Who Were Your Mentors

I'm curious about who your audio mentors were, and how they influenced your audio journey and the system you pursued?  Father, uncle, friend, sales dude, local manufacturer, other?
Back in the early 70s, my brother and I would visit all the high end stores in Manhattan on a Saturday morning including Lyric Hifi, Park Ave Audio and Harvey Sound. We had no real mentors but listening to the equipment inspired us to get into the hobby. After HS graduation in 1974, I purchased my first system with some of my college loan money. A Pioneer 737 receiver, Dual 1228 turntable with a Pickering cartridge and Altec bookshelf speakers for $700. I was in audio heaven and I never looked back. 
It's hard to identify the influencers after a buck and dime, so the best mentor is yourself.

I started an engineering degree at uni in 1974 and the design lecturer was a hifi nut.  We designed turntables and speakers as projects etc. I was a part time DJ and the two things combined to become a near obsession. I remember he took me to a presentation of Klipsch speakers with he loved and I hated, I thought my Wharfedale Denton's (made from parts) sounded much better. To this day I always go and listen to any new Klipsch hoping that I will like them but never do. I built my own Garrard 401 plinth and mounted an SME arm together with many other projects, I am now constructing large bass traps (1.5 x 1.0 x .5 m thick ) in my dedicated music room? He has a lot to answer for?