Name: Giles Sutton
Job Title: Interim Co-CEO
Years in the Industry: 19
Education: BA (Hons), MLS
Name: Giles Sutton
Dealerscope’s 40 Under 40 Honoree 2021
Describe your current role.
I am Interim Co-CEO at CEDIA, the global association and central touch point for companies who design, manufacture and install technology for the home. Since joining CEDIA in 2018, I have been hyper-focused on creating value for CEDIA members at every level — from the two-person teams to our founding member manufacturers. That mission has been one that continues to be carried through in my current role as CEDIA embraces a focus on education, workforce development and industry standards. Building awareness of the resource CEDIA is to our members and to our industry partners such as architects, builders, and interior designers is one of my critical strategic objectives. Additionally, I sit on the Board of Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), the largest AV systems integration show in the world, and am a Steering Committee Member for the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA). I am also a member of the Forbes Business Council.
What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
Most of my work is pillared around raising the standard of work and professional competencies of those working in the industry. I led the development and implementation of CEDIA’s strategic plan that re-imagined many of our programs including the CEDIA Member of Excellence and Advanced Member program. This designation is awarded to integrators who demonstrate a commitment to education, service, and outreach. I am also extremely proud of the strategic partnerships that I’ve been able to foster with companies and organizations across the industry to grow business, provide better access to education, and develop the space for new entrants. From CEDIA’s Propel program to our partnerships with HTSN and PowerHouse Alliance, I am energized by how much we have been able to accomplish this year.
This strategic work combined with my previous experience as an integrator has provided some incredible opportunities. I’ve represented the industry and our members at numerous events including CEDIA Expo, Design and Construction Week, Parks Associates Connections Summit, High Point Market, and the AIA Conference on Architecture. I have also been privileged to be a judge for the Sunday Times British Home Awards, Connected Design Awards, as well as the C&G Innovation in Design Awards.
What do you like best about your job?
Contrasting opinions and perspectives lead to better decisions and outcomes. Working at CEDIA, I have the privilege of being able to learn from, and be inspired by, a diverse range of volunteer insights and viewpoints every day. Our people are what make us special. We have almost 200 volunteers coming from every corner of this rapidly evolving industry, positively shaping our programs and products through their range of experiences. I have a special appreciation for the role of our volunteers, as I was one for many years before joining the CEDIA staff. The considerable time and energy these members put towards moving the industry forward and to making CEDIA more impactful is a huge support to our teams.
What technology are you most excited about at the moment?
I have always been passionate about architecture and technology; my motivation as an integrator was always to find new ways to surprise my customers with what is possible when the two intersect. For me, it is so important that integrators continue to embrace innovation, offer ideas, and provide solutions that delight customers beyond what is normally expected. That is why I love the emerging trend of well-tech products like Pure365, as well as other technologies like Bryte beds and Ketra lighting. Savvy integrators are tuned in to these trends and are staying one step ahead of the competition by embracing them.
Who in the CE or technology industry do you look up to, and why?
In my lifetime I have found many who have inspired me, for a variety of reasons. Without all of them, I doubt I would have found myself in the industry I am in now. Now that I am fully immersed in this field, I think about people who share similar values, but also put those values in motion through their work and within their businesses every day. Education, support of the industry, and innovation are just three things I feel someone like Henry Clifford embodies in all he does, every day. In fact, Henry was one of the first to offer his support through partnering with CEDIA in providing education together. I continue to be inspired by how committed he is to altruistically furthering the industry.
What career advice would you give to people just getting started in the CE or technology industry?
This is a wonderful time for someone just getting into the CE or technology industry, and the best advice I could give is to be open to new ideas, find great mentors in the field, and take risks. The industry is evolving at lightning speed. Focusing on one specific area will only ensure less time and energy are available to learn and experience from so many others in our innovative field.
What, in your opinion, is necessary for the CE/technology industry to thrive in the next five years?
Some would ask what the definition of ‘thriving’ really means. For many, it is about their bottom line staying strong. For others, it’s about always staying on top of new trends and technologies. I would agree that both are important. However, to see this industry I know and love continue to evolve and grow, it needs to accurately represent the diverse population of people who love it, too. When everyone is included, everyone wins. Inclusivity within our industry matters, and we will continue to grow when we consciously work to bring people into the fold, and work to support them once they get here. It is exciting to think about how we can continue to move the needle across the industry from trends to standards and every topic in between when we have a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences at the table being heard.