CEDIA and IPRO (Independent Professional Representatives Organization) have announced an agreement for the IPRO membership to be integrated into the CEDIA membership under a new CEDIA IPRO affinity group.
“I'm excited about how this agreement positions IPRO in the rep community and positions our members' organizations with the manufacturers we represent,” says Bill Zidek, IPRO president. “This integration will add needed resources and create long-term value and stability for members. CEDIA has the infrastructure that will greatly benefit IPRO, particularly in marketing, events, and member services. Our members count networking with peers as the most important aspect of being an IPRO member, and current IPRO events will continue, just with the resources of CEDIA to help plan and execute.”
As part of this new structure, Ray Wright, IPRO executive director, will lead operations for the CEDIA IPRO affinity group, and an advisory council will be appointed to coordinate the activities of the group and support the mission. Additionally, the CEDIA IPRO affinity group will continue to have an annual conference in conjunction with a CEDIA hosted event. The CEDIA and IPRO leadership are currently determining the best option for the 2018 event.
There is significant overlap in the current membership: Those members of both organizations will be transitioned into the CEDIA IPRO affinity group at no charge, and those IPRO members who are not CEDIA members will be encouraged to join. Other manufacturer rep companies that are CEDIA members may also choose to join the CEDIA IPRO affinity group. Beyond the normal CEDIA membership fee, there is no additional charge for manufacturer representative firms to join the CEDIA IPRO affinity group.
Tabatha O'Connor, acting president and CEO of CEDIA, says, “We are committed to the manufacturer representative community, and we think this is a step in demonstrating that. In many ways, like CEDIA, they are a connector for the industry, and their 'boots-on-the-ground' perspective will be invaluable to us, as well as having them support CEDIA programs and initiatives in their local markets.”
One key initiative that CEDIA and IPRO have been working on is a regionalized education schedule to provide local reps and dealers with CEDIA education at rep training facilities.
O'Connor says, “CEDIA and IPRO have a shared vision of bringing high-quality education locally to dealers. CEDIA has been looking for ways to make training more accessible and IPRO has been looking for ways to provide quality education.”
Zidek adds “Training is a critical component of what differentiates good rep companies from great ones, training helps our dealers expand their skillset which ultimately makes them more successful to the benefit of us all.”
Initial training dates are:
- October 17-18 — Tandem Marketing, Chicago, Basic Network Training
- October 24-25 — C&E Marketing – Sunrise, Fla., Basic Network Training
- November 15-16 — Atlantic Integrated, Rockleigh, N.J. – Advanced Network Training
- December 5-6 — ByDesign Vision & Sound Marketing, Los Angeles, Basic Network Training
CEDIA and IPRO are working on the transition of members into the CEDIA IPRO affinity group. IPRO Members can expect communication on next steps in the coming weeks.