Why CTS Matters to Me

garycts-feat-1028I want to start this off by making sure you all know I have a bias. I served on the InfoComm PETC (Professional Education & Training Committee for 12 years and as its chairman for four years. During that time, we developed the on-line CTS program, the CTS-I (CTS-Installation) certification as well as the CTS-D (CTS-Design) programs. And, although many people may not know this, I was the chairman of the CTS-I program during its inception and planning and, when that was done, the PETC chair at that time asked me if I would be willing to do the same and serve as the chairman during the development of the CTS-D program.

I loved those years. Overall, I served the InfoComm PETC as a committee member, the committee chairperson and as chair of both the CTS-I and the CTS-D committees for over 15 years. I have fond memories of meeting after meeting after meeting — and it was awesome. Most people hate meetings, but I loved those meetings. I have nothing but admiration for the entire InfoComm Educational program as well as all that the PETC has done and currently does, led right now by its chair Gordon Moore, the president of Lectrosonics.

Any regrets? Only one — some of these meetings took time away from my daughters as the CTS-I and CTS-D ones happened over weekends. Other than that, no!

But, it wasn’t all me — not even close to it. For example, four of us actually served on BOTH the CTS-I and CTS-D committees — add Ed Matthews and Marty Schaffel and Steve Thorburn to to that list. We were in it for what it would become.

I continue to be a CTS holder now. I am fortunate to do a lot of industry education and I believe it’s worth the time it takes to track it and submit it to maintain those three letters after my name. And, although I am not an installer, a systems designer or even an AV sales person, I respect those that are a great deal.

So, why should you care and why am I writing this? Well, if you’re a regular reader of rAVe, then you know why I am. But, for those of you who may not be, then you can read this blog from Mark Coxon.

Agree or not with Mark’s analysis, his point is that we, as an industry, have a duty to respect and grow education. Mark is a great friend and I love his writing. He’s always challenging anyone who reads his columns and we never censor him (nor do we ever censor our bloggers or columnists). I respect his observations, his analysis and his hypothesis. But, most of all, I appreciate how he’s willing to say what he thinks and feels. And, if you don’t see his passion in this, you are missing his point.

I celebrate with InfoComm that it now has over 10,000 certified members. And, I am proud that I was part of it. No, I had no part in creating the original CTS — that’s over 60-years old — but I do feel as though I helped carry the torch with that group of PETC’ers that were there then, including Luke Rawls, Toby Payne, Andre LeJeune, Bev Hall, Joel Rollins, Mike Weems, Terry Friesenborg, Duffy Wilbert, Paul Depperschmidt, Gordon Moore, Bill Sharer, Scott Wills, Joe Schuch and Steve Thorburn.

But, why aren’t there 20,000? Or, 30,000? Heck, nearly 40,000 people attend InfoComm ever year and four times that number have visited our InfoComm Show Microsite since June. So, we know there are at least 160,000 people in the industry, right? Oh, there’s way, way more than that as the International version of the show, ISE is even bigger and this number barely counts international AV’ers.

So, what the heck?

So, Mark’s blog was titled, “We Can Do Better.” And, although I don’t have the exact same hypothesis as Mark, I agree that we can.

But, InfoComm can’t do it all. First off, it is a non-profit association that serves us — their members. Sure, it hosts the CTS program and curates it, but we have to support it. And, secondly, we need to promote the value of CTS. Are we to all stand around and wait for InfoComm to do that? Remember, this is a member-driven program — so, the members need to care about it.

Is the program perfect? No, but it is, by far, better than any industry training or certification program out there. And, it’s for us. It was designed for the AV community, by the AV community.

Can you imagine what this industry would look like without the CTS?

Marty Schaffel (in case you didn’t click on that link on his name, he’s the founder of AVI — of AVI-SPL fame) once said to me that when he was starting out, the industry was full of trunk-slammers — heck, I think he even described himself as one to me one time. But, here, some 30-or-so odd years later, this industry is full of professional communications technologies and that’s in large part due to the the work of InfoComm and its volunteer members.

Oh, did I forget to mention the marketing benefit of the CTS? Heck, that’ll have to wait for another column.