The broadcast supply community mourned the death this month of Scott Beeler, director of worldwide sales for Electronics Research Inc. He was found dead after a car accident near his home in Morrow, Ohio, a Cincinnati suburb. He had been returning from a Harris Broadcast vendors’ meeting in nearby Mason.
Beeler’s wrecked vehicle was found early on Oct. 3, his 38th birthday, after his wife alerted police he had not returned. Police said Beeler had lost control of his SUV, hit a guardrail, gone airborne and slammed into an abutment. The vehicle landed in a creek.
His colleagues and his many clients were stunned by the news.
Beeler was the kind of employee the supply industry never seems to have enough of. He joined ERI in 2001 after many years at Harris, where he rose to the position of director of North American radio sales. He began his career as a teenager in the stockroom of Allied Broadcast Equipment prior to its acquisition by Harris. Numerous co-workers from both ERI and Harris called Radio World on the day of his death, stunned by the news.
“Scott worked in our ‘fire department,'” recalled Dave Burns, a co-worker at Allied. “He was what we called a fireman. Their job was to be the eyes, ears and legs of salesmen on our outside offices, to give them an internal presence at Allied. Scott excelled at that job, like he did at every job he ever had. He had earned the respect and affection of an entire industry.”
Young Beeler was hired at Allied by Roy Ridge, a neighbor of Beeler’s parents.
“I asked him what he wanted to do in the company and he told me he wanted my chair,” Ridge recalled after Beeler’s death. “He wanted to run the company. That kind of took me by surprise, but we joked a lot about it later on. But the way he was working his way up the company at the time I sold it, he was on his way to accomplishing that goal.”
Jim Meleski, COO of ERI, temporarily assumed Beeler’s duties.
“Scott came to help me to create a direct sales force to reach out to the industry,” Meleski said. He cited Beeler’s work serving customers, taking calls at all hours to solve customer problems. “You can’t replace a person like that.”
Though ERI is located in Chandler, Ind., Beeler maintained his office in his home in Morrow. “Clear Channel (was) based there, and so is Harris, and we were looking to continue to build relationships with those companies and others,” said Meleski. He was to have met with Beeler the morning after he died.
Jeff Littlejohn, senior vice president of engineering services at Clear Channel Radio, said because of Beeler’s proximity, he worked closely with him at Harris and ERI. “I bought XLR connectors from Scott, and I bought million-dollar packages of equipment from Scott. He was one of these rare individual whom you brought a problem to, and his only response was ‘I’ll get it taken care of.’ … If he told you he was going to do something, he did it.”
At Radio World, we remember Beeler’s presence at trade shows, his responsiveness to his clients and even his sense of humor. We recall that Harris Allied published advertisements featuring Scott Beeler in full golfing regalia. In addition to being a consummate professional, he clearly was not afraid to poke fun at himself.
Scott Beeler is survived by his wife Kim, who is pregnant, and two children. Contributions to the family can be made through ERI to Kim Beeler, c/o ERI Attn: Diana Combs, 7777 Gardner Rd., Chandler, IN 47610.
Our thoughts are with his family and co-workers.