Kautz moved to Nashville from his hometown in Shelby, Michigan in 1987 to attend the Belmont University’s Music Business program. In 1988, he secured an internship position with Emerald Sound Studios, the foundation of the Emerald Entertainment Group. The self-described workaholic spent his evenings “sweeping the parking lot, mowing the grass, washing the client’s cars…whatever needed to be done.”
In 1991 he earned not only a degree in Business Administration from Belmont but also a steady paycheck as assistant studio manager at Emerald. Soon after, Emerald CEO Dale Moore tapped Kautz as his administrative assistant and they began working closely together, developing ideas for Emerald’s future. This solid relationship, fueled by a mutual trust, benefited both men as Kautz continued to climb and Moore’s company continued to grow. Kautz quickly became the General Manager of the studios and then made the giant leap to Vice President of the Entertainment Group after helping Moore launch Emerald’s immensely successful Broadcast Division.
With the 1999 acquisition of Masterfonics, Kautz secured his position as President/COO of Emerald Entertainment Group, while Emerald Sound Studios emerged as the largest recording company in the Southeast. Under Kautz’ leadership, the Music Row recording facility has grown from a one-room studio to a twelve-room, five building complex that includes Masterfonics’ 6,500 square-foot Tracking Room, three mastering suites, a post production facility, and the broadcast facilities, among the other studios. Emerald has been home to many Grammy Award winning recordings and most recently won a TEC award for the Sheryl Crow record C’mon C’mon.
In July of 2005 Kautz coordinated and oversaw the sale of Emerald Entertainment Group to Voss Developments who spun off several of the properties and renamed it Masterfonics. Kautz, along with a few partners retained one of the studio properties as well as a thriving rental company. He is looking forward to shaping and growing his new venture. Kautz served on the SPARS board as President 2004-2005 and is currently serving as Treasurer.