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Wrong Jonathan Edwards?

Jonathan R. Edwards

Vice President of Finance

Lansing Heritage Forums

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Lansing Heritage Forums

P.O. Box 1511

Foley, Alabama 36536

United States

Find other employees at this company (1)

Background Information

Employment History

Vice President of Finance

JBL Professional




Business Administration

Woodbury College

Web References (14 Total References)

PEOPLE [cached]


John Edwards was the fourth employee of James B. Lansing Sound and would rise to the position of Vice President of Finance.


They provided source materials for numerous articles on this site and leads that resulted in contacts with John Edwards, Arnold Wolf and George Augspurger.

John provided ongoing assistance in filling out missing information and keeping us on track. My co-developer, Steve Schell, was first to meet with John and Mark Gander in June, 2000 when he was provided access to JBL's archive. John became our guide in sifting through this goldmine of information.
John Edwards has led a remarkable career at JBL that spanned the very start of the company to its rise as the nation's preeminent loudspeaker manufacturer. His experiences and background are documented in two detailed articles on our site. Rather than restating that information here, I believe it is more interesting to focus on John's involvement with our site.
John came to our attention through John Eargle's notes, mentioned above.
In Eargle's notes, there was a phone number from 1980 that was thought to belong to Edwards. As a shot-in-the-dark, I tried that number in February 2000. To my surprise, John Edwards answered and confirmed that he was the former Vice President of Finance at JBL.
John Edwards sounded as surprised as I was during the initial call. He was taken aback by a long distance call from a stranger in Canada inquiring about events over 50 years past. The initial call was short, as John indicated I should call back in a couple of days after he was able to dig up some information from his days at JBL. That next phone call proved to be a very enjoyable and fascinating insight into a remarkable career. Using his daughter, and later his son as intermediaries, we were able to carry on regular email correspondence that provided even further information. John subsequently sent two packages containing information on early products, pricing, and people involved at JBL. Some of these documents were the only copies in existence.
After arriving in Los Angeles in September, 2000, John was the first person we contacted. We made arrangements to meet at the Smokehouse restaurant for dinner. The above photo was taken at that dinner and shows John on the left with his son Drake on the right and Steve Schell in the center.
Since our initial contact, John has acquired a computer and Internet access. He is very open to contact with anyone interested in the early days at JBL and can be reached at: In particular, he would love to hear from any of his former coworkers at JBL.


John Edwards - JBL Employee #4 © John Edwards

It's sometimes hard to understand just how humble were the beginnings of Lansing Sound Incorporated, especially in comparison to how high JBL would subsequently rise. Thanks to John Edwards, we have a first-hand witness. John worked directly with James B. Lansing for approximately a year and a half before Jim's death in 1949.
From personal discussions, John was able to provide the following insight into the founding of Lansing Sound.
John remembers, "very seldom would he take the time out to leave the plant to eat.
After Jim's death, business remained tight and John was called upon to do whatever it took to keep going.
If dealing with production and sales issues was not work enough, John had the added headaches of cash flow problems with both suppliers and employees, "Vendors were having to wait longer and longer.
John relates, "James B. Lansing Sound grew and prospered under the leadership of Bill Thomas.
During the 1950s, John would become the first vice-president of James B. Lansing Sound and Bill Thomas's right-hand-man, running the company in his absence.
We have John to thank for recording a vital piece of that history.



John Edwards - Former JBL Vice President of Finance © John Edwards
John Edwards has the distinction of being the fourth employee of Lansing Sound Inc., and is now the only one living of the four. From humble beginnings as a jack-of-all-trades, John was to rise to the position of Vice President of Finance and held a stock interest in JBL. He was the right-hand man to the President, Bill Thomas, and was in charge in Thomas's absence. John participated in the struggles of the company at its very beginnings, often on the verge of bankruptcy, and then made significant contributions to its ultimate success and growth. At the end of his tenure with JBL, the firm had become the preeminent loudspeaker manufacture of the time.
Just before World War II, John had graduated from Woodbury College with a diploma in Business Administration. John didn't get a chance to put this education to use as he shortly joined the U.S. Navy for four years. He participated in the battle of Iwo Jima and also the invasion of Okinawa where his ship was attacked by Japanese Kamikaze planes, with the loss of many lives. After the war he joined a staff at Lansing Sound Incorporated that consisted of only Jim Lansing, Bud Fassett and Howard Weiser. As John puts it, "Howard was the voice coil expert... Bud did the rest and Jim of course could do it all including making enclosures" one of which John still has. As John puts it, "Howard was the voice coil expert... Bud did the rest and Jim of course could do it all including making enclosures" one of which John still has.
John was hired to do all of the office work.
The early times at Lansing Sound were difficult and John was often called upon to do whatever was necessary to complete the job at hand. Many times John had to personally deliver products straight off the manufacturing floor, dropping them off out of the back of his car to local dealers. Money was tight and it was not uncommon to have to ask staff to hold their paychecks until money could be raised to cover them.
John relates that the job which established the firm was a contract to supply all of Fox West Coast Theaters with sound systems. However, they nearly missed the opportunity to gain that work. Lansing Sound first had to develop a prototype. They found themselves in the classic "Catch 22" where they would not be paid without the contract, but couldn't get the contract without paying the suppliers to build the prototype. It required John's skill as a negotiator and the patience of their suppliers to get through this impasse.
John was instrumental in establishing a family work environment that resulted in unions being unsuccessful in attempts to organize the production staff during his tenure. Annual family events were held, including picnics, bus trips to Dodger games and Christmas parties. Benefits included profit and pension plans and the right to purchase JBL products for personal use at reduced prices. John was also on top of the technology of the day and ensured that JBL's accounting was automated with the latest IBM and NCR business machines.
One of the more intriguing insights that John was able to provide was into the personality and background of James B. Lansing.
John also recounts how Jim was a workaholic.
John had made arrangements to rent a motel room close to the plant to save Jim the time in driving to his home in San Marcos.
In a more telling episode, John relates that many times when money was tight, Jim Lansing would ask that the company drop the "key man" policy on his life.
However, John always found a way to pay the premiums. It was this policy that allowed the company to continue after Jim's death.
After 21 years, and following the sale of the company, John became the asset manager in Los Angeles for the Charles Dunn Company and also for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of The United States.

Faculty | SHEA Spring 2015 Conference [cached]

Jonathan Edwards, Mstat Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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