I AM CEDIA Profile: Mike Chorney of La Scala
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I AM CEDIA Profile: Mike Chorney of La Scala

As told to Ed Wenck
Feb 13, 2017



We often go to great lengths to tell the “big-picture” CEDIA® story to audiences within the industry and beyond. We regularly tout the brilliance of our 3,700 members as a whole. But recently we decided to sit down and really get to know a few businesses and the people behind them one-on-one.

Our new “I AM CEDIA” series is about connecting with our members, finding out how they got into the home technology profession, uncovering their personal backstories, and learning about their dreams, desires, and tastes.

Then we share those stories.

Here’s the story — in his own words — from Mike Chorney of La Scala in Vancouver, BC, Canada. La Scala has been with CEDIA since 1993.

ON LEAVING MED SCHOOL FOR ELECTRONICS

When I left medical school and decided that I was going to put stereos into cars, my mom almost had cardiac arrest. I made a commitment to my mom. I said, "I'll do more car stereos than anybody else. Not only in our city but in our province and inevitably in our country."

I've always liked mechanical-type things and building things. The components that you put into cars really aren't meant to be there. The manufacturers don't reserve a spot for all the stuff you're putting in there. It's just a natural transition, moving from the car into the home.



ON VANCOUVER

Vancouver, as far as integration, is very different city. There's a lot of foreign investment in Vancouver, which means people don't actually live here — they stay here. Remote services and having a home that's automated ensures that they can turn up their heat and turn up their hot tubs or pools and de-ice their driveways through automation systems.

I was in a board meeting with some developers and I asked a simple question: “How many people actually used a key to open the door of their car this morning?” I got one hand in the room. Then I posed the next question: “Why are we building these condominiums in downtown Vancouver at a thousand dollars a square foot and then hand them a key to open up their door?” Technology that we're accustomed to day-to-day, in our car and through our mobile devices — why aren’t we actually using that in our own homes?

What makes Vancouver a fantastic city is the water, the mountains, the outdoor living here. If you're an outdoors type of person, this is a great city to live in.



ON HIS HOME LIFE

It's a funny situation, because I work in this industry and I don't watch TV. My last home had 11 TVs and a theater, and I don't watch TV. OK, I do like to watch the odd hockey game or some sports.

I have two little girls, Isabella and Michaela. They're four and six. They are my sunshine, my moon — they're everything to me.

My girls are interested in princesses. We do lots of arts and crafts and like to bake cookies and gingerbread houses.

It's funny because my kids’ concept of what I do is ... well, they say that their dad is the “gadget man.”

ON WHAT CEDIA MEANS TO LA SCALA

CEDIA has helped La Scala by legitimizing our industry. We refer to CEDIA quite often as a governing body, taking an active role in ensuring that the caliber and quality of workmanship is top notch.

I refer to the racks that we install as the shiny black boxes. Just because you have a pantry full of ingredients doesn't make you a master chef. CEDIA is an organization that puts the art in moving all those boxes together.



ON LA SCALA’S REPUTATION AND CULTURE

I think La Scala wins so many CEDIA awards because of our people here. They're masters of their skill. The pride of their workmanship — you can see it every day out in the field.

We do develop a strong relationship with our clients, and it's not uncommon for us to be invited to their Christmas parties and enjoy lunch with them.

These guys at La Scala are all friends. They take care of each other. Not only do they work together but they tend to play together afterwards.

It's not what we say. In the end, it's how we make people feel. That's a big part of our culture here.




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CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

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