Utz Baldwin, who stepped into a new role last November as CEDIA’s first CEO, talked to us on the eve of CEDIA Expo about this year’s show, the state of the industry and the group’s past accomplishments and future goals.
DS: What were the major accomplishments of the group since last year’s Expo?
Baldwin: I’m very happy to announce that Technical Reference Manual is out. It’s a culmination of a lot of our core education. It’s a comprehensive resource for anyone who designs residential system.
Another area I’m happy about is the launch of Crosspoint (a Web portal resource for members). We’re starting to get participation from members at large and from the manufacturer community. It’s an online tool, a collaborative instrument, that was designed by our Technology Council to keep our members abreast of the new opportunities and threats to our channel. We can funnel information through Crosspoint to the Technology Council from members who have questions. The more activity a topic has, the higher it rises up the priority list.
Another huge milestone is the advancement of our outreach efforts; we’re out there promoting members to design and building community. We now have 22 courses that are approved by National Association of Home Builders for their builders. We also just announced that we’ve become the educational provider for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. That’s huge because if you look at the housing crisis, the retrofit market is one of the strongest areas of opportunity.
DS: What will be CEDIA’s main initiatives during the next 12 months?
One of the reasons I was brought on board was to take member engagement to another level. We’ll really be pushing get across the concept that CEDIA is more than a trade show. We want to get more viral. We want to help the industry understand there is a great value to membership: We’ve tracked 600 bills on the state level, followed Card Check bill and lead paint issues on a federal level. We’re working closer with manufacturers to let them know it’s a partnership and that we want their involvement on a variety of levels.