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POV: Help is on the Way

Feb 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D.


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Turbulent economic times have most AV integrators searching for solid ground. With fluctuating moods, what is the best way to handle the pending economic uncertainty? The first thing to do is make sure that your business is great at what it does. I have heard from many of you that repeat business from loyal customers is helping companies weather this storm.

Being the best at what you do will help get you through these challenging times. If training for staff is something you were postponing until your employees were less busy, this is the time to do it.

InfoComm International is launching a wide range of free and discounted training programs to help you pull through.

First, InfoComm is going to invest thousands of training dollars in its members. For those renewing their 2009 membership at their previous status or higher, or for those joining as new members, InfoComm will double the allotment of EduBucks. For example, Silver-level commercial members paying in U.S. dollars will get double the amount — 1,500 EduBucks instead of 750. Gold-level commercial members will receive 3,150 EduBucks instead of 1,575; and Platinum members will get 5,200 EduBucks instead of 2,600. The rules for redemption have not changed, and you may continue to use them at the InfoComm Show, in InfoComm's classroom courses, and online via the InfoComm Academy. So double your training activity this year as one way to prepare for the economy ahead.

InfoComm is launching a series of free webinars beginning this month that will provide important information about key segments of the industry. There will be a series aimed at business owners and senior executives including InfoComm's Economic Snapshot, Retaining and Motivating Employees in a Tough Economy, Business Insurance, and Ten Marketing Ideas for a Tough Economy. Another series will be aimed at HR directors, training directors, and supervisors. These topics include Using InfoComm Education and Certification Programs to Develop Your Staff, AVSP Program Overview, InfoComm Academy Update, and InfoComm Certification Update. CTS candidates can take webinars including Successful Test Taking, Overview of AV Best Practices, Essentials of AV Industry Review, Design Duties/Tasks/Steps, and Installation Duties/Tasks Steps. CTS holders seeking renewal units can take webinars including How to Renew Your InfoComm Certification Credential, Overview of InfoComm's ACU Standard, and Overview of Design Components Standard. InfoComm will be assessing the popularity of these sessions and may offer these webinars throughout the year.

InfoComm will continue to provide you with resources related to the economy. InfoComm 09 will feature an executive business symposium designed to provide you with the insight you'll need to keep moving forward. Jeff Dietrich from the Institute for Trend Research concludes the session with a discussion on the economic outlook and the state of the AV industry. This one-day Super Tuesday event — led by both industry experts and new faces from outside the industry — includes concrete tips to help you with finance, accounting, and control; employee retention; using social media to build your business; and using project management to enhance profit. There will be several education sessions throughout the show addressing the economy, marketing, and business practices and solutions.

InfoComm is planning more regional training and networking opportunities. It is expanding its free regional roundtables, which are designed to bring AV professionals together to learn more about industry issues and to network. These roundtables will be held in Phoenix; San Diego; Baltimore; Philadelphia; Toronto; Denver; Salt Lake City; Cleveland; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; Atlanta; and Dallas. InfoComm is also adding four super roundtables in Washington, D.C.; Chicago; New York; and San Diego. These roundtables will feature expanded programming and education opportunities. In April, InfoComm is hosting its first regional RU event in Baltimore. This event provides CTS holders the opportunity to earn six RUs in one day for $25.

As always, InfoComm will continue to conduct the market research needed to determine how the AV industry is fairing. Please continue to visit www.infocomm.org to keep up with important developments, access free streamed education content, and take advantage of free and low-cost training opportunities.

Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., is executive director of InfoComm International.



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