HTSA Wraps Up its 2016 Spring Conference in San Juan
If you’re going to celebrate a major milestone, you might as well do it in style, right? That’s exactly what the thinking was behind the Home Technology Specialists of America’s (HTSA) 2016 Spring Conference and 20th Anniversary Celebration, which wrapped up last week at the sunny and beautiful Ritz-Carlton Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Despite the far-offish location, HTSA managed to bring together 270 attendees for the two-and-a-half day conference that was described by some as one of the most informative, energetic meetings they’ve ever been a part of.
This was the first group meeting to be held with new executive director, and former HTSA member, Jon Robbins at the helm. “This group is fired up,” Robbins said in a statement. “Our latest high-caliber member and vendor additions are just the beginning—we are really just getting started on implementing entirely new programs and strategies to turbocharge our members' and vendors' businesses."
With new management, HTSA offered a fresh approach to the format of their Spring Conference. Included this year was a “State of the Union,” in which Robbins offered a very-honest self-assessment of the organization. He told attendees that after the early successes of HTSA, the group had grown complacent, and as new competitors emerged, their momentum had stalled.
Robbins made a commitment to attendees that the group would demonstrate a new, more robust leadership within the organization, but also throughout their industry. An example of that leadership was the announcement of HTSA’s new Masterclass Series, which kicks off next month just outside of Atlanta with their “Sell More Audio” event. This series, Robbins explained, will provide members with techniques and in-depth education on a variety of topics.
"While others may choose to pursue low-grade, high volume solutions, HTSA will be the industry's leading provider not only of sophisticated home automation solutions, but of high-performance audio/video systems," Robbins said. "This is our channel, and we will take leadership in sustaining and growing that channel."
As a sort of preview to the new education-centric approach HTSA plans to take, the Spring Conference was packed with informative and engaging sessions. It kicked off with Connected Home Advisory Principal Jim Carroll giving a 90-minute presentation on the opportunities and pitfalls presented by the smart home and Internet of Things. HTSA then had attendees break out into a dozen member/vendor discussion groups that covered a wide range of topics, from how to sell high end audio and video, to successful meeting planning, to how to market to builders, architects, and designers, and more. Attendees got to choose which sessions they wanted to attend during the six different time slots provided for these discussions.
The Spring Conference came to a close on Thursday morning with a keynote presentation that focused less on business, and more on personal matters. HTSA invited New York Times bestselling author Steve McClatchy to speak on work-life balance. The high-energy keynoter, who was recently featured on the TODAY Show, was very entertaining and gave the HTSA Spring Conference attendees solid advice for how to work on balancing their “want to’s” in life with their “have to’s.”
The energy on display in the closing keynote was certainly on display throughout the conference and was felt by the members as well. "I like the new energy," Frank Sterns, Sony Vice President of AV Specialty & Custom Integration, said in the statement. "I see renewed enthusiasm in the group, manifested in the new members, a bit of a change in the profile of new members, a change in the agenda of the meetings (not cut and paste from previous years)...which leads me to the conclusion that the short-to-medium term looks good for the group. Jonny's enthusiasm and energy is a big plus."