Business

Co-Founder Julie Jacobson: CE Pro is Psyched to be Acquired by Emerald Expositions

Emerald Expositions (EEX) has acquired leading smart-home brand CE Pro and other "connected" brands within EH Media. EH co-founder Julie Jacobson and the team is pumped.

Co-Founder Julie Jacobson: CE Pro is Psyched to be Acquired by Emerald Expositions
EH Publishing and CE Pro ... 25 years and going!

Julie Jacobson · August 21, 2018

So, CE Pro, the leading trade publication in the smart-home industry (ahem) has been acquired by Emerald Expositions (NYSE: EEX), the big tradeshow and media company that acquired CEDIA Expo last year. They’re also buying the rest of EH Media’s “Connected Brands” group, which includes Commercial Integrator, Security Sales & Integration, and related events and brands. (Read the press release.)

I know your first question, so let’s just get it out of the way: Will CE Pro become a puff publication, a pawn of Emerald to promote CEDIA Expo and convince integrators to attend their other events like KBIS, the Kitchen & Bath Show.

Will JJ be fired for, er, questioning a CEDIA exhibitor in print?

In a word: No. That would bore me to tears – not that I make a habit of offending anyone in our industry. I prefer not to. Sometimes it happens.

It would also bore editor-in-chief Jason Knott to tears. Peddling party lines would undermine the very thing that has made CE Pro a leader in the home-technology industry. The same goes for Commercial Integrator, Security Sales & Integration and the other related EH Media titles acquired by Emerald.

The editors are staying put. The salespeople are staying put. Most of us wouldn’t stick around to be Emerald mouthpieces.

Publishers Steve Nesbitt, Ray Lyons and team would have nothing to sell if that were the case.

We are EXCITED

CEO Ken Moyes and I founded EH Publishing (now known as EH Media) in 1994 with the acquisition of Electronic House – a magazine launched in 1986 and still ably led by editor Lisa Montgomery, my mentor. She’s the one who taught me what “HVAC” meant when I was (understandably) too embarrassed to ask an HVAC company I was about to interview. This was way before the Internet.

Lisa probably owns the title of Most Experienced Smart-Home Reporter on the planet, going on 32 years now.

We’ve grown mightily over the past 24 years, and almost always profitably except for the dark days of the recession. We’ve also grown mostly organically, for example, launching the successful CE Pro 100 Summit, which begot the Total Tech Summit, which is part of the acquisition.

RELATED: EH Media and CE Pro: How it all Began

Likewise for Commercial Integrator, a leader in the category. We launched it in 2010 under the leadership of Tom Leblanc, the amazing CE Pro senior editor who was destined to run his own little media empire.

Security Sales & Integration, a leading trade publication in the security industry, came to us by way of acquisition, but they were already like family. Jason was editor and publisher of the title for 10 years before we lured him to CE Pro in 2000. Longtime editor Scott Goldfine leads the brand today.

Jason was my longtime media contact at SSI when I did marketing for Arius, the former $110-million security distributor.

I always thought: This is the most awesome editor ever. Today he runs our Connected brands. He’s our boss man, and he couldn’t be more excited about this deal. We all are psyched.

Why? Because we have largely succeeded over the years through a philosophy I call “growth by figuring stuff out.”

I, for one, look forward to “growth by someone teaching us.” It’s faster that way. We couldn’t ask for a better growth partner than Emerald, which owns more than 55 trade shows and 16 media brands.

The Synergies are Real

Speaking of growth, we hope to do plenty of it -- not just growing our business but the industry. Partnering with Emerald will help us expose our various trades to the design/build markets they yearn to reach.

You want hospitality? Emerald has it. Home builders and designers? Ditto. Senior living? That too. Right now, they don’t know “us,” the technology designer, installer and integrator. How much fun will it be to make these much-needed connections?

And don’t get me started about Emerald’s high-end contemporary furniture fair (ICFF). OK, so I have an unhealthy love for modern furniture, and I’m jockeying for a pass to the show, but the synergies are real.

