So, Joe, What’s Happening at the HETMA Booth?

So, Joe, What’s Happening at the HETMA Booth?
(Image credit: Future)

I asked my friend, Joe Way, PhD, CTS, executive director of Digital Spaces at the University of California, Los Angeles, co-founder of Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance (HETMA), editor-in-chief of Higher Ed AV, advisor of FLEXspace, and who has the longest list of active titles, affiliations, and accomplishments of just about anyone I know, to share a glimpse about HETMA and its presence at InfoComm 2024. Here’s what he had to say in 609 words. 

HETMA is returning to the InfoComm show floor for the second year in a row. After a successful launch in 2023, HETMA is going bigger and better, with a double-decker booth, right in the middle of the Central Hall: C5651. The HETMA booth serves as the “hub” for the higher education vertical on the show floor.

As the fastest growing in the pro-AV industry as witnessed through the rapid growth of the HETMA organization, the percentage of higher ed AV professionals seeking training and certifications, and the quickly evolving landscape of direct manufacturer-to-end user relationships, HETMA knew it was time for higher ed to plant its flag in the ground. They were right. Prior to hosting a booth on the show floor, “The HETMA Crew” were famous for roaming the show as a pack with their lime green badge flags and stickers. “You’re everywhere,” attendees would proclaim. Indeed, we were everywhere, but yet still nowhere. Thus, the evolution of the HETMA booth.

Having a presence on the show floor offers several valuable opportunities and advantages for HETMA members, higher ed attendees, manufacturer partners, and industry colleagues. No doubt that networking is the single most popular reason for the booth; the “HETMA hub” is a chance to build relationships with peers, industry leaders, and potential collaborators, and gain insights into the latest trends and technologies in the education sector.

As an advocacy organization, we know that we best serve our vertical when we are united. In fact, HETMA membership grew by over 20 percent in just three days last year through casual walk-bys and industry partners sending other higher ed pros by the booth for information. Learning about HETMA's efforts in advocating for the needs and interests of technology managers in higher education and discovering how people can get involved to support our various initiatives gave an awareness previously only known to a select few.

This year, the HETMA booth will serve multiple purposes. We invite both higher ed professionals, those who support higher ed as manufacturers and integrators, and industry partners to come hang out, relax, and take a load off throughout the craziness of the day. HETMA will be hosting a happy hour the last two hours of each day: Wednesday from 3-5 pm, Thursday from 3-5 pm, and Friday from 2-4 pm, with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. This is a great way to end the day, connect with colleagues, prepare for the evening, and listen to our live DJ. Likewise, Higher Ed AV will again have a podcasting booth set up to cover all the action happening at the show live, and host three show floor tours, one each day (with two being “official” AVIXA tours, and the “unofficial” AV Superfriends tour to cap off the week.

One of my biggest takeaways from hosting the booth was hearing from so many higher ed professionals that they truly felt that they now were valued. It is so common to feel siloed on our campuses, often buried in the day-to-day. Having “a place of our own” is a way to truly support our vertical, letting our people know they aren’t alone, and we are all more successful when we go through our common challenges together. If it’s your first time at the show, I highly suggest you come to the booth as your very first stop. We will connect you with others, offer the best places to stop and help make sure you get the most out of your InfoComm experience. 

And, don’t forget to also sign up for the Higher Ed AV Awards on Monday night before the show, and the HETMA Higher Education Summit on Monday and Tuesday to learn and grow from one another!

Cindy Davis
Brand and content director of AV Technology

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology (AVT). She was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. Davis moderates several monthly AV/IT roundtables and enjoys facilitating and engaging in deeper conversations about the complex topics shaping the ever-evolving AV/IT industry. She explores the ethos of collaboration, hybrid workplaces, experiential spaces, and artificial intelligence to share with readers. Previously, she developed the TechDecisions brand of content sites for EH Publishing, named one of the “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 25 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners and sampling local IPAs. Connect with her on LinkedIn