Catching Up With...: Former CEDIA Chair Randy Stearns & CEDIA Industry Relations Manager Peggy Ward
In a joint interview with CustomRetailer, Randy Stearns and Peggy Ward provide details about CEDIA’s ROI program—an essential arm of the organization’s Industry Outreach Department.
CustomRetailer: What market conditions and dealer needs led to the crafting of the Registered Outreach Instructor (ROI) program at CEDIA?
The ROI program was started with CEDIA’s former CEO, Utz Baldwin, about seven years ago, when the first ROI “Train the Trainer” class was offered at CEDIA EXPO. At the time, Utz was an integrator based in Houston, and he was reaching out to local architecture firms with presentations he’d created, outlining different aspects of residential technology. [He was also] educating this group of industry partners on the importance of collaborating with an integrator early in the design and build process. [Utz] was gaining additional business by conducting these classes, so he thought it was the perfect opportunity for CEDIA to build a similar program, and roll it out to CEDIA members.
CR: What needs arose among custom installers that the program was originally designed to meet?
There was and is an ongoing misconception that integrators can be brought into a project at any time, and it’ll be a smooth process. This is not the case. As with any trade, electronic systems need to be planned for well in advance of the project entering the construction phase. As with other systems, electronics affect several aspects of the planning and design process, such as framing, HVAC, electrical, ventilation, etc.
By educating the trades involved in this process, from the architect to the builder to the interior designer, it eliminates unnecessary change orders, delays and re-doing of completed work.
CR: What recent changes have been effected within the program to keep it closely in tune with integrators’ needs?
Some of the basic information contained in the ROI “Train the Trainer” course remains similar, if not the same, from year to year, such as the discussion surrounding learning styles and effective classroom management.
However, much of the content is updated on a regular basis to accommodate the changes with the program related to reporting CEDIA CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for different trades, [as well as] marketing tools that CEDIA provides.
Additionally, due to changes and advancements in electronics and technology systems, most of the existing courses have been updated or completely redone within the last 12 to 18 months.
In addition to the ROI “Train the Trainer” course updates, CEDIA is now marketing this program and the instructors on a grassroots level by contacting chapters directly to schedule ROI appointments.