ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Earlier this year, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame announced it will be celebrating the 2020 and 2021 inductees into the Hall, as pandemic restrictions led to the postponement of both classes. The annual ceremony will now happen on Sunday, May 1 at 7 p.m. in Kodak Hall.
One of the inductees is Mike Laiacona, the founder of Whirlwind. He started the company by making audio cables and is now of the world’s leading audio equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
It all started with the one leading principle of all things audio: Connecting one thing to another. Little did Laiacona know that this would turn into an industry-leading innovation in 1975.
“One of the things that I had always wanted was a super guitar cord. Because a guitar player, that was the first thing that always failed,” Laiacona said.
He went on to sell 10,000 units of that now-iconic durable and dependable cable in 3 days at a trade show. So it’s no surprise that not long after, Whirlwind was born.
But its now 2022, and we’ve gone from an analog to a digital world, but Whirldwind still invents what they make. They make and sell those iconic cables, to custom gear, to equipment with their self-made circuits to even UV printing their own products.
All of these find homes with local musicians, to pro audio and mixing engineers, and they even furnish stadiums across the country, and worldwide events like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and more. But Laiacona’s secret is two-fold, First sticking to his roots of the seemingly lowly guitar cable.
“I am a musician, I do play on stage, and I understand what a real musician wants,” he said. But it’s also his approach at the company.
Laiacona is known to lend at hand at all stations in the plant, and has employees that have stayed for years, even decades. So the gravitas of his induction might not have hit home yet… But that might be because it pales in comparison to his every day.
“When I go home every night, I am absolutely amazed at the things we’ve done that day, and what we have shipped out that day and who we’re working for… It just amazes me every day,” he said. “I never know what’s coming down the pike.”
Laiacona also adds that business is booming. On the tour, almost every single piece of gear one could see wasn’t inventory or stock… It has been bought and accounted for already. Also, a polite reminder they’re currently hiring.