What You Should Know About CEDIA’s Board Candidates

For current CEDIA members who would like a say in the direction of their association, there’s an easy way to influence its focus: by voting for right now in the 2014-15 CEDIA Board of Directors election.
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There have been times when I’ve heard people grouse about the relevance of CEDIA as a trade association.

There are individuals who don’t see the value in being a member or think that the organization is out of touch with their needs as a small business owner in a rapidly changing industry.

For those who aren’t currently CEDIA members, there’s not much I can tell you, but for current CEDIA members who would like a say in the direction of their association, there’s an easy way to influence its focus: by voting for right now in the 2014-15 CEDIA Board of Directors election.

Here’s a link to a listing of the current CEDIA BOD, a group that has been working very hard to transition CEDIA into trade association for the future.

While I have no intention of telling you how to cast your vote (or whom I voted for), I want to encourage all CEDIA members to participate in this process by pointing out some of the more intriguing and insightful comments from each of the nine candidates on the docket. Fortunately you only have to eliminate four out the nine people running to achieve your required slate of five.

Here’s what I thought stood out most from each candidate:

Nicholas Bourikas, Canadian Sound, Oakville, Ontario
Nicholas Bourikas 

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Key Quote: “Staying abreast [of] emerging government regulations which affect or could potentially affect our industry.”

Why This Matters: Mr. Bourikas is one of the few people I’ve seen acknowledge CEDIA’s essential role in monitoring government legislation that could potentially prove destructive to this trade. CEDIA staffer Darren Reaman and his small, but mighty, network of integrator/manufacturer volunteers and paid lobbyists around the U.S. provide the most undervalued benefit of CEDIA membership.

Ric Johnson, Right@Home Technologies, Mason, Ohio
Ric Johnson 

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Key Quote: “CEDIA will be the leading source for education and advocacy as our industry evolves more to a cloud-based content provider-centric industry with more cloud- and wireless-based product needing more IP knowledge necessary to keep up with the fast-paced CE space.”

Why This Matters: CEDIA is well aware of the importance of the “network” in today’s custom installs, and Mr. Johnson seems poised to continue tackling the challenge of helping CEDIA members to embrace these technology trends and find ways to profit from them.

Tommy Kissell Jr., Eco High Fidelity, Carrollton, TexasTommy Kissell Jr. 

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Key Quote: “The 21st century requires a more efficient and progressive model to survive and thrive. This is the transition away from high-margin products to a knowledge-based economy.”

Why This Matters: Based on his own words, Mr. Kissell seems to under that integrators that are “selling expensive gear but not sacrificing profit to make projects better (wire management, remote access, programming) are going to need constructive criticism and guidance.”

Richard Millson, Millson Technologies Inc., Vancouver, BC
Richard Millson 

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Key Quote: “Members will need to adapt to survive in what has become an industry in flux.”

Why This Matters: Mr. Millson’s message is one that he has preached about as a columnist in Residential Systems and as an instructor at CEDIA conferences. As a returning BOD member, Millson would bring back his keen insight and intelligence as our industry continues to seek relevance to a widening customer base.

Terence Murray, AudioVisions, Orange County, Bay Area, Palm Desert, CATerence Murray 

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Key Quote: “CEDIA should be a trusted resource to aggregate the best information and data and educate our members on market trends and opportunities to ensure we make the right strategic decisions for our business, clients, families, and employees.”

Why This Matters: While Mr. Murray is a “CEDIA guy,” his company’s affiliation with Best Buy provides a truly unique perspective as the channel competes and coexists with mass retail, cable and utility companies, and more.

Chris Pearson, Service TECH Inc., Cedar Park, TXChris Pearson 

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Key Quote: “We need to embrace new technologies but have the experience to vet each product and process before our clients are exposed to them.”

Why This Matters: Mr. Pearson seems to believe that CEDIA should help its members discover new business opportunities while informing them to ask the right questions and learn from the mistakes of others. It’s not an easy task for an association that’s looking to grow, but a noble mission nonetheless.

Michael Pope, Audio Video Interiors, Middleburg Heights, OHMichael Pope 

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Key Quote: “The industry needs certified technicians and CEDIA can be instrumental in developing curriculum and awareness for our young people to enter our field for a career.”

Why This Matters: I thought CEDIA Certification was a great requirement of CEDIA membership, but then the economy tanked and certification was perceived as an unnecessary extra expense. While few end users are going to immediately know what “CEDIA Certified” means, a savvy integrator can sell the value of this designation and having another advocate for it on the CEDIA BOD could be help lead to its resurrection.

Will Pisula, Encore Audio/Video, Portland, ORWill Pisula 

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Key Quote: “CEDIA can be an organization to help direct qualified sales leads to integrators.”

Why This Matters: Marketing the CEDIA brand to consumers is a Herculean task but one that has been tackled by Jamie Antcliff and her team in the association’s marketing and PR department through a new consumer-facing CEDIA website. These days, massive media buying budgets are great (thanks Sonos), but what really drives business to integrators is great SEO that leads consumers searching for key industry terms to a consumer-friendly website with a directory of professional solutions providers. That is the goal of Antcliff’s ongoing project and one that could dovetail nicely with Mr. Pisula’s agenda.

Joe Whitaker, iElectronics, St. Louis, MOJoe Whitaker 

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Key Quote: “CEDIA needs further outreach in social and online media to reach the end users’ eyes.”

Why This Matters: Mr. Whitaker hit the nail on the head about creating an online buzz, and maybe his “tweeting” experience can help guide a more aggressive social media agenda.

I encourage you to take 10 minutes and read the longer bios and personal statements from each candidate (posted here) to inform your votes. 

Just do it before you forget and then miss the November 4, 8 p.m. deadline. (Winners will be announced November 21, 2013).

Forgot your login info? Email CEDIA Membership for a reminder. It took only five minutes for me to get mine. After reading about this year's candidates, I didn't even want to wait that long before voting.

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