‘Optimism Prevails’ in Annual CEDIA Meeting

Several new initiatives from 2011 and others planned for 2012 will enable members to “observe a fresh new CEDIA” in 2012, according to Randy Stearns, the outgoing CEDIA chairman. During the association’s annual membership meeting conducted online Tuesday, Stearns also said, “there is not an immediate plan to replace
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Several new initiatives from 2011 and others planned for 2012 will enable members to “observe a fresh new CEDIA” in 2012, according to outgoing chairman Randy Stearns.

During the association’s annual membership meeting conducted online Tuesday, Stearns also said “there is not an immediate plan to replace the CEO.”

When asked about replacing Utz Baldwin, who departed as CEO a few weeks ago, Stearns said, “We have not reassessed that situation yet since it’s a fairly new situation that we’ve encountered. We are in the process of bringing on a consultant to consult the board on high-level leadership matters like that. We’ll be looking at it more seriously in the months to come.”

Stearns further discussed the newly elected 2012 Board of Directors, current financials, highlights from 2011, as well as key initiatives and the direction of the association in 2012.

Although the U.S. housing market remains unstable—new data was also released Tuesday indicating housing prices continued to drop in October—Stearns reported the residential electronic systems contractor industry is “adapting and optimistic about the future.”

Despite recent declines in revenue, the association will see a “small net gain for the year,” Stearns said. CEDIA staff has adjusted expenses as a precaution “to be sure the association operates in the black,” he added.

Other positive numbers from 2011 include a 5 percent increase in membership compared to 2010 with 252 new members since November. Stearns emphasized the CEDIA EXPO 2011 had “rather shockingly” 25 percent new attendees, attributing this to a renewed interest in the industry. He predicted this growth would continue in years to come.

Major international strides were made in 2011, and more initiatives in the global realm are in the future for 2012, he added. These include partnering in programs in services and transitioning to a global leadership structure.

Educational initiatives include shifting to theory-based content from practice-based. There will be “bite-size chunks” of education for digesting in online tools, including more webinars and courses, he said.

New association sponsorship opportunities are also being pursued, and CEDIA has hired a sales team to proactively seek to build revenue. Also part of the new plans has been the establishment of a research department, which recently released findings from the CEDIA market research report Size and Scope of the Residential Electronic Systems Market in the U.S. in 2011.

Stearns mentioned briefly that there is important “behind the scenes” legislative work CEDIA has engaged in “that is frankly saving our industry.”

In 2012, CEDIA will be making a concerted effort to work with other associations, establishing local chapters with outreach education schedules and looking to gather leads for local projects.

A new CEDIA website will be launched in 2012 targeting consumer awareness, he added. The site will provide products and service information, as well as a finder service to bring customers to members directly. A mobile app is also in the works as a go-to source for ESCs.

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