The Manufacturer Representative of the Year award recognizes a manufacturer representative who is achieving a successful career in the residential electronics industry, has helped cultivate the growth of CEDIA, and practices excellent customer service skills.
The 2015 recipient is known across the industry for his honesty, market understanding, and his willingness to consult and guide his fellow manufacturer representatives. Paul Collins was recognized at this year’s CEDIA show. We had a chance to catch up with him afterward, and he shared with us some of his favorite things about the industry and CEDIA over the years.
- You are a founding member of CEDIA. What is your favorite memory from those early days?
One of my favorite CEDIA memories is from our first CEDIA EXPO at Amelia Island. The big white tent that housed exhibitors in a tabletop-only exhibit was the genesis of our “all are welcome to join” BIG TENT that CEDIA has become.
The second favorite was also related to Amelia Island. After a late dinner and many cocktails with Maureen Jenson, Carol Campbell, and Meg Coldwell (all from Audio Video Interiors magazine at the time), and Janice and Ivan Zuckerman (Niles Audio), we piled into a single golf cart and went on a late-night, fast-paced tour of the closed golf course and tried to outrun security. Narrowly missing a water hazard, we all got drenched by the sprinklers; fancy hairdos, makeup, and evening wear didn’t survive but we did.
- Across the industry you are known for helping companies who are in their early stages grow and become successful. What is your advice for those looking to get into the industry both on the dealer side and on the manufacturer side?
Join CEDIA and utilize its many services and opportunities to actively network. CEDIA membership is your gateway to a network of trusted advisors. Where else can you get a wealth of information from a wide variety of experienced entrepreneurs for the low cost of membership?
- What do you think it the biggest benefit of being a CEDIA member?
Three words: educate, demonstrate, and validate. On a dealer level, it is the pairing of education with certification that leads to validation of your skills and abilities from the client.
- How does CEDIA benefit your business?
I have personally benefitted from years of networking opportunities. I recently read a business blogger who said, “network your way to new customers – remember you can’t shoot a moose from the lodge. Get out there and meet somebody."