “To know him is to love him.” This sentiment could not be more true for PreSonus’ very own Johnny McAndrew. From trade shows to demos and Vic Viper video shoots to cooking Louisiana’s best Jambalaya, there’s no doubt Johnny has made a lasting impact on PreSonus’ culture of family, humor, fun, creativity, and hard work. He’s been around for almost 17 years of PreSonus’ 25 years as a company and has some of the best stories from the last quarter-century. Get to know our Territory Manager for the US and Canada below.
How long have you worked at PreSonus?
I was hired as the 19th employee in February of 2004, so 16 and a half years.
When was the first time you heard about PreSonus?
It would’ve been around the year 2000. I was learning to run sound at the Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge, LA and we were using a few of the outboard compressor/ limiters known as the ACP88. I soon found out that this fancy blue piece of gear with the cool lights was designed and built above an old antique store—right up the street from Galaxy Music, the music store I was working at downtown. I remember being fascinated that there was a pro audio company just a few blocks over, designing useful products for musicians and audio engineers all over the world. A few years later, some friends of mine that worked here reached out to let me know that they were hiring and wanted someone that “could do a bunch of different things.”
Is there are particular moment or memory that happened at NAMM that stands out for you?
There are so many, and most of my favorite memories have to do with my friends and partners I get to see, but I’ll go with day 1 of my first Winter NAMM in 2010. I remember being on a plane from Louisiana headed to California and I couldn’t believe that I was getting paid to go to what seemed like a mythical show that I had only seen in guitar magazines growing up. I got off the plane, dropped my bags off at the hotel and headed straight to the show. While waiting in line to get my badge I notice I’m right behind the coolest bass player of all time, Sir Bootsy Collins. I make a beeline to the booth and soon as I get on the trade show floor, the very first person I see is Dave Mustaine from Megadeth followed by Kerry King from Slayer and Tommy Lee from Motley Crue. I walk straight up to my assigned area to demo what would have been the original StudioLive series and Studio One version 1, and the first person I talk to about the console is Johnny Hiland, who happens to be one my favorite guitar players and he was just as gracious as can be. I know I’m going a little heavy on the name dropping, but it was it a lot to absorb in the first 15 minutes of being at the Anaheim Convention Center; it’s always surreal because you never know who you’re going to end up seeing or showing gear to at that show. Except for Sinbad. You will always, without fail, see Sinbad every single year at Winter NAMM. He’s as nice and funny as you’d think but what you might not know is that he is a total tech/gearhead.
Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of? If so, why?
That’s a difficult question because I will often blow right past a milestone, or a noteworthy achievement that I should probably take the time to acknowledge or enjoy, but I’m always thinking of the next month, the next quarter, or the next year. I can’t really point to a particular contribution or achievement but just seeing what we’ve done as a whole over the past 25 years, while constantly refining our process is something to be proud of. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved for 16 of those years and it’s been an awesome journey to see where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
What PreSonus product are you most proud of?
It depends on when you ask me and whether I’m recording or running live sound. Currently, I’m pretty stoked on PreSonus Sphere because of the collaboration aspect that will continue to improve over time. I love the idea of bringing people together through creativity. If I’m going with a vintage memory that really made an early impression on me, I‘m really proud of the ADL 600 because that was the first product I had a hand in as I was doing QA at the time. To see the product from its inception, which started as a schematic on a napkin, to working late nights with Robert Creel and the engineers so that we could get it out the door, to see it get accepted by the market and used on some really serious records was such cool thing to be part of.
What inspires you to keep showing up to work at PreSonus?
So many things. I could go on and on about the people I get to work with, the process, the technology, and the products, but I on my most challenging day, I always think about friends that have called or texted after the first time they set up their interface with Studio One and how excited they were to start creating. The idea that there’s some kid out in the world, that could be the next Stevie Wonder and they’re using our gear to create something is as motivating as it is humbling. It’s truly a privilege to serve the creative community and to hopefully help create an exquisite user experience.
What is or was the biggest challenge you faced during your time here?
When you work for a technology company in a highly competitive field, you’re basically signing up for an endless barrage of obstacles while someone says it can’t be done or we’ve always done it this way so why should we change it? Combine those daily challenges with a healthy dose of the year 2020 and you’ve got one massive rock to push up the hill. That being said, I really don’t think about the perceived obstacle in front of us but rather how we can all move forward together.
What do you think other people should know about PreSonus that they don’t?
Our COO, Jim Boitnott, created the spices that are sold on our web store. Our senior product manager, Ray Tantzen, should probably have his own cooking show where he talks proper methods of using a smoker. Colby Huval in the sales department makes better Cajun Sausage and Tasso than 99.99% of people in Louisiana, which puts him in the running for the best worldwide. Our Shipping Admin, Shawn Lee, is one of the most talented musicians and songwriters I’ve ever heard. Chad Schoonmaker in marketing is one of the best abstract artists I’ve ever seen. Product Specialist, Gregor Beyerle and Software Engineer Michael Cole are two of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life.
I think we have the most talented group of cooks, musicians, creatives, and engineers that truly care per capita of any other company on the planet. You can learn something inspiring and unique from all the folks at our offices in Louisiana, Ireland and Germany.
How has working at PreSonus changed you? (for the better)
Just doing something that I love and feeling like I have a sense of purpose when I walk into work every day gives me focus. Acknowledging how lucky I am to get to do something that I care about forces me to be present and enjoy the moment as opposed to looking too far ahead.
Considering all your time and effort you’ve spent at PreSonus, what’s something you’re excited to see PreSonus accomplish in the next 5 years?
I hope we continue to push the envelope of what is possible when designing products for creative people while giving the user a great experience. Let’s make it better and more fun!