On Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, CEDIA hosted hundreds of members and industry stakeholders for the CEDIA Advocacy Town Hall. The goal was to highlight CEDIA’s advocacy work and the importance of member involvement throughout the process.
The Town Hall was moderated by CEDIA Global President & CEO Daryl Friedman, along with panelists Darren Reaman, CEDIA Director of Government Affairs, Leon SooHoo, President & CEO of Paradyme, and Will Breaux, President of iconic systems.
Friedman’s opening statements recognized Mitch Klein, former President of CEDIA when CEDIA’s Government Affairs Program was founded. In 1999, Klein and the CEDIA Board of Directors created the CEDIA Government Affairs program in response to legislation in Rhode Island.
Friedman also talked to the importance of CEDIA gaining representation on Code Making Panel 3 of the National Electrical Code®. This panel oversees various articles of the National Electrical Code® including articles related to the work residential integrators do. CMP3 also oversaw numerous updates to the 2023 edition of the National Code®. As an organization, we recognize and commends Michael Cogbill and Ken Erdmann, who represent the CEDIA community on Code-Making Panel 3.
After the introductory remarks, Director of Government Affairs Darren Reaman provided an overview of CEDIA’s Government Affairs Program and introduced the other panelists as well as their advocacy involvement.
In 2008, the California Energy Commission (CEC) proposed energy efficiency standards for all televisions. CEDIA and other industry partners were successful in getting an exemption from the regulation for large televisions. Panelist Leon SooHoo was a key advocate throughout the CEC process. During the town Hall discussion Leon provided his perspective on this advocacy victory and the importance of building and maintaining local connections.
In 2021, the proposed revisions to the City of Houston Electrical Code had numerous consequences for residential integrators working in the city of Houston. The proposed changes would have only allowed electrical contractors to pull permits. Throughout this process, numerous CEDIA members stepped up to voice their opposition to the proposed changes to the Houston City Council. Will Breaux has been a key advocate throughout this still ongoing process. Breaux explained the critical advocacy role CEDIA members must play.
Both SooHoo and Breaux discussed why advocacy was important to them, and the critical role CEDIA has played. They provided examples of how our organization works with members throughout the process. Each had his own reason for stepping up and their own take on why it’s vital that members participate in future advocacy efforts. They stressed that advocacy work can determine who installs what technologies, which directly impacts your future work. They also talked about how California and the City of Houston influence policy in other states and municipalities.
Following the panel’s insightful discussion on the importance of advocacy, Reaman, SooHoo, and Breaux took questions from the audience about related topics such as:
- The term Integrator as an occupational classification
- Why advocacy work is so important
- Changes in the commercial space that are impacting integrators
- Changes in other jurisdictions
The CEDIA Advocacy Town Hall closed with a call to action for all integrators to step up when called upon to support and defend your industry! The theme throughout the Town Hall was that each voice and individual’s participation make a difference in the process. It’s vital to take the time to act when called upon.
As CEDIA prepares for the 2023 legislative sessions, your voice, participation, and involvement will be called upon throughout the legislative process. Together we will work to defend and advocate for our industry.