AVEC, Where Business Leaders Take a Break from Putting out Fires

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InfoComm’s AV Executive Conference is set to convene in Miami just a few short weeks from now, so in gearing up for one of the industry’s flagship business leadership conferences, SCN has been talking to a few of the attendees about what’s drawing them there this year.

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One of the main attractions for Theresa Hahn, VP of marketing and business development at Verrex, are the group sessions where industry peers share ideas and best practices in a neutral environment. Whereas some of these peers are considered competitors and are not folks they would normally interface with on this level, AVEC allows them to learn from their peers in the broader interest of moving the industry forward.

The keynote speakers from Harley Davidson and Life is Good are another big draw to Hahn as a marketing executive. “[Hearing from these] two really big brands that have done exceptionally well for themselves, that was probably the most important thing for me going is to be part of those sessions,” she said.

The opportunity to further network with industry peers, members of Verrex’s Global Allied Network, and other people who have supported them throughout the year are highlights for her as well.

Frank Culotta, president of SYMCO, who has yet to miss an AVEC, has witnessed how the attendees have come around to accept the new business model over the years. “Earlier on, people seemed to be still pushing back on the substantial and significant changes from hardware profit models and being the traditional AV business model, to how everyone’s eyes have opened to service-based profit models, recurring revenue, partnering,” he said.

On the programming side, he appreciates the work InfoComm has done in helping business leaders break out of the traditional day-to-day rut of running their companies to think more from a high level, working on their business instead of in them. “It’s taking them to more of a macro from a micro level,” he noted, “to think about the business and the future, versus putting out fires, which is what we’re sort of stuck with every single day.”

It’s just this opportunity to step out of the daily grind to think bigger picture and longer term in conjunction with the networking that Culotta looks forward to especially.

And of course there’s the networking. The strategy for Culotta is to talk to as many people as possible, “because pretty much everyone that goes [to AVEC] is the exact kind of person that we all want to be talking to,” he said. “They run a business in our industry and as everything is intertwined, even more so as we move forward, it’s so important to know what each member type of InfoComm is doing, what their challenges are, how they’re doing, if they’re successful, what they’re looking forward to or worried about the future.”

As a member of the InfoComm Board of Directors, Culotta knows his fair share of people in the industry, and while glancing at the posted attendance roster, he noticed many return people—“a testament to what a strong program this is,”—he also noticed a lot of people he didn’t know. “There’s a lot of returning people, and I think that’s really appositive indication of the value that comes out of this,” he said. “Probably half, at least, have been there already, and the ones that haven’t seem to be the right level and in the right positions in our market to really add value.”

Stay tuned next week when SCN hears from a few other AVEC veterans about the value they’re looking to get at this year’s conference. Meanwhile, there are still a few slots open for registration. Learn more at www.infocommavec.org.

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