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Who Should be the Next CEDIA CEO?

As we say goodbye to Vin Bruno, grateful for his work on behalf of home-technology integrators, let’s ponder who might be a great CEDIA CEO.

Who Should be the Next CEDIA CEO?
With a mighty "thank you," we say goodbye to Vin Bruno and ponder who might be a great CEDIA CEO.

Please leave your suggestions below.

Julie Jacobson · May 15, 2017

First thing’s first: Let’s thank Vincent Bruno for nearly two years of busting his butt on behalf of home-technology integrators, and for the passion he brought to our industry. In particular, he energized a significant number of individuals and companies who previously had not been engaged with CEDIA, the trade association for the smart home-integration channel.

It is unfortunate for all involved that his tenure as CEDIA CEO was short-lived. We wish him great success in the future.

Now, on to the business at hand.

Who should succeed Vin?

I, for one, am lobbying to join the search committee. I would relish the opportunity to help select the next leader of our industry.

Let’s pretend we’re all part of that committee. Who would you recommend? Go ahead and “nominate” individuals you think would be great for the gig, even if they’re already happily employed (or retired) and have no intention of “running” for the job.

Related: Vin Bruno Resigns as CEDIA President/CEO

If you don’t want to name names, then jot down the “type” of person that might be a great representative of the industry, a superb strategist, deft manager and respected leader.

Should we look outside the industry or stay close by? Hire a risk-taker or find someone to stay the course?

I'll toss out some names:

  • Will West: As Control4 founder and former CEO, Will is a visionary, a practical guy, and a strong leader.
  • Bob Struble: Bob was CEO of iBiquity and one of the smartest, nicest and most strategic guys I know. But ... he just took a job as CEO of Directed/Sound United.
  • Adam Levy: Recently returning to SnapAV as president after co-founding the business a decade ago, Adam has a better grasp of this industry than anyone I know.
  • Scott Newnam: A Harvard MBA, Scott has been owner and CEO of the successful A/V integration company Audio Advice since 2006. He's savvy, strategic, analytical ... and nice.

Your turn. Please leave your comments below.

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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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  Article Topics

Events · CEDIA · News · Blogs · CEDIA Expo · All Topics
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Posted by Frederick Ampel on May 22, 2017

Mr. Bishop has hit most if not all of the right points and I agree with him - we need LEADERSHIP and Vitality not marketing hoopla and smiles!

Posted by jrbishop on May 22, 2017

I would love to see a leader who recognizes the roots and diverse strengths that our sales channel offers. I think calling us the ‘smart home-integration channel’ is far too limiting. I thought Vince Bruno was open minded and interested in the plight of high end entertainment systems since the bust of 2008. He showed interest in re-energizing the entertainment category and began steps to recognize the high end in the segment. A new CEO might do well to notice.

CEDIA began in 1989 when distributed audio, music rooms, and home theaters were exotic entertainment luxuries we brought to premium home owners. They were a main reason integration developed, we got the basket full of remotes off the coffee table.
Vin came to multiple events I participated in to listen to the issues and support the direction of high end specialists including the annual IPRO conference and two Barco Residential Cinema events which included introductions by Theo Kalomirakis on his new pre-engineered home theater initiative; RAYVA. We came to him and CEDIA at the IBS builder show in January to launch our entry level $75k cinema.

Integration of entertainment, lighting, comfort, telecom, security, and the rest was tricky business and it drove our industry for decades as we could do what no one else could. But today, apps, aggregation on smart devices, and even voice command are moving at warp speed. Self populating devices onto well designed networks with their own EWS GUI means even our IT friends can integrate things, and when the entertainment systems are based on the most pedestrian of mass produced hardware available on line or at Best Buy, where’s the CEDIA sales angle or user benefits?

