CEDIA Raises Membership Standards - Twice

CEDIA Raises Membership Standards

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Indianapolis – Companies that want to be members of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) will have to employ at least one full-time CEDIA-certified employee by Jan. 31, 2006, under new membership rules.

In the second phase of a plan to tighten membership requirements, CEDIA will offer “full” membership status to companies employing at least one certified professional. The requirement will ensure that CEDIA members “represent the highest level of excellence in the custom electronics industry,” the association said.

Current CEDIA members will be placed in the provisional membership class if they don’t meet the Jan. 31 deadline. These companies will then be removed from the Finder Service on CEDIA’s Web site and will have until March 31, 2006, to relinquish all CEDIA branding from all company material. Provisional companies nonetheless share some of the benefits of full members.

Eventually, said CEDIA president Ray Lepper, “there will be a requirement for more people to be certified, perhaps depending on staff size, and for a variety of skill sets, including business management, customer relations, and project management.” Currently, CEDIA certifies installers and system designers.

More rigid membership requirements will “make that [CEDIA] brand really mean something,” said Lepper, who owns Home Media Stores in Richmond, Va.

Later phases, said membership council chairman Ken Smith, “will most likely have something to do with industry best practices,” which are currently being identified. Members would have to show how they follow those best practices.

By mid year, the council hopes to complete at least a “rough outline” of future phases, but he noted it would be “several years before all future phases are implemented.”

CEDIA introduced the first phase of membership requirements in 2004, when it required members to show proof of insurance and to attest that they have obtained all applicable state and local licenses.

“CEDIA membership is growing tremendously, and we want to make sure we present the ‘cream of the crop’ for our members,” said Lepper. “Requiring companies to employ a full-time CEDIA-certified professional will allow the association to emphasize its brand essence within the custom electronics industry and raise the standards for non-members who are striving to achieve excellence in their work. This can only be obtained if the company is a CEDIA member.”

Certification demonstrates a company’s “superior value and credibility to prospective customers, including architects, builders, interior designers, and consumers,” the association said.

While it tightens eligibility standards, the association is also tightening its installer certification standards. At the September CEDIA Expo, the association will roll out a new curriculum for training electronics system technicians (ESTs). It will combine the current installer levels one and two courses. For certification as an EST, CEDIA plans to add an on-the-job experience requirement to the written-test requirement.

The 2004 CEDIA Member Survey showed that companies with three to 30 employees with at least one CEDIA Certified Professional have higher gross revenues than those without certified employees, the association said.

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