My Incredible Week with the Industry’s Best and Brightest – USAV APEX

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What did you do last week?  Did you take on a big and challenging project or find a new million dollar customer? I still think I can top that.  I spent my week with some of the industry’s top integration firms’ and manufacturers’ best and brightest operating executives and next generation leaders. Was there a secret InfoComm or NSCA meeting? No.  I was at the USAV APEX Integrator’s Summit. We spent the week in awesome seminars, group discussions, panel briefings, technology showcases and social events. In this blog you will find some of the highlights from this great week.

THE PEOPLE:  First I want to share a little about the people I spent the week with. I would like to do this from a different angle than usual. So, here goes: I spent my week with some amazing people. I spent dinner with an awesome proud father of a downs syndrome son. This father was one of the most driven project/program managers I know and to learn that his home life is so challenged taught me more about how driven and caring this man is than I ever knew. I sat at lunch with an inventor that holds three patents. This same man was so intent on listening to what others had to say and so willing to learn from others you would have never known that he himself was one of the best instructors our industry has to offer. I sat in a session and learned about new ways of thinking from the fashion industry (really, the fashion industry?) and I learned an awful lot from this session and this instructor was awesome (and as an instructor myself, you know I don’t say that very often). At yet another dinner, I sat with someone who built their own video walls 15 years before ANY manufacturer ever build one. I spent time with a couple of AV/IT firms that are well down the road of converging their AV and IT departments. These companies confirmed for me that the investment in people and showing loyalty matters. They care for their people and care how their people progress in life. This investment pays off in dividends with returned loyalty and unmatched service to their customers. I also spent time with a few family owned businesses and learned more and more about the passion that goes behind starting, owning and running a business of passion instead of profit. From this group of people, I learned more about the passion in this industry than any big trade show or big stage keynote speaker could have ever taught me. I was blessed to be with some of the industry’s most passionate people who were willing to share their knowledge and insights.

THE PROGRAMS:  During these meetings and training sessions we discussed the major programs and support that the USAV Group offers its members and how the members support each other. This was another huge lesson for me.  The way this group leverages the collective knowledge and experience amazes me. USAV as a whole is of one character. The executives from the group have clearly gone through a painstaking process in selecting their group members, in that, every member is of a very similar character. With this, the group as a whole emotes one collective message — we care and we share. I learned from this group that there is such a thing as healthy competition. By the nature of the business these businesses are competitive, but these particular companies have found a common ground where they can share information, methods and best practices for the betterment of each other and the industry. With this collective mindset, they are able to share resources across the country and throughout North America. The big lesson I learned here is that as a group these integrators are much stronger, smarter and more effective than if they were working separately. I am proud that they allowed me to be part of their meeting and their group.

What a week.  My only complaint about the whole week was that although I did take third place in the bowling contest, I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a prize for overall bowling high score or fastest ball. But, in all seriousness, I love learning and I love being in great company, so this was the perfect week. Was this week better than completing a huge project or finding a million dollar customer? You bet it was!!!