I’d like to see a CEO who remembers when music and movie art was delivered at the best levels the technology of the day could offer, through our channel. One who knows that since 2008, Home Theater has not been the same and who appreciates the fact that interest in high end audio has been swamped out by the juggernaut of mediocre performing plastic box speakers and app delivered content. We couldn’t have killed HT more effectively if we’d planned a strategy for years. Just call AVR’s high end, give us cheap bright projectors and screens, and market ‘fake news TV tech’ like 3D, 4K, UHD, HDR, WCG and HFR all of which implied TV was better than projection. And make sure we’re clear that last year’s TV’s always suck compared to the new cool thing we’re pushing today. What trust we must engender as an industry.

As an example of how far our ‘fake tech TV story’ has moved us, I just saw the Star Wars speeder bike race scene look the worst I’ve ever seen; it was on the newest SOTA OLED TV’s at Best Buy! The color was exaggerated and shifted and the up-sampling artifacts were horrible from 3 screen heights or more away! UHD TV’s don’t ‘make blu ray better’, they make it worse, and putting 1080p rec 709 content in some Vivid mode doesn’t make it HDR….or WCG! It makes it awful.

Let’s get a leader who can help us deliver better entertainment experiences by defining performance honestly, delivering the technical truth, and executing systems with the professionalism and design validity that we used to, and that the pro cinema and music industries always have. I’d love to see that happen. There are execs out there who know.
John Bishop - Personal Cinema Architect
b/a/s/ bishop architectural-entertainment services

Posted by Pete Baker on May 17, 2017

@TotalControlRemotes: Thank you Vincent for your very kind comments and throwing my name out as candidate for this position. I am honored and humbled by your comments.

I am very passionate about the industry which I am fortunate to have been involved with for the past, 30 years. And do want to give back (as I have done previously, as a SME);  however, there are many people FAR better suited for this role, than me. I like many of the names that have been suggested, especially Julie;-)

Posted by wayne cavd.co.uk on May 17, 2017

YES! Julie, you should put yourself forward I think. We need someone like you, who constantly reaches out through media, who is open and always excited and interested in new technology. I hate meetings too…cap them all to 20 minutes! I bet you are just fine at managing, multitasking etc. Have a good day. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on May 16, 2017

That’s very sweet TotalControl (aren’t you one of the folks that always gives me h*ll?). I am certainly passionate and have a lot of ideas I would love to contribute to our industry trade association. Alas, I am a really bad manager and a worse politician. Not a terribly good multitasker either. And I absolutely despise meetings.

Posted by TotalControlRemotes on May 16, 2017

Julie, I see no reason why you couldn’t step in there and do an amazing job.  You are smart, knowledgeable, experienced and people listen to you.  What are you doing for the next few years?

Posted by TotalControlRemotes on May 16, 2017

As soon as I heard the news regarding the resignation of Vin Bruno, the first person I thought about was Pete Baker.  For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of knowing Pete, he is the President and founder of “The Big Corp” and formally in charge of sales and marketing at RTI.  Pete has made some major contributions to this industry, is extremely well spoken, and has a wealth of knowledge he is always willing to share.  He is also a great person and success always follows him.  In my opinion, he would be the perfect leader at the helm of CEDIA.

Posted by MarkCeras on May 16, 2017

Mark Walters,  former chairperson of the Z-Wave Alliance and also with Zigbee.  He has an audio background (Carver, founding CEDIA member), a construction background (Leviton), and association and business management.

Posted by Jon S URC on May 16, 2017

How about Mitch Klein?

He’s done great things for the Z-Wave Alliance and was one of the founders of CEDIA. Mitch knows the category as well as anyone and is universally liked and respected.

Posted by Frederick Ampel on May 16, 2017

Folks- What CEDIA needs first and foremost is experienced Association management. Running a trade association is nothing like running a integration business or any industry company it is a separate skill set. There are degreed association management professionals available if CEDIA wants to look- getting the Association running Properly is paramount.

View all comments.

Posted by Bruno Napoli on May 15, 2017

I have no name in particular, but I’m thinking about someone that is involved in the construction industry so he can accompany ou AV and Home Automation little industry in the next big challenges of those next 5 years.
What do you think? Let’s think out of the box, we have great challenges.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on May 15, 2017

Definitey, Bruno. I could see an exec from NAHB (builders), AIA (architects) or ASID (interior designers) being a great choice.

