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CEDIA Board Freshman Joe Whitaker: Wax On

In our series of "Meet the Freshmen CEDIA Board Members," CE Pro contributor, integrator and product designer Joe Whitaker explains where all that humility comes from.


CEDIA board member Joe Whitaker will chop you.
Julie Jacobson · September 5, 2014

In 2014, CEDIA welcomed a bunch of fresh faces to its board—a more colorful crew than usual. We reached out to the freshmen to better understand who they are, what they bring to the CEDIA party and why the heck they committed to an obscene number of hours to volunteer for the industry. Today we feature Joe Whitaker, CE pro contributor and principal of JW Designs.

Joe Whitaker, JW Designs


Years in the industry: 15+

About your company
My company specializes in consultation to manufacturers in areas of product design, build and marketing as well as integrator services pertaining to complete residential and commercial design, installation planning and remote support. We also specialize in design and implementation of advanced residential solutions in the CI market.

Something that the industry might not know about you
I hold three black belts in multiple martial arts disciplines and was an instructor for many years. Through the years I was able to develop the concentration, discipline, confidence, and humility to be successful in my endeavors today.

“Not to brag but I …”
... have been lucky enough to be involved with some of the greatest minds and spirits our or industry. Above all accomplishments I have made, the great relationships with the people involved in this industry are definitely the most important thing to me.

Best CEDIA memories

  • Being part of Julie Jacobson’s CE Pro “blog mob” the first year. It was a fun and exciting experience that I will never forget.
  • When I was asked to participate in the launch and training during CEDIA with Sony for the AVR-DA5800es and 2800es receivers with Control4 built in. This was an exciting advance that to this day I think is overdue in a larger scale.
  • When Vanco received an award for a product I had invented. I was asked to be in the picture for the award even though I was not really an employee of Vanco; the guys there are amazing.

Best CEDIA course you ever took
Well to me there is one course that stands out, not only because of the content but also because of the great people that have helped to create it. I’m not going to name drop here — “you guys know who you are” — but the Networking courses that are offered by CEDIA are the best and probably the most important.

Name a product or brand you picked up because of a CEDIA Expo
There have been so many over the years! Big ones are HydraConnect, Pakedge, and the biggest reason I have revisited CORE Brands is directly CEDIA related.

Why you wanted to join the board
Possibly the same reason I assume I made it to the board. I am known for being very opinionated and passionate and I wanted to bring a pure energy and excitement to the board. The next generation of CEDIA members is starting to change our landscape and I am a very good representation of that shift.

Things that surprised you about CEDIA
CEDIA does so much more than I had assumed. Education is a part I witnessed go deeper than I had imagined. Reaching out to schools and trade partners through ESPA is an amazing outreach program to build the next generation of CI.

Being involved on government issues is another biggie. I had no idea the level of regulation and legislation monitoring and lobbying CEDIA has done and continues to do for the industry.

What do you hope to see/do this year at CEDIA
Of course I want to see cool gear, but I really hope to see attendees and press talking about the unified message that CEDIA is offering. The idea that CEDIA is the center of everything in our industry even in the other 361 days of the year outside of Expo is a key thought this year that I really hope the rest of the world gets to see.

Say hi to Joe and the rest of the CEDIA gang at CEDIA Expo 2014 at any of these CEDIA gatherings: Wed. night Welcome Reception, Thursday night Expo After Hours Party and Saturday evening’s CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Awards Celebration.

Other Freshmen:
Will Pisula: ‘I Shot a Man in Reno’
Terence Murray: ‘I’m a Bit of a Thrill Seeker’
Michael Pope: Help a Brother Out
Hagai Feiner (coming)



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Don’t miss your chance to enter to win a 2019 BEST Projects Award. We’ll be announcing winners at a special Gala event at CEDIA EXPO. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to this year! Enter your projects now.




  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


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