The CEDIA Awards Panel, Part One

Ed Wenck | Oct 01, 2020

As part of this year’s CEDIA Talks at the virtual Expo Experience, Jessica Thornburg, CEDIA’s member programs manager, hosted a panel of previous CEDIA Award winners. Here’s a quick read of part of those conversations.

What motivates you to enter?

Jason Voorhees, Cantara

Initially, when we started the company, the objective was to use it as a tool to show potential clients and partners that we had the chops to do larger projects. And it's always wonderful to have that third party verification that we do our design and our engineering and our installation correctly.

But these days the real motivation is for my team. What we do is not getting any easier. If someone has mastered audio and video installation and smart home stuff, that's not really good enough. You've got to be great at installing shades, and you've got to be great at designing and managing fairly large networks, and you've got to be great at lighting control systems.

I think that winning the award from CEDIA is a moment to just kind of pause and celebrate as a team and reflect that although the work is really hard, other people think that we're doing the best work.

Albert Mizrahi, SmartLab

First of all, recognition—and besides recognition in the industry and in what we do, it's a very helpful to motivate my team.

Nic Black, The Pyramid Group

I’m a great believer in the notion of “Do what you say and prove it.” Being able to prove that you're technically competent and able to work within a set of industry wide-guidelines – and meet and exceed them -- is really the ultimate goal for any company. It shows to your peer group and your clients that you're actually working at the highest possible level.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a potential entrant who is debating whether to dedicate the time to submit for a CDO?

Jason Voorhees, Cantara

One of our strategies is that we take the application and then we divide it up amongst several people, and then it becomes doable as a team. If more people on your team are working on the award submission, they naturally have that sense of investment and ownership. They become even more excited about the entry because not only did they do the actual project, but they helped with the submission.

Albert Mizrahi, Smartlab

You have to submit a lot of information and a large number of documents.

When you enter the first time, you might not have all the documents ready -- the way you operate, the way you work might not include them. Entering the awards will help you develop all these documents and will help you become more professional -- with your team, with your clients, with your architects. It's a great benefit because it will change the way you work, and help you become a better company.

Nic Black, The Pyramid Group

You know, a lot of people say to me that the CEDIA Awards are really hard work and it's a difficult process to go through.

But there’s a reason for that: You have to show that you are technically competent, that you understand standards, you understand how to design correctly within the guidelines and achieve or exceed those standards. Let's make sure that we're as technically competent as we can be, and let’s ensure that we have the evidence – and that will always improve our documentation.

This year’s CEDIA Awards will be broadcast on YouTube Live in three time zones on October 8, 2020. You can register in advance and receive a digital party pack that includes some great drink recipes here. We’ll be accepting entries for the 2021 CEDIA Awards starting that very same day.