Readers React to Article on CEDIA Ownership

CEDIA communityThere has been a strong and vocal reaction to our story posted last week in which CEDIA’s Chairman of the Board, Dennis Erskine, countered our assertion that the members owned CEDIA. Noting that the law says that non-profit organizations have no owners, the chairman corrected our assumption. He was correct, we were wrong.

However, the story caught the attention of many of our readers, including some very prominent and influential executives in the custom integration community.

See what Strata-gee readers had to say about our story on CEDIA ownership…



Not only did our story about the ownership issue draw many comments – more than 30 as of this writing – but the prominence of the writers themselves caught our attention. Many of these commenters included past CEDIA directors and executives, many of whom took exception to the direction of the Association, or the attitude they feel it’s projecting.

But one thing that comes through loud and clear if you read them all, there is still a lot of passion for the CEDIA’s mission. We highly recommend you read them all (see below on how to do that) – and feel free to add to them if you are so moved.

Some excerpts from the Comments section on ‘CEDIA Chairman Corrects Us’ post:

  • Jeff Kussard, a well-known integration industry executive, commented that as a “(once proud) CEDIA Fellow I’ve made it a rule to refrain from publicly criticizing any sitting board. Sadly this situation now requires that I break my silence…” Adding, “Over the years (as both sitting & past board member) I’ve protested the manipulation of the by-laws by prior boards. I’ve also consistently protested the standing policies of secrecy that have progressively eroded board culture and integrity…”
  • Paul Starkey, CEO of Bravas, a group of integrators, suggests that the Board should consider members like customers, saying: “Not serving the customer base is relevant[.] Add value or suffer the consequence…” Starkey went on to add: “CEDIA is a diverse group of members it’s a tough gig that in its third decade has new challenges[.] Vetting the real issues and leading is far more important than the legal speak…”
  • Franklin Karp, COO of NY’s AVS, noted that: “As a stakeholder I find the obfuscation insulting. If there is nothing to hide, then why not lay it all out for stakeholders to see?”
  • Bob Cole, founder of World Wide Stereo in Philadelphia said: “There are so many wonderful things about CEDIA but this dark side does not come as a surprise to me. Even though I’ve been a member since day one, I stand guilty Franklin, as one of those members who enjoyed the assets but let this kind of behavior slip by. I was an early critic but was rebuffed, so I simply moved on.” Cole added, “It needs fixing.”
  • Bob Brown, a prominent industry executive and former CEDIA director, commented: “The bylaws should be re-written from scratch to enable more transparency, more members rights, and much less a small board’s private control over an organization with thousands of members trying hard to stay alive and make ends meet.”
  • Jeffrey Zemanek, Vice President of Rayva Home Theaters, added: “As a past board member in the ‘early days’ and then again later on, I can tell you that what I’m hearing is not in the spirit of our early objectives. Forget about who owns CEDIA; yes, legally, the membership does not, but that is the simple answer, and not relevant. CEDIA was created for the members…PERIOD.”
  • Brian Hudkins, founder of Gramophone, said, “It would be a shame to see the efforts and intents of the original founders be so grossly corrupted.”
  • Mitch Klein, Executive Director of the Z-Wave Alliance, past CEDIA president and a CEDIA Fellow, had this to say, in part: “As for organization leadership and direction, I am as concerned (and in the dark) as everyone else here. Once this new strategic plan is developed, perhaps we will know more and regain confidence – though I am not convinced there will be much more transparency. Until then we’ll all be guessing and many of us – worrying.”
  • Richard Stoerger, President and CEO of ADA, said in part: “Frankly this is what has and is missing … passionate debate about the very organization so many of us have devoted our livelihood and life too, some for decades. We all have had our shares of ups and downs but the fact remains, and it is refreshing to see, that so many of us are still involved in the industry and passionate to the core.” SEE NOTE #1 BELOW…


These excerpts are just a small sample of each of these renown executives’ comments. We highly encourage you to read all of their comments, as well as the other comments submitted by equally prominent commenters.

How to Read These Comments

Simply follow this link to the article and scroll to the bottom of the page to find the comments section. Comments are in chronological order over time, so keep scrolling to see the latest additions.


NOTE #1 – We edited out a part of the Richard Stoerger’s quote after the initial posting when we discovered in subsequent reading that it’s meaning was changed when taken out of the context of the whole comment. To see all that he said, please read the whole comment.

About Ted

A sales and marketing specialist - primarily in the technology industry - I've experienced a sort of "circle of life" in business. I've been a mass merchant retailer, a specialty retailer, a specialty manufacturer, a large volume manufacturer, a distributor, and even represented sales representatives. Now the owner of a marketing company that works with a variety of businesses on improving their strategic marketing and business development - I analyze issues from all angles to develop holistic solutions.

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