How it began: Julie Jacobson, Ken Moyes in a one-room office in Wayland, Mass., 1994

Home-technology integrators and manufacturers would have a field day in front of ICFF’s audience of 36,000 architects, designers, developers and related buyers and specifiers.

Dealers in particular will swoon over all the beautiful, expensive, high-margin new things they can sell in the luxury furniture and lighting space. You know you wanna sell these gorgeous fixtures.

These are the types of things that get us excited -- finding new opportunities for our audiences and advocating for our channel. It gets Emerald excited, as well. They have talked about getting the CEDIA channel more engaged with their partners in the design/build communities. Our strong industry presence will go a long way to that end.

Emerald SVP Brian Pagel, who oversees Emerald’s CEDIA and Kitchen & Bath categories, will lead our Connected brands. He and his team can’t wait to put our thought leadership to work, and we can’t wait to benefit from theirs.

We already have: I discussed with Brian my interest in wellness-related technology and my upcoming CEDIA Talk on the subject. He told me all about what ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) is doing in this emerging category and connected me right away with ASID’s point person.

Brian is super-cool. We like him. You’ll like him. He’s no corporate stuffed shirt. He thinks our business is awesome and our industry is awesome. He can’t wait to learn and grow along with us.

I’ll be doing my thang as usual, forever keeping my colleagues wondering: “What does she actually do?”
— Julie Jacobson, founding editor, CE Pro

A Big Fat Thank You

This deal is a milestone for all of us, but Ken and I are especially gratified, grateful and a little emotional.

What started as a sketch on a napkin in a diner a quarter-century ago, became a boutique business headquartered in a small room in Wayland, Mass., and then a pretty decent-sized enterprise worthy of being acquired by a leader like Emerald.

We are so grateful for all the people that got us here -- the passionate, hard-working folks at EH, the advertisers that so generously support us, the readers that engage with us and challenge us everyday -- some relentlessly, but that’s OK -- and all the friends we’ve made along the way.

So thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Here’s to more of a great thing!

Right now, it’s back to work with the team -- Jason Knott, Ray Lyons (publisher, integration channel), Steve Nesbitt (publisher, security), along with great editors, brand ambassadors, and the people behind the scenes that make us tick.

I’ll be doing my thang as usual, forever keeping my colleagues wondering: “What does she actually do?”



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  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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View Julie Jacobson's complete profile.



  Article Topics


Business · Events · CEDIA · News · CEDIA Expo · Emerald Exposition · Mergers and Acquisitions · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by smarthousecontrol gmail.com on August 26, 2018

Hopefully Emerald will bring in more resources to be able to produce more in depth “Programmer” focused articles about all the control systems in the industry instead of just focusing on the next new hardware tech.  Its a huge untouched area that all the programmers in the industry want.  For example, new software features and how it makes our job easier…....software abilities…..how to tricks…....is something CE pro “almost” totally ignores.  An article author could go as far as writing an article on common implementation tasks….and how each can be accomplished in each different control system…..teaching our industry newbies how to successfully make homeowners happy…...I don’t understand why this subject has been ignored for over 15 years I have been in the industry.  A new control system future features summary is too superficial….and has been done over and over….this is “nice” news…....but is not the real helpful info all us programmers need in the field day in and day out.  I am sure there a quite a few senior people in this industry who would love to chime in stuff on articles like this.  Maybe one author cannot answer for all control companies….....but why not a control system editor board of directors…..who collaborate on articles…..so they can apply to all the different control companies in the industry?  Hopefully CEPro can step up to the plate and tackle this.  This would make this magazine a must read for everyone “senior level” in the industry…..

Posted by Jim Burns on August 22, 2018

Congratulations! I can’t wait to see the good things that will come of this and the new shoes that you buy yourself for CEDIA Expo to celebrate the deal.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on August 22, 2018

Thanks everyone for your kind remarks. We are totally energized and think we can do some cool new things for the industry.

