Could You Use Some Extra Credit?

Heading ‘back to school;’ praising the industry’s young innovators; and chronicling your projects with pictures.

The school buses have started rolling out yet again and that means no more long weekends or swimming all day in the neighbor’s pool. It’s not quite time to put away the grill — or the lawn- mower — but fall is fast approaching.

School might be in session, but why let the kids have all the fun? Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the opportunity? Are you looking to add a few more letters at the end of your name (CTS, for example)?

Integrators we’ve talked to for many of our company profiles over the years have stressed the importance of staying current on the latest trends, certifications, regulations and such as a way of keeping one step ahead of the competition. So, if it works for some of the most successful companies in your industry, shouldn’t you consider making it a policy at your integration firm?

Sure, there are some people who see going “back to school” as nothing but a burden, and those people probably aren’t right for the job you hired them for if they don’t understand that education is an integral way for them to improve themselves — and the company’s bottom line.

These days, thanks in large part to system integrators like yourselves and continued advances in technology, going “back to school” doesn’t mean sitting in the back row of a giant lecture hall while a professor drones on from a textbook. Coursework can happen anyplace at any time. What are you waiting for? Time to start learning!

40 CI Influencers Under 40

If you haven’t already checked it out, please take the time this month to read about our list of 40 CI Influencers Under 40. Thanks largely to your nominations, mixed with conversations among our editors and with others across the industry, we’ve come up with a group we’re proud to tout as the best and brightest this industry has to offer for years to come.

You’ll be amazed at how much some of them have accomplished at such a young age, and perhaps inspired to look at your company and your younger staffers a little bit differently as a result. That’s the goal anyway.

Photos of the Top 40 CI Influencers Under 40 of 2014.

If you’re a Baby Boomer or “older” company executive who’s hesitant to turn over some responsibility to some of your firm’s youth, there’s probably an issue with the people you’re hiring — and that’s something only you can change.

These relative youngsters bring fresh ideas and approaches to their companies, and that’s something every business that’s looking to move forward should embrace, not shove into a corner cubicle and ignore.

“People our age build complexities into systems that our customers may not want,” says NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson. “[Younger people] are always thinking of how to make the system more attainable and more usable,
because that’s what they want.”

The best part of the 40 Under 40 project was hearing about people and companies we didn’t know before who are doing great things to move this industry forward. We couldn’t include everyone, of course, but I think you’ll find someone — or maybe several someones — who can inspire you or help mold your future leaders on the list.

Upcoming USAV Conference

At the end of September, I’ll be part of a panel discussion at the USAV APEX Conference in Denver that looks at how integrators can work with the media, and vice versa. I did a similar presentation for USAV a couple of years ago and it’s generated some fun stories and good relationships. I expect more of the same this time.

I’ll give you one tip that many integrators ignore until after we remind them: Take time to take pictures of your work as it progresses. Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words and people are more likely to notice you if you enhance the written word with some visual evidence.

Not everyone can travel around the country or the world to look at your old projects to consider if they want to work with you, so having photos for them helps. These days, almost everyone has a camera on his or her phone, so there are no excuses!