Starting from his mother’s basement with a $1,000 in savings, Bill began selling mail order audio equipment in 1974. Bill has built the company into a $250M annual revenue, 500 employee, Charlottesville-based enterprise. The growth was organic, and Crutchfield refused outside investment to retain 100% ownership and remain debt free. Bill credits this fact for the flexibility that has allowed Crutchfield’s continued innovations and never having a layoff in over four decades. Bill was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame with Amar Bose & Paul Allen in 2006.
Bill Crutchfield founded Crutchfield New Media, LLC (also known as Crutchfield Corporation) in 1974 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and President. In 1974, with only $1,000 in capital, Crutchfield founded Crutchfield Corporation in his mother’s basement. He is a 1965 graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and still maintains an active involvement with the University. He has served as Chairman of the McIntire School of Commerce’s Alumni Advisory Board and was its 1992 Executive-in-Residence. Also, he holds an appointment as a Visiting Lecturer at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He served as a Director of the Health Services Foundation (now named Physicians Group) from 1993 to 1999. In recognition of his service to the University, he was elected in 1993 to the Raven Society. In 1997, he was presented with the Raven Award–one of the highest honors given an alumnus. In 1997, Governor George Allen appointed him to the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors (Board of Directors). Governor James Gilmore reappointed him in 2001. Along with other duties, he served as a member of the Board of Visitors’ Executive Committee and Building and Grounds Committee, a Board of Visitors’ member of the University of Virginia’s Medical Center Operating Board and as Chairman of the committee that oversees the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. His second term ended in 2005 and he was not eligible for reappointment. However, he continues to serve as a member of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise Board.
In May 2004, he was awarded the William ‘Billy’ Gitchell Award by the Central Virginia Chapter of the American Heart Association, because of an innovative and effective corporate wellness program that he pioneered. In January 2001, he became one of the first retailers to be inducted into Dealerscope magazine’s Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was presented the United Jewish Appeal—Consumer Electronics Division’s ‘Retailer of the Year’ award. The Dealerscope and UJA awards are two of the highest honors in the consumer electronics industry. He was the Ernst & Young ‘1999 Master Entrepreneur of the Year’ for Virginia. In 1999, he was also selected as a finalist in the Ernst & Young international ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award—only the second Virginian in the program’s history to be so honored. And, in that same year, he was awarded the Wise County (Virginia) Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Distinguished Service Award.’ It was given because of his contributions to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and because of the economic impact that Crutchfield Corporation’s Wise County call center has had on the region. At the invitation of President Jimmy Carter, he was a participant at the Carter Center’s 1988 Consultation on Competitiveness. During 1991, he served as Chairman of the Virginia Economic Recovery Commission’s Innovation Workgroup. He served on Lieutenant Governor Beyer’s Virginia Strategic Council from 1990 to 1993. He was a participant at the 1992-1993 Renaissance Weekend. Governor Allen appointed, and Governor Gilmore re-appointed, him to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates. Governor Gilmore appointed him to The Virginia Strategy—a group of state business and community leaders charged with developing new economic development policies and initiatives. In 2002, Governor Mark Warner appointed him to the Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness chaired by former Governor Douglas Wilder. He has served on numerous local, regional and national boards, commissions, and councils.
He is an alumnus of the Young President’ Organization (YPO) and is a current member of the Chief Executives Organization (CEO), World President’ Organization (WPO) and Beta Gamma Sigma—the national business honor society. His accomplishments have earned him a citation from the Small Business Administration and past inclusion in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, and Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America. During the Vietnam War, he served in the United States Air Force as a commander of a Titan II missile crew and as a Strategic Air Command senior instructor. For his distinguished service, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. He separated from the service in 1970 holding the rank of Captain.