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“Get Energized!” Says Azione Unlimited President Richard Gilkes

Virtual conference pioneers one-on-one speed-networking with exceptional results

(image credit: Azione Unlimited)

Azione Unlimited, The Smart Home Association, has concluded their first ever all-virtual Azione Absolute Fall Conference, and TWICE was able to attend the three-day experience along with a record attendance of 326 energetic and enthusiastic Azione Unlimited dealer and vendor members.

“The Azione Absolute Fall Conference has been an absolute hit among all our dealer and vendor members,” said Richard Glikes, President of Azione Unlimited. “The balance between small group meetings, keynotes, and one-on-one networking injected a much-needed dose of energy back into our industry. The results have been absolutely outstanding, and we are proud of the positive ripples it produced in making our group that much stronger.”

The members of Azione Unlimited may have had to gather together virtually, but they still accomplished the conference’s goals of “Make Friends, Share Ideas, Develop Partnerships and Have Fun.” Running from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, the three-day conference offered 30 sessions, including three keynotes, three networking opportunities, six presentations, and 18 small group sessions. Of the 326 unique dealer and vendor attendees, there were more than 1,200 session participants across all events.

Azione Unlimited President, Richard Gilkes (left), address members at the virtual fall conference.

While the conference got off to a bumpy technical start, Azione Unlimited pushed through, gaining momentum rapidly with each event. Azione Unlimited members are always fun to be around, and their camaraderie and cohesiveness as a group was immediately apparent as we watched members reconnect as if they had only been apart for a few hours or days.

One of the challenges faced at all virtual conferences is how to help people connect in meaningful ways, and Azione successfully crushed this challenge at the Absolute Fall Conference.

Providing a platform for dealers and vendors to interact, the Azione Absolute conference included one-on-one speed networking and small group meetings. One-on-one speed networking randomly matched dealers and vendors, allowing just five minutes of direct and genuine conversation to catch up with friends or meet new members for the first time. 130 speed-networking meetings took place over the three days.

Our editors think one-on-one speed networking is one of the greatest innovations and successes to come out of a virtual conference so far this year, and from the positive comments we saw in the group chats throughout the conference, we think Azione Members agree.

“It was the first virtual conference I attended that was actually beneficial,” said Jeff Costello, Vice President of Sales for Nortek Control. “I really enjoyed the one-on-one speed networking, and the small group meetings were incredibly interactive. I was thrilled to connect with dealers and really liked hearing that the world is going to be fine in 2021.”

The Azione Absolute Fall Conference also provided small group meetings focusing on an array of topics including lighting, service plans, business acumen, remote employee management, wellness offerings, and more. These small group sessions emulated in-person events and offered dealers a platform to share face-to-face experiences in a non-competitive environment.

“Azione Unlimited is always looking to surprise and delight members, so having to accommodate a completely virtual meeting became a fascinating challenge for us,” said Patrick McCarthy, Director of New Business Development and Member Services for Azione Unlimited. “We decided to take the strength of in-person meetings and recreate that magic digitally. The results were three-days of action-packed sessions that energized both dealer and vendor members to generate new business, meet with old friends, and, importantly, build stronger relationships.”

Three keynotes punctuated the excitement generated during the conference, with renowned interior designer business coach Nancy Ganzekaufer opening the conference with a conversation on how to create, maintain, and maximize relationships between integrators and designers. Chris Smith, CEO of TheCoTeam, led an energizing discussion on how to “Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs” and create a culture of productivity in your business. CEDIA Senior Vice President of Education Samantha Ventura closed the conference with powerful advice on being a better leader, even in difficult times.

A screen capture of the Azione Absolute event platform.

“I wanted to say thank you for putting on another great event,” said Nick DeClemente, President of Elevated Integration in New York. “The commitment you guys have to all of your members is amazing. Azione has shown that throughout 2020 and has continued to provide value even in the most difficult of circumstances.”

“I wanted to thank you for your dedication to your members to put on a fall conference,” said Angela Larson, Vice President of Sales Operations at Savant. “While it is not easy to pivot and embrace new ways of doing things, you all did it with grace. I give your team huge kudos for being here for your members when they need you, no matter what the format is.”

“We’re here for you,” said Gilkes in his conference closing remarks. “Yes, some mics failed. Yes, some cameras didn’t work. But I felt the vibe. It was very good. I think it was really good to see people’s faces again and reach out to them again. We’re back in business, get energized! Every time we’ve had an Azione conference, people go back energized. Now we’re going right into season, so take that energy, take those ideas, make it happen and help your brothers at Azione.”

TWICE is excited to see how well Azione Unlimited members and vendors are supporting each other during this difficult time, and congratulate the organization on their successful virtual conference.

About Azione Unlimited
Azione Unlimited is a consortium of like-minded custom installers, home technology professionals, and vendors. The organization helps its members achieve greater levels of prosperity, technical acumen, and sophistication in running their businesses and serving customers. Founded by industry veteran Richard Glikes and headquartered in Chester Springs, PA, the organization hosts two high-energy, information-packed conferences per year, Azione provides its members with a host of benefits, from product discounts to educational meetings and marketing tools. Learn more at

See also: Azione Unlimited Welcomes Bravas To The Smart Home Association