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A Sitdown With New CEDIA CEO Vincent Bruno

Industry veteran Vincent Bruno, Crestron’s marketing director for seven years, became CEDIA CEO on Oct. 1, charged with forging a strategic vision for the custom installation association.

He outlined his short-and long-term goals for TWICE on the eve of attending his first CEDIA Expo as CEO. His plans range from adding new membership categories, identifying new technologies and revenue streams for integrators, and finding new ways to deliver advanced business education to members.

Here’s what he had to say at his plans and CEDIA’s role in the future:

TWICE: Why did CEDIA hire a CEO?

I provide the strategic vision and overall leadership for our organization in advancing the global residential A/V industry. I bring deep experience and knowledge to the CEO role and understand the challenges and opportunities facing our industry.

TWICE: What are your responsibilities?

I am charged with strategic planning, governance, membership development, our trade show and events, operations, staff leadership, communications and advocacy. I will also forge new and strengthen existing partnerships within the channel and with adjacent businesses and associations. It’s a big role, but I feel energized and excited about the challenge and the many opportunities.

TWICE: Do your responsibilities include show management?

Yes, the CEDIA show is our premier event and is often the way our members are introduced to the organization. We’ve made innumerable changes and additions to this year’s show to make it the place you have to be if you are in the residential contracting industry. It is the place to learn, network, explore and connect. We want to be the hub that connects our industry—from integrators to manufacturers, from new to established integrators and from visionaries in the industry to our membership. This year will be unlike any other, and we look forward to seeing everyone in Dallas.

TWICE: What items are on your short-term action list?

My plans are extensive, but there is nothing more important to me than engagement with our members. I’m forward-facing by nature, and the most important place for me to be will always be with our members. Some of my first initiatives include:
• Our team: We will implement core values for success and guiding principles for leadership for our organization. Everyone on our team will be proficient and expert in the technology we represent.
• CEDIA members: Our member categories currently include manufacturers, integrators, manufacturer reps, distributors and industry professionals. We will add several more categories, including service providers and retailers/e-tailers.
• Partnerships with member manufacturers and service providers: I have outlined plans that truly partner our association with our members. They include identifying emerging technology trends prior to them becoming public, allowing us to tailor our offerings regarding these new technologies in order to give our integrators the education and tools they need to profit from them.
• Partnerships with stakeholders: Our association is driven by volunteers. I will globally engage integrators, manufacturer representatives, manufacturers, partners and all other affiliates to encourage participation in our activities and events. As an outward-facing organization, we will attend, participate and speak at activities and events around the world.
• Partnerships with associations: We will actively engage with other important associations such as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), National Association of Realtors (NAR), Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), InfoComm International and others.

TWICE: What’s on your long-term action list?

A quote that I really try to live by is, “The best way to predict your future is to create it,” by Peter Drucker. To that end, we will embark on an ambitious plan to create a more central and easy path to help clients find the right technology through the right integrator. CEDIA is the hub of the residential installation channel, and we intend to be the source for not only the trade but also for the consumer. We see CEDIA as the connector, and we have immediate programs to better connect the industry. Our long-term strategy is to bring together consumers and integrators with more aggressive marketing efforts and initiatives that bring continued prosperity to our members.

TWICE: In what areas do you think CEDIA has been particularly successful, and are there any areas in which you want to make major changes?

CEDIA represents 3,500 member companies worldwide and serves more than 22,000 industry professionals who manufacture, design, and integrate goods and services for the home.

Our market is growing rapidly, and we will implement the initiatives that keep us in front of that industry growth. My vision for our association includes simplifying the language of CEDIA so that we’re perfectly understood. For example: CEDIA, not Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association; technology, not electronic technology; home, not connected home or smart home; and client and clients, not end user and end users.

We know that a big concern among members is finding and keeping talented, skilled employees, and we are defining ways that we can make a difference even at the high school level — introducing this as a career path, providing training, and ensuring that we have a secure source of talent entering the industry.

We will continue our focus on training and certification programs. The delivery of our educational programs has undergone a major shift with online learning becoming so much more prevalent, but I don’t think you can discount the face-to-face training we offer. We know that our members are looking for more robust business resources, and we are working with MBA professors at an esteemed university to craft how we might better deliver that advanced business education.

There will be a determined focus on identifying new technologies and revenue streams for members. I mentioned partnership with manufacturers and service providers that allow us to be on the forefront of emerging technologies, and that is something I personally will be taking charge of.