Posted by alanchow on August 21, 2018

Congratulations Julie and team.  You guys have been (and always will be) a fantastic asset to the industry.  I really enjoy reading the daily emails i get from you guys updating me with industry news everyday.  Will congratulate you guys in person when i see you guys at CEDIA Expo.

Posted by TheDarkKnight on August 21, 2018

EH/CE Pro are the only ones covering this industry, so this makes perfect sense to me. CEDIA needs CE Pro, and Pros of CE (see what I did there?) need CE Pro and CEDIA. Cheers to Jason, Julie, et. al.

Posted by jmcdermott1678 on August 21, 2018

Congratulations!  This is well deserved by your team.  CEPro is my home page on my browser, and it will continue to be.  I enjoy opening up every day to see the only current events I care about!

Posted by Robert JS on August 21, 2018

I think this is fantastic news for the Ci channel, and as Bruno mentioned in another thread, it will bring the integrator into even keel with the other specialty trades of the construction and remodel industry, instead of always being the red headed step child.

Posted by jrzman1975 yahoo.com on August 21, 2018

Congratulations Julie, Ken, Lisa, Jason, and the whole team.  I’m proud to say I knew you when! All of you have worked your butts off for this industry, and now a well deserved pay day!
I’m very happy for all of you!
Jeff Zemanek

Posted by Brad on August 21, 2018

Sound like this truly is a milestone event for you and the rest of the gang—congratulations!

Posted by Susan Sipe - CEPro website on August 21, 2018

Congratulations EH Pub Team!  The recognition of your acquisition is well deserved.  You’ve pioneered through the technology helping us all get perspective on a fast changing industry.  Thank you for ensuring that all of your work will continue with the same passion.  Ready to see what Emerald will bring to the party. 

All the best,
Susan Sipe
Salez Toolz / Xspot Products

View all comments.

Posted by cybermanor on August 21, 2018

Congratulations Julie and to everyone else at EH Publishing!  Well deserved.
Like you, I look forward to the added opportunites that Emerald will bring to our channel over the coming years.

Thanks,  Gordon van Zuiden, cybeManor

Posted by Bruno Napoli on August 21, 2018

Wow…. that’s a news. So happy for all of you guys.
Keep it up.

Posted by Susan Sipe - CEPro website on August 21, 2018

Congratulations EH Pub Team!  The recognition of your acquisition is well deserved.  You’ve pioneered through the technology helping us all get perspective on a fast changing industry.  Thank you for ensuring that all of your work will continue with the same passion.  Ready to see what Emerald will bring to the party. 

All the best,
Susan Sipe
Salez Toolz / Xspot Products

Posted by Brad on August 21, 2018

Sound like this truly is a milestone event for you and the rest of the gang—congratulations!

Posted by jrzman1975 yahoo.com on August 21, 2018

Congratulations Julie, Ken, Lisa, Jason, and the whole team.  I’m proud to say I knew you when! All of you have worked your butts off for this industry, and now a well deserved pay day!
I’m very happy for all of you!
Jeff Zemanek

Posted by Robert JS on August 21, 2018

I think this is fantastic news for the Ci channel, and as Bruno mentioned in another thread, it will bring the integrator into even keel with the other specialty trades of the construction and remodel industry, instead of always being the red headed step child.

Posted by jmcdermott1678 on August 21, 2018

Congratulations!  This is well deserved by your team.  CEPro is my home page on my browser, and it will continue to be.  I enjoy opening up every day to see the only current events I care about!

Posted by TheDarkKnight on August 21, 2018

EH/CE Pro are the only ones covering this industry, so this makes perfect sense to me. CEDIA needs CE Pro, and Pros of CE (see what I did there?) need CE Pro and CEDIA. Cheers to Jason, Julie, et. al.

Posted by alanchow on August 21, 2018

Congratulations Julie and team.  You guys have been (and always will be) a fantastic asset to the industry.  I really enjoy reading the daily emails i get from you guys updating me with industry news everyday.  Will congratulate you guys in person when i see you guys at CEDIA Expo.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on August 22, 2018

Thanks everyone for your kind remarks. We are totally energized and think we can do some cool new things for the industry.

View all comments.