Thank You—and Goodbye—to an Industry That I Still Don’t Quite Understand

Published: 2021-06-11

When I was promoted to CI’s executive editor in August 2019, one of the features we added to the monthly print magazine was a column we dubbed Final Thoughts. Since then, editorial director Jonathan Blackwood and I have alternated between writing that and Editor’s Note every month.

These mark my very final thoughts for Commercial Integrator. I’ll be leaving CI World Headquarters for a new position outside the AV industry today. It was a bittersweet decision but one that makes me extremely excited for many reasons.

Still, it’s tough to walk away from so many of the great people I’ve met in my 10 ½ years writing and learning about an industry about which I knew absolutely nothing when I started in January 2011 as senior writer for a publication that was just about to launch its first issue.

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I’m not going to attempt to single out any of the people who’ve helped me along the way because I know I’d unintentionally leave someone out—and that’s the last thing I want to do as I walk off into the sunset.

There are so many people who have helped me understand the wonderful world of AV and make sense of the complicated world in which you all work every day. I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand the engineering behind the products and projects, but I can tell you it’s been amazing to learn about it all.

I’ve been especially excited to see how AV has changed in my decade-plus writing about this industry. When I first started, one of the big topics was the viability of 3D. What ever happened with that anyway?

I’ve also slowly seen more integrators embrace recurring revenue and managed services and I have absolutely loved writing about all the blockbuster mergers and acquisitions that have happened in the last five-plus years. The journalist in me also loved going behind the scenes with the deals’ principals.

Some AVTweeps still don’t see a place for VR in their industry, but I enjoy testing the width limits of the goggles at AV trade shows.

Looking Back on My 10+ Years at CI

Of course, there have been some tough things to cover, including the deaths of a couple of people I considered friends in the last few months, Michael Shinn and John Greene. And, even though CI is a trade publication, we’ve had a few stories that have ruffled people’s feathers—and that’s OK to me.

The two features I’ll miss writing most are the annual 40 Influencers Under 40 and the Connected to the Community series. Both started off as one-time pieces that we wanted to see how people would respond to and the response to both has been absolutely overwhelming.

I’ve loved being able to highlight both the talented young people in the AV and IT integration industry and also to take a closer look at the good things companies across that space are doing, always without any fanfare whatsoever.

It’s been a struggle at times to convince some to share their stories at all, but I’m always glad when they agree to do so and I hope it’s something that is part of CI long after you finish reading my final farewell.

While I won’t be writing about the AV industry anymore, it will always remain close to my heart. You don’t spend more than 20 percent of your life doing something and building the relationships I have and just wipe that from your memory because you’re doing something else.

Thank you for welcoming me into your industry and for teaching me about why you love it. I hope I’ve done a good job showing the passion you have for your work in my writing about your new products, projects and industry trends.

Never lose that passion. It’s what makes AVTweeps such a special group—and a group I will never forget.

I won’t take sole credit for the Chicago Cubs breaking their 108-year World Series drought a few months after I got to tour the new Wrigley Field locker room for a story in 2016, but I’m thinking my visit didn’t hurt their cause.

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