So Many Departures in So Little Time

7/3/2012 5:00:00 PM

First, I want to sincerely thank the CEDIA Board for electing me to their prestigious CEDIA Fellows group this year. It’s an honor to think that a room of people whom I really respect were discussing my name in a positive way and respected me enough to bestow an honor afforded to those who have served the association beneficially over the years.

My first feeling when I learned the Fellows news was pure happiness; I was truly honored. But then my emotions very quickly changed as I considered two other less happy thoughts:

1) “Oh boy…I’m a member of the media. I hope people don't think I'm a sell out.”

and…

2) “CEDIA membership for life? That’s a long commitment!”

Not that I’m looking to abandon an industry to which I’ve dedicated most of my adult life, but I’m sure everyone can relate in some way to the feeling that you’d like to keep your options open. And lately it seems like I might be the last guy left standing, with so many people parting ways with their employers. What’s the expression? “Be sure to turn off the light when you leave?”

As a member of the media, I usually only learn about people joining companies, not leaving them. Most manufacturers prefer not to issue press releases to publicize a “parting of ways,” even if its amicable, so we’re often left with LinkedIn status updates or finding out about an exit months after an executive has been rehired by another company. 

This past weekend’s news that my friend Mike “Sparky” Detmer was leaving Niles was just the latest in a series of executive departures. It’s been odd finding out about these changes when they happen, rather than weeks or months later.

For instance, there was the news (not in order) that former D&M executive Bob Weissburg had left Gibson. I credit my industry pal, Ted Green, for digging that one up. But then there was the news that Norm Steinke was parting ways with Meridian America, which was a press release. That one made me feel all “kumbaya” about the world for a second about leaving a company on good terms.

We also found out about Jeremy Burkhardt leaving SpeakerCraft. It was a shock at first, because, you know, Jeremy IS SpeakerCraft, and he’s a young guy. Then you realize what’s going on at Nortek, with all of the merging of brands, and it begins to make sense; business just works that way.

After that we find out that Oscar Ciornei’s consulting gig with Russound was over before it started (thanks again to Ted Green for his insightful reporting on that mystery), and you begin to think that there’s something in the water.

Now there’s the Detmer news. It’s logical in the same way that Burkhardt’s exit ended up making sense, but it came as no less of a shock to me to see a guy synonymous with a brand, leaving it. There was no press release this time, just a personal message from the man himself. It made me sad when I read it, but then Sparky said that he wants to keep writing his column for Residential Systems. That made me hopeful about not losing our industry veterans and their valuable insight completely. Most of us have a knack for sticking around the custom installation channel.

After all, this is a business that’s pretty tough to shake. I know all about that.

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