KCAV is born

Our history began in 1953. Milton Adler (nicknamed "Mickey" after the famous mouse) had grown up in Connecticut and majored in business at Washington University in St. Louis. He had just returned from service in the Korean War.

Thinking about his future plans, he sought the advice of his brother-in-law, Abe Lipsitz. Abe was a photographic distributor based in St. Louis, and he advised Mickey to start an audiovisual dealership in either Omaha, Kansas City or Des Moines. Ultimately, Mickey chose Kansas City because it was closest to his family in St. Louis and family was most important to Mickey.

With $1,000 in his pocket, Mickey set off for Kansas City. On November 16, 1953, Mickey started Kansas City Audio-Visual (KCAV) by pounding the pavement and calling on educators and businesses who would agree to meet with him.

Mickey offered innovative solutions of the time. Those innovative solutions of the time included dictating machines to help speed up the letter writing process, opaque projectors to make signs, and overhead projectors to display information on a big screen to a larger audience. He even taught his customers how to make their own transparencies in a pickle jar!

Micky Adler driving to demo his innovative solutions to customers in the 1950s
Milton "Mickey" Adler driving to a demo in the 1950s.
A marketing brochure showing our history of products at KCAV - audio, visual, dictating machines and training aids. KCAV
A brochure from KCAV's early years.

A history based on simple principles

Mickey based his business on three simple principles:

  • Take care of and appreciate your customers.
  • Be fair and honest in all of your business practices.
  • Work hard … and the future will take care of itself.

Within a few years, Mickey met and married Marjorie. The day after their honeymoon, she joined him at the company, serving as KCAV's comptroller from 1957-2017.

While staff has changed at KCAV, leadership roles have been kept in the family. Today, KCAV is led by Jerry Bernard, Mickey’s son-in-law. Mickey’s daughter, Lisa Bernard, is also an important part of the business.

In 2018, Engaging Technologies, a company passionate about providing engaging technologies and high-quality training to benefit both educators and learners, joined our history. The acquisition of Engaging Technologies, based in Omaha, Nebraska, expanded our reach into Nebraska and Iowa.  

Building on Mickey's legacy

Over sixty-five years after Mickey Adler started Kansas City Audio-Visual, KCAV is one of the largest suppliers of audiovisual technology in the Midwest.

Interactive displays have become mainstream in learning spaces. Overhead projectors have been replaced by document cameras. Schools are even exploring the new frontier of virtual & augmented reality technologies.

Since 1953, technology has drastically changed, but the core values of KCAV remain unchanged:

  • Keeping integrity at the core of what we do.
  • Providing innovative solutions to help our customers succeed.
  • Developing relationships based on trust, proactive communication, and high-quality service.
KCAV advertisement from the 60s showing our history of audiovisual machines for sales
Another brochure from KCAV's early years.

Interested in becoming a part of the KCAV story?

We're looking for hardworking, dedicated team players.