Posted by Kris Gamble on May 15, 2017

This is such sad news and I hope it doesn’t stall progress made by CEDIA in the past 18 months. The Vin era was taking shape nicely and Vin must take great credit for his role in the globalisation of CEDIA and for his active role in trimming back deadwood.
I’m hoping to see the top job go to someone from the GAFA channel or the construction industry. This is a great opportunity to have a head honcho with external, wider experience and no historic attachments to old establishments.

Posted by Bruno Napoli on May 15, 2017

@Kris, I’m not sure about someone from the GAFA.
I’m more confident into someone from the construction industry. We have to remember that from the day we went out of our hi-fi shop to drill holes in the walls home cinema and home automation, we join the construction industry.
The construction industry are now about to join with the GAFA to deliver mass production connected home. It’s time for our channel to definitely merge with the construction industry and give them the benefit of 30 years of AV background.
(my two cents)

Posted by Kris Gamble on May 15, 2017

@Bruno the acceptance of home technologists by the construction industry is priority number one! So a tech savvy, media friendly, construction leader looking for an amazing opportunity in leading CEDIA in this exciting era in home tech would surely be a popular choice with future focused CEDIA members.

Posted by ProAudioGA on May 15, 2017

We need a leader who thinks outside of the box.  Someone who will turn heads and bring great attention to our industry that we so desperately need.  Someone that will take some chances, be bold, and deliver our passion to anyone that will listen.  I would love to see someone like Jeremy Burkhardt.  Raw passion, brilliant marketing, genius businessman, and driven to grow our industry.  If you have ever gotten to listen to him speak you will completely understand my point.  He can sell ice to an Eskimo in a blizzard.  Someone like that could put us on a path to success we have never experienced before.  but i digress….  we will end up with some smooth talking suit, from some dusty board room, that was great in the 1990’s and has been living off that greatness every since.  Vin was the first CEDIA leader that was actively engaged with his members.  let’s hope his successor can at least do that.

Posted by Bruno Napoli on May 16, 2017

The more I think about it, the more I see Joseph Kolchinsky to replace Vin Bruno.
Joseph perfectly know this industry and he prove us that he can think out of the box and have a clear vision of the future by turning his Home Technologist business into a totally disruptive way that is promise to have great success. Now the BIG question is: Does the whole CEDIA members are ready to take this challenge or is CEDIA too conservative to face and accept the change.

Posted by sheefag on May 16, 2017

Let’s start by taking issue with the opening paragraph:-

‘Let’s thank Vincent Bruno for nearly two years of busting his butt on behalf of home-technology integrators, and for the passion he brought to our industry. In particular, he energized a significant number of individuals and companies who previously had not been engaged with CEDIA, the trade association for the smart home-integration channel.’

Vin has slashed and burned his way to something but I’m struggling to call it success.

Membership numbers and retention - Quietly declining.

The Show, the biggest cash earner for Cedia - Sold away to the only bidder.

The Staff - Despite Vin’s promise of ‘no staff layoffs’, 20% quietly let go in recent weeks.

Cedia EMEA - The 20 year licence was very nearly up. Vin proposed a ridiculous figure for renewal thus forcing assimilation into the US brand.

Cedia EMEA - Last accounts show £878,000 in assets - Who now owns these? Cedia US?

New HQ - Current lease is nearly up - Why are Cedia proposing to build in Fishers, with a whopping bill of $141,710 a year under a ‘minimum taxpayer agreement’ payable to the City of Fishers yet there is plenty of space to be had in Indy such as The Stutz Building with no such penal cost?

Vin should go back to doing what he does best, pleasing shareholders.

Posted by JW-TIH on May 16, 2017

Tim Costello - BDX

Posted by Julie Jacobson on May 16, 2017

JW-TIH ... Tim would be super-interesting. Not as bonkers as Jeremy, but still a rabble-rouser ... all in a good way.

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