Ken Smith

Following the announcement Monday that Utz Baldwin has been named the organization's first-ever CEO, The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) Tuesday announced the rest of its new executive committee. Baldwin, who left his position as chairman to take the new role, will be replaced by Ken Erdmann, the former vice chairman.

During a business strategy session at the CEDIA Management Conference about four years back, Ken Smith asked the roomful of custom installers how many of them called back past customers to see how their home theater and control systems were working, if they needed anything or if they were interested in seeing some new products or solutions. Out of a dozen people, only about two hands went up. One installer even asked, “You guys really call back your customers?”

During a business strategy session at the CEDIA Management Conference about four years back, Ken Smith asked the roomful of custom installers how many of them called back past customers to see how their home theater and control systems were working, if they needed anything or if they were interested in seeing some new products or solutions. Out of a dozen people, only about two hands went up. One installer even asked, “You guys really call back your customers?” Smith, president of Custom Electronics and past president of CEDIA, urged the audience to make customer call backs part of their regular business operations. It

Prior to founding Custom Electronics, I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation in their human resources department. I was an inside consultant dedicated to training. I used to teach a class called “Career Management.” I wasn’t happy there, and I gave myself my own class and came up with an outline of what the ideal career would be for me. And about two weeks later after I did that outline, I picked up the premiere copy of Audio Video Interiors, and I said “Oh, this is it.” My hero in this industry is Chris Stevens. I went to a training that he offered through Audio

LAS VEGAS -- In the midst of CEDIA’s Electronic Lifestyles EXPO, an event meant to promote deeper communication and understanding among electronics installers, home builders, architects and interior designers, CEDIA pulled together a hastily-arranged press conference to make an announcement apropos of its context: a landmark partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The two organizations already had been working together through the 2006-2007 NAHB Institute of Residential Marketing research project, which CEDIA sponsored in a mutual attempt to find out what each constituency wants and needs from the other. Now CEDIA and NAHB have “strengthened” their relationship through the creation of

Smith, the founder and president of Custom Electronics in Falmouth, Maine, recently chatted with Editor Nancy Klosek. Many CEDIA installers have hobbyist backgrounds that drew them into their current businesses. Your background includes a stint as a management consultant with a Fortune 500 company. Does that give you a somewhat unique perspective with which to approach the tasks before you as CEDIA’s new president? Are you a hobbyist as well? I worked for Digital Equipment Corp. as a management consultant, and had the chance to interview many in the company and discover what went on, what issues abounded. I also provided training intervention for the various

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