CEDIA Wants Everyone to Enter its Designer Awards This Year
Innerspace Electronics VP Andrea Reiner (pictured with company president and husband Barry) pointed out that the effort it takes to submit a CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles award application is worth it, because of how winning an award invigorates her team. Pictured here are two of the rooms featured in one of the company’s 2010 contest entries.
After sitting on the sidelines watching other electronic systems contractors receive their accolades at CEDIA’s annual Electronic Lifestyles Awards, Integration Controls’ systems sales and design consultant Jamie Briesemeister finally decided last year to enter one project, “just to see what happens.” Pretty bold, considering a lot of people think the same folks win all the time. Dispelling that myth, the St. Louis-based company won its first award in 2010.
“We knew the design/project turned out very well and we wondered: if we thought it was a stand-up project, perhaps others [would], too,” Briesemeister recalled.
CEDIA recognizes that there is a misconception that only those in the “old boys club” are allowed to win CEDIA awards. That’s why the association likes to point out that in the past five years alone, 104 different member companies have received more than 240 Designer Awards. But perception often is reality, and who really wants to take the time to fill out the paperwork, get quality pictures taken, and pay a submission fee, if they don’t think they stand a chance of winning?
CEDIA is encouraging more electronic systems contractors to submit an application on behalf of their most innovative projects before the May 6, 2011 deadline (April 1, 2011 if you want a 20 percent discount on the first entry), because the organization maintains that a broader pool doesn’t just look good for CEDIA, but winning an industry award is good for the business of an ESC.
“Awards demonstrate to clients, both returning and new, as well as industry partners, that you’re respected among your peers and your work is technically sound. It also builds company morale among your employees,” said CEDIA 2011 awards chair Eric Grundelman. “Plus, the entry process creates a detailed case study with professional photography that you can use on your company website, in client meetings, and in portfolios.”
Sean Wiener, president of Baltimore-based Starr Systems Design, has been entering the Designer Awards since 2001, and has participated every year since 2004. Wiener’s team has won 12 awards for about 16 project submissions, and agrees that there is a business case to be made for winning an award.
“The awards we received have provided us an incredible amount of local and national publicity,” Weiner said. “From a marketing standpoint, awards lend enormous credibility to a company marketing and selling high-end residential systems. Given a choice, most consumers would choose to work with a company recognized as one of the best in the industry over one that has not received the same level of recognition.”
Andrea Reiner, vice president of Innerspace Electronics in Port Chester, NY, pointed out that the effort it takes to submit an award application is worth it, because of how winning an award invigorates her team. “It is wonderful being recognized in the industry, and it helps to raise morale in the company, too. When employees work hard on a project it makes them really happy to see it win an award,” she said.
It’s a common thread among past entrants. “Entering the Electronic Lifestyles competition each year helps bring our staff together by looking back at the involvement each person had; truly exciting us and reminding us why we enjoy this industry,” added Mark DePew of Chesapeake Smart Homes. “Winning an award provides a sense of accomplishment and allows us to market our company more exclusively to current and potential clients.”
How to Enter
New this year, companies entering the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Designer Awards competition are no longer limited to two entries per category; participants can submit all of their best projects for recognition. According to Grundelman, cost categories aren’t pre-determined anymore, either. Projects are selected and grouped based on the project cost of each entry submitted for equal and fair comparison. The judges are not aware of who submitted entries to the competition, because all identifiable information is removed from each entry prior to the judging process.
The cost of the first entry is $190 and $125 for each additional entry thereafter. The first entry fee includes one ticket to the Electronic Lifestyles Awards banquet held at CEDIA EXPO, September 10, 2012, in Indianapolis. To help drive awareness of the awards, CEDIA is partnering with HGTVPro. com again this year to feature the entrants from the Home Theater, Media Room, Integrated Home, and Sustainable Lifestyle Installation categories on its website for the CEDIA/HGTVPro.com People’s Pick competition.
According to Weiner, award entries can be time consuming, but are definitely worth the effort. “Awards pay for themselves in improved company morale and the marketing value they bring,” he said. “Anyone trying to take their company to the next level and secure larger and more complex projects would benefit tremendously from the experience.”
Briesemeister encouraged fellow ESCs on the fence about submitting a project to take a chance. “Of course winning an award is a great feeling,” she said. “But even if an award isn’t won, the knowledge and experience gained through the application process, being a part of the online voting process for HGTV, having professional photos of a project, and attending the awards banquet are second to none.”
Timeline for the Competition
Friday, April 1 – Early Bird Deadline (save 20 percent off first entry)
Friday, May 6 (5:00 p.m. Pacific) Final Deadline for All Designer Award Entries
Saturday, September 10 Winners Announced at CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Awards Banquet
Karen Sussman is a freelance writer in Carmel, IN.